"King's Speech" director to take on "Les Miserables"

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by CaptainCanada, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2001
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    A few new featurettes:

    The new song Suddenly:
    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FenjTgqaQ6Q[/yt]

    Costume Design:
    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd5ffc48RJU[/yt]

    Hair and Make up:
    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Js6kUkBoe34[/yt]
    (Has Master of the House/Beggars at the Feast)

    Production Design:
    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1pGPRDzx8A[/yt]
    (Lovey Ladies and Building the Barricades and Finale)
     
  2. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2001
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    I think I might be getting too into this.
     
  3. propita

    propita Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2001
    Location:
    fresno, ca, us
    Nonsense! :)

    I am SO looking forward to this. We will see it asap after the 25th (Hubby's working) cause I want to up the first week's take.
     
  4. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2001
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    When did Castle on a Cloud get a Question Mark?
     
  5. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    They're really going full-bore on the TV promos. However, I can't stand it when they drill how many awards this movie has already been nominated for... And it isn't even out in theatres yet. Personally it guts the credibility of those organizations that are doing the nominating, telling us it's awesome without giving us the option to find out for ourselves.

    Still can't wait, though. Loved this musical, dying for the holidays to start so I can have time to see this!

    Mark
     
  6. intrinsical

    intrinsical Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2005
    Location:
    Singapore
    Up till last month, the movie I was excited to watch was The Hobbit. Now, its this one. I've always been a sucker for musicals and that short clip of Anne Hathaway singing I Dreamed A Dream brought tears to my eyes.
     
  7. Unwrapped

    Unwrapped Continuity Spackle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2003
    Location:
    Unicron (The Pyxis Unity)
  8. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2001
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
  9. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Location:
    Charlottetown, PEI, Canada
    My review:

    In a way, reading all the negative reviews of Crowe's singing helped, because he was nowhere near as bad as one might have expected based on what some people were saying. I'd rate his contributions as ranging from adequate to good, depending on the song; he's no Philip Quast, but he serves well enough, and in a few places (the arrest of Fantine and "The Confrontation") I thought he was really standout; the latter number is really well-staged.

    Jackman, Hathaway, Barks and Redmayne were all terrific. I thought Amanda Seyfried was good too, though Cosette is a pretty thankless role in a lot of ways (her reaction shots at the end are wrenching).

    Les Miserables as a musical is a challenge to film in some ways, because it's full of long, angsty solos that aren't especially cinematic. Hooper eschews what I suspect would have been most directors' instincts, to incorporate montage elements into them, in favour of continuous extreme close-up, which has proven controversial, but I think really works (in a way it seems like can't win, either he's being called too conventional or too unconventional).

    There's one bit that was in the script that I'm a little disappointed didn't really come across in the movie, though perhaps it would have been difficult to convey onscreen. The script at the reprise of "Do You Hear the People Sing?" playing during a flashforward to the 1848 revolution that toppled the July Monarchy (which the revolt depicted in the movie failed to do).

    Putting the Bishop in at the end of "Valjean's Death" was a wonderful decision.
     
  10. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 20, 2001
    Location:
    West Haven, UT, USA
    I saw the movie with my family today and absolutely loved it. This might just be the best screen-to-stage adaptation I've seen ever. The cast was superb, and although some might complain about Russell Crowe's singing voice being weaker than is traditonal for the character, I personally liked that he and the others in the cast adapted the songs to fit their own abilities rather than attempting to sing the songs as they are typically performed on the stage.

    Although, as I noted, the entire cast is superb, my favorite individual performances were delivered by Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Samantha Barks as Eponine, Daniel Huttlestone as Gavroche, Sacha Baron Cohen as Monsieur Thenardier, and Helena Bonham Carter as Mdme Thenardier. I don't know whose idea it was for Cohen to portray Thenardier with an accent, but it adds a nice new layer to the character and makes him stand out even more than he already does.

    Anyone who's familiar with the stage musical will immediately notice that there have been changes made to both the composition and order of many, if not all, of the songs. This might catch some people off guard, but absolutely works and doesn't feel superflous or unnecessary.

    *** SPOILER ALERT ***

    There is one major change to the story as presented in the stage musical. The circumstances of Eponine's death are altered so that she dies protecting Marius during the early stages of the battle between the soldiers and the Friends of the ABC, meaning that Marius has to enlist Gavroche in delivering his letter to Cosette.

    *** END SPOILERS ***

    Although this caught me a bit off guard, I actually think it works because it enhances Eponine's character and strengthens her unrequited love for Marius. It also lends more power and emotional oomph to A Little Fall of Rain. Speaking of, I love that song as it is, but the way the sequence is staged in the movie, coming as it does on the heels of the altered circumstances I mentioned above, only enhances the pathos and emotion that the song is already supercharged with, which really lets the actors involved shine. It also allows for this one moment where Marius actually seems to realize just how Eponine feels about him, which is not something I'd noticed in the scene as it is in the stage version.

    I haven't really mentioned Hugh Jackman, but Valjean is the role he was born to play. There was already ample evidence of the man's talent, but it all comes together here, particularly in his rendition of Valjean's Soliloquy (Who am I) and his first-time performance of the brand-new song Suddenly (which really should be added to future stage productions). He also plays marvelously off of Russell Crowe, SBC, and HBC.

    I also wanted to mention something about the Master of the House sequence. I've always liked that song, and both SBC and HBC played the sequence perfectly. Cohen was a bit blurry with his words due to the fact that he sang the entire thing with an accent, as I mentioned above, but it worked to the scene's advantage, at least IMO.

    Lovely Ladies was another excellently realized sequence, with Anne Hathaway perfectly evoking Fantine's desperation and despair. I was particularly struck as never before by the part where she sells herself for the first time.

    Speaking of Anne, she also did something that I've never seen done before, which was to inject real anger and venom into the lyrics "He took my childhood in his stride, but he was gone when autumn came" from I Dreamed a Dream.

    I'd highly recommend the film to anyone who's familiar with the story and the musical, as well as to anyone who might not be familiar with the story or musical but likes musical theater and movie musicals in general, giving it an enthusiastic 5 stars out of 5.
     
  11. Briquettes

    Briquettes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    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.
     
  12. Aeronef

    Aeronef Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2012
    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.
     
  13. Tiny Timby

    Tiny Timby LIKE LIGHTNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING Administrator

    Joined:
    May 28, 2001
    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.
     
  14. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    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.
     
  15. OdoWanKenobi

    OdoWanKenobi Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Location:
    Ysmault
    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.

    You'll have to fight me for her. Damn! :drool:
     
  16. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Location:
    the real world
    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.
     
  17. Kestra

    Kestra Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2005
    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.
     
  18. Caretaker

    Caretaker Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 1999
    Location:
    Silver Spring, MD, USA
    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.
     
  19. Aeronef

    Aeronef Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2012
    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. :lol:
     
  20. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Location:
    Charlottetown, PEI, Canada
    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.