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Movie Review: Hugo

Alternate Title: Dream Catcher

Story: What a treat. I was enchanted from the first frame right through the credits. It is another film devoted to the art of cinema (see my review of The Artist) that wins my heart. It is lovingly directed by Martin Scorsese and written by John Logan. It is based on the illustrated historical novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” by Brian Selznick.

It is 1930's Paris. Hugo, an orphan boy, unbeknownst to all, lives in the back rooms and hidden passages of a huge train station while maintaining the gears and mechanisms of the giant clocks - a craft learned thru his deceased father and absent uncle. He longs for a family, a life and to belong. Hugo's hobby is trying to fix an automaton his father and he were working on at the time of his death. He is caught stealing parts for his automaton by a train station shopkeeper, who turns out to be the famous film maker Georges Melies. Melies' young ward, manages to befriend Hugo and their adventures begin.

Can young Hugo be helped? Can the automaton be fixed? Will Melies ever smile again?

These stories on the surface are appealing but what I found most enthralling was Scorsese's homage to the cinema. Scorsese manages to use the most modern of film making techniques, 3D, to make a movie about the beginnings of the art form. Brilliant!

This movie was entertaining, transporting, heartfelt and rich on spirit. Go see it and have some cinematic fun. By the way - I am not a big fan of 3D but I did not mind it as Scorses uses it here.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfjtjpZTISo

Check out a short clip from the 1902 George Melies' Trip to the Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dTVfSJoj04

Acting: Asa Butterfield as Hugo Cabret is wonderful. I think this little boy has a long career ahead of him. Ben Kingsley as Pappa Georges/Georges Méliès is, as always, terrific.Chloë Grace Moretz as Isabelle was delightful. Sacha Baron Cohen as the Station Inspector was perfect. The rest of the cast was terrific as well, including, Ray Winstone (Uncle Claude), Emily Mortimer (Lisette), Helen McCrory (Mama Jeanne), Christopher Lee (Monsieur Labisse), Michael Stuhlbarg (René Tabard), Frances de la Tour (Madame Emilie), Richard Griffiths (Monsieur Frick) and Jude Law (Hugo’s Father).

Predilection: I like Scorsese films.

Trivia: Chloë Grace Moretz starred in the movie Let Me In as "Abbey", a 12-year-old vampire who befriends and protects a 12-year- old boy named "Owen". Asa Butterfield is an English actor, best known for starring in the Holocaust film The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, as Norman in the 2010 film Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang. He will also be portraying Ender Wiggin in the upcoming film adaptation of the science fiction novel Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Georges Méliès (8 December 1861 – 21 January 1938), was a French filmmaker famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest cinema. He was very innovative in the use of special effects. He accidentally discovered the stop trick, or substitution, in 1896, and was one of the first filmmakers to use multiple exposures, time-lapse photography, dissolves, and hand-painted color in his films. Because of his ability to seemingly manipulate and transform reality through cinematography, Méliès is sometimes referred to as the First "Cinemagician".

Critters: A very energetic doberman and two adorable dachshunds.

Food: Croissants, bread, espresso.

Sex Spectrum: None

Opening Titles: There is an almost dialogue-less lengthy opening passage that will delight on and all and then simply the title of the film. The rest of the credits are at the end.

Visual Art: Stunning visuals throughout.

Theater Audience: There were about 30 other people in a very early Sunday morning showing.

Weather: Winter in Paris is beautiful.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Yes

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure.

Length: A smidgen over two hours.