Friday, 23 December 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 360: Friday Dec 30

The Artist (Hazanavicius, 2011): Everywhere for the coming months.

It's rare I put up a new release on here but this film, which opens in the UK today, is destined to be a huge hit and one you should catch over the holidays as it will put a spring in the step of any jaded cinemagoer. I caught a screening at the London Film Festival and while it lacks the emotional resonance to be a great film it's crowd-pleasing, movie-making of the highest order and a must for any big screen lovers.

Here's a terrific piece by Jonathan Rosenbaum on Uggie, the dog who steals the show. Critics in general are raving about The Artist but if you want an alternative viewpoint head to Sight & Sound for Tony Rayns' review here. He says "The Artist is at best a novelty hit, right up there with Benny Hill's Ernie: The Fastest Milkman in the West."

Chicago Reader review:

'French director Michel Hazanavicius takes a break from his OSS 117 spy spoofs to pay loving tribute to the silent cinema, re-creating its luminous black-and-white photography and consigning all the dialogue to intertitles. The story is a variation on that timeless movieland myth A Star Is Born: Jean Dujardin plays a Hollywood matinee idol whose career unravels with the advent of the sound era, and Berenice Bejo is a bit player who ascends into the stratosphere once actors become prized for their gab. No big-time commercial filmmaker has tried anything like this since Mel Brooks made his appropriately titled Silent Movie (1976), but that had a contemporary setting and favored Brooks's vulgar shtick over the physical grace of the silent clowns. By contrast, this effort often manages to duplicate the magical pantomime of the era; a lovely scene in which Bejo drapes herself in the arms of a hung jacket as if it were a human lover could have come straight out of a Marion Davies picture. With John Goodman, James Cromwell, and Penelope Ann Miller.'
J R Jones


Here is the trailer.

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