I don’t know if I’m a fan of LCD Soundsystem. They were a good band, All My Friends is an amazing track and I’m pretty sure I saw them down at Electric Picnic in 2007…Read More
In case you hadn’t heard, The Artist won 3 gongs at the 69th Golden Globe Awards last night – Best Original Score for Ludovic Bource’s work, Best Actor for Jean Dujardin and Best Film – Comedy or Musical. Well done them!
I don’t usually put trailers in my review but I thought this one warranted it. Probably best viewed on a 40 ft screen. Or failing that, full screen.
I just remember thinking, I have never seen anything like that before.
I didn’t know anything about it and the trailer didn’t really tell me all that much. At that stage it wasn’t out in the US, there wasn’t a UK or Irish release date and there was so little info on it that I didn’t even know that it was a silent movie… so there was every chance it was going to be just a one week run in the IFI or something. I didn’t matter though, I knew I had to see it.
Flash-forward to today and The Artist is everywhere. Some are even calling it the film of the year. It’s only 16th January for Pete’s sake!
I wouldn’t go that far, not just yet, but I will say that it is an absolutely delightful affair. Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin, a star in the world of silent movies, whose career is threatened by the advent of the age of the Talkies. As his star is falling, another is rising, in the form of Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo). Miller is a talented bright young thing, who Valentin had helped with her first break.
Despite how charming the film is, and how charming it looked in the trailer… it is, oddly enough, not the film I thought it was going to be. I suppose I thought it was going to be some kind of epic, in the old style of film-making, and it wasn’t. It is, pretty much, the story of George Valentin. And Uggy. Not that this was disappointing, but I’m just surprised that people seem to be so swept away by a film which is, fairly simple to be honest.
What sets it apart from the usual is that it’s quite clever, since there’s no dialogue writer/director Michel Hazanavicius has (obviously) had to call upon his actors to EMOTE. And for EMOTING to look sensible, you’ve gotta have sharp actors. Everyone here is up to the task, John Goodman and James Cromwell in particular, shine in their respective roles. The Artist works very well in this way. I never thought the gimmick wore thin…
… what wore a little thin for me was Valentin’s trials and tribulations. And, when things got a bit heavy, I’m not sure that the tone matched the story we were being told. But, I’m not going to go into the plot. Suffice to say that I thought the runtime was slightly long, even though it was only 100 mins. Aside from that, there isn’t a lot to complain about. It’s a perfectly lovely slice of throwback cinema, a cute and entertaining look at a bygone era.
In any case, they saved it all at the end. I loved the ending.
So, go out and watch this film. While you might not think it’s the film of the year, you’re bound to enjoy it. Unless you don’t like music. If you don’t like music you might have a problem.
With snowmageddon going on here, it’s hard to think about going outside at all, let alone going out to go to the cinema. But then that’s just what I did today. Not to this though. I went to this weeks ago. Today I went to Catfish. But that’s not important right now.
Wikipedia (today, 21st Dec 2010) defines burlesque as “a humorous theatrical entertainment involving parody and sometimes grotesque exaggeration.” That’s not really what the people in this film are doing at all. It’s more… cabaret. Guess they couldn’t really call it Cabaret though. Given the number of remakes floating around these days that would have been way too confusing.
I just thought you should know that from the outset. If you’re looking for a film about burlesque, this is not it. It’s not even particularly humorous. Well, not intentionally… However, if you’re looking for a fun, light film with good dancing, fabulous costumes and great music then this is the film for you.
I have to admit, I was very skeptical about Burlesque. I was not impressed with the trailer at all. I really wasn’t on for a small-town-girl-in-the-big-city, realising-dreams, dramaorama. Fortunately for me, I decided to go along anyway… I like musicals and even though it didn’t look very musical, I’d heard it was, so all good.
Thinking about it, you shouldn’t even watch the trailer. It’s completely misleading and it really doesn’t emphasise the songs… which are great, and for which I actually think it has a good shot at an Oscar for. The one thing I will say about it is that at least it doesn’t really give anything away. Not that there’s much of a plot or anything to give away… but at least it doesn’t fall into that trap of showing you all the good stuff that so many trailers do these days. For some reason they’ve just decided to show you a load of crap bits instead. I really don’t get the trailer at all. Watch the video at the end of this article. It’ll give you a much better idea of what to expect.
But enough about the trailer. What of the film? As I’m sure you’ve realised by now. I really enjoyed it. It’s not a particularly good film in the sense of… well… however one would classically define a good film; I’d imagine you’d worry about plot, script, characterisation, that kind of thing… but like I said, if you’re just looking for a bit of light-hearted fun and some great singing then it’s great.
In my eyes it doesn’t take any massive mis-steps and that’s where a lot of otherwise comfortably cheesy films fall down. There’s no really annoying characters, the actors aren’t appallingly bad. There’s a few real clunkers of lines but nothing you can’t ignore, or laugh about if you’re so inclined. And while the plot is nothing to write home about, it was a little convoluted in places but there was enough there to keep it rolling along at a decent pace… you know, to fill in the gaps between the singing and dancing… and the looking at the fabulous costumes. Did I mention they’re fabulous? Fabulous. I am a bit of a magpie though.
That said, as much as I enjoyed it. I do want to complain about one thing. Stanley Tucci got a decent bit of screen time. He could have done more, had more of a character but no-one did so ok… but Alan Cumming was criminally underused. I love Alan Cumming. Plus he was the only character that did anything approaching burlesque in the film. They could have given him at least one full routine… even if it was just to justify the title… no? no? Bah. Anyway that out of the way, it’s still good.
Obviously now, I wouldn’t recommend everyone go see it though. First of all, you have to like musicals. This isn’t a true musical as it were but if you hate them, you’ll probably hate this. Second, you have to not worry about having to take a little leap of faith when it comes to plot. Lastly, you have to like Christina Aguliera. I mean she’s in it a lot so if you don’t like her or her voice it’ll be a problem. If you have one of these issues, stay away. Stay very far away…
…Or you might get hit by a sequin.
Or maybe first I’ll do the intro.
The ads for Get Him to the Greek have been tryin’ to sell it as this year’s The Hangover… It’s probably a fairly apt description. Looking through the slate I can’t really see anything left that’s like it. You could argue that Hot Tub Time Machine was probably a bit closer but it didn’t have the inclination (or the budget) to shout as loud about it.
Actually… IIRC they described themselves as Back to the Future meets The Hangover. If I had got around to writing that review I would have said, while I hate that X meets Y crap bs way of packaging films, I had to agree with them.
If you want to get an idea of the humour in this film then you can have a quick look over at the clip I have up in a previous article – over here – Yeah, they’re pretty basic jokes but that’s ok, nobody trying to claim anything more.
The main thing you have to bear in mind here is that Russell Brand has a starring role. For those of you who are familiar with Brand, you’ll know if you like him or not. For those who aren’t, think “rockstar comedian”, think “affected English accent”, think “recovering drug addict” and think “skin tight jeans and waistcoats”. I don’t know if that’ll really help paint a picture but it’s the best I can come up with without pointing you to one of his appearances on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. Can’t believe that show’s almost over… Love Jonathan Ross
Anyway the reason you have to bear this is mind is that Russell Brand careens all over this film, playing the rockstar version of himself; the person I imagine he was before he cleaned himself up. Personally I’m happy to see him starring in a Hollywood film; but if you don’t like him, it’s not really going to be worth your while going along…
…I’ve waffled enough. I should have just skipped the intro. Bottom line, I liked this film. It was good craic. Jonah Hill is suitably likeable and able to carry his half of the film and I really like Russell Brand so nothing to complain about there. I particularly want to highlight the supporting cast, Diddy is excellent as Hill’s boss, Sergio, and Colm Meaney turns up as the usual consummate professional. Elisabeth Moss was good up to a point (you’ll know it when you get to it) but she also confused me for the whole film because I just could not work out where I’d seen her before. Just to save you lookin’ it up, she was Zoey Bartlet in The West Wing.
I liked it because it was funnier than I expect. It was a little disjointed and it was a bit wierd that one of the scenes from the trailer ended up on the cutting room floor – I’ll complain a bit more about that later – but in general I thought it all worked together. I particularly liked the songs, I’m not saying I’d buy the albums but they were nice little touches here and there that made this a very enjoyable film.
But. As much as I enjoyed it – and I did laugh out loud quite a few times – it wasn’t as good as it could have been. For one, I actually think it was a little too short. There were a few scenes that just seemed unneccesarily chopped up and they seemed to skip over bits that could have been funny, or at least functional. It was only 1hr40. It could have taken an extra 10 mins to round it out and make it gel a little better. Also, it all went a bit awry towards the end. I don’t really know what they were up to there. It was all a bit ridiculous. Not the very end, mind, just the bit before that. I think they tried to go a little too far and the gamble didn’t pay off. It did in other scenes (!) but just not that one.
Ultimately Get Him to the Greek is a relatively forgettable film. Which is not to say you shouldn’t watch it. You should; there are some really very funny scenes in it, it’s entertaining! Not every film you see needs to be a classic, I don’t always want to watch films that make me think. Looking at my last few reviews I reckon I’m on a 3:7 thinking:mindless entertainment ratio… I’m comfortable with that.
So go see Get Him to the Greek, have a laugh and don’t think too much. Particularly not about this song… Disgraceful really
It was with surprising lack of trepidation that I wandered into Cineworld on Monday 7th June for the one night only showing of the new Rush documentary, Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage. As we passed the bar I couldn’t help but notice it was awash with stringy ponytails and tour t-shirts. Not quite the usual Cineworld crowd. This was a special night for some and I kinda felt like I should feel like I was gatecrashing.
I didn’t really know much about Rush. There are a couple of things I do know though… I know there are three of them, they’re Canadian, that they’re basically a prog rock band and I can recognise Geddy Lee’s voice – but that’s fairly moot since it’s not like you ever really hear them on the radio. On the other hand I keep getting the intro from Spirit of Radio mixed up with Wolfmother’s The Joker and the Thief and I can only name two albums out of their 19 or so albums… so I certainly wouldn’t call myself a fan…
…How or never though, I love going to the cinema and I enjoyed the previous film from the pairing of Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen – a documentary following a little band called Iron Maiden… but mainly I was going along because Griffpics is a massive fan and it was his birthday. Feeling quite removed from the fair amount of excitement around the place, I figured this was probably as close to a Rush gig as you’ll get in Ireland. It was probably the largest gathering of Rush fans in Ireland for a while anyway…
For those who don’t know and haven’t clicked the wikipedia link yet, Rush are probably one of the biggest band you’ve never heard of. In the US their album sales put them in the region of Nirvana and the Bee Gees  and estimates put their worldwide sales around 40 million albums. They are cited as an influence and admired by many musicians in well known bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, Tool, Queensrÿche, Tenacious D, Smashing Pumpkins… etc. The film features quite a few of these famous fans but mainly it charts the history of Rush, from their start in Geddy Lee’s basement in mid-late 1960s to their Snakes and Arrows tour which ended in 2008.
It seems they’ve had quite a sparkling 40 year journey. Rush have had their dark times, very dark times, however the film is mainly looks at the evolution of the band through their various landmark albums. It was actually pretty interesting, even for someone who didn’t know much of their music. Sebastian Bach popping up from time to time was particularly hilarious, what’s up with that guy? I mean ok, he really loves Rush but seriously… what’s up with him?
What made it interesting was… well put it this way, some bands just seem to do the same thing over and over again. They find a winning formula and stick to it. Not Rush. Ok, all their stuff is in the same kind of vein but they really do seem to have experimented over the years, brought took their cue from what was going on in the scene and made it their own. As far as I’m concerned that’s something to be admired. And what was most fascinating is that it’s really worked for them. I’m sure that some of their albums that didn’t do as well as others, but they’ve built up such a devoted following that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that they never get played on the radio; it doesn’t matter that – when they featured in last year comedy I Love You, Man – some people wondered if they were even a real band, all that matters really is that their fans love their music.
But I digress, back to the film. As a documentary… well… while I did find it entertaining, it wasn’t brilliant. To me it was very much a fan’s film. It was very general – I guess they did have a long time period to cover but I don’t feel like I learned that much about the band… aside from, as I mentioned, how they got from one album to another. It didn’t particularly delve into great detail about about any kind of criticism of the band. Fair enough, but it also didn’t really look in any detail at how they’ve influenced music, or even at other aspects of the band, like their live performances or their playing style (aside from a bit about Neil Peart changing his drumming style). It also didn’t look that much at the context of the albums, it mentioned things in passing but again, hardly any detail. I can’t even say that we got to know the band members.
It was a pity because I’d like to know more about them, or at least about other aspects of their music, and I don’t know if they would let a film crew would have that kind of access again. They seem to be fairly private, which is fine, but any in-depth documentary would really need their input to make it worthwhile. I do think there’s an opportunity there for more documentaries and I hope someone makes one because, personally, I think there’s a lot to be said about them… Then again, they seem content and successful without much publicity so maybe it’ll never happen.
The idea of the film was a sound one but, as a person who didn’t know much about Rush, I just don’t think it really worked. I would, however, recommend it to anyone who does want to know a little more about the band… but mainly because I don’t know how else you’d find out more about them without doing a hell of a lot of reading and listening.
6/10, but not because of the subject matter!Read More