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Hugo

Column: The Word on Films   |   Date Published: Tuesday, 31 January 12   |   Author: Megan McKeough   |   2 years, 8 months ago

Hugo is magical, interesting and beautiful to watch – all of the things good cinema should be but so often isn’t. The film makes sure you remember that, because it’s entirely the point.

Since the death of his father, young Hugo has lived alone in a train station in Paris - turning the clocks for his absent uncle, stealing food, and searching for the key to a wind-up figure that his father had been trying to fix. After a few chance meetings, the film then becomes more about the early days of cinema, the wonder of story-telling, and the importance of finding one’s purpose in the world. It sounds corny... but it’s actually kind of lovely.

It’s flamboyant, but nicely executed. There may not be any gangsters or taxi drivers, but this is still Martin Scorsese at his best, and you can see his love for film come through in this venture. Maybe he’s getting a little sentimental in his older years.

While Asa Butterfield isn’t great as Hugo, excellent support from Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen and Chloe Grace Moretz (though she’s a little irritating) elevates the film. The 3D is exceptional, actually adding to the experience of the film rather than seeming like a flashy add-on, and the setting and costumes are enchanting.

Overall, Hugo is a magnificent ode to cinema. Go, and remind yourself that cinema is actually amazing.

Young Adult:

Young Adult is likely to divide young and old alike, but it will divide audiences into two different groups: those who can’t stand watching selfish, shallow, destructive protagonists on screen; and those who relish in watching such interesting, honest filmmaking.

Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), a ghostwriter for a once-popular series of teen books, returns to her hometown when she learns that her high school sweetheart is happily married and has a newborn child. Her plan is to break up his marriage, and convince Buddy (Patrick Wilson) to return to the city with her. Along the way she also forms a fledging friendship with a former classmate Matt (Patton Oswalt), who is still suffering from the shadow of his high school identity, much like Mavis.

Mavis is intensely unlikable, but at the same time immediately recognisable – and for that reason, sympathetic. She is as delusional as she is beautiful, as selfish as she is pitiable, and one of the more fucked-up characters onscreen in recent memory.

Young Adult marks the reunion of director Jason Reitman (Up In The Air) and Diablo Cody (United States of Tara) who made Juno together, and although their sophomore (high school pun, geddit?) effort is a lot darker and daring than their teen pregnancy flick, it retains the same dry, sardonic wit and dialogue. Young Adult, contrary to the title, is very adult.

The Muppets:

The Muppets is a clever, charming and very meta film, that will leave you smiling as you walk out of the cinema – and perhaps breaking into spontaneous song.

Walter (voiced by Peter Linz) – a puppet, although not yet a Muppet – goes on vacation in Los Angeles to visit the abandoned Muppet Studios with his big brother Gary (a fantastic Jason Segel) and Gary’s partner Mary (a strangely stilted Amy Adams). Walter is the world’s biggest Muppet fan, and so he is horrified when he uncovers a secret plot concocted by Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to destroy Muppet Studios. The only way to save the studio is to get the gang back together and stage The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever!

The film is fun and frivolous, but also a little bit twisted and eccentric, in the most delightful way possible. Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, the script is self-referential, world-referential, reference-books-referential. It’s pop culture eating itself, and it tastes delicious.

The show is stolen by the Muppets, and Segal and Adams stand aside to allow their furry counterparts to shine. They are zany, and vibrant, and quirky, and screwball, and now I’m just looking up synonyms in the thesaurus – because it’s hard to describe this film with fewer words. If I had to pick just one, it would be… Muppets.

It’s madcap Muppet mayhem, the whole way through.

 

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