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Sunday December 11th, 2011

Hugo is a paean to the early days of cinema and Martin Scorsese's Christmas gift to movie lovers.
An abandoned boy, Hugo (Asa Butterfield), has been living inside the walls of a Paris train station where he alone keeps the clocks running properly. He also tries to repair a broken automaton which was the prized possession of his deceased father. He doesn't understand how but he believes that the object will re-connect him to his dad if he could just repair it. His efforts to pilfer parts that will restore the automaton bring him into conflict with a mysterious toy shop owner, Papa Georges (Ben Kingsley). There's a policeman, Inspector Gustav (Sacha Baron Cohen), who patrols the train station with a snarling Doberman he likes to set loose on anyone he deems suspicious and since he doesn't much like people that could be anyone.

Hugo is a great crowd pleasing fantasy for people of all ages. Asa Butterfield is a gifted young actor and perfect as the mechanically gifted boy trying to avoid ending up in an orphanage. Chloe Grace Moretz follows up her great 2010 work in Kickass and Let Me In with another terrific performance as Papa Georges' godchild who befriends Hugo. The great Ben Kingsley is the steely shopkeeper who shares a love of toys with the little orphan boy and Sacha Baron Cohen has a nice comic turn as Hugo's moustached pursuer.

The REAL 3D effects are spectacular. The train station looked totally three dimensional and the snowflakes seemed close enough to reach out and touch them.