Saturday, December 17, 2011


The Flick: Hugo

The Peeps: Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Jude Law, etc.

The Dealio: When Hugo's (Butterfield) dad- a very innovative and diligent clock-maker, dies, Uncle Claude (Winstone), an alcoholic con-man with a grudging sense of duty, takes the orphan in. 'In' meaning into the clock tower in a metro station, where he is the duty clock watcher. It is for him to wind and maintain the various clocks, including the huge one at the centre of the action in the little station. Once Uncle Claude has taught Hugo all he knows about the duties of clock-watcher, it is actually Hugo who learns all the ins and out, the hidden passageways- and equally hidden lives- of all the denizens of the station. Hugo is, increasingly, left to his own devices- and gradually assumes all the responsibilities for the clock tower. In the meantime, he occupies his spare time with working on a project his father had poured endless hours into- and crushing on a girl who shows up every day at a confections and games/toys stall. All of this occurs under the grim, merciless eye of the chief security officer of the station- a man who has made it his life's work to round up and incarcerate orphans. Can it be long before our Hugo catches his eye?

The Grading Session: 4.71 pengies out of 5. The opening shot- and many others, besides- features the signature Scorsese elongated pan, moving about in spaces not meant to hold a human- even a small one- bird's eye and trains' eye views, sweeps and long beats of uninterrupted 'who's doing what' moments. Beautiful. Gorgeous. Wish You Were Here! There is also the tang of regret, grief, temptation and the sweet realisation of love, found in the most unexpected places.

Lessons Learned: Paris, seen at night, from above, is a gorgeous, breath-taking almost heartbreakingly moving sight. Also, this: there truly is someone for everyone. Finally, this: film-makers, folks of vision, endless creativity and insight are fighting an uphill battle. But, when they win out over their obstacles, oh, my, what inspirational art results. I am humbled by such inventiveness.

Notable Quotables: Hugo Cabret : I'd imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn't be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason.

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