Hugo

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 15642
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Re: Hugo

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:11 am

I watched this for a second time on Blu-ray. I still think it's the second best Oscar nominated Best Picture of 2011 and have no problem with any of its technical wins, but I'm still not 100% comfortable with it.

I like Dickesnian stories, and this one is that if nothing else, even the ending is right out of Oliver Twist. I think the reason it flopped in theatres was beause of poor word of mouth. Old people were calling it a kid's moive (which it isn't) and young kids and many of their parents were bored by it, yet I can't really find fault with anything Scorsese does in it other than to reiterate what I said in another thread and others have said here, that the kid's story and the history lesson don't blend as seamlessly as they should.

The acting is good. Even Sacha Baron Cohen was bearbale and I agree that Helen McCrory was a standout as Melies' wife. Both Asa Butterfield and Chloe Grace Moretz were fine as the kids thought both have been used to better advantage in other films - Chloe in Let Me In and Asa in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and Nanny McPhee Returns. Kinsgley is good, but has he ever been more Sir Ben-like on screen? I mean his Melies is basically the same person we see ponticiating on the red carpet and in presentations at awards shows.

Usually when I'm on the fence about a film a second viewing will put me on one side or another. With Hugo I'm still on the fence. I liked it without loving it.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

nightwingnova
Temp
Posts: 396
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:48 pm

Re: Hugo

Postby nightwingnova » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:02 pm

I agree. An astounding film that could have used less of the film history lesson and better integration of Hugo's story with Melies'.


Mister Tee wrote:When the camera came to its final rest on the automaton, and I knew the fade-out of Hugo was to follow, I found myself inwardly screaming, No! Give me more beautiful pictures!

I just found this film breathtakingly beautiful. Extraordinary sets (I can't think of any design in recent decades to match it), amazing use of 3-D, and tracking shots till the cows came home. For me, much of this was cinematic bliss. and as vital a directorial achievement as Malick's in Tree of Life -- albeit with far slighter content.

I did have narrative problems with the film, as many here have talked about – though mine may have been different: for me, they emerged more in the latter portion. I was completely with the film up until the visit to the library, when suddenly the story stopped for a Brief History of Cinema, and I thought the film wobbled structurally from there to the end (though it had many moving moments along the way).

I thought these problems arose for two reasons: first, Scorsese/Logan fail to do what the makers of Moneyball did -- find the universal element that transcends what for some is an arcane subject. I’m sure the reason is largely that, for Scorsese. it's self-evident Melies is to be revered for his cinematic achievements. Many of us, though, might instead look at what’s put on the screen and say, Cool pictures, but way corny, and very last century. The fact that we KNOW film preservation is Scorsese’s life bugaboo only heightens the sense that he’s working out something private/parochial in this part of the film.

The second reason I found this narrative shift jarring was, I didn’t see how it completed the story Hugo had initiated. The lesson of Melies seems to be that we need to appreciate the efforts of our forebears, understand their contributions however retro they may seem to us now, not let them fade into forgetfulness. But Hugo wasn’t someone who needed that lesson; he’d been if anything over-zealous in wanting to keep in touch with his father and whatever legacy he’d left. I think there was a way to make these two stories cohere – themes seem to hover around the edges waiting to be blended in just the right way -- but Logan didn’t achieve it, and Scorsese didn’t push him to make it happen. (Structural strength has never been Scorsese’s forte. Way back in the beginning, I was at a Q&A after the Chicago Film Festival screening of Mean Streets, and someone asked him why a certain rather random moment was in the film. His answer was, It’s just part of the general craziness – which tells me he’s always been a from-the-gut creator. You can argue this reliance on instinct has made some of his films greater, and I might agree – but I’ll also contend that Raging Bull suffers from a meandering last half hour, GoodFellas (which had been as tight as any of his films as I’d ever seen) goes slack after the Lufthansa heist, and Age of Innocence has an epilogue that seems to take an eternity, so the approach has hurt his work, as well)

Anyway, back to first principles: whatever my difficulties with the storyline, they weren’t enough gto spoil my vast overall pleasure. I found this film such a marvel in visual terms that I’m very happy to have seen it, and will be grateful for any Oscar attention it receives.

User avatar
Sonic Youth
Laureate
Posts: 7436
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:35 pm
Location: USA

Re: Hugo

Postby Sonic Youth » Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:41 am

I just wrote a few paragraphs and lost everything before posting it, so I'll just say this for now: if Scorsese ever wanted to make a movie about a character named Martin Scorsese receiving an honorary Oscar after years of being cruelly denied any, it would look an awful lot like Hugo.

Which is not to say he won't win the Oscar this year. But it had better not win any Screenplay awards. Unlike Tee, it WAS enough to spoil my pleasure.
"What the hell?"
Win Butler

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7352
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Hugo

Postby Sabin » Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:01 am

Mister Tee wrote
The second reason I found this narrative shift jarring was, I didn’t see how it completed the story Hugo had initiated. The lesson of Melies seems to be that we need to appreciate the efforts of our forebears, understand their contributions however retro they may seem to us now, not let them fade into forgetfulness. But Hugo wasn’t someone who needed that lesson; he’d been if anything over-zealous in wanting to keep in touch with his father and whatever legacy he’d left. I think there was a way to make these two stories cohere – themes seem to hover around the edges waiting to be blended in just the right way -- but Logan didn’t achieve it, and Scorsese didn’t push him to make it happen.

Bingo bango.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6410
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Hugo

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:57 pm

When the camera came to its final rest on the automaton, and I knew the fade-out of Hugo was to follow, I found myself inwardly screaming, No! Give me more beautiful pictures!

I just found this film breathtakingly beautiful. Extraordinary sets (I can't think of any design in recent decades to match it), amazing use of 3-D, and tracking shots till the cows came home. For me, much of this was cinematic bliss. and as vital a directorial achievement as Malick's in Tree of Life -- albeit with far slighter content.

I did have narrative problems with the film, as many here have talked about – though mine may have been different: for me, they emerged more in the latter portion. I was completely with the film up until the visit to the library, when suddenly the story stopped for a Brief History of Cinema, and I thought the film wobbled structurally from there to the end (though it had many moving moments along the way).

I thought these problems arose for two reasons: first, Scorsese/Logan fail to do what the makers of Moneyball did -- find the universal element that transcends what for some is an arcane subject. I’m sure the reason is largely that, for Scorsese. it's self-evident Melies is to be revered for his cinematic achievements. Many of us, though, might instead look at what’s put on the screen and say, Cool pictures, but way corny, and very last century. The fact that we KNOW film preservation is Scorsese’s life bugaboo only heightens the sense that he’s working out something private/parochial in this part of the film.

The second reason I found this narrative shift jarring was, I didn’t see how it completed the story Hugo had initiated. The lesson of Melies seems to be that we need to appreciate the efforts of our forebears, understand their contributions however retro they may seem to us now, not let them fade into forgetfulness. But Hugo wasn’t someone who needed that lesson; he’d been if anything over-zealous in wanting to keep in touch with his father and whatever legacy he’d left. I think there was a way to make these two stories cohere – themes seem to hover around the edges waiting to be blended in just the right way -- but Logan didn’t achieve it, and Scorsese didn’t push him to make it happen. (Structural strength has never been Scorsese’s forte. Way back in the beginning, I was at a Q&A after the Chicago Film Festival screening of Mean Streets, and someone asked him why a certain rather random moment was in the film. His answer was, It’s just part of the general craziness – which tells me he’s always been a from-the-gut creator. You can argue this reliance on instinct has made some of his films greater, and I might agree – but I’ll also contend that Raging Bull suffers from a meandering last half hour, GoodFellas (which had been as tight as any of his films as I’d ever seen) goes slack after the Lufthansa heist, and Age of Innocence has an epilogue that seems to take an eternity, so the approach has hurt his work, as well)

Anyway, back to first principles: whatever my difficulties with the storyline, they weren’t enough gto spoil my vast overall pleasure. I found this film such a marvel in visual terms that I’m very happy to have seen it, and will be grateful for any Oscar attention it receives.

User avatar
Damien
Laureate
Posts: 6331
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:43 pm
Location: New York, New York
Contact:

Re: Hugo

Postby Damien » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:11 pm

I think that one major -- maybe even fatal -- miscalculation is that in the first half of the film, Ben Kinglsey's character isn't just a curmudgeon, but he's downright mean, even sadistic. But that's Scorsese for you.

And because this Georges Melies is such a graceless, nasty fuck, it's hard to care about his ultimate redemption.
Last edited by Damien on Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12534
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Re: Hugo

Postby OscarGuy » Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:22 pm

I'll second your thoughts on McCrory. And I find it rather interesting that she's one of three Harry Potter alums in this film...
Wesley Lovell
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

FilmFan720
Tenured
Posts: 3449
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 3:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Hugo

Postby FilmFan720 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:35 am

I am halfway in between everyone here. I found the first half of the film visually wonderful, but I kept checking my watch (never a good sign when you realize only 15 minutes have elapsed!). Then, with the reveal of Kingsley's identity, I thought the film kicked into gear a little bit and became something engrossing and slightly magical. It is obvious that the second half is what drew Scorsese to the material, and it is there that his direction comes to life. Still, I can't imagine kids being very interested in the film, and Damien is right, there really isn't quite enough there to make it a great film for adults.

I thought the kids were very good, but for me the standout of the film was Helen McCrory as Mama Jeanne. Such a touching, real and honest performance, which is not something you normally get from a Scorsese film.
"Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good."
- Minor Myers, Jr.

User avatar
criddic3
Tenured
Posts: 2750
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 11:08 pm
Location: New York, USA
Contact:

Re: Hugo

Postby criddic3 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:14 am

"Charmless"? I totally disagree with this. The scenes in the book shop/library, the cafe background scenes, the nostalgic look back at making the movies...charming. The kids were very likable in their scenes together. And I was touched by Kingsley's efforts to forget the past, etc. Maybe I saw a different movie.

And may I remind you that Ed Wood was also a box-office bomb in 1994, but is a great movie that involves real-life people that are obscure to today's audience. It managed to win both categories it was nominated for.
"If you can't stand the nut on the left and you can't stand the nut on the right, go for the Johnson,” Jonathan S. Bush (10/21/2016)

User avatar
Damien
Laureate
Posts: 6331
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:43 pm
Location: New York, New York
Contact:

Re: Hugo

Postby Damien » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:13 pm

Saw it today. It's a well-intentioned but utterly charmless and pedantic film.
Scorsese can't do comedy, sentiment or children, and there is no
rapport between the two kids (even though Chloë Grace Moretz is a talented
actress). Sir Ben sucks the air out of the theatre every time he's on screen. Neither magical enough for a children's movie nor intelligent enough to hold an adult's, attention Hugo is singularly dreary and dispiriting. Both the pacing and the tone are off. Quel bore!

I can certainly understand why this thing is a bomb (and there were 5 people in the theatre at a 4:15 showing on 42nd Street in New York City).

4/10
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

ksrymy
Adjunct
Posts: 1149
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 1:10 am
Location: Wichita, KS
Contact:

Re: Hugo

Postby ksrymy » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:44 pm

Sabin wrote:I think the visual effects that 3D work would be heralded as astonishing no matter who did it though provided it looked this good.


I absolutely agree with you there. I'm expecting the Art Direction Oscar to go to Hugo. It, along with Cinematography for The Tree of Life, are the only awards I'm 100% sure on at this point.
"Men get to be a mixture of the charming mannerisms of the women they have known." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

nightwingnova
Temp
Posts: 396
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:48 pm

Re: Hugo

Postby nightwingnova » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:34 pm

The film's overall theme was "we are all components of a whole and we each serve a distinct purpose." The boost for film preservation was a tad much more than was needed but was relegated to the very end of the film.

Hugo is still a rich, rich achievement of a boy seeking his purpose.

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7352
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Hugo

Postby Sabin » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:57 pm

Hugo is getting a little bit of a free pass from critics because of its declaration of love for cinema, some of which is quite lovely but as a whole constitutes overkill and somewhat disingenuous overkill at that. But I think everything that Martin Scorsese does these days gets something of a free pass with the exception of Shutter Island (which is likely his least "serious" film but, outside of The Departed, is the most successful thing he's done this past decade). I think the visual effects that 3D work would be heralded as astonishing no matter who did it though provided it looked this good.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12534
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Re: Hugo

Postby OscarGuy » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:36 pm

Ksrymy, I'm sure the screenwriters expounded on the narrative in the book because I doubt a children's book that's half pictures and half written would be this in depth. Having said that, I think it wouldn't be nearly as popular with critics had the more blatant elements been toned down, particularly the film preservation parts. It's about as heavy handed as a film like Courageous.
Wesley Lovell

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

User avatar
Sonic Youth
Laureate
Posts: 7436
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:35 pm
Location: USA

Re: Hugo

Postby Sonic Youth » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:35 pm

Isn't that like asking if Shakespeare in Love would be as successful if there were no Shakespeare in the movie? The Melies storyline is why the rest of the movie exists. It's the purpose of the film.
"What the hell?"

Win Butler


Return to “2011”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest