I've been watching a lot of movies recently so I thought I'd do a review post. I should point out that I saw none of these films in 3D (which may or may not explain some of my views).
HUGO ~ Very poor visuals (perhaps they're more impressive in 3D) with very obvious fake backgrounds and way too much CGI endlessly weaving between passengers on train platforms. A sweet message about the love of imagination, but quite a long, drawn out narrative structure with lots of Tell me/It's a secret/ But you must/No, I can't/Oh, go on/No, really, I can't... And quite a few plot holes too, where stuff that's important one minute is totally forgotten the next.
TINTIN ~ Visually very impressive, really used the freedom of the CGI world to get the camera to do things you couldn't do in real life. Action set pieces were very good, although the story itself suffers from the same problems as the source material (Tintin tends to solve cases through luck and coincidence), although fortunately they toned down the casual racism in the books. Still prefer Asterix and Obelisk, myself.
EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE ~ Extremely slow and incredibly boring. If a story turns out to move you that's all well and good, but this very clearly thinks it has you by the emotional balls (metahphorically speaking) and really tries to manipulate the shit out of you. Bad movie.
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS ~ I've seen just about every Woody Allen movie (Celebrity, Scoop, Jade Scorpion — I've seen 'em all), and I don't hold out very high expectations anymore, but I was pleasantly suprised with this one. It helps that it's about writers and writing, I guess, but it also manages to be funny and insightful. If you've lost faith in Woody's movies, this one might get you back. I expect his next one to be rubbish though. Obviously I'll still go and see it.
THE ARTIST ~ A silent movie in black and white that is filmed to look like it was made in the period it's about (the late 1920's). The story is basically A Star is Born with some Singing in the Rain elements thrown in. Technically it's brilliant, very cleverly done. The acting is a little (intenionally) larger than life, although some of the actors manage it better than others. The male lead does very well (he even looks the part, like a cross between Douglas Fairbanks and Gene Kelly), but the female lead doesn't quite pull it off. Some great visual gags, but also some rather heavy-handed metaphors (they meet on the stairs as his career is failing and hers is rising). But the exuberance and panache more than makes up for an shortfalls.
As a love letter to movie-making far more effective than Hugo.
TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY ~ Well acted and fantastic production design, but ultimately a bit flat. Everyone's doing the same kind of underplayed acting (althoug it's a hell of a cast, so they all do it pretty well) and Gary Oldman's performance, although very accomplished, just kept reminding me of Alec Guiness's from the television series. Certainly very watchable, but lacking in something (me caring, I think).
THE DESCENDANTS ~ An odd film, not the quirky comedy the trailer makes it appear. Quite a slow and complentative story about a man responsible for a Hawaiian family legacy. About trust and priority and family, with a very solid, charming performance from George.
YOUNG ADULT ~ Yikes. Awful, cliched, hackneyed, fake Indie movie about a YA writer who's life is crappy so she decides to go back to her home town and win back her high school boyfriend (who's married with a kid). Nothing wrong with that, but like the director and writer's last collaboration (Juno) it is full of Indie movie tropes and stylings without any of the heart or soul. It's like when some music coporation puts together a band and hires the right people to give them cool hairstyles and a 45 year old songwriter to pen their hits. People buy their songs, but it's all fake and manipulative. Just like this movie. An example of the kind of thing to expect: you know the nerd guy is a nerd because he's 35 and collects action figures (not saying it ain't true, just that it's lazy and obvious).
THE FUTURE ~ Very endearing, quirky, disturbing, funny, cool, fantastic (in every sense of the word) movie. Plus it's narrated by a talking cat. If you want to see the difference between a fake Indie movie and a genuine one, watch this and Young Adult back to back.
Seen any of these? Plan to? Would enjoy reading your views and thoughts on these or any other recent releases.