Hugo

I returned to my seat in the Grand Lake Theatre at about 2:10. The double feature was on the big screen, which I’m not sure was a good idea because “The Peanuts Movie” was the bigger attraction this weekend. I used to go to double features all the time at the UC Theatre or the Pacific Film Archive, but nowadays all those hours of watching movies makes me exhausted. “Hugo” was the second feature, and it had an impressive first shot of the city of Paris to open the movie. Supposedly, it took a year to produce the footage. It was the ultimate in Martin Scorsese tracking shots. I preferred this part of the double feature, partly because of the presence of a movie star I liked, Ben Kingsley. I thought this was one of his most interesting role in the years after “Gandhi.” He was an old man who worked in his own toy store. Emily Mortimer had a role, although there wasn’t much to it. Sacha Baron Cohen was like a Dickens character in the way that he would take orphans out of the train stations. Chloë Grace Moretz was very good in this movie. Both of the kids were. They had to act like they really thought those old films were awesome. I found it hard to believe that some little kid had a great ability to maintain and repair mechanical devices. Jude Law appears in the movie briefly as Hugo’s father. I had a hard time believing that he would replace a light bulb, much less build a mechanical man. I noticed Martin Scorsese in his cameo appearance as a photographer. I’m not too sure that Scorsese really handled children well for the screen. It was 24 years to the day that “Cape Fear” was released, and so I kept thinking of him and his rough characters spewing out profanities and being on the edge of violence. The intersection of children with this moment of film history felt kind of like “Beethoven Lives Upstairs.” I liked the glimpse of the old projector that had to be cranked by hand. I wondered if Scorsese thought of himself as Georges, a relic in the middle of changing times. The use of 3D effects was pretty cool throughout this movie, starting with the snowflakes in the opening. James Cameron was impressed with the 3D effects. I didn’t like the Cohen character pursuing and catching up to Hugo at the end. I thought I was going to see some kind of Hollywood cliché showing a last-second rescue. I knew that not all of Georges’ films were lost forever because I’ve seen them available on a DVD set. The celebration at the end seemed quite lavish. I don’t know if the average person going out to see the latest James Bond film has ever heard of Georges Méliès. He made a contribution of the art of film, and his films still look pretty good. Most people’s work in film doesn’t make an impression that lasts more than a week or two. Christopher Lee was in the movie, which was a good thing to see now in light of his recent death. He had known Scorsese for a long time but never appeared in one of his films until this one. I enjoyed this movie in spite of its seeming to have a split personality and running on for about ten or fifteen minutes too long. As I took the bus home, I heard the tragic news about the terrorist attacks in Paris. It was especially sad to hear because I’d just spent the past two hours watching a movie set in Paris. I stopped at Bongo Burger before I returned home to watch the news. I watched the Partridge Family episode “But the Memory Lingers On,” which featured a skunk on a string and the song “A Brand New Me.” I then watched the NUMB3RS episode “Charlie Don’t Surf,” which had Kevin Tighe in it. According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for November 14, Ray Charles had the Number One single “Georgia on My Mind” in 1960. In 1970, the Jackson 5 had the Number One hit, “I’ll Be There.” In 1980, “Raging Bull” had its premiere in New York. In 1991, the FOX television network debuted Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” music video. In 1999, Gary Glitter was acquitted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old, although later he would be arrested for child pornography.

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