35 year old Emmy-winner Malek is set to play the iconic rock frontman in 'Bohemian Rhapsody' when it finally begins filming next year.
The 35 year old star, who won an Emmy for his role as the troubled hacker Elliot Alderson in ‘Mr. Robot’, is to play the late rock icon in a biopic movie that’s set to be directed by X-Men’s Bryan Singer, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Singer himself confirmed the news of his and Malek’s involvement via his own Instagram account on Friday night (November 4th), sharing a photo of the four Queen members’ faces as they appear in the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ video.
Continue reading: 'Mr Robot' Star Rami Malek To Portray Freddie Mercury In Queen Biopic
This much more light-hearted sequel reinvigorates the franchise after Disney's quirky but murky 2010 reboot of Lewis Carroll's classic, which sent the heroine into Underland (not Wonderland) for a dark adventure that spiralled into a Lord of the Rings-scale battle. Thankfully this time the odyssey remains personal, centred on lively characters rather than overwrought plotting. And Alice's time-travelling quest is both pointed and engaging.
After captaining her late father's ship on a global journey, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to 1875 London to bad news: her mother (Lindsay Duncan) has made decisions that take her future out of her hands. As she struggles to respond, she is summoned back to Underland to help her friend Hatter (Johnny Depp), who is emotionally devastated by the fact that his entire family has been killed. So Alice decides to help by confronting Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) and stealing a device that will allow her to travel back to help the younger Hatter. But she also becomes entangled in the early life of the White and Red Queens (Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway), and the feud that grew between them as young sisters. Meanwhile, Time is terrified that Alice is unravelling the fabric of reality.
The emotional nature of Alice's mission adds a surprising layer of suspense to the entire film, while director James Bobin (The Muppets) adds a breezy comical tone to Tim Burton's stunningly visual designs. Some of the more wacky flourishes don't quite work (such as the "sea of time" imagery or Time's hand-powered vehicle), but the film more than makes up for these with wonderful character details. This lets the actors relax into their roles while cranking up the surreal touches. Wasikowska is great as the plucky heroine fighting for her right to control her own life, a strong point that's made without preaching.
Continue reading: Alice Through The Looking Glass Review
Sacha Baron Cohen - Sasha Baron Cohen arriving at Berlin Tegel airport with a currywurst and beer in his hand to promote his latest movie Grimsby. at Berlin Tegel airport - Berlin, Germany - Tuesday 23rd February 2016
Sacha Baron Cohen , Isla Fisher - EE British Academy Film Awards 2016 (BAFTAs) held at Royal Opera House - Arrivals at Covent Garden, British Academy Film Awards - London, United Kingdom - Monday 15th February 2016
Sacha Baron Cohen , Isla Fisher - EE British Academy Film Awards 2016 (BAFTAs) held at the Royal Opera House - Arrivals at British Academy Film Awards - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 14th February 2016
The legend of San Diego's Channel 4 news team may have long since dissolved over the years, but anchors Ron Burgundy, Brian Fantana, Brick Tamland and Champ Kind are set to return as part of a brand new 24-hour news channel. In a bid to innovate newsreading and once again come out on top over Ron's wife and rival Veronica, they decide that they're going to give viewers the news they want to hear rather than what they need to. As usual, their antics involve the usual scandal and debauchery, putting their careers and tarnished reputations once again in the media's line of fire. No matter though, as these co-workers have each other's backs all the way.
The bassist has refused to cash in on the death of Freddie Mercury since his passing and continues to do so, according to Brian May
Former Queen bassist John Deacon is apparently having nothing to do with the upcoming biopic of the group's late singer Freddie Mercury as he continues to maintain his exile from the surviving group member's work under the Queen name. According to the group's guitarist Brian May, Deacon has given the script for the film his approval, but wants nothing more to do with the upcoming movie project, or the potential new Queen album rumoured to be in the works.
Mercury will be remembered in the upcoming biopic
"We kinda mourn for John as well as Freddie in a sense," May recently told Rolling Stone. "I do know John's read the script and he's in approval...[But] he just doesn't want to be walking those roads ... He's in his own space and we respect that. It's a shame, because we would love to have him around but he doesn't want to be in that arena anymore."
Continue reading: John Deacon Rules Out Any Involvement In Freddie Mercury Biopic
We're still not absolutely sure this was a joke.
Sacha Baron Cohen was honoured for his contribution to comedy at the weekend's Britannia Awards in LA. The actor, who is most famous for his Ali G and Borat characters, was called to the stage by actress Salma Hayek and a wheelchair-bound elderly lady, introduced as the 87 year-old Grace Collington, the supposed former child star of Charlie Chaplin silent movies.
Sacha Baron Cohen Temporarily Shocked Viewers At The Britannia Awards.
Hayek spoke warmly of Cohen, praising his ability to immerse himself in a role and make his comedy believable and hilarious. Dressed in a sharp suit, he leapt up to collect his award but not before Grace had given a special gift of her own. "This is the cane from City Lights," she said, handing Sacha the iconic hooked cane. The crowd "Aww'd" as the actor took the cane and began to tap dance.
Baron Cohen sent the show to a "flying" start.
It’s that time again – time for actors to appear at their most dignified and respectable for the Britannia awards. Well, some of them, anyway. Not Sacha Baron Cohen, who took the award show, which took place during the weekend as an excellent opportunity for a prank.
Baron Cohen "graced" the stage after an introduction from Salma Hayek.
Cohen took the stage during the early minutes of the awards show to receive his Charlie Chaplin Award for Excellence in Comedy from Grace Cullington – the oldest surviving Chaplin co-star. After the other presenter – Salma Hayek, no less – finished her speech introducing Baron Cohen and the actor had come on stage, he was handed his award by Cullington. It was, according to her, the actual cane that Chaplin had used in the movie “City Lights.” So, naturally, Sacha had to do a little tap dance to test it out. However, the funny moment didn’t go quite as planned, as the cane slipped, Cohen tripped… and he sent Cullington flying offstage, wheelchair and all.
Sacha Baron Cohen makes this year's BAFTA Los Angeles Jaguar Britannia Awards the most memorable yet with the staged death of Grace Collington.
The 'Borat' comedian just can't take a day off, can he? The award-giving for Excellence in Comedy started out so nicely with 'Savages' actress Salma Hayek giving a speech about how brilliantly authentic a comedian and actor Sacha is. "Sacha has consistently demonstrated total fearlessness as an artist", she told the audience. "He has literally risked his life to make us laugh." However, while the star filled audience wiped away their tears, Sacha was concocting a dastardly plan to totally ruin the moment.
On meeting Grace Collington, who appeared in Charlie Chaplin's 'City Lights' in 1931 at the age of 5 and is the oldest living actress to have worked with the star, he accepted the gift of Chaplin's actual cane from the movie and proceeded to test it out with a little tap dance. The spectators' expressions turned from delighted amusement to utter shock in seconds when Sasha proceeded to accidentally push Grace's wheelchair off the stage, apparently leaving her landing flat on her face on the floor motionless.
The comic actor also took home the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award For Excellence In Comedy award
Sacha Baron Cohen not only left the Beverly Hilton with the highest honour awarded for comedy by the BAFTA-LA ‘s annual Britannia Awards, but also left with the audience either still in shock or holding on to their sides with laughter following an inspired practical joke. Los Angeles' British alliance was out in force for the Saturday (9 Nov.) night ceremony, and there were even a few non-Brit Hollywood heavyweights doing their best to pretent to be from the other side of the Atlantic for the awards show.
Sacha Baron Cohen flanked by his wife Isla Fisher [R] and Salma Hayek [L]
Airing on BBC America on Sunday (10 Nov.) night, host Rob Brydon had the job of handling the more raucous than usual crowd, which had plenty to do with Cohen's stunt. It began when Salma Hayek came on stage with an elderly woman to present the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award For Excellence In Comedy award. Confined to a wheelchair, she was identified as Grace Collington, an actress she said appeared with Charlie Chaplin in 1931′s City Lights when she was just 5-years-old. She very believably told the audience, “At 87, she’s the oldest surviving actor to have worked with Chaplin in a silent movie,” at which point Cohen climbed to the stage to accept the honour. The elderly woman presented Cohen with one of Chaplin's trademark canes, at which point Cohen pushed her from the stage and began his acceptance speech as 'Collington' lied motionless on the ground.
The news used to be a noble profession before the likes of Ron Burgundy with his set of San Diego anchors Brian Fantana, Brick Tamland and Champ Kind took over. Now it's all about scandal, debauchery and vulgarity and Burgundy and his team are fighting hard to keep it that way. As per usual, they manage to get themselves in all kinds of trouble involving drugs in the studio, completely inappropriate news headlines, accidental racism (not to mention homophobia) and, of course, getting laid, and it's all in a bid to remain on top of the media as Ron fights his own battle to professionally tower over his wife and rival Veronica.
'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues' is the even more hilarious sequel to 2004's 'Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy'. There's definitely more laughs to be had from everyone's favourite news readers as Judd Apatow ('The 40 Year Old Virgin', 'Knocked Up', 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall') returns to produce it. Director Adam McKay ('Step Brothers', 'The Other Guys', 'Talladega Nights') is also back alongside his co-writer and star Will Ferrell. It is set to feature in cinemas just in time for Christmas, premiering in theatres everywhere on December 20th 2013.
Brian May has opened up about Sacha Baron Cohen's departure from the planned Freddie Mercury biopic, which it seems is almost certainly going to be a sugar-coated love letter to the late Queen singer.
Cohen walked away from the project in July after spending months honing his vocals for the role, however, reports suggested he fell out with may and Roger Taylor of his planned portrayal of Mercury.
Now, speaking with UltimateClassicRock.com, Brian May explained, "In the end, we felt that his [Cohen's] presence in the movie would be very distracting.
Continue reading: Brian May: Sacha Baron Cohen "Distracting" In Freddie Mercury Biopic
The Queen guitarist said that Cohen's exit wasn't prompted by a script dispute, but by the comic actor's larger-than-life persona
The planned biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury's life has been in discussion for three years now, with comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen in line to star as the late singer since the very beginning of the project. The biopic was thrown into disarray in the summer however, when it was reported that Cohen had been booted from the project, with little explanation for his exit. This week, Queen guitarist Brian May looked to shed some light on what happened.
Freddie Mercury is revered as one of the finest rock frontmen of all time
"It's quite difficult to talk about because we owe Sacha a lot," May told Classic Rock in it's latest issue. He went on to say, "He had so much enthusiasm for the project and it really helped us kick it into the start position. But in the end we felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting."
Sure it looks hilariously cringeworthy, but hidden camera embarrassment is hardly new territory.
The trailer has been released for Johnny Knoxville's new movie, Bad Grandpa, in which the Jackass star plays an 86 year-old bad-mannered, shop-lifting, reckless-driving, vandalising, wedding crashing prankster of a Grandfather named Irving Zisman. Unlike previous Jackass movies, the new spin-off with be held together by some continuation of a plot involving two main characters.
'Bad Grandpa' Will Be Released On The 23rd October In The UK & The 25th Oct. In The USA.
The film follows Knoxville's Zisman and his 8 year-old grandson Billy (Jackson Nicholl) as they traverse the country on what is billed as the most crazy hidden camera road trip ever.
Ron Burgundy compares a Dodge Durango's horsepower to that of an actually horse before insulting it and challenging it to a staring contest in the new clip from upcoming 'Anchorman' sequel 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues'.
It was Justin's birthday this weekend and Jen was keen to make sure her hubby had a memorable bash, inviting a whose-who of Hollywood celebs
Amidst reports that their relationship is on the rocks, Jennifer Aniston was on hand to throw one heck of a distraction as she lavished her hubby Justin Theroux with gifts and visits from his famous friends as the actor celebrated his 42nd birthday this weekend.
The couple celebrated Justin's birthday and their one year anniversary as an engaged couple
There was no shortage of celebrity guests either, with famous faces dotted all around Jen and Justin's Bell Air mansion to wish Justin a happy birthday. Although Jen's BFF Courtney Cox couldn't attend the birthday bash, as the actress is reportedly recovering from a broken wrist still, reports state that among the attendees at their Los Angeles home were Ben Stiller, Tobey Maguire and Jason Bateman. Fellow actors Don Cheadle, Will Arnett, Malin Ackerman, Kristen Bell and her fiance Dax Shepard and Isla Fisher and her husband Sacha Baron Cohen were also in attendance, as were comedians Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen DeGeneres and their partners.
Continue reading: Jennifer Aniston Throws Star-Studded Birthday Bash For Justin Theroux
Cohen won't be moving on with the project because of "creative differences"
Sacha Baron Cohen has been rumored to play Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic for a while now, but unfortunately, the plans have fallen through. While the movie appears to be something of a pet project for Cohen, he had to make a graceful exit, due to “creative differences” with the remaining members of Queen.
Cohen won't be adding the biopic to his long list of achievements after all.
According to Deadline, the band wanted more of a PG-13 documentary about the entirety of Queen, while Cohen was hoping to get down and dirty in a tell-all documentary about the iconic singer’s troubled history. He had reportedly brought in Peter Morgan to write and various directors including David Fincher and Tom Hooper to develop the project for himself. Unfortunately, the band did not greenlight any of them for the film. Film is set at Sony Pictures and GK Films and it will be produced by Graham King, Tom Headington, Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal for Queen Films.
No more Baron Cohen as Mercury; we speculate on who could be a suitable replacement.
Sacha Baron Cohen AKA Ali G AKA Borat AKA... you get it, was an example of a truly fitting casting decision when it was announced he'd be playing Freddie Mercury in a biopic about the late Queen lead singer's life, with even Brian May and Roger Taylor on board to contribute a few tunes and make sure the film was headed in the right direction.
Strong-Willed Guitarist Brian May Is On Board For Queen Movie.
It's true, there's few more perfect to play iconic Queen frontman Freddie Mercury than British comic Sacha Baron Cohen: the looks, the eccentricity, the infectious energy and the unquestionably self-confident flair. However, the 41 year-old actor has pulled out of the planned biopic due to "creative differences," confirms Baron Cohen's manager via Variety. According to Deadline, the band were after a more PG-ready film whilst Baron Cohen pushed for a grittier tell-all R-rated version that would take a deeper look at the talented singer's life both on and off the stage.
Who will play the enigmatic frontman now?
Sacha Baron Cohen has reportedly pulled out of playing Freddie Mercury in a film about the Queen frontman due to creative differences with the existing band members, Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor.
Cohen – who found fame with his Ali G character before going global with Borat – wanted to depict Mercury in a more scandalous, adult light, while May and Taylor were more interested in a family friendly picture. And given that the pair are on-board as musical consultants - with script and director approval over the biopic – it was Cohen who had to walk.
“That film had Cohen circling the role,” say Deadline, who first reported the news, “but I’ve just learned he’s now pulled out. The reason is that the band wanted to make more of a PG movie about Queen while Cohen was counting on a gritty R-rated tell-all centered around the gifted gay singer. Given the astonishing physical resemblance, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Freddie but Sacha.”
Continue reading: I’m Out: Sacha Baron Cohen Bails On Freddie Mercury Film
Sacha Baron Cohen wanted to make a gritty film about Freddie Mercury's life with Oscar winning director Tom Hooper. Brian May did not.
Sacha Baron Cohen has left the movie biopic of iconic Queen frontman Freddie Mercury after a disagreement over the direction of the project. Cohen - who bears a dramatic resemblance to the singer - had wanted to make a gritty R-rated drama about the star's life, enlisting David Fincher and Tom Hooper to develop the project.
However - as is always the case with approval of Queen projects - the remaining members of the band were concerned about the movie's potential effect on Mercury's legacy and seemingly wanted to make a sugar-coated PG movie.
According to Deadline.com, the living members of Queen, including Brian May, rejected British writer Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) as the writer, as well as both Fincher (The Social Network) and Hooper (The King's Speech) as directors.
Ron Burgundy, Brian Fantana, Brick Tamland and Champ Kind have now hit the eighties and things are a little different. The legendary San Diego news anchors are now embarking on a different project, as part of a 24 hour news channel, but now they have fresh competition in the form of a young, handsome and well-dressed fellow anchor. Ron continues to put himself in sticky situations, this time involving some awkward racism with his new girlfriend's family during a social occasion among many other things. Will their antics extend beyond their previous capers involving angry bears and mean bikers? Or will the eighties bring with it a more streetwise news bunch? We doubt the latter.
The sequel to 2004's 'Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy' is set to hit our screens soon entitled 'Anchorman: The Legend Continues'. We'll likely be seeing yet more hijinks from one of Hollywood's favourite comedy casts as they return following at massive $85 million gross from the original movie. Produced again by Judd Apatow ('The 40 Year Old Virgin', 'Knocked Up', 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall'), Adam McKay ('Step Brothers', 'The Other Guys', 'Talladega Nights') also makes a return as director and co-writer alongside Will Ferrell. It is scheduled for release in the UK on December 20th 2013.
Ron Burgundy, Brian Fantana, Brick Tamland and Champ Kind return in this hilarious sequel to 2004's 'Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy' which saw Ron land himself a hot girlfriend, get attacked by a bear and have his dog thrown over a bridge by an angry biker. The legendary San Diego news anchors are doubtlessly set to entertain us with more news casting exploits which, according to the latest teaser trailer, will involve 'submachine guns and boobies' and getting 'stinky'. One thing's for sure, it's going to be funnier, weirder and much ruder.
Continue: Anchorman 2 Trailer
Starting at full-emotion and never wavering for a moment, this huge movie adaptation of the long-running stage musical wears us out with its relentlessly epic approach. OK, so neither the musical nor Victor Hugo's source novel could be accused of being understated, but director Hooper (The King's Speech) never even tries to find a moment of quiet feeling here. The result is thrillingly moving, making the most of the soaring anthems that fill the show. But it's also pretty overwhelming.
The story starts in 1815 as convict Jean Valjean (Jackman) finishes 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread. His parole officer Javert (Crowe) vows to keep an eye on him, but Valjean slips away and, after a redemptive encounter with a priest, eventually reinvents himself as an upstanding businessman. He tries to help fallen woman Fantine (Hathaway), rescuing her daughter Cosette (Allen, then Seyfried) from her greedy foster parents (Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter). Years later, Valjean and Cosette move to Paris, where a young revolutionary (Redmayne) falls for Cosette just as the 1832 student uprisings break out. And Javert is still determined to recapture Valjean.
Hooper maintains the play's operatic style, in which the dialog is sung-through in between the big numbers. And we're talking about massively emotional power ballads here, performed to wrenching effect. Hathaway's one-take rendition of I Dreamed a Dream is the kind of breathtaking scene that wins Oscars. Jackman's voice wavers and cracks beautifully as he holds the story together. Marks delivers a belting version of the soulful On My Own. Redmayne nearly steals the show with his soaring tenor voice and wonderful acting chops. Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter provide some raucously overwrought comical relief. And Crowe gets away with Javert's big musical moments because he has the acting power to back up his oddly thin voice.
Continue reading: Les Miserables Review
So, Adam Lambert has finally gone and said what loads of folks were thinking anyway: the cast of Les Miserables aren’t exactly the best singers in Hollywood, so why cast them in a musical? Lambert went to see the new movie adaptation of the successful stage play and posted a string of his own reactions to the movie, on his Twitter feed.
The first of those musings read thus: “Les Mis: Visually impressive w great Emotional performances. But the score suffered massively with great actors PRETENDING to be singers.” And he continued: “...it's an opera. Hollywoods movie musicals treat the singing as the last priority. (Dreamgirls was good).” Lucky Dreamgirls, there, escaping the wrath of Lambert. However, despite denouncing the cast as not being quite up to scratch with their vocal technique, Lambert then backtracked a little (possibly not wanting to burn every showbiz bridge in town) by saying (and later reiterating) that he thought Anne Hathaway’s performance was great, as was Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter.
“Sorry for being harsh but it’s so True!” he tweeted later on, before urging his naysayers to chill out and let him have his opinion, tweeting "OPINIONS!!! We all got em! Keep Calm and Discuss!” What do you think? Has he got a good point? Or is there a touch of the green eyed monster at play here?
Props to the main stars of Les Miserables, they're putting in the effort on the film's run of premieres. Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman and the rest of the cast were all out in force again at the New York City premiere of the novel adaptation less than a week after they'd ran the red carpet gamut in London. What a difference a continent makes, though; whilst across in the UK Hathaway and the rest of the female cast dressed prettily but conservatively, at the Ziegfield Theatre they held nothing back, both Hathaway and Seyfried causing jaws to drop with their outfits.
Instead of developing the characters or situations for comedy gold, the filmmakers instead just crank up the chaos. So while some scenes are both funny and visually impressive, this second sequel is simply too inane to make us hope there will be a part 4. Very young kids may be distracted by the hectic pacing and hyperactive characters, but everyone else will quickly be bored by the nonstop mayhem, simply because there's nothing interesting going on.
Anxious lion Alex (Stiller), chatty zebra Marty (Rock), nerdy giraffe Melman (Schwimmer) and silly hippo Gloria (Smith) are living a Lion King-style existence in Africa, although their only hope for escape has just flown away. Namely, the brainy penguins and their monkey assistants. So our heroes follow them to Monaco, where they all end up on the run from the notorious animal control agent Dubois (McDormand). They run straight into a failing circus, which they set out to bring back to its glory days so they can catch the eye of an American promoter and go home to New York. To do this means working with the current circus acts: sultry cheetah Gia (Chastain), dorky sea lion Stefano (Short) and tetchy tiger Vitaly (Cranston).
The circus premise lets the filmmakers have a lot of visual fun with the characters, most notably in a riotously colourful Cirque du Soleil-on-acid performance in London. But the plot makes no sense at all (if they can get to Monaco, surely they could get to New York, right?), and there are so many new characters that the central quartet feels almost sidelined. Especially since they've also wedged in an under-developed romance for the lemur king (Baron Cohen). Yes, it's all over the place, and being busy is not the same thing as being clever or funny.
Continue reading: Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Review
Jean Valjean was imprisoned in France's Toulin prison for over a decade after stealing a loaf of bread and making several escape attempts. After being paroled, Jean (known as Prisoner 24601) finds himself re-offending and therefore on the run from the uncompromising police inspector Javert who is thoroughly determined to get him back behind bars no matter what. Changing his identity, Jean finds himself at the heart of a revolution known as the June Rebellion in 1832 Paris. Jean eventually becomes a town mayor, while still evading capture, and meets the impoverished Fantine who struggles to care for her illegitimate daughter Cosette. Jean agrees become the child's guardian and brings her up.
Continue: Les Miserables Trailer
And the biting script never pulls its punches, leaping us laughing at the audacity while making a serious point.
Aladeen (Baron Cohen) is the pampered dictator of Wadiya, who travels to New York to tell the UN to stop nosing around his nuclear "energy" plants. But his Uncle Tamir (Kingsley) is plotting to kill him and replace him with a double who will sign a democratic constitution essentially selling the country to oil companies. Aladeen manages to escape, but no one recognises him cleanly shaven, so he teams up with health-food activist Zoey (Faris) and a countryman (Mantzoukas) to get his country back.
Continue reading: The Dictator Review
After escaping to Africa from Madagascar, Alex the lion; Gloria the hippo; Melman the giraffe and Marty the zebra decide it's time to head back to New York once and for all. Unfortunately, they have to rely on the penguins - Skipper; Kowalski; Rico and Private - and the two chimpanzees, Mason and Phil and their combined mechanical knowledge, to get them back home. Nothing can go wrong this time, though, can it?
General Aladeen is the ruler of a country called Wadiya. However, he is not a fair ruler, he is a dictator and his reign over Wadiya becomes cause for concern for the United Nations, who holds a meeting to discuss the future of the country. General Aladeen is told to attend, so he travels to America, determined not to introduce democracy into his country. While in America, he also wanders around in New York and ends up in bed with a shocked Megan Fox.
Continue: The Dictator Trailer
Based on the Brian Selznick novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Scorsese's first family movie combines a young boy's adventure with a cinematic history lesson. It's a celebration of wide-eyed wonder that's a joy to watch, although the title isn't the only thing that's dumbed-down.
In early 1930s Paris, the orphaned Hugo (Butterfield) lives in Montparnasse station, where he scurries through forgotten passageways maintaining the clocks. He learned this skill from his late father (Law), but an automaton they were fixing is his only reminder of his happier childhood. Dodging the tenacious station inspector (Baron Cohen), Hugo worms his way into the life of grouchy shopkeeper Georges (Kingsley), and has a series of adventures with his goddaughter Isabelle (Moretz). When they learn that Georges is forgotten pioneer filmmaker Georges Melies, they decide to help bring him back to life.
Scorsese tells this story with bravura moviemaking trickery, from whooshing tracking shots to wonderfully inventive uses of 3D. He also peppers the screen with witty references to film history from Modern Times to Vertigo, clips from early cinema and flashbacks to the Lumiere brothers' exhibition and Melies' busy studio. Meanwhile, the main plot unfolds with a warmly inviting glow, sharply telling details and a colourful cast of memorable side characters.
Intriguingly, everyone is a bit opaque; like the automaton, the gears turn but we never really understand them.
Butterfield's Hugo may be consumed by an inner yearning, but he's always on guard, providing a watchful pair of eyes through which we see the drama, romance and slapstick of the station. And it's in these details that Scorsese and his cast draw us in. Standouts are Baron Cohen, who adds layers of comedy and pathos to every scene, and McCrory (as Mrs Melies), with her barely suppressed enthusiasm. As usual, Kingsley never lets his guard down: he invests this broken man with a bit too much dignity.
As the film progresses, the passion for the movies is infectious. Scorsese's gorgeous visual approach and writer Logan's controlled cleverness never overwhelm the human story. And even if Melies' life and Paris' geography are adjusted for no real reason, the film's warm drama and delightful imagery really get under the skin, making us fall in love with the movies all over again.
Where other studios might have demanded proven singers for the parts, Paramount (bravely?) permits Burton to practice extreme nepotism. The director recruits his better half, Johnny Depp, for the title role of a wrongfully jailed barber who seeks vengeance against a covetous judge (Alan Rickman) and his troll-like lackey (Timothy Spall). As for the role of Mrs. Lovett, it goes to Burton's wife, Helena Bonham Carter. A meat-pie maker, Lovett helps dispose of Sweeney's human victims by turning them into delectable delicacies.
Continue reading: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street Review
Date of birth
13th October, 1971
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