Actually, this has been going on for a while this year--last year was this kind of weird panicked hermity year with pretty much no taking advantage of any of the local stuff, and lots of flailing about. This year, there's been a real focus on getting out and about, doing a bunch of holiday things, etc.
This week has been .
A lot of the time, there are these PLANS to go the movies-- there are specific movies I really want to see, or that look interesting, and somehow, it never works out to actually go to the movies. This is one of the big reasons why I really miss the dollar theater up in Raleigh; it had second-run movies, which basically meant that if you missed something, you had another chance to catch it. Here, I keep kind of not paying attention to the movie schedule, and for some reason the college doesn't seem to have a film club or anything like that (baffling). So I keep thinking, "Oh, I want to see that," and then before I can actually make plans, it's gone.
This week, post-Oscars, I was DETERMINED that there would be movies. Specifically, I was determined that we would go see 'The Artist', because how often is there an amazing black-and-white silent film which is really a love letter to the film industry and wins Best Picture (first silent winner since 1927!), and 'Hugo', because, well, amazingness and Scorcese and Sir Ben Kingsley and really spectacular-looking cinematography.
This was also a great chance to start checking out local movie theaters. There's a Cinnebarre nearby, which has $5 Tuesdays, and was showing "The Artist"-- and it turned out that a local art-and-independent theater was continuing to play "Hugo" through next weekend.
I adored both of them, and am SO happy that I got a chance to see them in an actual theater, with a giant screen and, well, the atmosphere of seeing films (especially since a big theme in both of them is, well, the cinema, and the history of the movies).
Thoughts on the individual films:
The thing about having a modern-day black-and-white film is that the picture is so sharp when compared with a lot of older films. That's not the most important thing, but it's something that's really noticeable right away, if that makes sense. There's also a great cast, with lots of actors that you know, playing secondary roles-- which, since it's a silent film, it's somehow harder to spot them in, because they're not talking.
The film as a whole is amazingly clever about being a silent film, and being a film that really plays with the visuals, and sometimes even the sound cards (there's one very notable example, where they actually play a trick on the audience by using the sound cards). The very start of the film involves George Valentin (silent film heartthrob) and his new film... and the first sound card, the first bit of dialogue that you get, is his character in that film saying, "I won't do it! I won't talk!" He's being interrogated by the Evil Villains, of course, but it's a line that really sets the tone for the rest of the film, from the moment when the first sound test is shown to where things go from there (in a nice reference to "Singing in the Rain," I suspect that the lady who is shown doing the sound test has a really horrible voice, contributing to the hero's reaction to the concept of sound in films as something nobody will possibly want). There are also lots of plays with movie titles in the background, on posters and marquees, being comments on what's going on in the scene.
I love the wardrobes in the film, and how the heroine gets fancier and fancier as her career takes off, and how the hero ends up in older, rumpled clothes (the wardrobe folks apparently made the clothes for him in the later scenes a size or so too big, to make it look like he's sort of shrunk).
The relationship between the two main characters is really beautifully done; it's so sweet, and so clear that they are immediately smitten (but can't do anything about it-- he's married, and he's not going to be unfaithful, she's not going to do anything about it either, etc.). The larger plot also fits really well into the history of the cinema. And, of course, happy endings all round ftw. <3 <3 <3
Not to mention, the dog is fantastic.
And then, today, a day of rain and.... um... well, more rain, really, I was completely "Hugo! Hugo! Hugoooo!" and guardantares was perfectly okay with this.
It was over in the independent art/festival/foreign films/etc. theater, which neither of us had ever been to, and which I am very excited about going to again, because it's very pretty, and it's got proper real popcorn and even gelato from the amazing gelato place. The theater itself was tiny-- it was the small theater of the multiplex, and you got there by going through another theater (so you had to wait until that film was out, of course), and then into the theater we were actually going to.
The thing is, we were let into the theater at pretty much exactly the very minute the movie was supposed to be starting at... so there were no previews. There was just HI HERE IS YOUR MOVIE LOOK AT THE AMAZING SCENE OF PARIS AS THE CAMERA SWOOPS AROUND AND THERE ARE TRAINS.
Me: Movie! The movie is starting! Hey, hello, people, MOVIE, sit down and be quiet and also be quiet!
Fortunately, this was happily one of those movies that completely draws you in and you just sit there raptly and are completely absorbed in the story. <3 <3 <3
It's this beautifully-filmed, really beautiful story, about a boy who lives in a train station, and a man who has a Secret Past (who is actually based on an actual Secret Film Past-Having Guy), and one of these wonderful book-obsessed post-Hermione sorts of girls who is allowed to be smart and clever and her own character, and a really excellent cast (Christopher Lee! Sir Ben Kingsley! Various other people!). The ways the different stories come together is exceptionally well-done, too.
Anyway, loved both of them; highly recommend them both. Don't want to say too much, because, well, spoilers, and go see them when you get a chance!
And, of course, love and Parisian train stations and beautiful cinematography means now I want to go watch "Amelie"...