5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Lovers Of Classic Cinema Everywhere.
This clever take on the silent era is a valentine (note the titular character's name) to Old Hollywood and especially to lovers of classic movies. Unknown French director Michel Hazanavicius, who also wrote the screenplay, wanted to take on the challange of making a silent film, complete with black & white photography & title cards, in the 21st century. To say that he...
Published 17 months ago by Chip Kaufmann
2.0 out of 5 stars Contrived
We start out with a one dog act that contains a man in a mask George (Jean Dujardin). George runs into Peppy (Miller not Pepé Le Pew) he helps get her started in the movies. Then talkies come about and George becomes a dunsel (Spock explains the term is used by midshipmen at Starfleet Academy to describe a part serving no useful purpose.) George thinks talkies is a...
Published 20 days ago by bernie
Most Helpful First | Newest First
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Lovers Of Classic Cinema Everywhere.,
The movie opens in 1927 Hollywood. Silent superstar George Valentin (a combination of Douglas Fairbanks Sr & John Gilbert & played by French actor Jean Dujardin) is about to be caught up in the transition to sound. While he is dealing with this crisis, young extra Peppy Miller (a cross between the young Joan Crawford, Clara Bow, & Gloria Swanson & winningly played by Berenice Bejo who just happens to be the director's wife) makes the transition to sound and is on her way up. The parallel to A STAR IS BORN is obvious along with several other references to classic films such as CITIZEN KANE (the breakfast scene), SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (the sound test), & THE THIN MAN (the dog). For the end sequence, pick the Astaire-Rogers musical of your choice.
Along with the French performers, two American character actors are given prominent roles in the proceedings. John Goodman plays the classic Hollywood studio head complete with fat cigar while James Cromwell is George's loyal chauffeur (a reference to SUNSET BOULEVARD). Both adapt themselves well to the silent medium. While there are several references to other classic Hollywood films, THE ARTIST is more than just a simple homage. It's also the heartwarming story of two people headed in different directions with some lightweight comedy thrown in & one classic scene between Berenice Bejo & an empty coat.
Despite all the critical praise, THE ARTIST does have some issues from my perspective as an instructor on silent movies. Most of them are visual and won't be noticed by the casual filmgoer. The number one problem is with the lighting. Most silent films have a much more varied contrast between light & shadow (even the comedies of Chaplin, Keaton & Lloyd) but then silent films weren't shot in color on modern equipment and then turned into black & white. This also gives the film a rather flat look on occasion which becomes somewhat boring after awhile. I would have liked to see the lighting and photography change as the time frame moved from the silent to the sound era.
But this is scholarly nitpicking. I was delighted at how well THE ARTIST captures the spirit of the era although that era is much more the early 1930s than the late 1920s. I am even more delighted that it's reaching a mainstream audience who are now discovering the world of the silent cinema for the first time. In interviews director Hazanavicius said that that is what he hoped his "little film" would do, which it has. Silent films are not for everyone and never will be but they are a valid art form as different from sound films as ballet is from opera. For opening the door to a wider appreciation of the films of the distant past, THE ARTIST deserves its accolades.
2.0 out of 5 stars Contrived,
This review is from: NEW Dujardin/bejo - Artist (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray)We start out with a one dog act that contains a man in a mask George (Jean Dujardin). George runs into Peppy (Miller not Pepé Le Pew) he helps get her started in the movies. Then talkies come about and George becomes a dunsel (Spock explains the term is used by midshipmen at Starfleet Academy to describe a part serving no useful purpose.) George thinks talkies is a joke. You can see where this is leading. It took a little time to recognize Penelope Ann Miller as George's distraught wife Doris.
They may have been better off making a documentary than trying to recapture an era that had a different audience. I think I will hold out for colour. Be sure to watch the commentaries; even though they seem like one big commercial at the same time it give you insight at to what they tried to accomplish.
The film its self is designed for as a tribute to early film. The actors did well and the sets (especially the Bradbury Building in Los Angeles) were nice. The sixteen cylinder Cadillac would look good in my driveway. Yet the movie was just hard to watch because on every level it was so so so contrived.
2.0 out of 5 stars Unique film, but wasn't to my taste.,
This review is from: The Artist (Bilingual) [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Blu-ray)I got this film for my film club and potentially for my French classroom. Unfortunately, it is not good for the French classroom because despite being a film from France and featuring French actors, it is too Hollywood and there is no French language (not even the intertitles) or French culture in the film.
Its cute but also too long for my personal preferences (a silent film is nice for a change, but not for over an hour).
4.0 out of 5 stars Silent Artist !!,
4.0 out of 5 stars The Artist,
Watching and liking a movie is all about context. If you know you are about to see a comic book movie, your expectations on realism versus fantasy will be attuned to what you are about to see, and you will appreciate it for what it is. This is a fantastic movie about the powerful role of the actor, and the body language they use to convey emotions and tell a story without sound effects, only subtitles; as was the way before the 'talkies' came out. The story is of a proud silent screen actor who stubbornly refuses to get on board with the new sound added movies, and struggles with this while his biggest fans and friends do whatever they can to keep him relevant. This is a crossroads piece. Like the locomotive and motor car replacing the horse, or video killing the radio star...
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent B & W movie !,
This review is from: The Artist (Bilingual) [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Blu-ray)I liked ,"The Artist" , The actors were very suited for this movie and the dog stole the show! :)
The motif of scene within scene was well done and added to the old time scenes. I didn't miss colour at all.
I was disappointed with the ending as the Artist's voice didn't come across as well as it did in the theatre.
The silent movies have a beauty all their own and this one was no exception.
5.0 out of 5 stars worth every dollar,
4.0 out of 5 stars I applaud it, but how will it be remembered?,
Comedy, Romance, Drama, 100 minutes
Directed by Michael Hazanavicius
Starring Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo and John Goodman
I make an effort to see all of the major Oscar bait, even if it's something that I am not sure I'll like. The Artist falls into that category. I have no problem with black and white or the use of the 1.37:1 aspect ratio, but a silent movie? The idea itself is superb of course. Most moviegoers are too young to remember the silent era, so why not provide a similar experience using modern technology?
Most of the reviews I have read have praised the movie and it's scooping awards at every major show. Is the hype justified?
Well, it was certainly an interesting experience. The audience was very respectful and quieter than for most movies. The movie is silent for the most part, but finds a couple of inventive ways to use both sounds and spoken dialogue. It's easy to follow the rather simple story and title cards are used when something absolutely has to be communicated to the audience. The acting is very good. Dujardin and Bejo have expressive faces that are up to the task. Dujardin has a lot of charm and seems to portray happiness with ease.
The audience didn't become involved very often. What few laughs there were usually came in response to the antics of Uggie the dog. In fact, that's the problem right there; involvement. The Artist was clever. I applaud the idea and the execution, but I just wasn't emotionally invested with the characters and the outcome. I found myself smiling at the technical feat of showing us 1927 and creating the atmosphere of the silent movie experience, but I didn't care enough about the characters.
Most of my favorite movies are driven by dialogue. I relish watching a Tarantino movie and could listen to the characters talk for hours. When that's removed, for me, so is some of the enjoyment.
I'll remember The Artist as a good idea that captured the imagination of a modern audience, but when you strip it down to what's actually on the screen and examine the strength of the story, something is lacking. I'm glad I saw it, but I won't buy it as I don't need to see it again. When the credits started rolling at the end of The Descendants and Midnight in Paris, I would have been happy to watch them again immediately. The Artist will probably win Best Picture at the Oscars, but I think eventually we'll look back at 2011 and think that it wasn't the best film that year.
For the idea and execution: 5/5
For the strength of story and replay value: 3/5
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not without merit, but over-hyped,
This review is from: The Artist (Bilingual) [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Blu-ray)I decided to watch The Artist for two reasons: 1) the overwhelmingly positive reviews and 2) because I'd seen its star, Jean Dujardin, in Lucky Luke and enjoyed his understated charisma and humour.
I didn't know much about the film before seeing it, but as it turns out, the plot isn't all that complex. A silent film star (George Valentin, played by Dujardin) is losing appeal because of the emergence of talkies. An unknown but ambitious actress, Peppy Miller (played by the director's wife, Bérénice Bejo), is a big fan of Valentin's and benefits from his mentorship early in her career, only to supplant him as the biggest star in Hollywood. The film details their early friendship; Valentin's fall into destitution as he fails to adapt to the changing landscape of film; and Miller's rise to fame, which is tempered by her guilt about being somewhat responsible for her idol's failing fortunes. The climax and resolution are tediously predictable.
As I said, the plot really isn't the film's strong point. Instead, it's the acting of the headliners, Dujardin and Bejo (John Goodman, who plays Valentin's boss, is fantastic as always). They come across as sympathetic and dynamic, and they manage to convey their thoughts and emotions very well without dialogue. They carry an otherwise sweet-bordering-on-saccharine/original-in-format-but-little-else film on their charming backs.
This film will not challenge you, unless you're a silent film aficionado who will enjoy nitpicking how it compares to its authentic progenitors. Otherwise, be prepared for a mostly enchanting, mostly well-acted whimsical movie...which is mostly devoid of any substantial conflict, suspense, intellectual stimulation, or take-home message.
Bonus points are granted for the dog, Jack, who is played by Uggie. He won a Palm Dog Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, which was richly deserved.
10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life mirrors art mirrors life,
This review is from: The Artist (Bilingual) [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Blu-ray)It's not often that I go to see a movie twice, but here is a brave, unusual movie that takes huge risks with the audience, and explores the dominant theme of this years Oscars, nostalgia for the old Hollywood, and movies about movies.
Woody Allens Midnight in Paris cleverly explores the idea that we always yearn to live that golden period when all our heroes were alive, and introduces real characters from that period. Hugo, explores the world of a genius of the silent screen, with parallels between life and art in the movie.
My week with Marilym, unfortunately not nominated for Best Picture, receiving two acting nominations, explores a movie within a movie with two actors delivering amazing performances. The Descendants starring George Clooney, set in Hawaii explores the past in a most charming way in terms of now to show how to be responsible for the legacy of the past while dealing with a major family drama.
The Artist explores the ideas of love, stardom, and hubris set in the silent screen era of the 1920s, and received 10 Academy nominations including all the biggies, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Music. Recently it swept the British BAFTA awards winning 7 awards including Best Picture, Director, Actor. Cinematography, Music and Screenplay.
Jean Dujardin looking like a young Sean Connery, plays an aging silent screen star. As the movie begins he plays a character within a movie that refuses to talk. Soon life will mirror art. Sometimes it's difficult to tell then apart.
He accidentally bumps into an adorable young woman, Peppy Miller, an endearing ingenue who hopes to hit the big time. Soon they will accidentally meet again. I loved the impromptu dance sequence. They work together in a movie. I loved the mutiple take dance sequence. The attraction is undeniable. He gives her a beauty spot, and advice, advice which she follows to his detriment.
As the times change from silent to talk, George suffers. Soon his star falls as Peppy rises to fame and, the old guard gives way to a new generation, and pride can become an obstruction to love. It makes you wonder if these two star crossed lovers will ever work it out, and find an opportunity to love each other regardless of personal circumstance.
The Artist is a silent conversation about love, and who needs extensive conversation when you have two such photogenic and charismatic actors who can move us with with the crinkle of an eyebrow, or a few dance steps, whether that eyebrow expresses consternation, woe, and even occasionally joy.
Undoubtedly The Artist is the most adorable movie of the year, and it did take a huge risk in daring to be a silent movie in a talking world. Happily, it is of such a high quality that is has been nominated for everything. It's main competition appears to be The Descendants. Both Clooney and Dujardin are charming and charismatic.
Argentinian actress Berenice Bejo who plays Peppy has two children with Director Michel Hazanavicius. All three have previously worked together in the movie, Oss 117: Le Caire nid d'espions a James Bond spoof in French with subtitles, which shows that Dujardin is a comic genius. If you have loved the Artist which I think you will, I highly recommend you check it out, because it's really good.
Although it spoofs James Bond the series of OSS117 books written by Jean Bruce (JB) precede the first Bond book written by Ian Fleming by four years. You can watch a trailer at OSS117movie. Subtitled.
Post award update. The Artist won five Oscars. In addition to the biggies, Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor in a leading role, it also won for Best Original score, and Best Costume Design.
I think you will enjoy it, and I hope this review was helpful.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
The Artist (Bilingual) [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] by Michel Hazanavicius (Blu-ray - 2012)
CDN$ 39.99 CDN$ 24.77