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All reviews - Movies (3)

The Artist review

Posted : 7 years ago on 2 January 2012 09:12 (A review of The Artist)

Go See "The Artist"

Having dabbled in the 1920s with "Midnight In Paris", this movie will emerse you in this classic decade. The cars, the clothes, the hair... Director Michel Hazanavicius doesn't miss a single beat. Even the extras - every pedestrian and stagehand - has the classic familiarity of your grandparents' yearbook. Even the top name character actors filling in the cast as featured extras (Malcolm McDowell, Beth Grant, Ed Lauter). Stars Jean Dujardin (looking more, at times, like Gene Kelly) and Bérénice Bejo fit perfectly into this era. All in all, it’s like a lost reel straight from 1927.

I grew up going to the local Silent Film Festival every spring, so my hopes were high for "The Artist"; I can tell you, I was not disappointed. It wasn't a stylized homage (like, say, "Down With Love") or a technical exercise (Gus Van Sant's "Psycho"), this was a 20s period film all around. Like the indulgent "reality" of "Mad Men", "The Artist" is clouded with cigarette smoke, charmed with male chauvinism, and shamefully lacking real roles for minorities; and at the same time, full of G-rated romance and compelling melodrama.

Michel Hazanavicius takes full advantage to his film's lack of sound and dialogue, using title cards only when absolutely necessary. In fact, one slightly jarring moment comes when we hear Rose Murphy singing “Pennies from Heaven” over a montage. Slapstick and truly expressive acting are illuminated instead. This, frankly, has been sadly absent in movies lately. The most expressive performances coming from animated characters like Wall-E and Caesar (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”).

One of the compelling (and melancholy) aspects of the plot is the shift during the Great Depression from silent films to talkies. Though it is the undertow of the lead’s story, it simultaneously self-conscious, reminding us what a rare treat this movie really is.

Like I said, Go see “The Artist”! Take someone who truly loves cinema with you. Take your grandparents. This movie will transport you and remind you why we love movies so much.

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Midnight in Paris review

Posted : 7 years ago on 1 January 2012 08:54 (A review of Midnight in Paris)

Nevermind - SockShare sucks. Go with SolarMovie indtead.

Finally got a good file started. On to beer number two, Jubelale by Deschute’s. This one I’ve been drinking all winter - it’s one of the many seasonals from Deschutes that I always look forward to. Like a good winter beer it’s got full on malts, but with some hops as well to spice it up. It 6.7% abv, but that’s not quite good enough. I like to add some homemade Thanksgiving spice liqueur to this one. It’s just vodka infused with dried cranberries, orange peel, clove, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar; but a half shot or so turns this beer into high octane liquid gingerbread! Now I’m really full of cheer!

Midnight In Paris is a shamelessly romantic love letter to Paris, to its streets, its artistic magnetism, its famous inhabitants... This movie deserves to be seen with Paris, Je T’Aime - well, maybe as the hors-d’oeuvres.

The transition from today to yesterday was Brilliantly Sublime - taking advantage the facades of Paris which haven’t changed in centuries - and without any formal cue to the audience. I was just as surprisedly invited into the past as Gil was, without special effects or tromp-d’œil; I was at a loss to say if it was real or just theatrics, like slipping into a dream. I love how Gil tried to show Inez like a little kid who swears he saw fairies in the back yard.

Great opening montage of Paris. The city of lights is certainly at it best in the summer. My favorite part is Montmartre - it just feels more parisian than any other quarter.

After a while it does get overloaded with cameos. At the same time I felt like there were too many famous people (the mistake of Funny People), and then that I wasn’t getting enough of each. I wanted to see more Man Ray and Hemmingway! Why wasn’t there a full scene with T. S. Elliot? Art hors-d’oeuvres indeed!

I was really pleased to see Gad Elmaleh - he’s a brilliant french stand-up - and I think he would have made a much better Dalí.

This was obviously a chance to make a personal dream of Woody Allen’s come true - and I’m so glad he did. I loved the escapades into the 20s and even the 1890s. I wish, like Gil, that I could have stayed there. Gil’s harsh present was jilting to cut back to - Rachel McAdams again plays a spoiled bitch to perfection. I’ll say this - I would love to get into a magic taxi to a time without Owen Wilson. He was out of his depth and forgettable in his performance, which, by contrast, made the 20s scenes and personalities stand out even more.

If you have a nostalgic wanderlust or feel like you were born too late, this is a great vehicle to escape to brighter times. But the morale is clear - the grass is always greener in another time.

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Midnight in Paris review

Posted : 7 years ago on 1 January 2012 04:53 (A review of Midnight in Paris)

Aloha! Bonjour, even. And Happy New Year!!
My name is Jacin. I am a voracious movie junkie, and a lover of ales, spirits, and wine, wine, wine! And for 2012 I have made it my resolution to do anything but improve myself; in fact, I have resolved to take my movie and drinks addiction to the extreme, to dive in head-first like Tony Montana. I call it my 360 Movie Challenge - 360 movies in 366 days. I’ll review each one, attach useful links, and share my favorite drinks for each one.

12/31/11 - New Year’s Eve
Starting out with Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris. This came highly recommended by my #1 source for great movies: my hanai parents, John and Victoria.
Before I begin, I gotta say I’ve always been put off by Owen Wilson’s nonchalant demeanor, like he’s too cool to do any character work. I am a fan off Woody Allen’s work - I like his paranoid and candid take on romantic comedy. Mostly I like his early work, anything with the incredible Diane Keaton (Sleeper, Annie Hall). Some of his later work, like You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, were just terrible. The former was a depressing spiral much like The Social Network, and the latter just reinforced my repulsion for Scarlett Johansson.

Well, I’m already half-way into a delicious glass of Gavroche French red ale (purchased at The Liquor Collection, Honolulu). It’s got some killer malt characters - burnt caramels, some milk-chocolate, and sherry sherry. After a semester in France I came back with the belief that “If you don’t like French wine, wait till you try their beer”! Gavroche is certainly an exception. If you a smooth, winey ale, I recommend this.

Midnight In Paris is unfortunately not available online from Netflix tonight, but that’s what illegal streaming websites are for, right? Thank you, SockShare. OK, as the good Doctor would say, “Allons-y”!

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