My mom introduced me to the music of Les Miserables when I was growing up. Mandy Patinkin sang I Dreamed a Dream. And I needed more. PBS shows a concert special. I wanted to watch it. I would walk around singing Stars for days. I would sing Who Am I? as I walked to school. So, when I heard there was going to be a movie, I was excited.
I have seen the stage production twice: once on Broadway and once in Madison. It is a beautiful story of justice and basically death. Politically. I hated Javert, but musically, he was my favorite. His story is one of pride and belief in the system. But the system is broken. A man who is tracks his entire life is not whom he believes him to be. But seeing the man on stage alone singing some of the most beautiful songs I ever heard made the musical.
On a movie screen, it is a different production. It is not the stage production and you can’t go into it thinking you are going to see a stage production. Movie musicals are different. A camera is different than a stage. It isn’t worse. It is different. Rob Marshall understood that when he made Chicago. He used the tricks of moviemaking to make the movie something special. Tom Hooper filmed Les Miserables like someone who sat only in the balcony for a stage production. He was always on top of the actors. You were there with them face-to-face, which is not what you get as a viewer of the stage production. It is always a separation.
Overall, this doesn’t help the story. I cried more than usual, but that is because everyone looked so much more sad than I am used to from the stage. But for the love story of Marius and Cossette, I got it with the movie. I understood their story so much more. Marius was annoying on the record or in the theater. But I understood why Cossette fell in love with him. I appreciated that aspect of the film. Eddie Redmayne added something to the character that I never saw before.
Redmayne as Marius
I read a lot of bad reviews of the movie and I will say that it is not as powerful as it is on stage. It is not shot in a way that is very welcoming. It loses a lot of its heart and its soul due to its styling. Master of the House is creepy and not very funny. It reminded me of how Tim Burton filmed the funnier parts of Sweeney Todd – something was missing. Russell Crowe is not a strong baritone and I didn’t connect to Javert as I would have loved to. I didn’t understand the premises behind his solos. It is a little sad that I didn’t see that on film.
But I have seen it. If I watch the Les Miserable concert (the one before the Nick Jonas one), I get that despair and fear and anger out of that Javert. Each staging will change how you feel about the story.
It wasn’t as good as Lincoln. I loved Silver Linings Playbook. But it was a good movie experience. And I introduced John to something that is really important to me. Worth the price of admission.
Updated: watch this fun video on Christine Pedi imagining what Les Mis would be like with different people playing roles:
I was not that big of a fan of The Dark Knight. It was a little too dark for me. I thought the story was really well done and I liked the first two hours, but the last hour with the introduction of Two-Face didn’t work for me. And in the beginning of The Dark Knight Rises, the continuation of the Harvey Dent story still didn’t work.
To alleviate the guilt I will have when I see The Avengers, I will follow David Brother’s post and donate to The Hero Initiative.
Here is the idea: So how about this: You’re probably going to go see The Avengers and, judging by the early reviews, you’ll probably enjoy it. How about – as a thank you to the creators who brought you these characters in the first place, who gave you something to enjoy so much – you match your ticket price as a donation to The Hero Initiative?
As creators who did not get their fair share get sick or need help, The Hero Initiative provides them with assistance.
See the movie! Help out!
UPDATED 5/16/2012: I saw The Avengers last week and just donated $10 to the Hero’s Initiative. The movie was alright. Nothing more to say.
When I was growing up, I read a lot of Hardy Boys books that were written more recently called Casefiles. They were more pulpy than the old Hardy Boy books – less smugglers. But I never got into old fashioned pulp. I turned to Agatha Christie novels and noir books instead. And that has always been my wheelhouse since. Sci-Fi novels also missed my eyes. I would read a few but I didn’t gravitate to them like I did with anything crime-related.
But when John Carter first had trailers, I looked into the story. I didn’t read the books because I assumed it would be very different, but it had a pedigree I liked. Disney does movies pretty well, generally, and to have Andrew Stanton attached, who directed Wall-E, one of my favorite Sci-Fi films ever, they had my money. So, I went on Saturday with John.
We both loved it. It was a great mix of science fiction, western, and love story. There were also mysterious elements that made it even better. But it was also Taylor Kitsch that sold me on the movie. Tim Riggins is one of my favorite characters in television history, so I may even see that Battleship movie against my better judgment due to Peter Berg’s involvement as well.
John Carter is a former Confederate soldier, like Jonah Hex, who is out west trying to make a life away from his soldier days. He gets pulled in by the U.S. Army to fight the Apache and ends up finding a cave that is a doorway of sorts to Mars. But he doesn’t realize this at all – even when he can jump due to different gravitational pulls. And he arrives in the middle of a war. It’s a setup that seems familiar and the story isn’t surprising or twist-filled, but it has enough interesting characters and plot points to really create a successful story.
The imagery is also beautiful. I didn’t see it in 3D or in IMAX but it doesn’t seem necessary. All of the long shots of Mars or the battle scenes between different airships were amazing. The solar panels that provide power to the ships shined. The moons provided a nice backdrop. And if nothing else, the aliens were all pretty cool.
The best way to figure out, in my opinion, if a story works is if you want more. I immediately downloaded three John Carter novels to read. So, take that as a yes!
Preface: I have never seen a full episode of Star Trek. I have never seen any of the movies. I know about as much about the characters as anybody who has a deep knowledge of pop culture and spends every Wednesday in a comic shop. Well, probably not compared to those guys, but in short, I know the names, I got an idea of the picture, and I know a few of the catchlines. (“I’m a doctor, not a …”, “Live long and prosper”, “Beam me up…”)
Yet, I really enjoyed this movie. The bad guys didn’t seem all that tough, but I did like seeing Kirk get punched by just about everyone but the Russian kid. Halfway through the movie, I wanted to punch him.
It was very entertaining. I laughed often. More often than I was probably supposed to, at least judging by the lack of laughing by my fellow movie goers. I like the Russian kid named Chekov. I also like the plays he writes later in life, if it’s the same person. Simon Pegg is still a genius as well. I didn’t know he also did a Scottish accent. And Dr. Bones was hilarious. I believe I did laugh (and was supposed to…I was in a lame theater) whenever he spoke.
However, the little love triangle between Uhura, Kirk and Spock didn’t really do anything for me. Thought it was a bit lame. Love…who needs it?
I look forward to the next installment. And the best rating I can give it was: I never looked at my watch.
If you have a heart, this movie will affect you. The acting is superb and the story is fantastic. After fifteen years of separation, two sisters are reunited. One has become a popular professor at a French university, married with two small children, who all live in a beautiful house with her husband’s father. The other has been in prison.
Kristin Scott Thomas shows, through mainly facial expressions, all of the emotions of returning to society after being imprisoned. The other actors, specifically the actress who plays her sister, the actor who plays her parole officer, and the actor who plays a colleague of her sister, shine and add many layers to this rich story.
Throughout the movie, you learn her past. You piece together why she was in prison throughout the movie, but by the end, you are not as concerned with that portion of the story as with if her will readjust to society. I had multiple tears in my eyes as others accept her for her past and learn not to judge someone for where they have been, but instead, for what they can do.
Made in France (yes, with subtitles), I felt incredibly sympathetic for this character even as I found out her past. I hope in real life I would be as sympathetic to real person.
I believe I will add this movie to my collection soon. I believe it deserves multiple viewings. I would most likely force people to watch it though. Highly recommended.
I have had this movie sitting on our DVD player for about a month now from Netflix. I just couldn’t get the 2.5 hours to watch it. I also was not too enthusiastic about watching it.
I read the book before the movie came out. And I have the same thoughts about the movie as I had the book. None of my criticism is movie related.
I do not believe in the philosophy. I have a different worldview from Alexander Supertramp or Christopher McCandless. At one point in the movie, he comments to Hal Holbrooke about the inferiority of human relationships over one’s relationship with adventure and nature.
But we would not even know his story if it were not for the human relations. I believe all we are are our human relations. When I die, I am pretty sure my experiences and what I have learned dies with me. It is not passed on to someone else or to anything without me giving it to someone else. Continue reading “Into The Wild” »
I wanted to see this movie for Richard Jenkins’ performance, but ended up really liking the entire story. It was a bit heavy handed with its critiques of the immigration policy in this country, but some heavy handedness may be useful in the discussion. Overall, a good movie with a gentle plot and an interesting academic (yes, he is searching for a real purpose, but get over that).
Fantastic look at a man trying to achieve a personal goal; no matter the consequentes. On August 7, 1974 (8 years before I was born), Phillipe Petit crossed the gap between the World Trade Center. This documentary shows trials and tribulations of the impossible task with the people involved and spectacular videos of his test runs and previous feats.