Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-08-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: The Artist; The Adventures of Tintin; film note
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2011-12-21

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


I'm in the midst of reading Brian Kellows's insightful biography of Pauline Kael. (An interview with Kellow about the book is coming up in our January 2012 movie issue.) Kael was the famously irascible film critic for the New Yorker who was renowned for championing passionate, exciting movies that lifted audiences out of their seats and defied expectations.

In her prime, Kael had the power with a rave review to turn a movie into a hit. However, with the age of the Internet—in which everyone's literally a film critic and those of us who have some experience at the job find their reviews reduced to stars, numbers, balloons, asterisks, or summed up with percentages at Rotten Tomatoes or MetraCritic—can any critic hope to drive an audience to a theater?

That thought has been on my mind a lot with regard to The Artist. From the rapturous critical hosannas and awards that have greeted the picture months before its release, I'm obviously not the only one who has been yearning for a movie that reverts to a classic Hollywood formula for its inspiration. However, is it possible that wiser mainstream audiences—sapped by the onslaught of negative media and endless promotion of "reality stars," and both revved up and desensitized by violent, frenetic video games masquerading as blockbusters—will take this delightful silent movie, filmed in glorious black and white, to their tech-happy hearts?

I don't give a fig what the box-office numbers will be, but this is one time (okay, maybe not the only time) that I want you to listen to all those rave reviews (including this one). Drop your cynicism and see The Artist—a movie that is so old-fashioned from beginning to end that it's literally a breath of fresh air. French writer-director Michel Hazanavicius, along with stars Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo (Hazanavicius' wife), have wrought what is essentially a silent variation of A Star Is Born—this time without either the tragic majesty of the Garland-Mason version or the phony rock-'n-roll ickiness of the Streisand-Kristofferson '70s remake.

The Artist, rather, is an effervescent, melodramatic though gentle edition of the tale. It's 1927 and Dujardin, as matinee idol George Valentin, finds that his glorious career is suddenly a shambles thanks to the introduction of sound. This innovation in movies brings along with it a desire for new stars, and studio boss John Goodman is happy to provide them. During a chance meeting during the premiere of his last great success, George has accidentally met and fallen instantly for Peppy Miller (Bejo), whose moniker perfectly describes her zippy personality. In true A Star Is Born fashion, his career decline mirrors her rise. By 1932, broke, drunk, with even his loyal chauffeur (James Cromwell) gone and only his faithful pooch for company, George is near the end of his rope when Peppy reappears, offering a happy resolution to his career doldrums.

Dujardin, who may be familiar to audiences as the star of two French James Bond spy thriller send-ups (also directed by Hazanavicius) has the perfect matinee-idol good looks, happy-go-lucky grin, pixilated exhilaration of the period and the slapstick timing of Harold Lloyd. In addiiton, Bejo captures some of the innocent flirtation of the flapper stars like Anita Page and Ruby Keeler (rather than Crawford, who always seemed a little too knowing, even at the outset of her career). The affectionate tone, reminiscent of Singin' in the Rain, never falters and, not surprisingly, the cinematography of Guillame Schiffman and Ludovic Bource's music score are essential components to the movie's zippy impact.

Hazanavicius has avoided the gimmicky traps a modern-day silent movie might imply. He and his talented cast and crew have, instead, wrought a movie that flickers with the intensity of some of those enduring silent classics that inspired it—and to which, if I don't miss my guess, it will join in that esteemed category.

The same energy is apparent at the outset of The Adventures of Tintin, director Steven Spielberg's latest action-adventure picture that also looks to Golden Age Hollywood for its inspiration. The movie, based on the comic books of the Belgian artist Herge, date back to 1929; for Spielberg, with his enthusiasm for Saturday-morning serials (previously explored in the Indiana Jones series), that must have proven irresistible. He has assembled his usual crack team and delivered a movie that utilizes the stop-motion animation technique with admirable results. It's basically an extended, animated variation on the Young Indiana Jones TV show, with much of that series' vibrancy and innocence.

The movie follows Tintin (voiced with assurance by Jamie Bell), a young (he looks to be about 19) investigative journalist who gets involved in an ever-spiraling web of mystery and intrigue. Accompanied by his faithful canine companion Snowy, Tintin is quickly immersed on a quest for buried treasure. Chased by master criminal Sakharine (voiced by Daniel Craig) and his henchmen, Tintin eventually picks up another accomplice to help him, the drunken sea captain Haddock (voiced by Andy Serkis).

The arrival of Haddock, with his thick Scottish brogue (which wears thin very quickly) and annoying drunken tantrums, has the effect of stopping the picture cold, and his arrival is also accompanied by one endless action set piece after another. Spielberg just can't seem to help himself and as the action sequences accumulate without a respite between, what had been a bracing, adventure yarn for kids of all ages descends into a charmless, increasingly chaotic last half that leaves you feeling pummeled rather than enervated.

Film note:

—New Year's Eve for Movie Lovers: Get ready to set sail for the 4th annual Camp Midnight presentation of the camptacular disaster flick, 1972's The Poseidon Adventure on Sunday, December 31 at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport). This year, as in the past, Dick O'Day (my alter ego) will bravely captain our film going passengers on a pre-show voyage (beginning at 11 p.m.) that includes party favors, a champagne toast, comp drink ticket, '70s cruisewear costume contest (with prizes), and an interactive screening guide. As always, I'll be joined by David Cerda, artistic director of Handbag Productions, to provide running commentary throughout the film along with members of the Handbag theatrical troupe.

The screening of the film will be timed so that theater patrons and their celluloid counterparts will celebrate midnight at the exact same time. It will also feature original bonus material that Hell in a Handbag created. Also, we must be doing something right because a certain venue in Arizona has copied each campy element of our fabu-lush event for its own rip off Poseidon NYE although, unfortunately, they'll have to do without our inspired invective and creative sartorial splendor, not to mention our unique tackiness. www.musicboxtheatre.com

Check out my archived reviews at www.windycitymediagroup.com or www.knightatthemovies.com . Readers can leave feedback at the latter website.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Reeling LGBTQ film festival announces Sept. 21-28 lineup 2017-08-18
George Takei in Chicago on Sept. 7 2017-08-16
BLACK ALPHABET FILM FESTIVAL Jewel Thais-Williams and nightclub subject of documentary 2017-08-16
Ken Burns to discuss 'Vietnam War' Sept. 7 2017-08-16
Reeling film festival returns Sept. 21-28 2017-08-16
Manolo Blahnik film out Sept. 22 2017-08-16
MOVIES Filmmakers discuss documentary about Ferguson uprising 2017-08-09
Showbiz news: Lady Gaga, Patti LaBelle, 'The L Word,' Louis Tomlinson 2017-08-08
Ken Burns here to screen The Vietnam War Sept. 7 2017-08-05
tello Films first lesbian network to receive Emmy nomination 2017-08-03
Showbiz news: Kerry Washington, 'Magic Mike,' Jinkx Monsoon, Ricky Martin 2017-08-02
Black Alphabet Film Festival Aug. 18-19 2017-08-02
Cinema/Chicago honors Jane Fonda 2017-07-31
FILM REVIEW Atomic Blonde 2017-07-30
Black Alphabet Film Festival reigniting in 2017 return 2017-07-26
MOVIES Jane Fonda adding film-festival honor to accolades 2017-07-26
Mirza film wins Outfest award 2017-07-26
Showbiz: Princess Di, 'Moonlight,' Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Lopez 2017-07-25
MOVIES Jenny Slate, Gillian Robespierre ring a 'Landline' 2017-07-22
New sitcom stars transgender actors 2017-07-19
SHOWBIZ Thomas Dekker, Linda Perry, Chippendales, Mariah Carey 2017-07-18
Showbiz: Archie Comics, Britney Spears, Andrew Garfield, rapper's lyrics 2017-07-11
Tribute to Jane Fonda to take place July 29 2017-07-10
Trans-focused doc has funding campaign 2017-07-06
Studio responsibility index released 2017-07-05
Entertainment news: Sir Ian McKellen, 'Sense8,' Ryan Murphy, Halsey 2017-07-05
'Lives: Visible' film June 28 at Siskel 2017-06-28
Entertainment news: Ryan Phillippe, Queen Latifah, Glenn Close, Ricky Martin 2017-06-27
'Lives: Visible' film June 23, 28 at Siskel 2017-06-21
Gender JUST double feature June 23 2017-06-21
Entertainment news: Male model comes out, Laverne Cox, Mariah Carey 2017-06-20
The Naked Truth: China Queer film looks at being queer in China June 26 2017-06-17
Queer Film Society series in June 2017-06-13
MOVIES Matt Wolf aims to tell Bayard Rustin's story 2017-06-13
MOVIES Oscar winner Rachel Weisz: On new role, LGBT films 2017-06-13
Entertainment: Cher, Wanda Sykes, 'Guardians' star, Scissor Sisters 2017-06-13
MOVIES 'Real Boy' spotlights transgender boy's family journey 2017-06-13
TELEVISION Harry Shum Jr. talks motivation, 'Shadowhunters' 2017-06-13
Lives:Visible lesbian film at Siskel June 23, 28 2017-06-07
'America in Transition' breaks convention, crosses boundaries 2017-06-07
 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.