I went to the movies this afternoon, and when I got home, hubby had just popped in a DVD, and I really enjoyed both films.
At the theater, I saw “The Artist.” I’ve been wanting to see it since I saw the first trailer, months ago, and of course now it’s got 10 Academy Award nominations and a ton of awards, which I can now say with certainty are all well deserved.
“The Artist” is a (mostly) silent movie about actor George Valentin, a silent film star whose world begins to crumble with the arrival of talking pictures. The film uses a few title cards here and there for exposition and dialogue, but it’s usually not needed. I understood the story through body language and a little lip-reading. I really loved how director Michel Hazanavicius used appropriate movie titles on posters and marquees in the background to reflect the emotion of the scene. For example, when up-and-coming actress Peppy Miller visits George’s dressing room, a poster for George’s film “The Thief of Her Heart” is hanging on the wall, because he has stolen her heart. The score by Ludovic Bource is sheer perfection. “The Artist” is a touching, funny, heart-wrenching homage to a bygone era in Hollywoodland.
The DVD we just finished watching is “The Watchmen,” based on the edgy and ground-breaking comic book written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. I remember going to one of the World Science Fiction Conventions in the late ’80s and a “Watchmen” film came up as a possibility or suggestion, and everyone was oohing excitedly. I’ve never read the comic. My husband read it when it came out and liked it, except for the ending.
So, we watched the movie for the first time, and we thought it was good. I felt, and I think Tim did too, that the style of the film sometimes got in the way of the story. They were rigidly trying to adhere to the look of the comic book panels (I should mention that Alan Moore had his name kept off the film, but artist Dave Gibbons is credited). We both felt it was a little slow-paced. That said, the story is good, the acting is good, the music is good – particularly the use of ’80s and earlier music to set the tone. I must point out the oddest use of music was in a scene between a bunch of big businessmen and one of the superheroes – “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” was playing in the background; I’m not sure if it was supposed to be Musak or the instrumental beginning of the song, but I don’t recall hearing any lyrics, and if you don’t know the song, you’ll never realize what it is, but it’s the perfect song for the scene. The filmmakers changed one of the aspects of the ending that Tim hated, by dumping the electric blue squid that appears to come eat people. From his description, I must admit, it sounds like they did the best thing.
I highly recommend “The Artist,” and if you like an alternate history-political & social commentary-superhero-action movie, I think you’ll enjoy “Watchmen.”