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Old December 26 2012, 11:49 PM   #211
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Re: "King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

I saw this on Christmas Day and absolutely loved it. I'd never seen Les Miserables before, but I knew the basic plot and characters because I've heard the big songs. I know a lot of people didn't like the changes from the stage version, but I've never seen the stage version so I don't know what all the fuss is about.

Other than Russell Crowe, I thought all the performances were amazing. Also, I'm kind of in love with Samantha Barks now.

Having never seen the stage version before I was kind of caught off guard by how relatively small the parts of Fantine, Eponine, Cosette, and Enjolras are.

I have to admit that I started getting pretty bored near the end. Still, I thought this was a damn good movie and I plan to see it a few more times in the theater.
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Old December 27 2012, 12:11 AM   #212
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Re: "King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

I tried to see this today. But I made the mistake of waiting in line to buy popcorn before I found a seat.

When I got into the theatre, it was so packed I had to sit in the front row. That was horrible--it made the movie unwatchable. After about an hour, I gave up and left.

I did, however, get the impression that I might have enjoyed it under better circumstances. So I'll probably give it another chance in a week or two.
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Old December 27 2012, 06:56 PM   #213
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Re: "King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

Outside of Amanda Seyfried's endless warbling, I generally enjoyed all of the casting, even Crowe, whom I greatly feared (though he's very clearly spending so much time trying to maintain his pitch that he barely emotes).

That being said, Les Miserables has some of the sloppiest cinematography of the year. I'm talking beyond just Tom Hooper's two shots (extreme, shaky close-up; crane shot zooming up and away from a character), though that was inexcusable -- you barely get a sense of any of the set geography. The lighting is balls, too. The night photography, which comprises more than half the film, is just a sickly gray wash over everything. And in the second half, flags unfurled and everyone got all Vive le France ... and the flags would just be these flaccid pale red splashes on the screen. For a film about boldness of action, it was shot really, really timidly.
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Old December 28 2012, 12:38 AM   #214
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Re: "King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

I saw this earlier today, and I enjoyed it. It wasn't anything mind blowing for me, but I did enjoy it quite a bit. I do agree that it did have some incredible performances from pretty much everyone (except Russle Crowe, he wasn't horrible, he just didn't quite rise to the same level as everyone else). I came into this with no knowledge of the story or the play so, there was quite a bit that caught me off guard in the story. I did feel it started to drag a bit after the battle, but it wasn't enough to ruin the movie. I saw it with my mom, and one she said that I did have to agree with was the overuse of closeups. I understand that there wasn't any kind of big choreography or anything, but it still would have been nice if they could have done something a little more interesting during some of the songs. Rating on a 1-10 scale, I'd have to go with 8.5.
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Old December 28 2012, 04:29 AM   #215
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Re: "King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

I've never seen Les Miserables on stage, and really most of my knowledge of it comes from the DS9 episode where Eddington compares Sisko to Javert. I really wanted to like this movie, but I just couldn't. The story was dull. The music, I Dreamed a Dream aside, was completely unmemorable. The cinematography was ugly as hell. Everything was poorly lit, and there was not a single image that made any kind of impact. The two camera angles have been mentioned already, but man did that drive me nuts. On the plus side, the performances were pretty uniformly good, even if half of the song lyrics were completely lost to a really flat sound mix. Everything just seemed to lack any gravitas.

Briquettes wrote:
Also, I'm kind of in love with Samantha Barks now.
You'll have to fight me for her. Damn!
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Old December 29 2012, 08:00 PM   #216
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Re: "King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

You would think anything with red flags and barricades is an automatic win for me, wouldn't you? Certainly, I went in eager to enjoy.

Crowe can't really sing. Javert is a stick as well as a dick, so it's not an insuperable problem.

But although all the other actors can sing, I'd say only Jackman, Samantha Barks and Eddie Redmayne really have the pipes for their roles. I think there's a physicality in singing, a strength and volume that the others just don't have. Unfortunately, Marius and Eponine are almost minor characters. Jackman's strong Valjean is the heart of the movie. I think the movie would have been well advised to have another strong singer in a major role. Dramatically that would have been Javert I suppose. In musicals, songs are often monologues. But in Les Miserables I think Jackman's overwhelming superiority as singer turns the movie into something like a series of monologues, minus the interaction with another actor/singer that makes it more of a drama. The Redmayne/Barks duet was more like what the Valjean/Javert should have been.

Hathaway's rendition of I Dreamed a Dream just isn't quite strong enough, with some of the words lost. Amanda Seyfried also loses too many lyrics, with the added disadvantage of not having strong lyrics.

Daniel Huttlestone's London street urchin is just a tinny echo of the kid in Sweeney Todd. Unfortunately, with both Bonhamn Carter and Baron Cohen in the movie we can't omit the comparison. Their comic songs don't suffer as much from their weakness. The choruses are generally weak as well, with lots of the lyrics lost.

I gather that Hooper insisted on live singing. I suspect that most of the cast just wasn't strong enough singers to cope with that. The insistence on closeups or CGI zooms that remind me of Lord of the Rings was kind of offputting too, as so many have noted.

The music was fairly innocuous, which is a bad thing in a musical. The lyrics were stronger but dramaitc irony in the phrases "look down" and "one day more" and "red and black," commendable as it is, just isn't enough.

Lastly having all the cast members on screen for the finale is a bizarre decision. I think I last saw that in V for Vendetta, and I didn't like it then either.

As eager as I was to see the flick, I ended up looking at my watch a lot. Most of the emotion felt was when scenes triggered personal memories in connection with Christmas and a Dec. 26 birthday. There is apparently Oscar buzz, but I can't see why. Nor could I hear why.
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Old December 29 2012, 09:48 PM   #217
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Re: "King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

Loved it. Didn't like Crowe as an actor or a singer, but it wasn't enough to ruin the movie. I thought Hathaway was fantastic, and "I Dreamed a Dream" was the only part that really gave me chills. Loved Bonhamn Carter and Baron Cohen much more than I anticipated. I don't think I could sit through it again in the theatre, but I'd watch it again at home.
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Old December 29 2012, 09:55 PM   #218
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Re: "King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

Briquettes wrote: View Post
Also, I'm kind of in love with Samantha Barks now.
Ditto that. From what I've read, this was her first movie role - she was discovered on a reality singing series. She did an excellent job. I hope this opens doors for her.
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Old December 30 2012, 01:58 AM   #219
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Re: "King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

Finally saw the whole thing today, from a decent seat.

My reaction to this film was almost identical to my reaction to The Hobbit:

"It was good." *Shrug*

I wanted to like it more than I did, but it was a bit of an endurance test, partly because the direction was so unimaginative: there just wasn't much to watch a lot of the time. I could have got much the same experience from listening to a recording.

When it was good, it was really good. But it was very long, and a lot of it was just so-so. Of the three super-size movies I've seen this holiday season, this and The Hobbit are tied for second place, several lengths behind Django Unchained.

One weird moment for me was the medley on the eve of the uprising. As this was going on, I was suddenly (and strongly) reminded of the medley on the eve of the war from South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. That kind of spoiled the drama for me.
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Old December 30 2012, 02:03 AM   #220
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Re: "King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

Aeronef wrote: View Post
One weird moment for me was the medley on the eve of the uprising. As this was going on, I was suddenly (and strongly) reminded of the medley on the eve of the war from South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. That kind of spoiled the drama for me.
That medley is a direct parody of Les Miserables' "One Day More" (as is the Gregory character, a parody of Marius and Enjolras), so that's not surprising.
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Old December 30 2012, 02:13 AM   #221
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Re: "King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

CaptainCanada wrote: View Post
Aeronef wrote: View Post
One weird moment for me was the medley on the eve of the uprising. As this was going on, I was suddenly (and strongly) reminded of the medley on the eve of the war from South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. That kind of spoiled the drama for me.
That medley is a direct parody of Les Miserables' "One Day More" (as is the Gregory character, a parody of Marius and Enjolras), so that's not surprising.
I suspected as much.
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Old December 31 2012, 01:13 AM   #222
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Re: "King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

The wife and I have seen the musical several times, LOVED the movie, LOVED the entire cast, a triumph, can't wait to see it again!
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Old December 31 2012, 09:31 AM   #223
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Re: "King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

Caretaker wrote: View Post
Briquettes wrote: View Post
Also, I'm kind of in love with Samantha Barks now.
Ditto that. From what I've read, this was her first movie role - she was discovered on a reality singing series. She did an excellent job. I hope this opens doors for her.
She might not have any previous screen experience, but she's no stranger to the role of Eponine, having performed it on the London stage and as part of the musical's 25th Anniversary Concert, so it was kind of a given that she'd do well in the role.
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Old January 11 2013, 08:27 PM   #224
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Re: "King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

It's released in the UK today, I just got back from seeing it. The amount of close-ups was a bit jarring but overall I really enjoyed it. Hugh Jackman was awesome and deserves his Best Actor nomination. I thought Anne Hathaway's I Dream a Dream was the most emotive, and it was a shame it came so early really because no other moment affected me as much.
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Old January 12 2013, 02:28 AM   #225
Timby
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Re: "King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

trekkiebaggio wrote: View Post
It's released in the UK today, I just got back from seeing it. The amount of close-ups was a bit jarring but overall I really enjoyed it. Hugh Jackman was awesome and deserves his Best Actor nomination. I thought Anne Hathaway's I Dream a Dream was the most emotive, and it was a shame it came so early really because no other moment affected me as much.
It actually comes earlier in the stage musical (directly after "At the End of the Day," when Fantine is tossed out by the factory foreman). Moving it to when her life had absolutely hit rock-bottom was a pretty wise decision, I felt.
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