The Descendants (Alexander Payne) ***1/2 - Alexander Payne, for me at least, is a mixed bag of a filmmaker. I thought his early work, Citizen Ruth and Election are a lot stronger as a whole, from his latter works, About Schmidt and Sideways. This is like the latter two, an imperfect film, far from a masterpiece but the strong ensemble of actors especially George Clooney in the central role rises above the flaws and give this film a whole lot of depth and emotional heft without being too saccharine or cliched. It's overall a very, very good film.
Hugo (Martin Scorsese) **** - I
love film. I'm passionate about film. Director Martin Scorsese through
this magnificent film managed to take that love, that passion and put it
magically on the screen through a coming-of-age story of sorts of an
orphan boy in the train station. The film is unsurprisingly visually
dazzling but more than that, it's also a deeply personal work that
obviously comes from the heart and it shows. As someone who likes Martin
Scorsese, this is definitely in his top five best films. It's one of
the best films of the year and any film which captures why the art of
cinema is so wonderful is great in my book.