Tag Archives: Jean Dujardin

The Artist (2011) Review

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The Artist

Time: 100 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Jean Dujardin as George Valentin
Bérénice Bejo as Peppy Miller
Director: Brian Helgeland

Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) falls in love with the silent film star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin). Things change when Peppy becomes a famous actor while George’s career goes downhill with the introduction of talkies.

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The Artist is one of the odder and more forgotten movies to win Best Picture in recent years. It’s been known as the black and white silent movie that won best film, but that’s kind of it. The Artist was actually the first silent film I watched (currently the only one I’ve seen), it was some years ago, and I wanted to rewatch it to be sure about how I felt about it. I still liked the movie almost as much as when I first saw it, but I began to notice some flaws on a second viewing.

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The Artist is yet another one of those “love letter to Hollywood” movies. In this case, it is about the transition from silent films to ‘talky’ movies. While it’s not the first time that a movie has been made about this period, it’s not a bad idea, and in fact going the approach of actually being a silent film instead of only tributing them definitely made it stand out more. With this being a silent movie, much of the storytelling is visual, and have dialogue cards during speaking parts, although to their credit actually have some restraint when it comes to using the cards and don’t have them every time people talk. The movie has its slower and drawn out sections as expected, this being a silent movie and all. Now for all the praise I have for the movie, unfortunately I can’t say that it’s better than just decent. Ultimately when I think back to this movie, I remember the direction, the style and the visuals much more so than the story or characters. Now I’m not going to hold too much against the movie for not being something its not, but I was hoping for slightly more depth than what we got here. If you strip away all the silent movie aspects with the storytelling, you find that at its core, it is a conventional and familiar story about times changing in Hollywood. It definitely romanticises the era, and while that’s not inherently bad, I feel like if it was on the slightly more realistic side of things it might’ve stood out more. Now I should say that at this point that being a silent movie isn’t used as a gimmick, there was clearly a lot of love and passion put into this film. I just feel it could’ve gone further and been a little better. I will also say that some of the novelty does wear off on a repeat viewing, I still liked it quite a bit though.

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The cast are good on their parts. You don’t get to hear their voices, so like silent film stars pre 1930s, they had to convey a lot through exaggerated body language and facial expressions (while accompanied with subtitle cards), and they did that well. Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo are both great in the lead roles, and share quite a lot of great chemistry together. There’s a number of supporting actors like John Goodman, James Cromwell and Penelope Ann Miller who do well in their roles.

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This is the only film I’ve seen from Michel Hazanavicius, but he’s directed this quite well. With this being a silent movie, there was a lot of attention to detail to get the look and feel of everything just right. It’s black and white and used the 4:3 screen ratio typically used in the silent era, as expected, and it’s overall a stunning looking movie. The production design and the costumes match the 20s and 30s era effectively. Sound (and the lack of it) plays a huge part in this movie, as you would expect. It’s a silent movie about silent movies, and it tributes them rather nicely overall. There’s a standout scene where Jean Dujardin’s character has a nightmare where there are audible sounds that he and the audience can hear (in contrast to the lack of audible sound in the rest of the movie) but his voice can’t be heard at all. If anything I wish the rest of the movie had that level of creativity and level of experimental factor all the way through the movie instead of it being ultimately a silent movie about silent movies (nothing bad about that though). The musical score composed by Ludovic Bource is great, it was very key to making much of the film working as well as it did

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The Artist is an interesting experiment of a movie for sure, and there are undeniably a lot of great things, from the direction to the acting. However it unfortunately doesn’t leave that much of an impact beyond that, especially with its unfortunately shallow story, and looking at it on the whole, it feels a little empty. With that said, I still think it’s a pretty good movie. If you’ve never seen a silent movie but want a gateway to them, then The Artist may be what you are looking for. Despite its issues, I do think it’s worth checking out at some point.

 

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) Review

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

The Wolf of Wall Street
Time: 180 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Drug use, sex scenes and offensive language
Cast:
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort
Jonah Hill as Donnie Azoff
Margot Robbie as Naomi Lapaglia
Matthew McConaughey as Mark Hanna
Kyle Chandler as Patrick Denham
Rob Reiner as Max Belfort
Jon Bernthal as Brad Bodnick
Jon Favreau as Manny Riskin
Jean Dujardin as Jean-Jacques Saurel
Director: Martin Scorsese

Based on a true story, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) teamed with his partner Donny Azoff (Jonah Hill) in the early 1990s and started the brokerage firm Stratford-Oakmont. Their company’s status quickly grows in the trading community and Wall Street. As their status grows, so do the amount of substances they abuse, and so do their lies which would overall result in their downfall.

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Martin Scorsese is one of my favourite directors of all time, and when I heard of his new movie The Wolf of Wall Street I was eagerly anticipating it. Now that I’ve finally seen it, I can say that it didn’t disappoint, I absolutely loved it. Under Martin Scorsese’s direction, the film excels in everything, from the excellent acting from everyone to Terrence Winter’s brilliant dark comedic script which overall results in an overall unforgettable ride.

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At 3 hours this is Scorsese’s longest movie but it never lets up in being entertaining. The film has a very similar feel to Scorsese’s Goodfellas and Casino, such as the narration by Jordan Belfort which makes you feel like you are on a ride with him through his many adventures. This movie is also very funny, whether it be people tripping out on drugs or having parties in the office. Martin Scorsese hasn’t done comedies before but he really did a great job with portraying Terrence Winter’s dark comedy. This movie isn’t for everyone though. There is a lot of sex in this movie. If you are going see this movie with someone, make sure you really know if you’ll be comfortable seeing it with them because so far this is the most amount of sex I’ve seen in a movie. There is also a thought that these people are being glorified and their actions condoned. That isn’t the case, it shows them living glorious lifestyles but the final act shows their downfall. Also, these characters are never really portrayed as being likable, in fact they are quite reprehensible. I like that about this movie, it never sanitises anything, and Scorsese knows how to creates movies around reprehensible characters.

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Leonardo DiCaprio is outstanding in this movie, in fact I think that this might is his best performance of his career. Jordan Belfort in this movie goes from many emotions which enables DiCaprio to portray his (literal and figurative) highs and lows. A shining example of his great performance is a scene where dated Quaaludes Lemmons have an effect on him. Also brilliant is Jonah Hill, in probably his best performance to date. Matthew McConaughey is only in a couple scenes in the movie but he absolutely steals those scenes. There is also a breakthrough performance by Margot Robbie, as Belfort’s second wife who’s really great in the time that she’s on screen. Everyone else like Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, etc. nail their parts as well, there is no actor who’s out of place in this movie.

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This is a Martin Scorsese movie so as you can expect, the cinematography is top notch. The editing was also great, being fast based and quite a lot like Goodfellas and Casino, along with narration throughout the entire movie which really gives an insight in Belfort’s inner thoughts. The soundtrack is also very well picked, with music from artists like Billy Joel to Devo.

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The Wolf of Wall Street is a brilliant movie and I personally think that it is one of Martin Scorsese’s finest films to date. I will say that the movie is not for everyone, with the sex, drugs and the less than likable characters. However for those who are able to go in with an open mind, it is a brilliant film that is enthralling from start to finish. It’s in my opinion the best movie released in 2013 and one of my new favourite movies.