Corvid Queen (lazyeye) wrote,
Corvid Queen
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Movie Review Double Feature: The Artist and The Descendants

     S ince I'm almost 100% sure that one of these two films will walk away with the top prize at the Oscars, I have to decided to include both of their  reviews in the same post.

       

The Artist
Starrring: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, and Uggie 
Director: Michel Hazanavicius

Filmed not only in black and white, but also in the old accepted aspect ratio of 4:3, The Artist is a love letter tribute to the films of old; a dazzling and uplifting feature set against the heyday of old Hollywood(land). French actor Jean Dujardin (I loooove his name /csb) gives a wonderful performance in the almost entirely silent film. He plays silent film superstar George Valentin at the height of their popularity. After a screening of his latest movie he is introduced to (more like bumps into) Peppy Miller who is soon to become the talk of the town. She is cast as an extra in one of George's movies and soon moves on up to the top of the list of Hollywood's sweethearts. As the movie moves into 1929, the studio shuts down all production on silent films in favor of "talkies" and soon George is out of a job.

When the 30s roll in poor George Valentin is officially a has-been. His wife has left him, he's lost his home, he's pawning his suits, and everything else is up for auction. In his desolation, he sets fire to all of his films. Upon realizing what he has done, he picks one out of the pile and clutches until Uggie returns with help. Peppy offer up her home and even convinces the director to give George a shot at being in "talkies". George claims that no one wants to hear him talk, Peppy comes up with a new innovative way to get the world to love George Valentin again. 

With the exception of a small bit in the middle of the movie and the last few minutes there is literally no sound in this movie aside from the music. In the movie Peppy makes it a point to mock silent films (even though that's how she got her start and whether she's being serious or not is debatable) by saying that "no one wants to see an actor mugging the camera". I'm afraid I have to disagree, Peppy! What makes this movie stand out from the rest of the crowd is that it is just that. Actors mugging the camera and doing a damn good job of it. Jean Dujardin has my vote for Best Actor and he and Bérénice were an absolute delight to watch.

My Rating: 5/5

The Descendants
Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, and Amara Miller
Director: Alexander Payne

Set in the always breathtakingly beautiful state of Hawaii, the story deals with finding out what really matters, at least...that's what I took away from it. Matt King's wife, Elizabeth, has fallen into a coma and it is unlikely that she is ever going to wake up. Along with the accident, Matt King and his extended family (who are deep in debt) also have to deal with whether or not to sell their land on the island of Kauai and for how much. During the course of the movie Alexandra reveals to her father that Elizabeth had been cheating on him the two of them work to discover who the man is so that he can say goodbye to her. 

The movie starts out a little slow and I also didn't quite understand the point of Alexandra's friend Sid, but I'm sure he serves a purpose in the book that wasn't as fleshed out as it could have been in the movie. However, while I don't particularly care for George Clooney as a person I do have to admit that I've always thought he was a good actor. He does not disappoint in the movie and although I would prefer if Jean Dujardin won Best Actor, I certainly wouldn't be upset if George won (although we'd then have to deal with the smugness of his acceptance speech, but that's George for ya). Shailene however...was underwhelming. Not disappointing, because I still thought she was good, just not as good as all these nominations are implying. She was okay. She's basically this year's Mila Kunis in that she gave an okay performance in a great movie and is garnering some undeserved (imo) awards show buzz. Also, on a completely unrelated note...George's hair was amazing in the movie.

My Rating: 3.5/5


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