ralph fiennes

  1. Bond 23 shaping up to be brilliant

    Despite lingering in production hell for god know how long, the 23rd James Bond film is heading towards its November 9th 2012 release date with a fairly incredible cast.

    With American Beauty director Sam Mendes captaining the ship, series regulars Daniel Craig and Judi Dench returning and Naomie Harris playing Miss Moneypenny, the film already sounded like a good proposition. Then came the news that Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men) and Ralph Fiennes (the Harry Potter series) had signed on as Bond’s nemesis and a “complex” character, respectively.

    Now it’s been revealed that Paul Weller-lookalike Rhys Ifans as landed an unspecified role in the blockbuster. Ifans (Notting Hill) has just recently finished filming The Amazing Spider-Man, playing the villain Lizard, but it’s unlikely he will stay on the bad side for Bond 23. Fan chatter has already thrown up the possibility of Ifans playing Q, which would certainly be a good role for the scene-stealing the Welshman. With such a cast, Bond 23 might just challenge The Dark Knight Rises for the blockbuster to see next year

  2. He’s somewhere between 80 and 112, but James Bond seems ready to go with his 23rd film instalment Skyfall. Due for release on October 26th, the film sees Daniel Craig returning as 007, with Sam Mendes picking up the directing reigns, and that up there is the very first promo poster for Skyfall. To be quiet honest, it’s a little dull and doesn’t give much in the way of the plot, but with a supporting cast including Judi Dench (back as M, of course), Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe, Albert Finney and Ben Whishaw as Q, Skyfall looks like it could be a huge improvement on Craig’s last two outings as Bond.


    Yesterday saw the debut of the first promo poster for 007’s latest outing, and now we’ve got the teaser for the upcoming Skyfall. It’s very intriguing, without giving too much away. We’ll let you see for yourself, but consider us a lot more excited for Bond #23.

  4. Gr-anderson Budap-Wes Hotel News of the day: Sorry, that was the best pun we could come up with. Moonrise Kingdom feels like forever ago doesn’t it? Well there’s not too long to go for your next fix of the quirky world of Wes, as the first poster for The Grand Budapest Hotel has appeared online. Originally planned for release this year, the film will reach cinemas early in 2014. The plot revolves around a hotel concierge (Ralph Fiennes) working at the legendary titular hotel in the 1920s, who embarks on a friendship with one of its younger employees who soon grows to become his protege. The regular Anderson alumni return, including Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Edward Norton, Owen Wilson, and of course, Bill Murray, joined by Fiennes, Saoirse Ronan (Hanna), F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus), Mathieu Amalric (Casino Royale), Lea Seydoux (Blue Is The Warmest Colour), Jude Law (Hugo) and newcomer Tony Revolori.

  5. The spirit of the great automaton makers of the 19th Century lives on in Wes Anderson, whose own contraptions offer up their clockwork innards for us to gape and marvel at. His films exist under a deep layer of brushed and polished artifice, with their doll house framing and mechanical precision. At their best they wrap their archly theatrical irony around a well of deep feeling and melancholy, while at their worst they hum and click away, never quite connecting. The Grand Budapest Hotel is Anderson’s most highly stylised film yet, with its rapid fire dialogue and Busby Berkeley-meets-Fritz Lang sets, but there is more here than what solely meets the eye. This is the most precise and tightly wound of all Anderson’s creations, but it’s also one of his funniest and warmest, and quite possibly his best. 

    Beginning in the present day, the film hurtles backwards through narrative frames and through the decades until it arrives at the recollections of Zero Moustafa, and his time as lobby boy at the titular hotel in inter-war Europe. The once great institution is ruled over with slick, imperious efficiency by concierge M Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) who holds the running of the establishment in the palm of one hand and beds elderly guests with the other. A murdered guest, a priceless painting and a slimy Adrien Brody, rising from his post-Oscar slump to look resplendently menacing in a hussar’s uniform, lead Gustave and Zero into a farcical crime caper that rockets along at a pace unusual for a Anderson film.

    The actual mechanics of the plot are largely irrelevant, merely a useful frame to hang one bravura set-piece after another. Along the way there’s a parade of Anderson regulars and game newcomers, including memorable turns by a completely unrecognisable Tilda Swinton, a bald and inked Harvey Keitel, a befuddled Jeff Goldblum (is there any other kind?), and Willem Dafoe cast to sheer perfection as a lupine assassin. There are no false notes in the sprawling cast, but in the end this really is Fiennes’s show. It’s easy to forget that he has been very funny on screen before (In Bruges being his previous comedic showreel), but here he shows a dazzling flair for verbal and physical comedy to match all of the Marx brothers combined. Swivelling nimbly between florid poetics and sudden barked obscenities, Gustave is one of the truly great Anderson creations, up there with unscrupulous huckster Royal Tenenbaum and creepily precocious Max Fischer. 

    In fact the only person firing on as many cylinders as Fiennes is Anderson himself, who has never shown this level of sheer formal mastery before. Whether he’s turning his hand to visual screwball comedy, an ingenious prison break pastiche or a sinister film noir style pursuit through an art gallery, Anderson conducts the show with the same effortless swagger with which Gustave runs his hotel. In particular a new-found, grisly streak of macabre black humour fits him as well as Fiennes’s impeccable concierge’s uniform. 

    Yet all of this would be for nothing if it wasn’t for the genuinely moving veins of melancholy the film sneaks in under its smirking surface. The narrative framing, the mixture of the historical and the fairy-tale all serve to remind us that this is a world that was gone before we ever encountered it. In the end it is a film about the past, about our constant longing, and our inability to ever truly reconnect with it. “His world had vanished long before he entered it,” says the elderly Moustafa of his mentor Gustave. The same could be said of Anderson’s film, which contains within its grand, immaculately framed halls a deep longing for things irretrievably past.