Average User Score: 8.0Feb 1, 2012'The Artist' is a pretty daring film. It has appeared almost out of nowhere with a relatively unknown cast and director and has taken the'The Artist' is a pretty daring film. It has appeared almost out of nowhere with a relatively unknown cast and director and has taken the world by storm... And did I mention it was a silent movie? It's already tipped to be the big winner at the Oscars after taking best picture at the Golden Globes earlier this year. But amidst all the hype, is it actually any good? And can it possibly be as good as everybody says? It turns out that it is. After a few viewings, the joy felt when watching 'The Artist' still remains. You find yourself sat watching the film with a big grin on your face that will last for most of it's running time.
Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin, the biggest movie star of the silent period. The film follows his success in the mid-20's and how it turns on him and his life with the introduction of talking pictures in 1929. That is the film in a nutshell. But really, it is about the nature of fame, ambition and the inevitable moments of reality that face everybody in life. Jean Dujardin is perfect in his role. He is smooth, charming, reflective and incredibly human without even saying a word. Rather than dialogue, his facial expressions do the talking and it's very easy to see why he has an Oscar nomination for this role. Watch for moments of subtle humanity beneath his celebrity exterior when he is preparing for his roles or in a beautiful scene towards the end of the picture which I won't spoil for you. All the other performances are predictably superb with Berenice Bejo and John Goodman supplying the charm expected in old silent movies.
Another reason the film is so captivating is in the attention to detail with all the technical aspects. Firstly, the film is presented in the aspect ratio all old movies were screened in, to not only capture the essence of the time but to put greater focus on the performances of the actors. It works. The audience will feel every bit of emotion in this film because of it. Additionally, the music is one of the best original soundtracks I've heard in a long time. The 80 plus minutes of music from this film is almost like a character itself; a scene can be viewed as serious or comedic just by the use of a few notes. A final factor worth noting is the cinematography, which makes this film look like it could have come from 1927. It is shot in beautiful black and white which gives the film an extra texture and depth that today's digitally shot coloured films cannot capture.
It is possible to write for days about 'The Artist' but all that needs to be said is how moving, beautiful, joyful and brilliant it is. For a film to come out as daring as 'The Artist' in 2012 and be only half decent is a good result. However, it does much more than that. It captures the essence of cinema itself with it's ability to entertain, surprise and engage audiences all over the world, myself included.
A Classic.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.5Jan 26, 2012Clint Eastwood returns after the critically panned 'Hereafter' with a film that was bound to put him back on his high horse. 'J. Edgar' is anClint Eastwood returns after the critically panned 'Hereafter' with a film that was bound to put him back on his high horse. 'J. Edgar' is an epic yet intimate portrait of one of the most notorious and powerful men in 20th century America. It also stars Leonardo DiCaprio who has seemed to be churning out one great performance after the other in the last 5 years. All of these factors has pointed J. Edgar towards the Oscars but it recently received no nominations and garnered mixed reviews from audiences and critics alike. Let me tell you my version of the truth...
When reviewing a film like J. Edgar, it is best to start with the films successes. Rather than telling the story like a solid historical film that details the history of the FBI (and consequently, around 40 years of American political history!), it focuses on J. Edgar Hoover (DiCaprio) as a person and his often tragic journey through life with his colleague, friend and possible love interest, Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer). The film finds it's emotional core by showing the relationship between Hoover and Tolson; Hoover will never openly admit any feelings for Clyde and it's the suppressed feelings that come through in DiCaprio's astonishing performance that give the film a true heart. We are not seeing imitation but true expression and embodiment of character when DiCaprio plays Hoover. Every precise detail about him has been researched, with his character traits and obsessions coming out with extreme subtlety whenever DiCaprio is on screen.
Eastwood is balancing a biopic, a love story and a brief overview of Hoover's FBI department over a 50 year period. This is a hard task to handle and the films shortcomings are seen in the moments when the movie isn't sure what it's trying to be. The production design is very realistic despite the drab, dull colours, but it shows a great authenticity as America looked very dull back in the 1930's. Additionally, the make-up department has unfortunately done a half hearted job on this film, as a fraction of the fantastic performances by DiCaprio and Hammer are hidden under the thick layers of prosthetic false skin. However, none of these points are of such importance that it stops 'J. Edgar' from reaching it's full potential as a film.
Because of the large time period it occupies, the script by Dustin Lance Black (writer of the Oscar winning 'Milk') occasionally struggles but never loses focus of the force that is Hoover. From the start of the picture, his determination and focus is made very clear, something which is kept consistent throughout the picture. Additionally, Black explores some incredibly human sides to Hoover; Watch out for a scene where he tries to tell his mother of his sexual orientation or DiCaprio's perfectly realised reaction to a fight between Hoover and Tolson. It is a performance which is certainly worthy of an Oscar nomination and with only nine nominations (rather than the usual ten) for best picture this year, this film should certainly have been given a chance.
Clint Eastwood has made his best film since 2008's 'Gran Torino' with 'J. Edgar' and even though it brushes over many facts to get to the story behind the man himself, it is a very beautifully realised story. Leonardo DiCaprio boasts one of his best performances, the film is very well made and despite the balancing act the it has to maintain, Eastwood does a good job of rounding everything up for a fitting ending. There are moral messages about America in this picture that can still apply to today's society but the most important message running through the heart of the film is that love will always be far more enduring than hate or discord.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.6Jan 4, 2012This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Adventures Of Tintin is an absolute joy to watch. For the first time since 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' has Steven Spielberg managed to make an action adventure film on an equally enjoyable level. So trade the fedora hat for a spiky patch of red hair, the snakes for a faithful dog companion, the boulders for tanks and you have The Adventures Of Tintin. The film follows a winding narrative that puts the young Belgian detective on a worldwide hunt for the lost treasure of the unicorn ship. With the Unicorn, Spielberg has found the perfect MacGuffin which is guaranteed to maintain the audiences interest throughout. Jamie Bell possesses an innocence and an ingenuity that makes Tintin a well rounded, likeable character but the REAL treat is about a 1/3rd into the film when Andy Serkis appears as Tintin's 'side-kick'(?), Captain Haddock. The different sides to his character provide great moments of levity; the perfect antidote to the mostly straight faced but kind hearted, Tintin. Other notable actors lend their voices to the film; Daniel Craig sinks his teeth into the role of the antagonist (Playing against type has never been so much fun!), and the double team of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are well cast but possibly under used as the hapless Thompson twins.
Spielberg will impress his audience with the inventive plot and a fantastic cast delivering great performances but does the technology suit the structure of a Tintin story? The answer is a definite YES! Motion capture has moved on since films like 'The Polar Express' and at times during this movie, you will find yourself forgetting you're watching a cartoon. The element of 3D that is offered as opposed to the two-dimensional format (well worth the extra money) compliments the motion capture and has some of the most impressive use of this new format you will ever see. Notice how you can see dust floating in the air and can almost feel the blast of explosions. Their are several action scenes that make best use of the 3D involving an edge of your seat, riveting, rollercoaster ride of a chase between all major characters towards the end of the film (But I don't want to give too much away).
The direction of the film is superb with Spielberg masterfully crafting an engrossing 2 hour old school action adventure movie, with heart, for audiences of every age by including enough stunning use of 3D/motion capture, sticking a few self-referential jokes here and there and most important of all, making it a fun, enjoyable film that will bring a smile to anybody watching. It is not an overlong film and ends just as it may begin to outstay it's welcome by leaving the door open for an inevitable sequel. Peter Jackson... Take the director's chair and try to beat this. Spielberg is back!… Expand