Posts Tagged ‘Harvey Keitel’

Framing, and re-framing, Gustave: Anderson toys with narrative as he depicts whimsical adventures in ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’

April 22, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 22, 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel, the new film directed and co-written by Wes Anderson, chronicles the madcap adventures of one Monsieur Gustave H., an extraordinary concierge. Zero, Gustave’s employee, protégé and friend, serves as sidekick to the concierge as well as one of the main narrators of the story.

The protagonist is a man with a bon mot and a plan for virtually any and every situation, no matter how extraordinary. A commanding figure at the eponymous luxury resort, which is situated in a fictitious eastern European nation, Gustave is the type of charming extrovert who never met a stranger; indeed, he addresses men whom he met moments before as “darling.”

Gustave has a particular knack for wining, dining and — not to put too fine a point on it — romancing dowagers. Most of the movie concerns the aftermath of the (rather suspicious) death of Madame D. and her attempts to bequeath a Renaissance portrait named “Boy with Apple” to Gustave.

Madame D.’s tempestuous son, Dmitri (Adrien Brody), wants control of all of his late mother’s estate, including the portrait; to that end, he and his vicious lackey, Jopling (Willem Dafore), ruthlessly harass Deputy Kovacs (Jeff Goldblum), the lawyer serving as executor of the will. Dmitri and Jopling also frame Gustave for murder, thereby requiring the concierge and his devoted “lobby boy,” Zero, to mastermind a prison escape.

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On ‘Saturn 3’, no one can hear you stifle a yawn

May 30, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 30, 2013

Last year, I wrote about some 1970s and 1980s science fiction movies that fascinated me, even though I was too young to see them in the theater. (Left unmentioned was the fact that I did go see at least three pictures — the original Star WarsClose Encounters of the Third Kind and Animal House — in initial release despite really being too young and immature to have done so.)

Well, there was another picture that, along with AlienOutland and Capricorn One, fascinated me due to its science fiction content but went unwatched by me. It was a film called Saturn 3, and here’s what I knew about it: It was set in some kind of ill-lit outpost, it starred Farrah Fawcett, and it featured a menacing silver quasi-biological robot called Hector.

It turns out that someone (perhaps illicitly) has posted a rather murky full-length copy of Saturn 3 on YouTube, so the other day I got a chance to watch what turns out to be this justly obscure outing from 1980.

This was a film, I should stipulate, that started out with no small measure of promise. The story was conceived by John Barry, the British production designer who won praise for his work on A Clockwork Orange, Star Wars and Superman. Martin Amis, now a well-established British novelist, wrote the screenplay. The cast list essentially contained just three names, but oh, what names: Kirk Douglas, Harvey Keitel and Farrah Fawcett. Read the rest of this entry »

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