To celebrate the Australian release of Wes Anderson’s latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Nova Cinemas in Carlton has set up their very own Grand Budapest Hotel Lobby Bar. The bar, which will be in action while the film remains in cinemas, is dishing up film inspired cocktails, including The Lobby Boy, Mendl’s Lemon Fizz and Boy with Apple. Themed treats such as Mendl’s pastries (a reference that will make sense once you’ve seen the film) and signature choc tops will also be available from the Lobby and Candy bars, and movie goers are encouraged to sign the Hotel Guest Book and take part in the Grand Budapest Hotel photo competition to win a limited edition film canvas poster.

Like the film itself, Nova cinema is embracing a time of opulence and intrigue.

In a nutshell, The Grand Budapest Hotel tells the tale of the theft of a priceless Renaissance painting, and the fight for a huge family fortune. However, it would be a huge injustice to reduce this piece of cinema into a nutshell, funny, heartfelt and utterly bizarre as it is. Whether you’re a Wes Anderson fan or not, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a piece of cinematic magic.

Basically, the film is about a man telling a story about a man telling a story about a man who is the story. That man is M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), the enigmatic and renowned concierge of the famous Grand Budapest Hotel between the wars. The bulk of the action takes place in this period, with the focus on the relationship between Gustave and Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), the immigrant lobby boy who becomes Gustave’s most trusted and devoted friend.

Their lives in the extravagant Budapest Hotel are upturned when a beloved, long term guest of Gustave’s, Madame D (Tilda Swinton in incredible makeup), unexpectedly dies, and leaves an amendment to her will stating Gustave is to receive her priceless artwork, Boy with Apple – much to the displeasure of her family. What unfolds is a unique and elaborate adventure involving prison breaks, man hunts and – of course – true love.

While the casting as a whole is genius, with Wes Anderson faithful like Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Adrian Brody, Jason Schwartzman, William Dafoe and George Clooney (albeit in a minor cameo) all popping up, MVP has to go to Ralph Fiennes. Apparently, Johnny Depp was Anderson’s first choice to play Gustave, and as brilliant as he undoubtedly would have been, Fiennes is Gustave. He brings such an explosive, infectious force to the role that it’s hard to believe the film would have worked as well with any other actor at the helm.

Aside from the story, the cinematography itself is exceptional. To help distinguish between the three time periods that this film transverses, Anderson has used three different aspect ratios: Widescreen, CinemaScope and Academy. The effect is that the audience feels like they are being pulled into each section of the film with a different energy.

You can experience The Grand Budapest Hotel Lobby Bar at Nova Cinema now 11am until late.

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