Tuesday, 20 December 2011


I am now the mother of a teenager. He is blessed and so am I, so we're both lucky. He had six friends sleeping over, so I felt like snow white with the seven dwarfs who ate donuts, popcorn, coke, hotdogs, pizza, chocolate money and a cake in the shape of a crest fallen rugby player with candles sticking out of his bottom.

They had sleeping bags all over the downstairs floor, one slept under the tree and woke up with pine needles protruding from his chin - sort of natural acupuncture I suppose - and was very polite 'Is this a non drop tree' he asked me as I carefully stepped over boys in bags. 'yes but people don't usually sleep directly under it.' They had three films to watch, watched half the first, but were deep in boy talk. I was confined to the bedroom and only went down to make sure food was all ok, drinks were ok, furniture was ok, and that they were ok. They were ok. They got to sleep at five in the morning. That was the very good bit.

Remains of the day Tom played with some of the presents (lets say Apple did well out of the Tucker household this year) and then I took him to see Hugo, directed by Scorsese, produced by Scorsese and J Depp, and starring in no particular order Ray Winston, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jude Law, Christopher Lee, Ben Kingsley, Richard Griffiths and Johnny Depp playing a double bass.

Set in Paris, beautiful cinematography, homage to Amelie and Cinema Paridiso, a dash of Benjamin Button surrealism, with the talent behind and in front of the screen it should have been faultless or at least very good. Stunning to look at it would have been superb as a silent movie. In fact, I would have enjoyed it as a silent movie and ironically it was sort of about silent movies. It's fantasy, so suspend the fact the accents are all over the place, and that the character with the greatest warmth is a metal doll, and that the lead boy is so infuriatingly maudlin and wooden you want someone like Roald Dahl to come along and introduce him to the child catcher (Sasha Baron Cohen doesn't quite do it in his blue uniform - he doesn't do sinister like Robert Helpmann in Chitty Bang Bang). I found myself wanting 'Hugo' to be run over by a train twice. And he meets a girl who is almost as nauseating and comes out with lines that are so strange, no wonder Hugo can't think of anything to say in reply. The grown ups are some of the best actors in the business but their scripts and direction were dreadful. The children were just dreadful. I found myself drifting off and wondering if it would have been better if Sasha Baron Cohen had played his character as Bruno, Ray Winston and Ben Kingsley as their gangster characters in Dirty Sexy Beast, Christopher Lee as Dracula (fangs are still in trend), Richard Griffiths as Uncle Monty from Withnail and Johnny Depp had played the Mad Hatter of Willy Wonka and Jude Law - actually Jude Law was good, but he was only in it for five minutes. The kids would not have lasted five minutes with that lot.

What is good about it? Well, the metal doll is good. And the dogs in the film perform really well to camera. There is a piece to camera by a dog in a bath which is great. And Baron Cohen says some funnies occasionally desperately trying to be rude, but he came across as restrained as if being leashed back like a dog with an invisible electric fence. The dogs and the dolls don't say anything they just look at the camera but it works. I just wish all the other actors had followed their lead...

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