Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: The Artist; The Adventures of Tintin; film note
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2011-12-21

This article shared 6675 times since Wed Dec 21, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


I'm in the midst of reading Brian Kellows's insightful biography of Pauline Kael. (An interview with Kellow about the book is coming up in our January 2012 movie issue.) Kael was the famously irascible film critic for the New Yorker who was renowned for championing passionate, exciting movies that lifted audiences out of their seats and defied expectations.

In her prime, Kael had the power with a rave review to turn a movie into a hit. However, with the age of the Internet—in which everyone's literally a film critic and those of us who have some experience at the job find their reviews reduced to stars, numbers, balloons, asterisks, or summed up with percentages at Rotten Tomatoes or MetraCritic—can any critic hope to drive an audience to a theater?

That thought has been on my mind a lot with regard to The Artist. From the rapturous critical hosannas and awards that have greeted the picture months before its release, I'm obviously not the only one who has been yearning for a movie that reverts to a classic Hollywood formula for its inspiration. However, is it possible that wiser mainstream audiences—sapped by the onslaught of negative media and endless promotion of "reality stars," and both revved up and desensitized by violent, frenetic video games masquerading as blockbusters—will take this delightful silent movie, filmed in glorious black and white, to their tech-happy hearts?

I don't give a fig what the box-office numbers will be, but this is one time (okay, maybe not the only time) that I want you to listen to all those rave reviews (including this one). Drop your cynicism and see The Artist—a movie that is so old-fashioned from beginning to end that it's literally a breath of fresh air. French writer-director Michel Hazanavicius, along with stars Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo (Hazanavicius' wife), have wrought what is essentially a silent variation of A Star Is Born—this time without either the tragic majesty of the Garland-Mason version or the phony rock-'n-roll ickiness of the Streisand-Kristofferson '70s remake.

The Artist, rather, is an effervescent, melodramatic though gentle edition of the tale. It's 1927 and Dujardin, as matinee idol George Valentin, finds that his glorious career is suddenly a shambles thanks to the introduction of sound. This innovation in movies brings along with it a desire for new stars, and studio boss John Goodman is happy to provide them. During a chance meeting during the premiere of his last great success, George has accidentally met and fallen instantly for Peppy Miller (Bejo), whose moniker perfectly describes her zippy personality. In true A Star Is Born fashion, his career decline mirrors her rise. By 1932, broke, drunk, with even his loyal chauffeur (James Cromwell) gone and only his faithful pooch for company, George is near the end of his rope when Peppy reappears, offering a happy resolution to his career doldrums.

Dujardin, who may be familiar to audiences as the star of two French James Bond spy thriller send-ups (also directed by Hazanavicius) has the perfect matinee-idol good looks, happy-go-lucky grin, pixilated exhilaration of the period and the slapstick timing of Harold Lloyd. In addiiton, Bejo captures some of the innocent flirtation of the flapper stars like Anita Page and Ruby Keeler (rather than Crawford, who always seemed a little too knowing, even at the outset of her career). The affectionate tone, reminiscent of Singin' in the Rain, never falters and, not surprisingly, the cinematography of Guillame Schiffman and Ludovic Bource's music score are essential components to the movie's zippy impact.

Hazanavicius has avoided the gimmicky traps a modern-day silent movie might imply. He and his talented cast and crew have, instead, wrought a movie that flickers with the intensity of some of those enduring silent classics that inspired it—and to which, if I don't miss my guess, it will join in that esteemed category.

The same energy is apparent at the outset of The Adventures of Tintin, director Steven Spielberg's latest action-adventure picture that also looks to Golden Age Hollywood for its inspiration. The movie, based on the comic books of the Belgian artist Herge, date back to 1929; for Spielberg, with his enthusiasm for Saturday-morning serials (previously explored in the Indiana Jones series), that must have proven irresistible. He has assembled his usual crack team and delivered a movie that utilizes the stop-motion animation technique with admirable results. It's basically an extended, animated variation on the Young Indiana Jones TV show, with much of that series' vibrancy and innocence.

The movie follows Tintin (voiced with assurance by Jamie Bell), a young (he looks to be about 19) investigative journalist who gets involved in an ever-spiraling web of mystery and intrigue. Accompanied by his faithful canine companion Snowy, Tintin is quickly immersed on a quest for buried treasure. Chased by master criminal Sakharine (voiced by Daniel Craig) and his henchmen, Tintin eventually picks up another accomplice to help him, the drunken sea captain Haddock (voiced by Andy Serkis).

The arrival of Haddock, with his thick Scottish brogue (which wears thin very quickly) and annoying drunken tantrums, has the effect of stopping the picture cold, and his arrival is also accompanied by one endless action set piece after another. Spielberg just can't seem to help himself and as the action sequences accumulate without a respite between, what had been a bracing, adventure yarn for kids of all ages descends into a charmless, increasingly chaotic last half that leaves you feeling pummeled rather than enervated.

Film note:

—New Year's Eve for Movie Lovers: Get ready to set sail for the 4th annual Camp Midnight presentation of the camptacular disaster flick, 1972's The Poseidon Adventure on Sunday, December 31 at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport). This year, as in the past, Dick O'Day (my alter ego) will bravely captain our film going passengers on a pre-show voyage (beginning at 11 p.m.) that includes party favors, a champagne toast, comp drink ticket, '70s cruisewear costume contest (with prizes), and an interactive screening guide. As always, I'll be joined by David Cerda, artistic director of Handbag Productions, to provide running commentary throughout the film along with members of the Handbag theatrical troupe.

The screening of the film will be timed so that theater patrons and their celluloid counterparts will celebrate midnight at the exact same time. It will also feature original bonus material that Hell in a Handbag created. Also, we must be doing something right because a certain venue in Arizona has copied each campy element of our fabu-lush event for its own rip off Poseidon NYE although, unfortunately, they'll have to do without our inspired invective and creative sartorial splendor, not to mention our unique tackiness. www.musicboxtheatre.com

Check out my archived reviews at www.windycitymediagroup.com or www.knightatthemovies.com . Readers can leave feedback at the latter website.


This article shared 6675 times since Wed Dec 21, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Elton John, Leslie Jordan, Joel Kim Booster, Janelle Monae 2022-11-27
- Elton John gave Los Angeles concluded a three-show run on Nov. 20 back inside Dodger Stadium, taking a final bow as part of his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour," according to The Hollywood Reporter. The concert ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Grammy nominees, Gabrielle Union, Trevor Noah, Brendan Fraser 2022-11-20
- Out Magazine compiled a list of some of the 2023 LGBTQA+ Grammy nominees. Among those on the list were Brandi Carlile (who earned another seven Grammy nominations this year, raising her career total to 25), Lady ...


Gay News

Hong Kong lesbian romance premieres at local film festival 2022-11-14
- Hong Kong Lesbian Romance Premieres At Film Festival by Vernon Hester �As part of the semi-annual Asian Pop-Up Cinema Film Festival, which ran from September 10 through November 6, The First Girl I Loved had its ...


Gay News

Filmmaker Elegance Bratton reflects on The Inspection 2022-11-14
- Gay writer and director Elegance Bratton has come a long way after growing up in New Jersey and being unhoused for 10 years. He eventually joined the Marine Corps, which led to his becoming the filmmaker ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer channel, gay actor dies, Jeopardy!, Luke and Chris Evans 2022-11-13
- Fuse Media—a Latino-owned, multiplatform entertainment company—announced that in partnership with OUTtv, it is expanding its suite of DEI FAST channels with the launch of the channel OUTtv Proud, per a press release. Set for a 2023 ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Gay racer, GALECA, Lena Waithe, 'Chicago,' LGBTQ+ films 2022-11-06
- Gay motorsports racer Zach Herrin made his long-awaited debut in a NASCAR-affiliated race in Phoenix, The Advocate noted. "I know I have a lot of eyes on me, and all I want to do is get out there and blur everything ...


Gay News

Actress Rebel Wilson gets engaged, announces birth of first child [UPDATE] 2022-11-05
- Actress Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect) is engaged to girlfriend Ramona Agruma after dating for seven months, according to Page Six. ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Nathan Lane, gala, Beyonce, Kevin Aviance, Henry Cavill, Shania 2022-10-30
Video below - Nathan Lane is returning to Broadway this winter to star in the debut run of Pictures of Home, per The Hollywood Reporter. Based on the photo memoir by Larry Sultan of the same name and adapted ...


Gay News

WORLD World Cup, Ukraine president, purge survivors, Eddie Izzard 2022-10-30
- Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, Qatar's ambassador to the UK, said LGBTQ+ couples visiting the country for the World Cup can "hold hands" but should be mindful of "public displays of affection," according to PinkNews. He told ...


Gay News

Sheryl Lee Ralph producing HIV/AIDS documentary 2022-10-29
- Recent Emmy winner Sheryl Lee Ralph has signed on to produce Unexpected, a documentary short about women of color living with HIV in the South, Variety reported. Directed by Zeberiah Newman, the film will chronicle Masonia ...


Gay News

The Chicago International Film Fest's OutLook Series: Bigger, better, bolder in 2022 2022-10-24
- The Chicago International Film Festival has presented moving pictures from around the world to the public for 58 years after being founded in 1964 by openly gay graphic artist Michael Kutza. During Oct. 12=23, cinephiles were ...


Gay News

'Will & Grace' actor Leslie Jordan dies in car accident 2022-10-24
- Leslie Jordan—the openly gay actor who rose to fame on Will & Grace as the frenemy of Megan Mullally's Karen Walker and was immediately recognizable by his Southern accent—died in a single-car crash in Hollywood on ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'P-Valley,' Dan Levy, trans/non-binary panel, Christina Aguilera, Spirit Day 2022-10-23
Video below - Starz has renewed the show P-Valley (the network's most-watched series) for a third season, The Hollywood Reporter noted. The renewal for the series from creator/showrunner Katori Hall arrives more than two months after the sophomore season ...


Gay News

Chicago History Museum to host 'Supreme Models' screening Nov. 4 2022-10-19
- The Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum will host the official Midwest screening of Supreme Models and an exclusive in-person celebration on Friday, Nov. 4, 5:30-9:30 p.m. at The Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark ...


Gay News

Haven hosting 'Rocky Horror Picture Party' on Oct. 29-30 2022-10-18
- Haven is welcoming back its "Science Fiction/Double Feature: A Rocky Horror Picture Party"—an immersive Rocky Horror-themed Halloween party that brings to life in vivid technicolor the world of the cult-classic film. Hosted by Helena Handbasket, the ...


 




Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.