Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” had its official premiere last night, and there’s good news. After a mixed response to the work in progress version at the New York Film Festival, the finished “Hugo” is pretty great. Scorsese and his Oscar winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker went in and really worked on the picture. They got a more nimble, accessible film. Starring Sir Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Emily Mortimer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Chloe Moretz and Asa Butterfield (who seems to have grown about a foot since filming), “Hugo” is a 3D treat, a real extravaganza that tells a great story and incorporates Scorsese’s love of film history and preservation.
For families, “Hugo” is a Thanksgiving weekend must. But it’s also for smart adults and kids who want to see masterful storytelling. Plus, Howard Shore’s score is out of this world. Paramount loves it. They threw Scorsese a major New York premiere at the Ziegfeld, with a party following at the Metropolitan Club. Besides the principals, Vera Farmiga, Steve Buscemi, Patricia Clarkson, Courtney Love, Montego Glover, Alessandro Nivola, Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal, and James Toback were just a few of Scorsese’s pals who came out to support him.
Not only that: Scorsese’s middle daughter, Domenica, was there with her husband of one week. They got married last week in Chicago, where Scorsese proudly gave the bride away. Time has flown!
Meanwhile, Sacha Baron Cohen, who’ll always be “Borat” in my heart, nearly steals “Hugo” with his charming and snappy scenes with Emily Mortimer. Some of it is very funny. Cohen admitted that he ad-libbed quite a few of his lines, rewriting them with one of his co-writers. Cohen is finishing up his own film, “The Dictator,” and a cameo role in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.” Is there a Borat reunion on his mind? Cohen would only say, “People really miss Borat.” I did tell him that Borat’s aide de camp, Azamat, aka actor Ken Davitian, has a small part in the great new film, “The Artist.” “Oh yes, Azamat,” Cohen said, as if Borat really missed him.
PS “Hugo” is all about French filmmaker Georges Melies’ early silent films. See our video box below for Melies’ famous “A Trip to the Moon.”