Martin Scorsese approaches Hugo, his delightfully inventive adaptation of Brian Selznick’s elaborately illustrated children’s novel, with a profound sense of wonder, and the feeling is contagious.
Here, in the bittersweet saga of a clockmaker’s orphaned son who reconnects with his father through the earliest machinery of cinema, we find one of the director’s most personal stories to date, a love letter not only to his craft, but also to one of its earliest innovators, Georges Méliès.
Maybe this is how the world ends – not with a bang but a wheeze. Paranoia seems almost sensible under certain circumstances – a late-night stroll through a dark, deserted alley, perhaps – but what about riding the bus to work, where killers could be sitting beside us, polluting our space with their germs?
After five successful collaborations including Che: Part Two (2008), the corporate whistleblower comedy The Informant! (2009) and the star-studded Ocean's Eleven trilogy, director Steven Soderbergh and Matt Damon will reteam for the upcoming thriller Contagion, about a team of doctors hired by the Center for Disease Control to prevent the outbreak of a lethal virus. Better yet, Damon, along with co-stars Kate Winslet and Jude Law, will be filming their latest adventure in San Francisco, starting Feb. 9.
Miguel Sapochnik’s love letter to American health care and the subprime lenders who felled the country’s economy takes us 20 years into a bleak, bloody future where artificial organs are sold at a premium ($600,000 for a synthetic heart) and reclaimed by knife-wielding thugs once clients default on their payments.
Remy (Jude Law) is one of those thugs, coldly carving up the hopeless saps whose bodies are essentially on loan from his employer, the Union Corporation. He is unmoved by the grislier aspects of his work, perhaps because he buys so readily into the company credo. “You’re not taking a life,” his boss (a smugly soulless Liev Schreiber) explains. “You’re keeping the Union viable so we can continue to give it.”
One of the year's best films arrives this weekend in the form of Hot Tub Time Machine, a delightfully inane, raunchy comedy that puts the movies it will inevitably be compared to – last year's The Hangover, for instance – to shame. Elsewhere:
The weekend forecast calls for cloudy skies and scattered showers, but you can always take refuge at the city's indie theaters, where Peter Jackson's Lovely Bones makes its long-awaited debut and former Saturday Night Live star Chris Rock investigates the lifestyles of the rich and follically fashionable.
January is traditionally a time for Hollywood studios to empty their storage lockers, tossing out the trash (like last winter's Bride Wars) and dusting off movies previously unreleased due to scheduling conflicts. No matter. The city's indie theaters remain a premier destination for cinephiles in search of top-flight documentaries (What's the Matter with Kansas?), cheerfully twisted fantasies (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) and Oscar front-runners like The Hurt Locker and A Serious Man.
You’ve got to admire Terry Gilliam even when his madcap experiments shatter the test tubes. The former Python is the ultimate independent filmmaker. He has worked within the studio system before, often frustrating the moneymen, but you get the feeling he’d rather burn the negatives than conform to their whims. He is not, as they say, a company man.
Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes is Brokeback Mountain without the sex and depth of emotion, the story of two thrill-seekers who would rather be with each other than just about anywhere else.
Neither acknowledges it explicitly, perhaps because doing so would push Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic investigators too far down a road Ritchie was reluctant to travel. But between Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. Watson (Jude Law) there exists a bond that supersedes ordinary friendship, an affection conveyed in knowing glances and in the subtext of their droll repartee.