Tuesday 25 March 2014

Alan Partridge (Alpha Papa)

Bullseyes:  ④ (out of 5)

North American’s struggle to ‘get’ Steve Coogan. Philamena aside, his previous movies have never done that well. That may be because they weren’t much good but it’s still a shame. 

I grew up watching Steve Coogan’s satirical TV Chat show, ‘Knowing Me Knowing You’, where he showcased the smarmy, egotistical Partridge who berated, and even shot, his guests and eventually nattered his way onto the lowest rung of the media ladder - local radio.

Alan Partridge the movie features North Norfolk Digital’s smooth as sandpaper host acting as a hostage negotiator during a studio standoff. Given Partridge’s crass and tactless interview style it’s not surprising he fails to tackle this delicate task, well – delicately.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Bullseyes:  ④ (out of 5)

Wes Anderson movies are weird. Moonrise Kingdom was freaky.  The Royal Tenenbaums was wacky. I haven’t seen any more but I’m sure they’re all out there.

In The Grand Budapest Hotel the acting is so tongue in cheek it’s a wonder you can hear any dialogue.  The movie starts smartly kicking out of the blocks with a suspicious death, a disputed inheritance and a disgruntled family, and it never lets up.

Ralph Fiennes, or Ray Fiennes however you pronounce Lord Voldemorts name, has the Wes Anderson scripted deadpan down pat as he frolicks his way through the hotel lobby and up and down the Hungarian countryside in his efforts to evade the Munster faced family as they seek a bigger slice of the will.  

The best parts of the movie are the little moments of levity, brought to us by Fiennes mainly, but also a great supporting cast including the Lobby Boy bloke, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel and Edward Norton. There are so many memorable characters in this farce you almost lose track, but somehow Wes Anderson has a way of illuminating a new face in an instant. When William Dafoe sneers and snaps on his black gloves over his skull-embossed brass knuckles we know right away who he is - no boring back story or dialogue is required.