(This was intended to be a comment on Jason's latest posts, but I figure that if/when John attacks me, he should see what I have to say here, too).
Jason, your thoughts on Birth of a Nation make perfect sense, and you make some great/interesting points. And it is completely inaccurate for me to suggest that the film is essentially a day in the life of a KKK member, or is even racist throughout the entire picture. Without having seen the film, I was aware of that fact. My bad for making it seem otherwise; I deserved to be called out for that. So my Melies point is certainly weakened; Griffths didn't think to himself one day, "I need to make a film about how much I love lynchings!" And again, films that were made decades after Birth of a Nation were also racist. And so while I agree, and racism is racism, the tone is certainly more nefarious in BoaN. Maybe I'll see it someday and learn to deal with the simultaneous beauty and ugliness of it. But as of right now, my "protest" of the film is actually just a "I just prefer not" reaction. I'm not morally outraged in any sort of way by those who praise it or give the film its due.
I'm not sure which is worse, that everyone has an English accent in Hugo or the fact the none of the actors attempted a French accent. Actually...definitely the latter. And yeah, we'll probably never see subtitles in a "kid's movie," or will we...or have we???
Surprise, surprise...I don't see Midnight In Paris as a selfish film at all. I didn't find the message to be escapism, rather a message focusing on a love/appreciation of the past (similarly to Hugo). Owen Wilson's character doesn't choose to stay in the 1920s, he comes back to the present and starts flirting with the French chick who also loves old music, old writers, old movies (essentially the female version of John). Owen Wilson choosing to share his love for those things with her is what's truly important. It seems like you and John view the nostalgia in MIP as unhealthy for some reason. Maybe because it deteriorates his relationship with his fiancee? I know you've seen a bunch of Woody's films, so we both know that Rachel McAdams' character is a staple in his movies; she doesn't belong with Owen Wilson; they're not right for each other. Break-ups happen, and at times, should happen.
I can't comment on The Dreamers stuff because I haven't seen it. I'll let John tackle that instead. I know how much he loves talking about that movie.