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The Grand Budapest Hotel

You would never mistake The Grand Budapest Hotel for anything other than a Wes Anderson movie, which is just fine for Anderson’s fans. The bad news, if you want to put it that way, is that his eighth feature is a bit of a retreat from the last one, Moonrise Kingdom, which may have been his first film to show a real emotional connection to his characters. This time he’s back to working out interests that may be a little too precious to involve a wider audience. But he’s refined his comic style to the point where, even if the context is abstruse, the surface is so delightful that it’s hard to carp about it.

Muppets Most Wanted

After the Muppets’ movie career was revived a few years ago to near universal acclaim (as I recall only the Village Voice gave it a bad review), fans were disappointed to learn that Jason Segel would not be on board for a followup. Segel, a lifelong puppet fan (remember his puppet Dracula musical in Forgetting Sarah Marshall?), was the public face of the revival, having scripted it as well as starring in it; without him, might the next movie be back in the doldrums of Muppet Treasure Island?

Divergent

Whenever I can, I like to know as little as possible about a movie I will be reviewing before seeing it. In the new media world that allows you to avoid commercial advertising, that’s not hard to do. Unfortunately, it sometimes lands me at movies that there is no point in my writing about, and this is a perfect example.

On My Way

For at least a century, French national identity has been heavily invested in the historic cultural personages whose names are enshrined in France’s Pantheon of the great: Moliere, Hugo, Flaubert, Debussy, Cocteau, Sartre, etc. (Of course, French identity has also rested on explaining the importance of Americans like Jerry Lewis and Clint Eastwood to their clueless compatriots.) But hey, those are all (dead) guys. Where’s Catherine Deneuve? If she isn’t iconic, who is? And she’s still very much with us, as Emmanuelle Bercot’s On My Way proves (as if proof were needed).



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