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Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel
By Matt Zoller Seitz
Reviewed by Jason Pettus
Up to very recently, I have to admit that the twee antics of filmmaker Wes Anderson were starting to wear dangerously thin with me, exemplified in the overly precious, simultaneously empty and heavy-handed Moonrise Kingdom from 2012; ah, but then Anderson released the astounding Grand Budapest Hotel two years later, a masterpiece of artificiality with the kind of dark undertones and grand scope that he's so desperately needed in his career to cut through the hipster treacle, a story that was not by coincidence directly inspired by and a loving homage to the obscure anti-Nazi Vienna intellectual Stephan Zweig, whose most famous works all have to do with how World War Two essentially ruined everything great about Europe for good. And for those like me who ended up forming a bit of an obsession over this endlessly inventive movie, you'll definitely want to pick up the companion book put together with the filmmaker's participation (written and edited by the Pulitzer-nominated film critic Matt Zoller Seitz); an overstuffed, oversized coffee table tome, it covers literally every single aspect of this complicated production, from an analytical look at Zweig's writing to hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos from the sets themselves, before-and-after shots of various CG effects, the original drawings from the costume designers, and a lot more. I'm not usually a fan of these expensive "official companion" volumes of Hollywood movies, but Grand Budapest Hotel is simply too big and too impressive a project to pass this one by, a gorgeous volume that's worth every penny.
Out of 10: 9.7