Shoes – Footwear – Shoes – Exotic
Theatrical framing devices are everywhere, from book bindings to doll's houses to miniature stages and fluctuating screen ratios, with chapter headings a recurrent feature. As for the performances, one imagines that if Anderson were ever to include a "gag reel" of outtakes from his movies, it would include shots of an actor raising an eyebrow a millimetre too high, or placing a teacup an inch to the left of its allotted space upon a table. The Grand Budapest Hotel Production year: 2014 Country: USA Directors: Wes Anderson Cast: Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Saoirse Ronan More on this film 2 Such choreographed precision and overwrought artifice can make Anderson's movies seem emotionally sterile the all-too-arch constructions of a "smart cinema" icon whose idea of casual dress is (non?)-ironic corduroy.
Yet rigorous physicality is also the key to screen comedy 3 , following a tradition that dates back to the silent era and the carefully constructed pratfalls of Chaplin and Keaton. Significant, then, that The Grand Budapest Hotel 4 is both Anderson's most tightly wound and funniest film in years 5 , lacking the melancholy charm of The Royal Tenenbaums or Moonrise Kingdom perhaps, but more than making up for it in terms of elegantly capering contrivance. The action centres upon the titular establishment, a once-grand confection of a building located in the imaginary European state of Zubrowka, lurking somewhere between the Best Exotic Marigold and the Overlook hotels, with Anderson's prowling, panning cameras occasionally resembling a cartoon caricature of Kubrick on speed.
As ever, the story unfolds as a series of boxes within boxes. Our first narrator, a writer (variously played by Tom Wilkinson and Jude Law 6 ) hands the baton to a second storyteller, Mr Moustafa (F Murray Abraham, embodied in younger years by Tony Revolori) who in turn draws our attention to the real heart of the matter: the charismatic concierge, M Gustave (a splendidly rancid and randy Ralph Fiennes 7 ). Back in the 30s, Gustave was the hotel's primary attraction, a vision of purple-clad slickness attending the guests with oily efficiency, bedding the dowagers whose patronage was his fetish.
When one such dowager (an unrecognisable Tilda Swinton 8 ) expires, leaving Gustave a priceless painting, the family revolts, and a frenetic caper is set in motion involving art theft, murder, love, prison breaks, steam trains, cable cars, occupying armies (non-specific war breaks out), dead cats, a clandestine order of fraternal concierges and elaborate cakes. In boxes. Reading on mobile?
Click to view 9 With Lubitsch and Hitchcock his guiding lights, and author Stefan Zweig providing inspiration for a screenplay co-written with Hugo Guinness, Anderson conjures a fictional vision of Europe that nods its head towards the Hollywood backlots upon which so many migr directors worked their magic in the golden age of the studios. Everything looks like a set, and deliberately so, with the screen oscillating between classic Academy ratio and more panoramic widescreen (both 1.85 and 2.35) to differentiate between the various time periods, ancient and modern(ish). The overriding air is one of carefully controlled craziness in which even the outbursts of sporadic violence (a spontaneous gunfight shatters the hotel's studied serenity) are politely staged.
It's a rigid structure in which the players flourish, most notably Fiennes, who caught Anderson's eye in a stage production of the savage farce God of Carnage , and whose brittle manner here proves the director's perfect tool. Relishing rapid-fire dialogue that veers incongruously between the oleaginous and the obscene (his clipped diction lends bizarre gravitas to the phrase "shaking like a shitting dog"), Fiennes is in roaring form, his timing note-perfect down to the last demisemiquaver, his mannerisms piercingly angular, from the set of his arms to the arch of his back, the curl of his lip, the bristle of his manicured moustache. Even more so than the mannequins of Fantastic Mr Fox 10 , Fiennes has the appearance of an expertly animated creation, painstakingly captured frame by frame, each gesture rich in detail.
Around him a rogues' gallery of regular players is augmented by a growing gaggle of the great and the good, with fleeting turns from Bill Murray 11 and Owen Wilson fighting for space alongside Harvey Keitel's shaven-headed comrade-in-crime, Saoirse Ronan's perfect partner, Adrien Brody 12 's conniving son, Willem Dafoe's feral thug, L a Seydoux's inquisitive maid, Mathieu Amalric's elusive butler, Jeff Goldblum's Freud-like lawyer, Jason Schwartzman's third-rate concierge, and more. Sometimes the level of fleeting celebrity spectacle threatens distraction, with too many guests for even this sprawling hotel to accommodate. Yet each time we return to Abraham's ageing narrator the story coalesces once more, allowing the deeper undercurrents of personal loss and historical tragedy to breathe, albeit briefly.
With its signature zooms, satirical tableaux, and fiercely ordered visual palette (architecture is everything, from the hairstyles to the shot compositions) this is Anderson-world writ large: a hermetically sealed environment in which reality is something you only read about in books, and the upheavals of the interwar years provide tonal rather than political background. What slices the surface is the rapier-sharp wit, with Fiennes on point at all times, a dashing foil for his director's comedic cut and thrust. References ^ Wes Anderson (www.theguardian.com) ^ More on this film (www.theguardian.com) ^ More from the Guardian on Comedy (www.theguardian.com) ^ The Grand Budapest Hotel (www.youtube.com) ^ funniest film in years (www.theguardian.com) ^ More from the Guardian on Jude Law (www.theguardian.com) ^ More from the Guardian on Ralph Fiennes (www.theguardian.com) ^ More from the Guardian on Tilda Swinton (www.theguardian.com) ^ Reading on mobile?
Click to view (www.youtube.com) ^ Fantastic Mr Fox (www.theguardian.com) ^ More from the Guardian on Bill Murray (www.theguardian.com) ^ More from the Guardian on Adrien Brody (www.theguardian.com) Continue reading
The powerful image is accompanied by a description of Maks, revealing how she was raised a strict Muslim but 'distanced herself' from her Islamic faith as she grew up, in search of her 'own identity.' The words explain that the bare-chested beauty 'doesn't feel the need to identify herself as an American or a Bengali and is not content to fit her life into anyone else's conventional narrative. 'That's what makes her essential to the mosaic that is Los Angeles, and unequivocally, a distinct figure in the ever expanding American Apparel family.'The striking ad is likely to cause some upset among traditional Muslims for linking a half naked model to a country where Islam is the dominant religion and nudity is frowned upon. American Apparel, which was established in Canada in 1989, has a long history of sparking both celebration and outrage for its daring campaigns. Recent activity includes a campaign featuring a 62-year-old model in lingerie and a New York based Valentine's stunt in which their window-front mannequins were given fake pubic hair.
It has been repeatedly blasted for pushing the boundaries, degrading women and even sexualising young girls in its famously provocative campaigns. Last year, a series of 'gratuitous' ads were banned by the UK's Advertising Standards Authority for using 'overtly sexual images' of women who appear to be wearing no underwear. The ASA said: 'Although we considered it was reasonable for ads for hosiery to feature women in limited clothing, we considered the images and the model's poses gratuitous.'It's too early to tell what sort of reactions the latest ad will draw, but chances are this won't be the last we hear of it.
SOURCE 1 References ^ SOURCE (www.dailymail.co.uk) Continue reading
By far the best thing about The Stick of Truth is its script and willingness to go places that other games don't, whether that's the range of exotic dildos and crack pipes in Cartman's Mom's bedroom or the cavalcade of mental and physical and ethnic distinctions among its extensive cast. This is the game of a series that doesn't care if jokes are appropriate, as long as they're funny. I'm not going to ruin the best gags, not least because they wouldn't get past the editor, but a huge part of their impact comes from The Stick of Truth looking and sounding so much like the cartoon.
South Park's simple visual style and crude animation is captured perfectly in every part of the game outside of battles, and an especially nice touch is the character customisation you set up a character at the beginning, but then acquire several wardrobe's worth of clothes, hats and beards while playing, all of which can be equipped and then seen in the town, combat and cut scenes. Cartman vs Mario Combined with a fourth-walling script centered around your mute character, who Cartman calls Douchebag and later Sir Douchebag, it's a powerful anchor into a world so bizarre and packed it's hard to keep track of. It would be easy to go on and on about the sheer South Parkiness of The Stick of Truth, because this is its most important quality.
But underneath it is a slightly underwhelming RPG, based more than anything on Nintendo's Mario & Luigi handheld series, where progression through multiple quest lines amounts to little more than following arrows around a (beautiful, funny, interactive) overworld. This is no great criticism because the missions keep on coming with a very high standard of dialogue and cut scenes, but is does raise the question: are you playing a game or a cartoon in which a bit of button-pressing occurs? The biggest argument against it is the combat system, which has depth but takes an awfully long time to start showing it.
Combat takes the form of turn-based battling with timing elements so at the right moment of an attack animation, press the button to drive home the blow. Soon enough you have a wide range of offense, as well as several buddies to call upon, and certain genre-skewering special moves like the Dragonborn's mighty farts. This is all a lot of fun to watch and even play, but I didn't lose a battle in my time with the game until I eventually unlocked the forests outside of South Park a good ten hours in, at least.
This isn't necessarily a game you'd play for the challenge, it was never going to be Dark Souls with fart gags, but many players will expect more than a cakewalk through a South Park episode. The battle system also translates very roughly to a gamepad, as do the otherwise excellent menu screens and character customisation. The game is clearly designed for a mouse and keyboard interface, which has then been manhandled onto console it's not something that is ever a gigantic problem, but if you have the luxury of choosing then go for the PC version.
Game for a laugh The lack of challenge in the battle system hints at one of the real issues with The Stick of Truth. The game is much more simple than it looks, and even the humour is often only skin-deep. Though you can pick a Jew as your class, and I did, all this means is you're choosing a "normal" RPG class with special moves that use Dredels and have names like Jew-Jitsu.
The joke is that you're a Jew, and certain South Park characters hate Jews, and don't we live in an anti-Semitic world even now kids but after daring to go this far, all The Stick of Truth really has in the locker is a few bad puns and bespoke Cartman lines. But then that's South Park, isn't it? There are many parts of this game talking in Jimbo's gun shop, listening to Rob Schneider adverts, or watching a line of sieg-heiling foetuses - where I had to stop playing because I couldn't stop laughing.
If any game ever challenged the old distinction between graphics and gameplay this is it, because simple as its systems are, and even as dull as the fetch-questing can sometimes be, the look and script and voice-acting carry this rocketing over the finish line as well as through the taste barrier. In some ways this game is to the RPG genre what the animated series is to celebrity voice overs: a comic impersonation. As far as the comedy goes, however, Stick of Truth is fuckin-A dude.
References ^ More from the Guardian on South Park (www.theguardian.com) ^ More from the Guardian on Games (www.theguardian.com) Continue reading