Saturday, November 26, 2011


Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese is based on Brian Selznick’s New York Best Seller book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  

Hugo, Asa Butterfield, a boy living in post-World War I France, is orphaned when his father, Judd Law, a clock maker is killed in a fire, forcing Hugo,  to work for his drunk uncle winding all the massive clocks in the sprawling Paris train station. 

Hugo’s only possession, left by his father, is a rusty automaton wind-up man who purpose is unknown — if only the thing had all its clockwork parts intact and the key for a heart-shaped lock.

While Hugo pilfers parts from a toy booth propreitor, Ben Kingsley, who is the forgotten and broke French Filmmaker Georges Mélies, he must stay away from the hobbled Station Inspector, Sasha Baron Cohen, and his doberman or risk being sent to an orphanage. 

Hugo meets Mélies’s also-parentless goddaughter Isabel, Chloë Grace Moretz, who is dying for an adventure away from book-reading. She wears a heart-shaped key.

Martin Scorsese makes a five-second cameo as a photographer during a flashback of the Georges Mélies backstory.  Along with screenwriter John Logan, Scorsese loads the movie with winks to movie pals like Francis Ford Coppola and unnamed protrayals/references of James Joyce, Salvador Dali, and Django Reinhardt. 

The cast is filled out with known character actors that could have stepped out of a Sylvain Chomet animated film. Even Christopher Lee is perfectly cast as the nearly non-essential train station bookseller Monsieur Labisse. 

Some elements and characters are used just to move one plot point or sense of atmosphere along, and even Cohen is allowed to riff in a sub-plot using his typical comedy set-up. [Movie Review: “Hugo” November 24th, 2011 | By Brian Jacobson Third Coast Digest]

Hugo is certainly a departure from most Scorsese movies, but the critics are effusive in their praise.

Richard Roeper says, "One of the most magical viewing experiences of the decade so far." Richard Roeper - Richard Roeper and the Movies

"Hugo is unlike any other film Martin Scorsese has ever made, and yet possibly the closest to his heart: a big-budget, family epic in 3-D, and in some ways, a mirror of his own life." Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times

 "A stunning exercise in 3D and a delightful celebration of Scorsese's lifelong love of the movies, something he, like Hugo, developed on childhood. Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
Hugo emerges as a spectacular adventure for film lovers of all ages. Peter Travels - Rolling Stone

In attempting to make his first film for all ages, Martin Scorsese has fashioned one for the ages. Simultaneously classical and modern, populist but also unapologetically personal, Hugo flagrantly defies the mind-numbing quality of most contempo kidpics. Peter Debruge - Variety

..a fabulous and passionate love letter to the cinema and its preservation framed by the strenuous adventures of two orphans in 1930s Paris. Todd McCarthy - Hollywood Reporter

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