Tuesday, December 27, 2011

25 Dec 11 - Hugo


SouthSide's faith in Hollywood was somewhat restored this afternoon when she saw Martin Scorsese's latest cinematic achievement delightfully titled - Hugo. This movie had everything she could ever want from a movie - a heartwarming story, romance, suspense, comedy, thrills and chills, a sense of wonderment and imagination and more - wrapped inside its nearly 3 hour running time. And if you're a vintage cinema aficionado like Scorsese, then you will very much appreciate the attention to cinematic detail from the vividness of Robert Richardson's cinematography to the Parisan period music of the 1930s as well as the homage to the early filmmakers and actors/actresses which include the works of Georges Melies within this movie's storyline.

Hugo, based on a book - The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, tells the story of an orphaned boy, Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield in his most powerful role thus far in his young career since The Boy In The Striped Pajamas), an automaton, its inventive creator Georges Melies (Sir Ben Kingsley - fine performance for this character actor) and a mystery that connects them together. Since the tragic death of his father (cameo by Jude Law), Hugo has lived and worked in keeping the clock of a Paris train station running on time with his drunkened Uncle Claude (Ray Winestone). Yet he mostly spends his time stealing food to survive while avoiding the ever watchful eye of the Station Inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen, a light comedic but dramatic role specially tailored for him) who's always on the hunt for orphans like Hugo with his sidekick, a dog named Maxilliman. He also spends the other half of his time hiding inside the clock observing the people whose daily lives encompass the station itself. This reviewer enjoyed how Scorsese and screenwriter John Logan delicately interwove the minor plot sequences (such as the budding romance between Lisette the flower woman [by Emily Mortimer] and Station Inspector) without overshadowing or overwhelming the entire main story itself even though majority of the movie's plot does take place inside this one particular station. We also meet other colorful characters who lives are part of this station directly or indirectly - like Isabelle (Chloe Grace Mortez), George Melies and Madame Jeanne's goddaughter who lives for adventure but only through the books she reads from Monsieur Labrisse's (Christopher Lee) bookshop/library until taken to see her first cinematic feature by Hugo, the Parisan band taht wonderfully provides the backdrop music for not only the train cafe but the entire movie itself and of course the mysterious Georges Melies who run a tiny toy shop where Hugo steals his gears and workings to fix the automaton safely hidden inside the clock tower. The automaton and the mysterry surrounding it does bring all of the major and minor characters gradually closer together especially during the film's conclusion - SORRY NO SPOILER ON HOW IT ENDS.

This reviewer fell absolutely in love with Hugo. It's beautiful imagery ...the splendid view of Paris in the 1930s (especially at night when you see it run like a fast moving clock) ...the splendor or this train station as well as the detailed gears and workings of the clocks - everything was simply breathtaking. She enjoyed the touch of history about silent filmmaking and how the early filmmakers created and at times invented the tools for filmmaking (still used today though by computer) ...plus seeing the vintage classic clips by Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks Sr to silent war footage and the masterpiece itself - Georges Melies' The Trip To The Moon (ah, still a cinematic achievement in its own right after nearly 100 years). If there's a moral within this movie, then Scorsese has said it loud and clear - preserve and treasure our vintage movies for future generations to come. SouthSide highly advises that you sit through the ending credits to view the list of silent movies (including nearly 80 of Georges Melies' works) used for Hugo. Director Martin Scorsese has truly re-invented the movie-going experience for this reviewer ...she was delightfully entertained with the sense of that she had taken an extraordinary adventure. And with screenwriter John Logan, they both created a story full of imagination and wonderment for SouthSide instilling in her a deep appreciation for the early filmmakers, directors, actors/actresses and etc than before.

Howard Shore's music told a better story and left a far better memorable impression than the Reznor-Ross composition for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Shore's music not only enhanced each scene but was also a character in itself throughout Hugo. You could say it was the only non-speaking silent character that vividly expressed the mood of a particular scene or enlightened the audience to dream along with Georges Melies while watching The Trip To The Moon. SouthSide cannot stop raving about Sacha Baron Cohen's role after seeing this movie. It was utterly amazing to see this actor in a serious/dramatic role instead of his outlandish over the top comedic stuff like Bruno and Borat. Though having a few comedic moments within Hugo (i.e. like when his leg brace would lock whenever approaching the fair Lisette), he wonderfully demonstrates a softer side to him in which this reviewer hopes to see more of. And Jude Law's and Asa Butterfield's characters during their short scenes together had this natural loving interaction as if they were truly father and son and not just playing one on the screen. The same could be said between Sir Ben Kingsley and Asa Butterfield during their screen time together. Also, try spotting Brian Selznick (not credited in the movie) for his cameo as well as other famous Paris residents like Salvador Dali (Ben Addis) and James Joyce (Robert Gill).

SouthSide highly recommends seeing this heartwarming Scorsese cinematic feature on the big screen before it hits the DVD/Blu-Ray sales. One of the VERY best of 2011.

Until next time, support your local scene,

1 comment:

Thank you for your feedback - SouthSide