Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

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MichaelB
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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#76 Post by MichaelB » Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:21 am

My local cinema is showing a children's matinee this Saturday morning - which is the first time it's played locally in 3-D, following a 2-D run just before Christmas.

On a normal weekend I'd be bundling my kids down there like a shot, but they're returning from holiday the day before and will probably be too jetlagged to go. (I'm tempted to go myself, though I'll doubtless have to brave some funny looks).

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mfunk9786
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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#77 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:01 am

If that's the only time it's showing in 3D, I think it's worth gambling with your children's jetlag.

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#78 Post by MichaelB » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:06 am

I think what's much more likely is that they'll still be asleep. Ironically, if it was showing at 10.30pm, they'd be fine.

But I'm determined to go myself: I deliberately skipped the 2-D run after hearing that this was one of the few films where the extra dimension really made a difference.

(In case anyone's wondering why I'm not on holiday with my kids, it's because my wife offered me the choice between going with them or paying for my mother-in-law to go instead, thus giving me a week of total freedom. Anyone who's a parent, especially one who's normally the primary childcarer, will probably understand why my decision took less than a millisecond.)
Last edited by MichaelB on Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#79 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:08 am

It really is spectacular in 3D. There are shots that are so lovingly designed for it that you'll probably never be able to be curmudgeonly about the format again.

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#80 Post by eerik » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:14 am

Estonian release, which at one point was scheduled for April and then completely cancelled is now happening next week and for four days only (w/o subtitles). At least I get to see it on a big screen (and in 3D)...

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MichaelB
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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#81 Post by MichaelB » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:37 am

MichaelB wrote:My local cinema is showing a children's matinee this Saturday morning - which is the first time it's played locally in 3-D, following a 2-D run just before Christmas.

On a normal weekend I'd be bundling my kids down there like a shot, but they're returning from holiday the day before and will probably be too jetlagged to go. (I'm tempted to go myself, though I'll doubtless have to brave some funny looks).
It's just as well the kids were up to it, as it turned out that adults were only admitted if they had a child in tow - and I was impressed to see not only that the screening sold out but that it ended with a round of applause.

While watching it, I thought it was far too rich and allusive for kids, not to mention overlong (most kids' films are less than 90 minutes for a reason!) - but both of mine turned out to be surprisingly engrossed by it. The high point for me was my six-year-old daughter's excitement at seeing an old hand-cranked camera and squeaking "Look! Captain Scott's camera!" (she's been doing Scott of the Antarctic for a school project, so I naturally showed her The Great White Silence, complete with footage of Herbert Ponting operating something very similar) and then, a little later, during the flashback to the filmmaking scenes in the glass studio, she nudged me and whispered "Daddy - is this real?". And the audience in general, clearly massively child-heavy thanks to the admission rule, was commendably well-behaved throughout.

And yes, I absolutely agree that seeing it in 3-D is a must if at all possible - for once, the third dimension actually has a narrative point.

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Roger Ryan
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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#82 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:12 pm

MichaelB wrote:...It's just as well the kids were up to it, as it turned out that adults were only admitted if they had a child in tow...
I guess that makes sense if the showing was advertised as a "children's matinee", but as you saw, HUGO is not specifically a children's film but a film that can be enjoyed by children. In other words, Scorsese was not concerned about making a film that would fit the expected formulas for a young audience; HUGO is going to educate you about Georges Melies whether you like or not!

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#83 Post by domino harvey » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:31 pm

Not particularly relishing my newest Board Pariah role via the Artist/Hugo showdown, I went in ready to love and be charmed by Scorsese's paean to cinema. What I think I ended up sitting through was the longest expository video game intro ever. Sad to say, but wall-to-wall CGI is just the opposite of cinema for me-- in a world where we can now literally show and do anything on camera, how boring netless tennis is! CGI isn't necessarily a deal-breaker, of course, but it seems strikingly counter-productive to a film like this. Perhaps if this were shot with the same attention to practical and in-camera tricks Méliès used, this could have attained the level of charm it so desperately wants to possess. I am sympathetic to its somewhat confused pro-movies message, but not when it is saddled to a flick with a computer as auteur. Since the human element ranges from the deadwood lead (I suspected for at least the first third of the film that he going to be revealed as an automaton, explaining his charmless presence) to Ben Kingsley getting hissy a whole lot to Sacha Baron Cohen hobbling around as the alleged comic relief, the most obvious script construct, that of Chloe Moretz's winsomely plucky Manic Preteen Dream Girl, is the most engaging thing here by virtue of her ability to do something, anything. Film preservation is a fascinating and emotional topic, and its treatment on-screen has made me cry before (Henri Langlois: the Phantom of the Cinémathèque), but Hugo doesn't even seem to be a film about that, either. Even a fun kids adventure film would have its own merits, and little scenes like the first trip to the bookseller and the library sequence seem to hint at more meritorious avenues left unexplored.

Sorry all, looks like we're back where we started. On the plus side, thanks to the inclusive Blu-ray producers, I now possess at least three different methods of never watching this again!

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#84 Post by stroszeck » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:09 am

I have to agree with that assessment. I really, for the life of me and as a Scorsese fan, could not at all understand a-) Why Hollywood went gaga for this one (besides it being Scorsese) and b-) Why every person I have ever met who saw the movie insisted it would blow me away. Just completely rife with cliches, stilted acting at times and the whole foundation of the movie as a love letter to cinema and a throwback to the way things were done is COMPLETELY undermined by the heavy use of CGI. Why Scorsese would make that decision (all the while everyone else is drooling over the final product) is strange. Its interesting that in terms of the Academy Awards (which I didn't watch) it seemed to fare similar to The Aviator, winning a bunch of technical awards but not getting Scorsese himself anything (ironic considering apparently everyone at the ceremony was kissing his ass throughout the whole night). And also as an aside, to get to a greater question since this movie won the Cinematography category over Tree of Life, since when do scenes constructed mostly by computer generated imagery count? Whats the cut off? Movies these days are becoming so wholly dependent on technology and green screen to create their images that I wonder why more life action films aren't simply entered into the Animated Film categories (eg. Avatar, Sky Captain etc...).

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#85 Post by Fiery Angel » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:43 am

stroszeck wrote:And also as an aside, to get to a greater question since this movie won the Cinematography category over Tree of Life, since when do scenes constructed mostly by computer generated imagery count? Whats the cut off?
I thought that very thing as I was watching the movie: how can you tell where Richardson's cinematography ends and CGI begins?

HUGO is still preferable to the vulgar, silly and foolish THE ARTIST. (Even HUGO's dog is better, because less showy, than THE ARTIST's.) Will anyone be talking about, let alone watching, this Best Picture winner by the time next year's awards roll around? Shelve it with SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, CRASH, CHICAGO and SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (for starters) as utterly forgettable Oscar winners.

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#86 Post by knives » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:47 am

Not to defend it too much, but I think it will stick around if only in the manner that Gladiator has.

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#87 Post by Fiery Angel » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:49 am

Forgot about GLADIATOR!

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#88 Post by Shrew » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:36 am

You guys read Dudley Andrew's What Cinema Is!? It's basically a protracted screed against animated pictures in favor of Bazinian realism, which boils down to Amelie being the worst thing ever. He actually mentions Gangs of New York as the last hurrah of acting! with real human beings together on the same set. Can't imagine how Hugo must have driven him mad.

Anyway, I'm not Hugo's biggest fan. It's definitely way too long and that opening bit before the title is pretty damn awful. And worst of all, there's often nothing really eye-popping about the CGI that couldn't have been done with more expensive sets/matte paintings (at least at first). But I do think it's interesting in how it explores the relation between cinema and machines, both literally as a camera and figuratively as the cogs and wheels of narrative.

In that sense, the film is a broken machine. Hugo starts off as a missing piece, and only as the plot falls into place does he acquire a purpose, both in the film and the larger meta "narrative". Until then he's just around trying to keep the clocks working, living inside what could be considered a giant complicated camera, complete with gears, lenses, and apertures. Only he doesn't know what to do with it, lacking any sense of the artist who created it or its history. The film only starts to work (and gain purpose) when Melies comes into the picture, adding a much needed human element to the ghost in the machine.

So I don't think the CGI of Hugo is entirely meant as cinema magic. Without humanity, it's a soulless, empty landscape. The film's best sequences are Hugo's dreams near the end, where the CG actually begins to do interesting things and further manages to delve into Hugo's psychology whereas before it had been merely cheap set dressing. Then later we get to see Melies working, cutting between the machinery involved behind the film and the films themselves, which gives each more significance. Likewise, the automaton around whom the plot centers starts off as a blank cypher. But in the final shot the blank metal face takes on new meaning because now it's not just a machine, but Melies's machine. All the elements are back in place, and the film (and cinema) are in proper working order with an artist behind the wheel. It works the more because its juxtaposed against the lifeless machinery we saw earlier.

But I think one's enjoyment of this is going to come down to how much one buys CGI/3D as a legitimate heir to the Melies school of dreams and wonder. I think Scorsese makes a good case for it, with the 3D lending incredible extra impact in some key scenes: the ashes of the letter falling from Hugo's hands, the cyclone of Melies's sketches whirling about, and particularly the dolly zoom up into Melies face at the climax, which really suffers in 2D. But if you're only fine with Melies because goddamnit-that-dragon-those-Arabians-were-fighting-was-a-real-puppet!-NOT-ANIMATED! then this might be anathema to you.

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#89 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:55 pm

domino harvey wrote:Sorry all, looks like we're back where we started. On the plus side, thanks to the inclusive Blu-ray producers, I now possess at least three different methods of never watching this again!
Are you selling this? I'd be interested if it's cheap, but I'd only want the Blu-Ray. It's ridiculous how they inflate the price of everything by making you buy THREE different formats. The "digital copy" is absolutely useless.

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#90 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:01 pm

Not to everybody. Trust me, they'd charge the same amount if the other formats didn't exist.

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#91 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:46 pm

Is it really useful? I mean, considering how it's used/what it's played on and the fact that it's always paired up with a DVD, what does any consumer get out of it? There are so many free and easy ways to make a digital movie file from a DVD, and it's not hard to learn. I guess "DRM" would be the issue, but it's so easy to bypass, the whole concept is a joke. Imagine if they included a cassette dub of every CD you bought, back when cassette decks were the only playback units put into cars - I feel like a digital copy is essentially that.

(Of course, this is operating under my theory that doing away with the digital copy will reduce the retail price. I still believe the studios would lower the price just to move more copies - if it's anything like the music industry, I think additional formats actually mean more royalty payments, so factor that with lower manufacturing and overall shipping costs, it should make some difference.)

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#92 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:28 pm

You have to consider folks that aren't tech savvy and are just trying to get a movie onto their 10 year old kid's iPod Touch for a long car ride. I just don't understand why they make people so angry if they're just bundled in with a $39.99 MSRP release that would've been at that price point anyway.

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#93 Post by cdnchris » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:04 pm

Disney actually charges more for their editions that come with Digital Copies BUT they at least usually offer a cheaper alternative that doesn't include the Digital Copy.

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#94 Post by TMDaines » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:25 pm

And there's also been a few labels whose prices have increased upon switching to dual releases. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#95 Post by Tom Hagen » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:31 pm

I did get a chuckle when I picked up my Tree of Life Blu (with digital copy!!) and they had a picture on the back of the case with the kids in the bathtub superimposed over an iPhone-shaped screen, just to, you know, show you how awesome it would be to watch the movie on an iPhone.

As to Hugo itself, I liked the film, have it among the top ten I saw this year, but now have little desire to purchase the Blu-ray (other than for the sake of Scorsese completism) or to revisit the film again. Nothing has happened to make me think less of the film, but then again nothing has particularly stuck with me upon reflection months later. For me, that's a first for a Scorsese picture.

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#96 Post by jojo » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:10 pm

Some places in my city still showing the film in 3D, so I managed to catch it with the assumption that either this or next week will be the last week (considering it just came out on DVD/BD today).

My first thought upon walking out of the theatre was that I loved it. It may be that I'm suffering from New Film Syndrome, but I tend not to be one of those people who instantly place the latest film I saw at the top of my charts, so I probably do really like it.

It started off badly for me, too. I immediately started feeling dizzy with the 3D stuff, even though I appreciated the artfulness in which Scorsese framed many of his shots with the 3D aspect in mind. But my vision is not great, I already wear glasses, and initially I felt that this was gonna be the worst 3D experience I've had yet, and was dreading the fact that I would have to sit through 2 hours of this headache. 3D is just not for me on a physical level. But somehow I managed to get into it enough to ignore my physical discomfort with 3D and just bought into it.

Hugo has flaws, of course, as noted by many posters here. But I dunno, at a certain point in the film, I just "locked into" the passion of the film and just sat back and didn't think about the machinations of the plot or the banality of some of the dialogue. It drew me into the world and subject matter, I bought into Hugo's passion to tinker, fix and discover The Mystery (even if he was a bit thinly sketched as a character) and I could sense the total commitment and sincerity from everyone involved in the film--Scorsese all the way down to the bit actors. Sometimes that's all I really need to like a film.

I got locked in pretty early, too. I think it was at the point when Hugo fixed that windup mouse for Melies that I decided that I was going to sit back and just enjoy the ride, and none of the following false notes really soured the experience for me. I felt the CGI was kind of Scorsese's way of using new technology to "remember" something old, much like how the Automaton--which I presume to be a wondrous piece of machinery for its time period--was used for the purpose of sketching an image from the past.

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#97 Post by MichaelB » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:53 am

TMDaines wrote:And there's also been a few labels whose prices have increased upon switching to dual releases. There's no such thing as a free lunch.
Depending on which format you were after, the BFI reduced its prices when they went dual-format - typically from £22.99-24.99 for a separate BD to £19.99.

(That said, DVD purchasers had to put up with a slight increase from £17.99 to £19.99 - but the assumption seemed to be that they'd mostly be happy to pay the £2 futureproofing fee, as it's one hell of a lot less than double-dipping. That doesn't seem to have been a big success with regard to the Adelphi Collection, which is now DVD only, but the principle seems to have worked pretty well elsewhere).
Last edited by MichaelB on Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#98 Post by TMDaines » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:17 pm

MichaelB wrote:
TMDaines wrote:And there's also been a few labels whose prices have increased upon switching to dual releases. There's no such thing as a free lunch.
Depending on which format you were after, the BFI reduced its prices when they went dual-format - typically from £22.99-24.99 for a separate BD to £19.99.

(That said, DVD purchasers had to put up with a slight increase from £17.99 to £19.99 - but the assumption seemed to be that they'd mostly be happy to pay the £2 futureproofing fee, as it's one hell of a lot less than double-dipping).
Yeah, the BFI were an exception from the point of few of a Blu-ray customer.

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#99 Post by domino harvey » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:20 pm

Look what I started! I like a DVD copy because then I can bring it into class if I need to, but digital copies will always be silly to me-- however, as mfunk states, we'd be getting charged the same without 'em, so I see the logic of including them to woo consumers who might only want a download into spending a little more on the whole package

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Re: Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

#100 Post by Cold Bishop » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:15 am

domino harvey wrote:Sad to say, but wall-to-wall CGI is just the opposite of cinema for me-- in a world where we can now literally show and do anything on camera, how boring netless tennis is!
But weren't you one of the Sucker Punch fanboys around here? :-k

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