Posts Tagged ‘The Artist’

Cesars Lip-Read Six For The Artist, Including Picture, Director, Actress

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Cesars Lip-Read Six For The Artist, Including Picture, Director, Actress

DP/30: The Artist, actors Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Of Course, Any Artist Blooper Reel Would Be Without Dialog

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Of Course, Any Artist Blooper Reel Would Be Without Dialog

Hazanavicius On Brit Cinemagoers Demanding Refunds Over The Artist Having No Dialogue

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

“If I could give any advice to people it would be that they should ask for their money back whenever they see a film they don’t expect. If it’s not written on the poster ‘this is a bad movie’ and they think it’s a bad movie, ask for a refund!”
Hazanavicius On Brit Cinemagoers Demanding Refunds Over The Artist Having No Dialogue

DP/30: The Artist, composer Ludovic Bource

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Mister Hazanavicius Replies To Miss Novak

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

“I’ve done nothing wrong, I used music from another movie, but it’s not illegal. We paid for that, we asked for that and we had the permission to do it. For me there is no real controversy.”
Mister Hazanavicius Replies To Miss Novak

“Peppy Miller is my husband’s fantasy”

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

“Peppy Miller is my husband’s fantasy”

Jonnie Rosenbaum Offers Support For Uggie

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Jonnie Rosenbaum Offers Support For Uggie

The Artist’s Bérénice Bejo Says She’ll Sleep When Oscar’s Done

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

The Artist‘s Bérénice Bejo Says She’ll Sleep When Oscar’s Done

Emerson On Shame, The Artist And Award Season Unbuzz

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Emerson On Shame, The Artist And Award Season Unbuzz

After Hazanavicius Wouldn’t Do A Scary Movie, Weinstein Bought Into The Artist

Monday, December 12th, 2011

After Hazanavicius Wouldn’t Do A Scary Movie, Weinstein Bought Into The Artist

A Brit Swoons To The Death Of Silents And The Noisy Cinephilia Of Hugo And The Artist

Monday, December 12th, 2011

A Brit Swoons To The Death Of Silents And The Noisy Cinephilia Of Hugo And The Artist

DP/30: The Artist, writer/director MIchel Hazanavicius (TIFF ’11)

Monday, November 28th, 2011

15 Weeks To Oscar: Now There’s A Race

Friday, November 25th, 2011

It’s been a very unusual awards season so far. Put aside the NY Film Critics Circle Jerk and the Golden Globes “I Made You… You Made Me” lawsuit and the weirdly slow dance to the season that is now in hyper-drive as many see their plans falling apart. But what has been most unusual is how many good movies are in play, while none of them have really jumped out as the clear frontrunner.

The one Academy-pleaser with all the right angles is The Artist, which finally started moving faster down the tracks, embracing the audience that will vote for it instead of the many critics who can’t seem to accept it as worthy, in the last 3 weeks.

And now, War Horse… which is, like The Artist, a tribute to the history of cinema. But in this case, it’s many flavors of cinema, all of which are designed to rip your heart out of your chest, but which are also much more hard core than I expect many critics to want to accept.

Right now, with two serious potential Best Picture winning films left to show themselves – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – the two heart films are really the only two films that can win Best Picture this year.

It’s fascinating, really. This has been one of those years where some very tough, smart movies are in the game. I find this extremely exciting. I think that The Academy could step up to Shame and nominate it for Best Picture. I still feel – though consultants have scared many of the experts out of thinking it’s possible – that the Fincher Dragon Tattoo could be one step tougher than The Departed and win the day. Films from Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Terrence Malick, and Spielberg (with Tintin) are pushing older directors to new places. And younger directors, like Jason Reitman, Alexander Payne, Steven Soderbergh, Bennett Miller, and Tomas Alfredson are delivering top-of-career films that audience have and will embrace.

But none of the edge seems to have the sticking power, this season (so far), of the heart tuggers.

Michel Hazanavicius has proven, in just four feature films, to be a magician of movie history. The pair of OSS 117 movies are near-perfect satire of genre, pushing against decades of self-serious spy movies, both in France (where OSS 117 was an earnest Bond competitor in its day) and on the stage… world stage.

Jean Dujardin is one of France’s biggest stars… in many ways their George Clooney, though he is comedy-first and also does some dramatic work while GC works in the opposite direction. It’s all the more ironic that Dujardin will compete with Clooney for what is primarily a dramatic role with some great comedic moments, while Clooney’s nomination will be for a movie that is primarily a comedy role with some great dramatic moments.

Steven Spielberg has, on the other hand, a long history of making stars in films that feel like ensemble pieces. War Horse is his 27th film and with the exception of making Hans Solo into Indiana Jones, the two Tom Cruise movies, the three Tom Hanks movies, and Hook, his 17 other movies have starred many familiar actors… but not major box office stars. And again, reflecting on The Artist, it’s interesting that for American audiences Dujardin is a newcomer… allowing us the pleasure of discovery, much as in a Spielberg film.

War Horse, as many have said before, is an ensemble film, perhaps making it the rare Oscar nominee (and potentially, rarer winner) to go without any acting nomination. There are many beautiful performances, but the horse is the one character we spend the whole movie with. Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Niels Arestrup make, perhaps, the most intense appearances… but they are too brief to really register as must-nominates. (And none have the culminating royal feel of Judi Dench’s 3-minute Shakespeare In Love turn.)

But while in the first act, you may think this is just the most beautiful version of National Velvet you ever saw, things change. A lot. It’s a real war movie, with sequences that rival the landing in Saving Private Ryan. (I’d say 10 is about the starting age for this film… with lots of stuff to discuss afterwards.) It’s a subtle coming-of-the-Holocaust movie with the French hiding things in their attics and Germans being, uh, strict. It’s a beautiful trench warfare movie with enough restraint to keep it from being unbearable, but not inauthentic. And it’s a film about survival, more than anything else.

There is nothing that critics hate more than finding themselves emotionally moved by a movie. And Spielberg has taken the brunt of that for years. If a rising director makes us weep, it’s genius. If Spielberg does it, it’s manipulation. Conversely, there are some critics who see everything through Spielberg-colored glasses and the man can do no wrong.

War Horse is for real. It’s a true epic and an instant classic.

The Artist is a real joy. Undeniable. Surprising. An epic pleasure.

It will be interesting to see how this starts to play out… and whether either of the Final Two can change the game, perhaps as the movie that wins on a split between two more classically styled films.

War Horse will have more detractors. The Artist will be questioned for its smaller scale. War Horse will be a bigger box office success, but will be yoked with expectation while modest grosses for The Artist will be hailed as a miracle. Dujardin will charm voters, while Joey the horse will crap on red carpets all over town.

And so the dance begins…

Turan Glories: “The Artist is the wonder of the age, as much a miracle as Avatar”

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Turan Glories: The Artist is the wonder of the age, as much a miracle as Avatar

Critics Roundup — November 24

Friday, November 25th, 2011

The Muppets |Green||Red||Green
Hugo |Yellow|Green|Green||Green
Arthur Christmas |||||
A Dangerous Method (NY, LA) |Green|Green|Green|Green|Green
My Week With Marilyn (limited) |Green|Green|Yellow||Green
Rampart (NY, LA – 1 week Oscar run |Yellow|Green|Green||
The Artist |Green|Green|||Green

Hazanavicius Narrates A Scene From The Artist

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Hazanavicius Narrates A Scene From The Artist

Tim Robey Would Like A Word With Oscar

Monday, September 26th, 2011

“It’s a smashing piece of work–perhaps the most purely pleasurable movie I’ve seen all year. It should pack out every upscale cinema venue from the Curzons to the classier multiplexes, and these audiences will spill forth, like mine did, on a giddy high, swooning with pleasure, cooing over its most debonair moments and wittiest sight gags.”
Tim Robey Would Like A Word With Oscar

Confessions of a Film Festival Junkie: Toronto 2011 – Day II

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Toronto is huger than it’s ever been before.

And naturally that’s bound to create a few glitches. On opening day I trotted down to the Bell Lightbox to pick up my press credentials and was informed that the press office wasn’t handling that duty. I’d have to go to the Park Hyatt just a block down the street.

Of course when I got there the first person I encountered told me to go right back to the Lightbox. Fortunately someone more in the groove stopped her, said that I was in the right place and pointed me in the specific direction of the credentials desk.

In a curious sort of way the current Toronto International Film Festival runs a lot like it did in its nascent years. Back in the early day the organization was feeling its way and didn’t have the resources or manpower to solve myriad problems both minor and significant. But the staff was relentlessly polite and strove to solve whatever dilemmas cropped up.

Today, the event couldn’t possibly employee the number of volunteers and temp staff to accommodate the hordes that descend upon the Ontario metropolis for TIFF. They’re still consistently polite, perhaps even more polite, and once one finds the appropriate person (and that can be daunting) I’ve discovered that mountains are reduced to manholes.

Historically the festival has an almost unerring capacity for choosing the wrong opening night picture. This year was no exception with its selection of the U2 profile From the Sky Down. More rumination than concert film, it focuses on the group’s preparation for the 2011 Glastonbury festival, one of England’s most beloved musical events. They decide to revisit their seminal album Achtung Baby, recorded 20 years earlier in Berlin.

Frankly I’m hard pressed to explain the incomprehensibility of this film without becoming symbiotically disjointed. Suffice it to say the commentary is banal, the progression erratic and the “so what,” what the heck.

Now I do understand the p.r. value of having one of the most venerable and popular rock and roll acts as part of the opening night festivities even if TIFF patrons aren’t their core audience. But culling through the 300 plus titles on view, I have to say that other movies, particular several in the Gala section, would have provided comparable star power and are more entertaining and unquestionably better made.

It should also be pointed out that (and this isn’t particular to Toronto) there’s a literal cost for the great privilege of getting the opening night slot. Namely you get to pay for the opening night party and that ain’t hay.

Coincidently the very first film I saw this year at the fest – The Love We Make – has a lot of parallels with the curtain raiser. Both are slated for premieres on Showtime, aspire to capture the essence of a musical titan and relate to a bygone event. In the case of The Love We Make it’s (Sir) Paul McCartny and the Concert for New York that occurred about six weeks after the tragedy of 9/11. It’s surfaced as a 10th anniversary special.

Directed by documentary titan Al Maysles, IT works as both a personal and professional profile and has sufficient tension to hold one rapt. It also has some excellent concert footage with the likes of The Who, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, James Taylor and the ex-Beatle. We also get to see Mr. McCartney rehearsing and promoting the event and it all works as a piece.

Also on the plus side was the Toronto fest’s decision to cut out opening night speeches that have droned on for as much as an hour in the past. Instead it created a sponsor’s reel that to be honest wasn’t particular well done but we can hope for better next year. TIFF also runs sponsor blurbs particularly produced for the event in front of regular screenings. Last year I counted as many as seven but so far that’s easily been surpassed by 11 in the current edition that range from Dolby and Christie Projectors to Cadillac as well as two specifically for TIFF including one for an upcoming Grace Kelly exhibition and a nod to the festival’s volunteers that features Atom Egoyan in a pickle. Let me assure you that their charms – even the very best efforts – dissipate after 10 exposures.

I also have to confess that I attended my first reception. It was an accident but I’m not complaining. The event was relatively small and honored the 20th anniversary of Sony Classics chiefs Michael Barker and Tom Bernard. It was cordial and relaxed and I admit to stifling a gasp when the speeches began. Thankfully, they were brief, humorous and gracious with kudos to Sir Howard Stringer and the ever present A. Egoyan. Barker’s reply was just about note perfect.

It’s still early days at TIFF and I can’t really say that I’ve been wowed by a movie yet. There’s been very good stuff like the much ballyhooed The Artist and Drive. Both are first rate, the first a literal silent movie set in the milieu of Hollywood in the 1920s and ‘30s and the latter reminiscent of the intelligent crime thrillers of the ‘70s including The Driver and Thief. Still I found The Artist a bit thin and repetitive and Drive bothered me somewhat by its employ of excessive violence.

Just prior to the fest I did see Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia which would have been close to an unqualified rave; and I guess that counts.

Later, gator …

Review: The Artist (spoiler-free)

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

It’s bad hoodoo to explain a joke. Or a great dramatic moment, for that matter. Emotion, whether laughter or tears, is not an intellectual exercise and this, intellectualizing them is a losing pursuit.

The Artist is both of these things… and not a whole lot more. It will make you laugh… and cry… and reflect.

We can discuss the technique, but that’s not what you want to know. I won’t discuss the structure here because the experience of the film is so much about the choices that Michel Hazanavicius makes as a writer and director. As an audience member, you anticipate choices that seem more or less obvious… and if and when they land, somehow, they still feel fresh.

We’ve seen this story before. It’s the arrival of the talkies from Singin’ In the Rain. It’s the rise, fall, and survival of a movie star and his relationship with a rising talent from A Star Is Born. It’s the comedic brilliance of silent films from Silent Movie, and, of course, from a long history of silent films.

But it’s really not like anything we’ve ever seen because it is the unique voice of Hazanavicius and the talents of Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo that make it all theirs. It reflects everything and feels singular.

It’s funny… the trailer tells so much of the story, but can’t begin to convey the sweep of the piece. The film defies the idea that you can have the experience in 2 minutes. Or, for that matter, in a review.

Not everyone will love it, but for those who do, it will be a lot like falling in love. You can’t really express what it is you feel, but you feel it so powerfully, you can’t ever imagine not feeling it… or even feeling it less.

I wish I knew how to say more without infringing on whatever your experience is going to be. But I am pretty sure that 90+ percent of people who read this review will see this film… because a film lover has to… and if you’re not one, how the hell did you end up reading this review?