There’s only so much drumbeating that a reviewer can do for a movie.
However, if the Academy Awards that Hugo (Rated PG, Paramount Pictures, $15.49-$27.99 depending on format and version, 4-of-5 stars) won Sunday aren’t enough to make audiences take a peek at this modern classic, I’m going to keep pounding the drum.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, this family film appeals to the artist in all of us – or at least some of us. As others continue to discount the importance of arts and music in our culture, Hugo, celebrates it – movies specifically, but everything in general.
Scorsese’s adaptation of Brain Selznick novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, advocates fiercely for film preservation and celebrates the movie medium with a fun mystery full of zest. The performances from Asa Butterfield as Hugo, Chloe Graze Moretz as his film Isabelle and Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley as her guardian Georges are all top notch.
It’s a story that resonates with a love of film, but also explores with deep emotion the friendship that blossoms between Hugo and Isabelle.
If you have a 3D TV, there is no better way to watch this particular movie. It’s a rarity to read those words in anything I write because I believe that form of cinema to be little more than a gimmick. Leave it to Scorsese to turn it into something that enhances the movie experience as opposed to tacking it on for no good reason.
If Hugo suffers from any problem it comes from taking a little too long to get going. That, however, when the story begins to ramp up, drawing the audience into an unforgettable story full of compelling characters.
Extras: In addition to the fact that fans of this movie can download UltraViolet or iTunes digital copies, there are other compelling extras, the most notable one being the 15-minute documentary exploring the life and works of Georges Melies. We learn just how far ahead of his time Melies was for the 1920s in which Hugo takes place. It’s an education worth absorbing for any film fan.
Hugo got some of the Oscar gold, but Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar (Rated R, Warner Bros., $14.99-$24.99 depending on format and version, 3-of-5 stars) which had high hopes for awards season.
It received tons of recognition – and deservedly so – for Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of all-powerful FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, but didn’t grab audiences the way it probably could have and should have.
It’s that rare moment for Eastwood when he was off his game as a director. The problem lies in the fact that we never feel as if we’re getting an accurate portrayal of the man who held sway over presidents because of the intelligence he had on them in alleged secret files.
If there’s any reason to see J. Edgar it’s because of several outstanding performances from DiCaprio, Judi Dench as his mother and Armie Hammer as Hoover’s friend and confidante who was rumored to be much more. Their efforts make J. Edgar worth a rental.
Extras: There are exactly two goodies here – J. Edgar: The Most Powerful Man in the World – a documentary exploring the director’s influence and place in history. The other is an UltraViolet digital copy for mobile devices.
Bargain bin: Movie fans will find their lowest price on the classic musical Chicago on blu-ray which can be found locally and online for $7.99…The Hangover Part II is down to $12.99 for those looking for a break on that flick.