Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
I have two excellent DVDs for you to consider watching this weekend.
The first is We Bought A Zoo, based on the true story of Benjamin Mee and his two children, who bought a decrepit zoo in order to make a fresh start following the death of Benjamin's wife.
I thought this movie might be sappy, but it wasn't at all, though it is completely predictable. We Bought A Zoo has the Janie Junebug Seal of Approval, however, for being sweet and family friendly.
Now we move back in time to 1927 -- except it's 1927 during 2011 -- for the 2012 Academy Award Winner for Best Motion Picture: The Artist. I love, love, love this movie. I wish I had seen it on a big screen the way a good movie should be seen, but alas, theaters are too expensive so I am grateful for Netflix.
George Valentin (portrayed by Best Actor winner, the wonderfully talented Jean Dujardin) is a popular silent film actor. When he's at the top of his game, he saves the job of a young female extra named Peppy.
But then the talkies arise, and the ascent of Peppy's career mirrors the descent of George's. Can George be saved?
This movie is vivacious, sparkling, yearning, forlorn . . . I'm running out of adjectives. Fortunately, after the middle section of the film had me feeling rather sad, I enjoyed the happy ending.
It's fascinating to watch a modern-day silent film and follow the story told by gestures, facial expressions, and the musical score. When some sound is added, it's unbearable for George, and almost too much for the viewer. I felt frightened for George, all while loving the adorable Peppy. However, my favorite character was George's favorite sidekick -- his darling dog. What a cutie!
As I watched this movie, I felt I understood the appeal of silent movies in their day and why it was difficult for many actors to make the transition to talkies. When George's studio dismisses him, they tell him they want "fresh meat." What a sad commentary on the worth of a human being.
But George's talent is not gone, and finally, he is not too proud to accept help. When he does, he proves himself worthy of the leg up.
I urge you to rent The Artist. It has the Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.
And it doesn't get any better than that.
Infinities of love,
I had a hard time putting my finger on it, but I wasn't blown away with either of these. We rented the Zoo one a while ago and I thought for sure that it would be fabulous because I am so animal crazy. I was just let down feeling that the characters were poorly built and I didn't get any attachment to anything, even the plot! The Artist also frustrated me with the let down feeling. I sometimes felt myself getting ticked off that they weren't giving me more of their words when I thought it was an important part and I really didn't get the ending with the sound. I loved the dog but the plot made me think too much of Singin in the Rain, except The Artist's plot wasn't as entertaining.ReplyDelete
Now having said all that, I know that it is all just my opinion (and Branden's as he felt the same way about both) and I know that most everyone else I have spoken with loved both films. I would recommend both to people just for the fact that I know my thoughts aren't the norm and most everyone would enjoy these.
The Zoo is not a brilliant movie, but I gave it my approval because I think families and older people will like it. As for The Artist, I think not getting all their words was an important part of the movie. One has to discern what's happening through gestures and facial expressions. It's taking us back in time in a more sophisticated way than Singing In The Rain, though I LOVE Singing In The Rain. I think the sound at the end is meant to show us the progression in film and that George CAN speak and be understood. In fact, I thought his French accent was kind of sexy. Just because the movies changed, it didn't mean that George was no longer an artist.Delete
Dear Janie, I was so looking forward to reading your movie reviews today and once again I wasn't disappointed! I've seen the zoo one--I try to see all the Matt Damon movies. It was, as you say, "charming."ReplyDelete
As to "The Artist," I'm going to get my name on the library listing for it. Thanks for telling me about it.
Hope you have a delightful weekend. Be gracious to yourself. Please.
I think you'll love The Artist, Dee. I shall try to be gracious to myself.Delete
Oh crap. Another feel good movie. Now when you start recommending bloody, gory, horror movies, then I'll listen. *fingers in ears, hands over eyes*ReplyDelete
I like an occasional thrilled, but definitely not slasher movies; and you shouldn't watch that crap, young lady. It will give you nightmares.Delete
We didn't really fancy watching "We Bought a Zoo", but I wish I had now after reading all the good reviews about it. Loved "The Artist" though.ReplyDelete
Here where I live, we have no D.V.D. rental store, so we have to take pot-luck and just go ahead and buy them, so I have some really good movies in my collection, as well as a lot of rubbish!
Thank you for your reviews, they are greatly appreciated to someone who lives out in the sticks. ;)
I'm so sorry it's difficult for you to get movies, Megan. I don't know what I'd do without them.Delete
My kids loved, We Bought a Zoo! I've never seen The Artist, but it sounds like one I'll have to check out.ReplyDelete
Young children probably won't like The Artist, but I hope you like it.ReplyDelete
I haven't seen either of these movies, (surprise!) but both sound right up my alley. Might have to take a trip to the store this weekend. Hope you have a good un.ReplyDelete
Best wishes back to you for a pleasant Sunday afternoon.Delete
I've heard The Artist is really great, but I haven't seen it yet. I don't think it became popular until after it won that award though, huh?ReplyDelete
I think it's pretty common for movies to get a boost when they win the best picture award.Delete
We Bought A Zoo was better than I expected it to be. Based on a true story always peaks my interest. :)ReplyDelete
With all the hype and acclaim, I was a little let down by The Artist, actually. Maybe because I have watched a lot of silent films and this one had a quite ordinary, expected plot. The acting was good, though.
They were both worth watching, I thought. :)
I haven't seen many silent movies. Maybe that increased the impression The Artist made on me.Delete
Honestly Janie, without your seal of approval, I'm pretty sure I would never give The Artist a thought, but now...hmmm...I'm intrigued. As for the zoo, I shelled out the hundreds of dollars it costs to see any movie on the big screen and took my entire family! It was good, but I don't think it was worth mortgaging my home for :) I'm kidding! Of course it was worth it...Matt Damon! Hello! Love you my darling!ReplyDelete
Zoo is a great family movie, but I don't think kids would be interested in The Artist. Some of the adults have written comments saying they weren't impressed by it. I guess it isn't everyone's cup of tea.ReplyDelete