When news broke that the James Bond film franchise was set to make it to film 25, to put it bluntly, I didn’t care. Good for all the longtime fans, but I’ll take a pass. However, should the next two installments be anything like “Skyfall,” bring on the Bond!
When James Bond’s (Daniel Craig) mission in Istanbul goes awry, a hard drive containing the identities of embedded agents winds up in enemy hands. The incident leads Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), the new Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, to insist on M’s (Judi Dench) retirement. She sticks to her guns and vows to recover the drive, but when MI6 is bombed, M comes to realize she’s got no one to trust – except Bond. Bond returns, but in a subpar state, off his game both mentally and physically. However, this is 007 we’re talking about and he’s got just enough juice left to take on the culprit, the sadistic Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem).
As someone without a long-term love of the 007 franchise, the Daniel Craig iterations of the series were just any old spy movies. Yes, “Casino Royale” is superior to the lot, but without having grown up on the Bond movies, there’s never been a reason to have an emotional stake in the character – until now.
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What better way to spend the most magical time of year than by seeing a particularly magical and inspiring movie? No, this isn’t a review – that you can find right here – but there’s really no way to talk about Hugo without being swept right back up by that incredible adventure.
Based on Brian Selznick’s book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo tells the tale of a young orphan named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) who keeps the clocks running in a 1930s Paris train station by day and tries to finish his deceased father’s work by night, restoring an old automaton. In attempt to find the pieces to fix the elaborate machine, Hugo targets Georges Méliès’ (Sir Ben Kingsley) train station toy stand. And yes, that’s Georges Méliès as in the iconic filmmaker of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Méliès catches Hugo in the act and after finding some stolen goods and Hugo’s notebook of automaton instructions, rather than merely reprimand him, Méliès is so distressed by his findings he takes and threatens to burn Hugo’s notebook. However, with the help of Méliès’ goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), Hugo not only comes closer to fixing the automaton, but fixing Méliès, too.
In honor of Hugo’s November 23rd release, a large portion of the gang assembled for a press conference. Producer Graham King, screenwriter John Logan, the station inspector Sacha Baron Cohen, Lisette the flower shop owner Emily Mortimer, Moretz, Butterfield, Kingsley and novelist Brian Selznick all came out to talk about working with Scorsese, dabbling in film history while making a film and so much more. Check out some of the highlights in the transcription below.
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Part of the beauty of filmmaking, is the ability to transport viewers to another reality. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, filmmaker Georges Méliès seized the opportunity to put stop tricks and painted film cells to use, combining his skills as a magician and filmmaker to, quite literally, bring dreams to life. Ultimately, we’re still doing the very same thing today, but with the wildly advanced technology and more thorough understanding of storytelling, director Martin Scorsese has created one of the most successful attempts at bringing an audience into the movie with Hugo.
It’s the 1930s in Paris, France. After losing his father (Jude Law) in a terrible fire, young Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is forced to live with his only relative, his uncle, Claude (Ray Winstone). A far from responsible drunk, Claude pulls Hugo out of school and shows him the ropes at work, teaching Hugo to keep the clocks running at a Paris train station. And it’s a good thing, too, because when Claude leaves Hugo to his lonesome, it’s up to Hugo to keep things timely.
When he isn’t tending to his train station duties, Hugo is hard at work at the one thing his father left behind, an automaton. Hugo regularly snatches up food and milk from the train station vendors and also frequents grumpy old Georges Méliès’ (Ben Kingsley) toy stand, a place prime for automaton part collecting. When Méliès catches Hugo in the act, he demands the boy empty his pockets. Amidst the usual mess of rogue toy parts is a notebook with automaton drawings and instructions that oddly rub Méliès the wrong way. When Méliès takes Hugo’s precious notebook, Hugo turns to Méliès’ goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), for help and the two discover they have a lot to offer one another, Isabelle helping Hugo get his automaton up and running and Hugo giving Isabelle a taste of adventure.
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After ten years and seven films, it’s a near impossible task to wrap up the Harry Potter franchise. As someone who’s never read the books, I sat down for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 expecting to say goodbye to the gang in their graves or living happily ever after. Ultimately, the piece does find an appropriate spot on that spectrum, making for a great series conclusion. Then again, that’s great as compared to something that I hoped would be excellent – just short of excellent that is.
Harry, Ron and Hermione (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson) are back and in the midst of their Horcrux hunt. With Griphook (Warwick Davis) the goblin’s reluctant assistance, the trio infiltrates Bellatrix Lestrange’s (Helena Bonham Carter) vault at Gringotts where they suspect yet another Horcrux containing a piece of Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) soul hides. From there, it’s on to track down and destroy the remaining items, both of which are suspected to be at Hogwarts.
The trio arrives back at school to find Snape (Alan Rickman) has assumed the late Albus Dumbledore’s (Michael Gambon) position. Once Harry arrives, Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith), Neville (Matthew Lewis), Ginny (Bonnie Wright) and all of his old Hogwarts pals abandon their efforts to simply submit to their new headmaster’s oppressive regime and join Harry to fight back. Soon thereafter, Voldemort arrives, massive army in tow, and the Battle of Hogwarts begins.
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