Tag Archives: John Goodman

Movie Review – The Artist (2011)

Film: The Artist
Released: 2011
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle, Malcolm McDowell

Synopsis:
Hollywood, 1927: As silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break.

What I thought of it:
In an incredibly bold move, Hazanavicius has eschewed the big-budget reboots, remkes and franchises to bring us something both fresh that harks back to the earlier days of cinema complete with intertitles. In looking at the difficulties of a silent movie star to adapt to performaing in “talkies”, one realises that the modern filmstars will have had similar difficulties in protraying the exaggerated mannerisms of the silent movie era – something completely alien to today’s more natural style of acting.

Dujardin and Bejo both pull off this feat magnificently. Dujardin looks like a cross between David Niven and Vincent Price, with the elegance of Fred Astaire and the charm of Clark Gable (all stars of the later era of film-making, but no less important in their oeuvre). Bejo’s face perfectly encapsulates both the leading ladies of the silent era and the early talkies, with her “peppy” style truly living up to her character’s name, Peppy Miller.

It’s beautifully shot and the lack of sound other than the dramatic and theatrical score is wondrful. There is, however, one very clever scene that involves sound – George Valentin’s dream sequence – that serves to juxtapose his dilemma and inability to make the transition from silence to sound.

I can see why this film has been sweeping the awards season this year, and it really does deserve the recognition for stepping away from the “safe” arena of the blockbuster and giving us something spectacularly different. It’s not my favourite of the Oscar nominated films, but it’s pretty close and I think this one will once again win the coveted Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor as it did so recently at the BAFTAS. I can also see it scooping Art Direction, Cinematography and Costume Design, but I think Bejo will miss out on the Best Actress statue as she suffers the same misfortune as Michelle Williams in being pitted against Streep in one of her best ever performances as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.

This is a must-see for fans of cinema and film history as well as for those who just enjoy seeing a really great film. It’s a joy to see and it will surely be seen as a timeless masterpiece and a classic over time. It is a pity that more production companies don’t take the risk and dare to be as different in their projects as this, because the results here are nothing short of stunning.

My hubby’s review HERE.

Rating:

~***~

I realise I have rated several Oscar-nominated films as 5/5 and this is very unusual for me, but they are all deserving of the highest rating I can give. There is very little in it and they all have the same rating, however here they are in order of my personal preference:

  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • The Artist
  • My Week with Marilyn
  • The Iron Lady

Of course, this is only my personal preference and will most likely not be reflected in the choices of the judging panel of the Academy Awards, but I thought it was worth mentioning in case anyone wondered which films I enjoyed the most of those I had rated so highly.

Movie Review – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

Film: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Released: 2011
Director: Stephen Daldry
Stars: Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Max von Sydow, John Goodman,  Viola Davies

Synopsis:
Based on the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

What I thought of it:
I know I’ve rated a couple of films very highly, all of which are Oscar nominees for some of the big prizes (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor/Actress), but of all the ones I’ve seen to date, this one beats them all. So much so that I wish I could give it an extra mark and make it 6/5!

It’s an emotional rollercoaster ride from start to finish, with some great feel-good moments and even greater moments of utter anguish as we watch a young boy search for a connection with the father he has lost.

I cannot commend highly enough the young lead (Horn) in this film, especially as this is his first screen role (I know! I couldn’t believe it!). He shows a maturity, understanding and ability far beyond his years – honestly, you’d expect this kind of performance from an extremely seasoned actor many years his senior. His grasp of the character and his interpersonal relationships is phenomenal and his portrayal poignantly real. Bullock and Hanks are both excellent as his parents, but it is von Sydow’s silent performance that really makes the rest of the film. Than an actor can play a silent role in a film that is not silent, and still show such range and give a heartbreakingly wonderful performance is astonishing.

This is the film that should win Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor (von Sydow), but it should also have been nominated for Best Director (Daldry), Best Actor (Horn), and Best Adapted Screenplay, and it is nothing short of a travesty that it has not. It truly deserves the highest rating I can give and I urge everyone to see it as soon as they possibly can. I promise, you will cry, but you will also find yourself feeling hopeful and happy.

My hubby’s review HERE.

Rating: