Wes Anderson is something of an enigma, one of the most revered filmmakers of the last fifteen years whose undisputed talent as such has led to only a rare few entirely realized motion pictures. His arguable breakthrough effort, 1998's "Rushmore," is a coming-of-age masterwork that fully and without fail blends the director's by-now signature, oft-copied and -parodied style with a sweeping emotional core that speaks breathtakingly about adolescence and the journey toward finding purpose and growing up. Since then, there have been lesser successes (2001's "The Royal Tenenbaums"), near-hits that narrowly miss the mark (2007's "The Darjeeling Limited" and 2012's "Moonrise Kingdom"), and a beautiful but stilted stop-motion feature (2009's "Fantastic Mr. Fox"). Unable to replicate that "Rushmore" sweet spot, Anderson has since built a figurative fortress around his passion projects, suffocating their hoped-for dramatic resonance in arch behavior and stiff aesthetic technique. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is ambitious, layered and excitingly different, furnished in stainless, whimsical, drool-worthy art direction. It is also baroquely unfeeling, keeping the viewer consistently—and disappointingly—at arm's length.
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