peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2012 01 24 Hugo


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A Scorsese automaton flick. The Ritz is only showing it at kid-friendly times, so I fronted the nominally-cheap Tuesday 2pm session with my 3D glasses in my pocket; $12 for an experience I can't yet have at home. They've gotten savvy to the turn-offs of cinema patrons with their STFU advice to hipsters at the start of the feature, but as always this only applies to other people. Two kids turned up a fair way into the film and sat just in front of me, with one answering his phone after a bit — "I'm in the cinema!" — and noisily taking regular hits from some sort of aerosol. They left with five minutes to go, so I expect they came for the aircon and relative privacy, or perhaps 3D without glasses looks awesome when you're high. The older couple sitting behind me thought they were in a cafe. In contrast the supervised children were quite well behaved.

Anyway, what is Scorsese trying to say here but that cinema is bereft of new ideas? This film starts out with some shock-and-awe camera work but soon degenerates into an art movie history lesson. The characters have that kind of brittleness that Hollywood thinks is deep enough for us to engage with; Kingsley is a twat just long enough so we know his scars to be those of the slighted auteur. The child actors fair somewhat better, as we can take their shallowness for callowness. Jude Law got five seconds to lift the mood, and Sacha Baron Cohen garnered some laughs for I don't know what beyond the crowd's shock of recognising Borat. The narrative is essentially teleological.

The promised mechanical aesthetic is a pale imitation of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's, similarly set in a quaint Paris but not as quirky.

Dana Stevens is right to say this is a hollow sort of thing. Stephanie Zacharek talks it up in a media studies sort of way.