Scorsese salutes early cinema in charming, if uneven 'Hugo'
If you love silent movies, you'll love Martin Scorsese's new family-friendly film, Hugo. And if you're a fan of the delightfully nutty, hand-made fantasy movies of early French film pioneer Georges Melies, you're in for a special treat. Scorsese's film is not only an homage to the great Melies, but to the turn-of-the-century spirit of clockwork, hands-on inventiveness that spawned him. Best of all, it's an opportunity to see a fabulous montage of vintage, hand-tinted Melies footage as God intended—on a great, big screen. And, boy, does it look great!
Unfortunately, the downside of Hugo is that it seems to take forever for the magic to kick in. It's based on the wonderful novel,
The 2012 Best Actress Oscar race begins with this miraculous performance by Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. We have yet to see Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady, or Glenn Close in male drag in Albert Nobbs, but even those esteemed actresses will be hard-pressed to equal the alchemy with which the always intelligent and gutsy Williams transforms herself into that most dreamy, luscious, needy, and yet valiant of all Hollywood screen goddesses. Directed with grace and economy by TV veteran Simon Curtis, from a smart, touching script by Adrian Hodges, the film is adapted from the memoir,
Clooney heads great cast in wry, touching 'Descendants'
s we know here in Santa Cruz, no one is "immune to life"—not even in Paradise. This is well understood by Matt King, a Hawaiian-born lawyer and father on the island of Oahu facing a particularly thorny patch of life in The Descendants, Alexander Payne's incisive, entertaining, tender and life-sized family drama. Shot on location in the luscious Hawaiian islands of Oahu and Kauai, it's a tale of a family in crisis, a culture in flux, and the issue of legacy between the generations, told with wry humor and honest emotion.
Adapted by scriptwriters Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, from the novel by Hawaiian author Kaui Hart Hemmings, The Descendants revolves around the King family.
A deeper look into the ‘Twilight’ melodrama
Twi-hards are ecstatic. (The rest of us, not so much.) But now that the Twilight movie franchise is back with Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), her dreamboat of an immortal, vamp Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), and the boy-werewolf she tossed away, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), it’s best to simply accept fate and embrace the timeline we’ve been given. (This isn’t Fringe, for crying out loud.) In Breaking Dawn, the first of Twilight’s two-part final opus, Melissa Rosenberg’s screenplay effectively delivers what tweens and teens seem to be craving: a shirtless Taylor Lautner (and that’s in the first five minutes!); plenty of teenage angst (oh, that Bella!) and a craving for more (the final moments of the film have generated buzz.) But even if you haven’t read the Stephenie Meyer novels, director Catherine Hardwicke creates an acceptable outing here that simply mirrors the times we live in. It’s not about the characters.
Worlds can't collide soon enough in apocalyptic 'Melancholia'
Get ready to duck! Lars von Trier is lobbing a gigantic ball of metaphor straight at ya in Melancholia, his highly lauded, deeply lugubrious allegorical drama about the end of the world. And it can't happen a moment too soon for the listless, unexplored, largely unlikeable characters who populate this bloated two-plus hour meditation on despair, the de-evolution of the human species, and one big, random act of natural retribution.
Nobody has ever accused Von Trier of predictability. In previous films, the persistently idiosyncratic Danish filmmaker has experimented mightily with form and content and how (or if) they interact—a melodramatic tragedy staged as a club-footed musical in “Dancer In the Dark;” a morality play about greed and revenge, Dogville, filmed on a bare soundstage, with tape marking off the imaginary interior and exterior spaces.
Nobody was more excited than I to hear that Tarsem Singh was directing a new movie based on Greek mythology. (He directed one of my favorite movies of the last decade, the rapturously gorgeous The Fall.) And nobody could be more appalled than I am at the result, Immortals, a grueling endurance test of blood, gore, murder, warmongering, torture, and more blood. Hey, I like a good, cheesy sword 'n' sandal epic as well as anybody, but in order to woo the Xbox generation, the idea here seems to be to depict every encounter of metal and flesh in unflinching detail. For a visual stylist like Tarsem, that means plotting the trajectory of every geyser and globule of splattering blood, and every severed fragment of anatomy as it fits into the grand composition