Posts Tagged ‘3d’

One Blonde and Two Guest “Blondes” Go To a Movie: Hugo

December 21, 2011

One blonde and two guest “blondes” review a movie and sometimes ramble about themselves:

ALISON SAYS:
The movie revolves around Hugo, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station. I saw Hugo with Nate and Pete (our guest “blondes” for today) and all three of us came out at the end of the movie in awe. I loved Hugo, absolutely loved it. It’s probably one of my favorite movies of the past ten years. It’s hard to put into words the wonder this movie inspires. I’ve never seen anyone do with 3D what this movie did. Sure, there’s been some pretty 3D movies, but sometimes while watching a 3D movie, it can just feel like a gimmick rather than an important element of storytelling. But in Hugo, the 3D isn’t just a gimmick, it helps tell the story and it’s absolutely beautiful. It feels like you’re in a storybook. You get to soar over the streets of Paris. It ignites your childhood wonder and makes the audience feel completely immersed in this world. I can’t think of a better example of movie magic. It really did feel magical watching this movie.

Besides being a tale of wonder and of finding one’s path in life, this also felt like Martin Scorses’s love letter to filmmaking. There was such a passion and love of film evident in every frame of the movie. I think this is Scorsese’s best work. It’s a beautiful film, both in story and in visuals. Did I mention yet that I really, really love this movie?

LA Viewers: Go see this film! Immediately. And pay the 3 bucks for 3D. Even if you’re not a sap like me, you’ll still find yourself believing in magic.

Non-LA Viewers: You want to be transported to a world of magic and filmmaking wonder, don’t you? Get your butt to the theater now! I said now!

Our two guest “blondes” today are Nate Winslow and Pete D’Alessandro:

NATE SAYS:

I associate Martin Scorsese with a lot of things: De Niro when he still cared about things, Daniel Day-Lewis’s mustache in Gangs of New York, gangsters, really long Steadicam shots, death-by-stabbing, a
liberal use of the word “fuck,” and being, in general, disgustingly talented.

Something I don’t associate him with: fairy tales about innocence and discovery.

And then I saw Hugo. And now I don’t really want him to make another movie where Joe Pesci stabs someone—I want him to make PG movies about the power of storytelling and the discovery of cinema by a mismatched pair of child adventurers in a magical, secluded train station.

Walking in to Hugo, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d heard the rumblings that it was Scorsese’s ode to cinema and to the power of storytelling and that it was the best use of 3D since the invention of that Grand Gimmick, but then I also couldn’t get past the fact that something about the trailer reminded me of The Terminal.

It’s something hard to pin down, though—I can happily report it’s nothing like The Terminal—and it’s honestly something I never expected from Scorsese. I wouldn’t say it’s whimsical, exactly, but it really is his shot at a fairy tale. The train station where the majority of the film takes place isn’t your standard Grand Central: it’s an entire world, heightened, not-quite-connected-to-reality. Its inhabitants are enlarged and exaggerated, the look and feel of it almost surreal. The tone, the pacing, it’s grounded somewhere outside of our real world.

An Oz. A Neverland (not the ranch). And much like both of those realms, the world that Scorsese paints is infused at every turn with magic: the magic of adventure, the magic of innocence and most of all, the magic of cinema. When you think about it, coming from a man who stands for so much in the preservation and praise of filmmaking, two of those things suddenly seem like no-brainers. It was the powerful feeling of genuine childlike innocence that took me by complete surprise, though. That’s something I associate with Spielberg in E.T. mode, not The Departed-era Scorsese. Consider me blown away: I have seen very few movies more powerful and simply affecting in theaters this year than Hugo.

Hugo, at its core, is a story about discovering the magic of movies. Two children discovering the literal power of cinema and visual storytelling for the first time—and it’s beautiful. Every frame is luscious,
every frame is bursting at the seams with the very thing Hugo is about. If this is Scorsese turning over a new leaf in the latter stages of his career (something without Leo?? Perish the thought!), I support this
leaf with every ounce of my being. Bring on Scorsese’s Pixar movie.

PETE SAYS:

Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium is the message.” If that’s true, Hugo was filmed on a new format called “You-Forgot-What-Special-Effects-Were-For.”

It’s about a young boy who lives at a train station. He has a mission to rebuild a machine, even though he has no idea what it does. If that’s not a terrible pitch for Hugo, I don’t know what is.

It’s really about a young boy trying to do what he’s meant to do. Purpose, destiny. Thematically, all well and good, but the real reason to talk about Hugo is what it says about filmmaking.

Hugo is a movie of few explosions. (Sorry to those Michael Bay fans.) But the “effects,” for lack of a better word, do something no 3D film has done to date.

3D can be used to add a new set of storytelling tools to a movie, just the way that cinematography and editing added elements the theater could never provide. Hugo is the first movie to take advantage of
those tools.

I can use a lens to achieve a separation between two characters at the ends of a long hallway. I can edit between that distance and the characters reactions to highlight how they feel. I can zoom out to drive it home further. And, as of Hugo, I can separate these characters using distance in a third dimension.

If you’re going to bring something new like 3D to a movie, make it say something. Another quote this movie drives home: “Writing about art is like dancing about architecture.” Hugo demonstrates that film
can deliver a message in a way no other language could.

Admittedly, I’m a sucker for those pieces that examine themselves. But when it’s done right, I feel a little smarter for having gone along for the ride.

Now that I have done no justice to previously unimagined cinematic techniques by writing about them, go see Hugo in the theatres, and pay extra for the 3D experience.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Monsters vs Aliens

April 17, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves:


ALISON SAYS:

There are a lot of beautiful people in LA.  Like, a lot.  And many of them haven’t developed much of a personality because of their ridiculous good looks.  Sometimes holding a conversation with these types of people can be painful.  On one hand, you’re dazzled by their amazing looks and it feels like being in the warm glow of the sun.  But then they open their mouths and you want to yell, “Shhhhhh, no talking!”  This sort of sums up how I felt about watching Monsters vs Aliens.

The animation is amazing and fun.  DreamWorks has reached new levels of being awesome when it comes to the production of an animated movie.  I saw this film in IMAX and 3-D, which was super cool.  My favorite of the visuals was B.O.B. the blob (voiced by Seth Rogen).  But in terms of the script and “jokes,” (yes, those quotes are meant to be snarky), I just wasn’t impressed.  I was so excited to see this film.  The premise seemed really funny and I can’t imagine a more talented cast (Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Laurie, Wil Arnett, Rainn Wilson), but their comedic talents just didn’t translate.  I can count the number of times I laughed on one hand (or on the hand of a chainsaw artist I know who’s missing several fingers).  A lot of the jokes fell flat and I may even have heard Jessica groan and/or sigh several times.  

That said, I’m still really excited they had a main character who’s a girl and who kicks ass (not just because she’s a giant).  

LA Viewers: The animation is worth paying a matinee price.  Especially if you’re as high as the guy who sat near Jessica and I (he reeked of a certain substance that Woody Harrelson is a huge fan of).

Translation for non LA-viewers: If you don’t have a theater near you that offers 3-D viewings, wait for the DVD.

JESSICA SAYS:
There is a very essential thing about myself that I was reminded of by going to this movie:  I don’t like having to deal with the public.  You see, Alison and I saw Monsters vs Aliens 3-D at the IMAX theater at Universal City Walk which, on a Friday night, is almost as bad as being in the airport security line on the day before Thanksgiving.  I know that shouldn’t affect my review of the movie, but I was sufficiently annoyed and ready for some charming animation to cheer me up after fighting through crowds of tourists, waiting in line behind teenage boys acting like idiots to impress teenage girls, and couples so engrossed in their PDA that the world could collapse around them and they wouldn’t notice.  (Although for the latter Alison did provide an entertaining inner monologue for the couples, “I’ve never felt this way before *giggle*giggle*.”)

 
Monsters vs Aliens didn’t really charm or cheer me up.  The ads looked cute.  I had high hopes.  I like Stephen Colbert, Seth Rogen and Reese Witherspoon, who provide voices.  It just fell flat.  Monsters vs Aliens had great animation, especially the bit in space at the beginning, but the story felt so disjointed.  It starts out as a story about how a woman, Susan (Witherspoon), gains self-confidence after she is struck by a meteor on her wedding day and grows exponentially taller.  Then it jumps to a X-Men-meets-Mars Attacks story where a rag-tag group of mutants/monsters are the only beings able to defend Earth against evil aliens.  In between those two stories there is a random Dr. Strangelove homage in ‘the war room,’ but it’s like one of the writers thought, “What if it’s like Dr. Strangelove, but George W. Bush is the president?!”  I think we all know kids these days can’t get enough dark political satire references in their cartoons.

 
Sadly, I don’t recommend seeing Monsters vs Aliens.  I know if you have small kids and want to see a movie, you don’t really have other options right now.  To be entirely honest, if I didn’t have to write a review on it, I might have left halfway through.  Keep in mind though, I was already crabby going into it.  Have you seen it?  If so, am I wrong and just a crabby-appleton?  IMAX = always awesome.  The 3-D animation of outer space at the beginning = awesome.  The story, jokes, direction, etc. = uhhh…