Hugo

   Director: Martin Scorsese, Paramount Pictures, Rated PG, 126 mins

Much to the surprise of everyone, legendary director Martin Scorsese (Shutter Island) has released his first family movie in 3D, an amazing adventure drama about an orphan boy who lives within the confines of the Paris railway station, maintaining the clocks at the station following the accidental death of his father (Jude Law).
   Based on Brian Selznick’s award winning best seller, The Invention of Hugo Cabret Scorsese has beautifully and visually brought to life the stirring story of Hugo (wonderfully portrayed by Asa Butterfield - The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas) and his automaton (a mechanical man) which is also intertwined with an enigmatic toy shop owner Georges Melies (Ben Kingsley - Prince of Persia).
Hugo
   The mystery deepens further with Hugo deciding to repair the automaton with the help of Georges’ goddaughter Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz - Kick-Ass) which then emits a message from his dead father that leads to Georges’ past as an original filmmaker.
   Paris in the 1920’s is the perfect setting for Scorsese’s cleverly crafted movie, using the 3D technique to such great effect, especially in enhancing the cinematography and set designs that are a central highlight of his epic production, particularly the scenes featuring the many clocks.
   Of course another major highlight is some great performances from the ensemble cast especially by Kingsley and Butterfield, and surprisingly from Borat’s Sacha Baron Cohen as the humorous Station Inspector whose prime objective is to catch homeless children - one of whom being the elusive Hugo.
   Despite being billed as a family movie it may be difficult for some younger children to fully understand the storyline but in the main Hugo is an engaging and heart-rending story sure to shine at this year’s Oscars having already won Scorsese the Best Director Award at the recent Golden Globes.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 ½ Rubber Stamps


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

   Director: Tomas Alfredson, Studio Canal, Rated MA, 127 mins

John Le Carre’s famous Cold War espionage thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy has finally been adapted to the big screen by Swedish director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In), creating an absorbing and thrilling movie filled with atmospheric intrigue and featuring a great line-up of British actors headed by The Dark Knight’s Gary Oldman in the key role of master spy George Smiley.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
   The story unfolds at a flawless pace with Control (John Hurt - Immortals) the head of an unknown part of the British Intelligence service being dismissed together with long-time colleague George Smiley following a failed operation in Hungary where agent Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong - Robin Hood) is shot as he tries to find out information relating to a mole in the upper ranks of British Intelligence referred to as the “Circus”.
   In order to find out the identity of the mole who has been passing secrets to Karla, the Russian spymaster, Smiley is recalled from retirement to undertake the investigation of the suspects that Control has code-named Tinker - Percy Alleline (Toby Jones - Captain America), Tailor - Bill Haydon (Colin Firth - The King’s Speech), Soldier - Roy Bland (Ciaran Hinds - The Debt), Poorman - Toby Easterhase (David Dencik - War Horse) and Beggarman - George Smiley himself.
   Alfredson has certainly ensured that his production does not have the flavour of a ‘James Bond’ movie but is more in keeping with the highly popular old fashioned type of spy movies of the 60’s and 70’s - such as The Quiller Memorandum.
   Besides the atmospherics and settings, another highlight is Alfedson’s highly talented cast members who play the various characters in his intricate and superior spy production with a near perfect performance by Oldman as well as Firth.
   It is also no surprise to learn that Oldman is being considered for a Best Actor Award at this year’s Oscars.

VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps

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