The 'Raybeard' award for 'Film of the Month' goes to.................. 'HUGO' - with a score of 8/10.
Congratulations to all concerned - but especially to Mr S.
Well done, Sir!
Well done, Sir!
Other contenders, in datal order of viewing were:-
Mission Impossible: Ghost protocol (7)
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (5)
The Artist (7)
The Iron Lady (7.5)
Now an additional word or two on some of them:-
'THE ARTIST' - very original (at least for the 21st century!), brilliantly executed though the storyline rather thin and predictable. But overall, it's definitely a remarkable and memorable film.
'THE IRON LADY' - nothing at all to complain about in Ms Streep (voice, especially, uncannily accurate). If anyone wants to see it as some sort of true account of the times they'll be misled. Very broad brush-strokes, but so what? - it's a film for entertainment, not a documentary! Apart from a brief period of the Falklands victory celebrations it looked as if the entire country was in the grip of non-stop anti-Thatcher riots.This was actually far from the case. She did, after all, win three successive General Elections (despite my own efforts in voting against her and her party in not only these three but every single local and European election during her terms!) Slightly disappointed that so much time was devoted to Mrs T in her present state of dotage - and could have done with a tad more political cut-and-thrust in her life as a politician, but what we got was more than admirable. A fine achievement of a film.
'CORIOLANUS' - I'm probably one of not many who know the play reasonably well, having read it at least a dozen times, though never seen it on stage. The updated setting worked effectively and the savage but necessary cutting of the Bard's text (by well more than half) was judiciously done, clarifying and making more sense of the story. Both Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler (the latter looking as hot as he ever has) play very well. Although it's true that Vanessa Redgrave is a blisteringly dominating presence whenever on screen (you just can't take your eyes of her!) I do wish that she, of all people, could have been more audibly articulate. There were times when she seemed to be mouthing the words with no sound coming out at all. We had to be lip-readers! Overall, though, a good, high recommendation.
'J. EDGAR' - It saddens me to say that a Clint Eastwood film could have been better, but I didn't think there was anything really special about this one. On specifics, although Leo d/C can be a good actor, I think he was miscast in this film. He doesn't have enough gravitas to carry off the role of what was, essentially, a megalomaniac monster. (More 'oomph' needed! Broderick Crawford in the 1977 film 'The Private Files of J.Edgar Hoover' did have the required heft and physical bulk.) Also, the prosthetics covering his natural baby-looking face in order to present us with the aged Hoover, were not that successful - actually distracting, in fact. But they were as nothing compared to those given to the Clyde Tolson character, who looked positively embalmed! Most disturbing. Also, I find it difficult to see Judi Dench popping up nowadays all over the place in widely differing roles. She always gives a very good performance, but I can't now see her acting without seeing her more as an actress playing a role. (I'm also afraid of seeing the marvellous Helen Mirren going the same way.)
'HAYWIRE' - reasonable but also forgettable. By the time it got round to the 'this explains all what's gone before' final few minutes I didn't really care and couldn't be bothered with following it. Having said that, it did have its share of quite entertaining 'moments'.
And a final word on this month's winner, 'HUGO'. Even though I only saw it in the 2-D version I could see that it was something special within the first minute or so. I even forgave the cliched accordion on the soundtrack (and which we actually glimpse) - Hint: This is Paris, FRANCE! Ooh La la!
The visual style did make me think of another exceptional film of recent years, the 'genuinely' French film 'Amelie' , which, I loved, though I'm aware that it has its detractors. But 'Hugo' was a thrill from start to finish, with very fine acting throughout, including Sacha Baron-Cohen who, after his memorable turn in 'Sweeney Todd', continues to surprise me with his versatility. I don't expect to see many more films this year as good as 'Hugo' - and will be lucky to see one significantly better. A jolly good film - and from me (who has never given a perfect 10 to any film) a score of 8/10 is an accolade indeed.
Till my report on February's films, then - THAT'S ALL FOLKS!