Hugo Review

Hugo was just one of those films where I sat down and had no idea what I was about to watch. Aside from what a few underwhelming previews offered, I had virtually no expectations for this film. I knew the film had Sacha Baron Cohen in what seemed like some type of antagonistic role, it had Ben Kingsley, it seemed that it was a family film starring a young boy and the story had something to do with a train station. I didn’t know much, but I knew I had to see the film for one reason.

Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest film makers to have ever lived and I would never miss the chance to see one of his films. Scorsese’s latest film, Hugo, follows a seemingly derivative children’s story about a young loner and his adventures in a train station. Very early on the film feels as though it will become redundant and disappointing by the end, but past a certain point Scorsese establishes that Hugo is no ordinary family film, but instead a fascinating tale that serves as a parable about innocence and why we love going to the movies.

In a perfectly adequate performance, Asa Butterfield plays Hugo a young boy whom on the eve of the loss of his father attempts to fix a broken mechanical man that he and his father had been working on before his father’s untimely death. The intelligent boy considers it his duty to fix the clocks in the train station he calls home all while stealing different trinkets to fix his mechanical man. He runs from the station inspector when necessary and eventually befriends the daughter of a cranky old Toy Shop Owner who’s harboring a mysterious secret.

I’ve already said too much though and this celebration of film in general is one worth attending for yourself. I will say that I was not fully gripped or entertained by every aspect of Hugo, but the passion that went behind the making of this film can not be ignored. When I first heard about Hugo I wondered; why would Scorsese make a children’s film? He certainly answered my question and while this isn’t a masterpiece like so many other Martin Scorsese movies, it is a very powerful film and one that needed to be made.

Grade: A-

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Shutter Island Review

Shutter Island is a pretty difficult movie to review. First of all, it’s hard to express into words exactly how much I loved this film. Second of all, there’s so much going on in this story and its hard to talk about loving this film with out risking giving something away. I’ll try my best though. First, let me start by saying that Martin Scorsese is among the three directors working today (others being Tarantino and Coen Brothers) that I truly can not and will not let me down by. That opinion is once again justified by his release of this masterpiece.

I absolutely love when each character in a movie is able to give a great performance, even the minor ones. That is exactly the case here. Each character realized his/her importance and expressed that in their performance. The main characters were the stand outs though of course. Mark Ruffolo was fantastic as the partner, but even better was Ben Kingsley as the mysterious owner of the institution, he was subtly, but surly able to chew up every moment he was on screen. The masterful performance here was DiCaprio’s though. He really threw everything he had into this one. I’m going to have to re-watch some of his other movies before officially stating this, but this might be the greatest performance he’s ever given.

This isn’t the horror movie that the trailers are making it out to be, and to tell you the truth, I really wasn’t really expecting it to be. What it was, was an intense and almost draining psychological thriller, and possibly the best I’ve seen. The movie really takes a lot out of you because of its edge-of-your-seat intensity. That’s not a bad thing though, it was really an adrenaline rush at every turn, a roller coaster ride of the mind, which is exactly what the main character Teddy goes on.

!!! SPOILER !!! !!! ALERT!!! !!! IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE, DON”T READ THIS PARAGRAPH!!!

!!! SPOILER !!! !!! DON’T READ !!!

I love this movie because it starts off with such a simple story. Two U.S. Marshall’s looking for a dangerous patient who has escaped from her cell. Then it takes you in so many different directions and you never know what to expect. There are so many questions circling your head because you have so much information to work with and really no answers. You are brought on a journey with Teddy and you feel every bit of insanity he does. Shutter Island is really the greatest depiction of insanity ever put on screen.

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Shutter Island is directed so mind-numbingly well, its hard to believe. But that pretty much goes with out saying, it’s Scorsese. Even for this masterful director, this film was an amazing feat in story telling. I truly think this film stacks right up there with all of his other masterpieces. Shutter Island isn’t just an unforgettable film, it’s an unforgettable experience.

Grade: A-