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DVD Reviews, Lead DVD ReviewRating: 5 of 5 yaps

The Artist

Here’s an interesting fact: Three out of the last four winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture have been foreign-made. Though the latest, “The Artist,” is somewhat debatable in that it was shot in Los Angeles with a few recognizable American actors in supporting parts. But the filmmakers and lead performers are French.

In actuality, “The Artist” is a really film that transcends borders. It’s a love song to silent American films as seen from across the Atlantic.

If you haven’t already seen this wonderful movie — easily the best of 2011 — you may be put off by the knowledge that “The Artist” is silent and black-and-white. Don’t be. While certainly artistic, this film isn’t arty.

Instead, it’s a gorgeous and emotionally transporting celebration of cinema. Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin, vainglorious king of Hollywood until the “talkies” invade and make him seem artistically antiquated. Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) is the spitfire ingénue who lands a bit part in one of his movies and turns into a big star herself.

Dujardin is a delight as the narcissistic but generous-hearted Valentin. With a pencil mustache and raconteur’s smile, he’s part Errol Flynn and part Gene Kelly — especially during the smash musical finale.

Writer/director Michel Hazanavicius gives us a film that is self-aware but not self-absorbed. Foreign or not, “The Artist” is a triumph.

Extra features are commendable, if not as extensive as I might like.

There’s a blooper reel and a Q&A with the cast and filmmakers. A half-dozen making-of featurettes explore topics like the film score and costumes to the Hollywood locations used throughout the film.

Film: 5 Yaps
Extras: 4 Yaps

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4 Responses to “The Artist”

  1. James Johnson says:

    I thought it was a great movie. I haven’t been that enamored of a jack russel terrier since Frasier! It’s always nice to see John goodman in a movie as well.

  2. Holly Mayo says:

    I took my 13 year old daughter to see it. We both loved it.

    It is a very emotional movie. There are a lot of funny, campy moments, but there are also some heartbreaking ones.

    It is a wonderful tribute to the silent film era. I wrote a paper on Greta Garbo in school. She was a silent film star who suffered because of her strong accent once the "talkies" came along. That is the same issue that this film addresses.

  3. Gabrielle says:

    I’m going to buy this DVD since I never went to see it. When it won Oscar’s I was mad I missed it.

  4. The Artist shot in Los Angeles,star leaders are all French,although its in black and white,the film is not self
    absorbed as the writer would like for it to be.nor extensive.