Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hugo

Yes he was the Man With The Golden Gun but he also
fought the commies in the Winter War of 1940 and was
in the SAS/Long Range Desert Group giving Rommel
a bloody nose in a little thing called WW2
Martin Scorsese's Hugo is a film for cinephile uncles who want to take their nephews to see something at the movies. If you're a movie buff or a Scorsese fanboy you'll like Hugo. If you're a kid you might be pretty bored. The film was designed to be critic proof because it's about a "neglected" pioneer of silent cinema, but that's merely a canard as the script could function without any mention of cinema at all. Hugo is an orphan boy who lives in the clock tower of a Parisian train station in the twenties. He meets a girl who helps him unravel the secret of the automaton his father found in a museum before he died. Improbably the girl's adopted father, Georges Melies, built the machine. And, er, that's about it really. Although it's based on a deep, visually arresting, award winning novel, I don't think Hugo quite works as a story and despite being shot in 3D (or perhaps because of the 3D) the film has an inert, two dimensional lifelessness about it which the 2D book somehow did not have. The saving grace for me was the acting which was pretty good. Sasha Baron Cohen stood out and it was nice seeing Christopher Lee in his 272nd film (yes you read that correctly). 
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The story I suppose is the letdown. I'm willing to overlook all the enormous coincidences that kept the plot rolling along (because its a kids movie) but maybe one of those critics who raved about it on Rotten Tomatoes can explain to me how Georges Melies claimed to have died in the war but was known to have made and shown films that failed after the war...I can't understand that one at all; I may want to fake my own death eventually but I'm not going to say that I died on 9/11. This may seem like a nitpicky point but its symptomatic of the meandering, threadless plot. And really a film about a boy living in a time piece should have a script that runs like clockwork dontcha think? 
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Don't please misunderstand me, Hugo is not awful (and dear God if its a choice between this and Alvin and the Chipmunks 3 pick this) but it aint the masterpiece some reviewers are sayin it is. We want all Scorsese to do well, he made Taxi Driver and Goodfellas for heavens sake, but the truth is that he hasn't made a really good film since 1995. I know the critics will tell you otherwise, but they're all wrong. 
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Sir Christopher Lee's next film is Peter Jackson's The Hobbit and he's got a couple scheduled after that. Why does he keeping doing it at his age? Because he's an old school hard working badass British thesp, thats why.