Les Misérables

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Re: Les Misérables

Postby MerriadocBrandybuck » Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:18 pm

portia wrote:I thought Nick Jonas was OK. He acted well, and his voice was what I would have expected from the character. I saw Colm Wilkinson at the end, with the other men who had played Jean Valjean. He seemed like he would be a good Phantom, too.

Did you notice the SIZE of the audience? Most football teams (American, British or Australian) would kill for an audience that big. Good.

On 60 minutes" there was an interview with Hugh Jackman (sigh). At the end it was mentioned that one of the duets with Russell Crowe was shown, briefly, on "60 minutes overtime" on the web. Also, more of the nuts and bolts of how the movie was done were shown.


Colm was the best Phantom IMO.
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby MerriadocBrandybuck » Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:25 pm

Finally got a chance to see it on Sunday night. Was way beyond my expectations. Anne Hathaway was great, Russell Crowe was better, and Amanda Seyfried was amazing!! Only Hugh Jackman struggled with the singing role. If you are a fan of the musical, you will love this.

My wife liked the musical, but really found the story hard to follow, she had no idea what was going on. The movie is so much easier to follow.

Was really cool that they gave Colm Wilkinson (the original Jean Valjean) a role in the movie as the bishop who gave Jean Valjean the silverware.

Will definitely look forward to getting this on Blu-Ray.
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby JewelSong » Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:36 am

I saw this over the weekend. I have seen it a couple of times on stage and enjoy the spectacle, although it is not one of my "favorite" musicals. I was interested in the movie because of the technique of having the actors actually singing while being filmed, rather than the usual lip-syncing to previously recorded tracks.

It was very enjoyable, although I thought that the translation from stage to screen left something to be desired. Too many close-ups for my tastes. Russell Crowe seemed to have only one facial expression throughout and even though it was obvious he had been coached in singing, he really is not any kind of singer and it showed. Hugh Jackman did a decent, but uneven, job. I thought Sasha Baron Cohen and Helen Bonham Carter were terrific as the Thenardiers. I loved the kid who played Gavroche and cried when he bought it at the barricade. Anne Hathaway was almost over-the-top with her very emotional Fantine. Great rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" but again, I could have done without the excessive close-ups.

Samantha Barks rocked as Eponine and as usual, I wondered why on earth Marius would choose the squeaky-clean Cosette over her.

The best scenes, in my opinion, were the panoramic ones...the men pulling the ship in the beginning, the sweeping country side as Valjean makes his way away from prison, the miserable crowd, the girls working in the shop, the barricade. The chorus and orchestral numbers were excellent.

I had one quibble with the ending...as Valjean dies and goes to "meet" the others who have died before him (ie: just about everyone in the movie!) he finds himself back on top of the barricade. I would have thought they'd all be in a better place. In the stage production, they sang the final chorus from behind a scrim, dressed in white, giving the suggestion that they had left this world for a better one.
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby earendil81 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:12 pm

saw it last week.
I will admit to starting crying 15 seconds into the movie. The scene with the prisoners just shook me to my core.
I have read the Hugo book a few times and love it; I am also French and this is one of these stories and moments in history that we grow up learning about.
I found the movie to be closer to the book than any staging of the musical that I have watched (mostly on TV and never live so I will give it to you that it is an unfair judgment). The movie did take me as if I were watching it live in some ways though.

Unlike Heather, I knew Sam Barks from the 25th anniversary stage performance and also from her participation in a reality TV show in the UK to get the role of Fanny in the latest Andrew Lloyd Webber's production of Oliver. I thought she was a finalist from the first time I heard her and she finished in third place but ended up playing the role on stage in London anyway. The one actor I did not know was Marius and unfortunately for him I find that he and Enjolras are the two roles that have lost the most from their transition on stage. In fact even from the French to the English translation.
Marius has been cut off from his grand father in the book and French musical. He's got no money because he has chosen to support the idea of the revolution. There is no doubt among the students that he believes in their cause. He does struggle between going with Cosette or staying to fight but Enjolras does not want him to fight because their battle is also to defend love... and so the students try to send Marius away but he comes anyway because he believes that even if he dies he will die for love and so it does not contradict his feelings for Cosette although he is torn. We lose that in the English version I find...

I was pleasantly surprised by Russel Crowe although there definitely are moments when you can tell that it is just a touch flat on some of the notes. I believe Hugh Jackman handled himself really well and the only song that suffered a little was Bring Him Home. Some notes were tight; but there is so much feeling in it that it takes you anyway. I found that the director did a great job at representing Paris at that time - would have been upset if he had not since Hugo describes the city in such a way that it becomes a character of its own and the feeling remained in the movie for me - except at the end when Javert dies. There has never been such drop in the Seine at this particular bridge in any moment of Paris history. However the current is strong enough that Javert would die anyway so it was an unnecessary addition.

I loved the ensemble pieces as well and really liked both Seyfried and Hathaway's performances. Hathaway's portrayal of Fantine is closer to what the book tells us of the character (or the original French version of the musical) and I like that her interpretation was not "pretty" but raw and distressed. I do agree with the comment about too many close-ups though.
As far as the Thenardier are concerned; I am glad that they were not as much of a comic relief as they tend to be on stage. These characters are not funny; they are evil and mean. And to me there always is a dark undercurrent to these two characters; they don't make me laugh. I find them repulsive and I was glad to see that represented on the screen. They are sneaky and greasy and yuk.

I will ever miss Gavroche's song though from this English musical; it's only half a song in the movie and this is one song I grew up with in French, which I have always loved and brought me to the book in the first place. Also - and I don't know how many of you know - but On My Own in the French version is actually sang by Fantine as well and it is called La misère (Misery). It comes before I dreamed a dream and is already a trip into hell with Fantine before she completely gives up on everything she has been to save her child.

All in all I liked the movie and I also liked that they ended on the barricades; I think it's a great nod to the fact that even though they have moved to a better place, the fight is not over. In fact just about 10 years later in the book (since the events take place in 1935 and not 1932) there was another revolt in Paris that brought down the monarchy... granted we ended up with an emperor but that was not how it was meant to be. But 1948 was the last revolt with the barricades; afterwards Napoleon III had Haussman redesign Paris' centre entirely and the big arteries in the old city were built; no more tiny streets that allowed for barricades and revolts/riots/revolutions.
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby Hobbituk » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:14 pm

I watched this on Monday. I've never seen the stage show, or read the book, so aside from being familiar with many of the songs purely through their cultural pervasiveness I wasn't really sure what to expect.

I thought it was mostly excellent. Surprised to hear people complain of the Direction. I thought it was great. I liked the use of close-ups. Tom Hooper has a pleasing (to me) habit of just getting out of the performer's way. He gives them everything they need to do their job and then lets them get on with it. It allows for fantastic performances without the Direction being too distracting. He did the same thing in 'The King's Speech' which I also liked a lot.

If I had a criticism of that side of things it would be that the Barricade felt too much like a stage set. The one at the very end in the dream/heaven finale was so much better and made me wish something like that had been used for the real one. I suppose there might have been a few budget and historical realism issues there though!

Performance-wise, I thought Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne completely stole the show. I thought every second one of those three was on the screen, it was completely compelling. I've been a big fan of Eddie Redmayne in particular for quite a while and it's nice to see him getting praise. Hathaway and Jackman seemed to put just about all of themselves into the roles too. 'I Dreamed A Dream' just about pinned me to my chair.

Russell Crowe seems to be getting a bad wrap from people, I thought he was just charismatic enough to carry it off. I have read the comment 'Russell Crowe can't sing' more than a few times, which is an absolutely moronic, idiotic observation. He may not be the best singer in the world, and you may have heard those songs sung better by others, but he certainly can sing and his voice is not unpleasant!

I thought Sacha Baron Cohen was pretty good, but upstaged by Helena Bonham Carter who was excellent.

All in all, a good film I enjoyed very much but will probably never watch it again (or the stage show).
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby Pericles » Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:48 am

Telemachos wrote:the direction is atrocious.


Could you expand on that? I'm not challenging your pov, I'm just genuinely interested as someone who knows little about the art of direction.

To my untrained eye, it did slightly bother me that the camera remained very static - which I understand in these days of hand-held shaky cam can be a relief - but I did find it a bit uninspired. I think they had an opportunity to make the film much more 'cinematic', with sweeping vistas, inventive uses of the camera etc. The initial slave / ship scene was a good example of doing this right, but there wasn't enough of that for me. I'm not sure there's any point just reproducing the stage production (which I love) - if doing it in a different medium, why not maximise it?

Similarly I do think they could have been a bit more inventive on the solo numbers (of which there are many in Les Mis). For example, the trailer for Les Mis is very impactful, and shows the potential of using the songs to accompany images on screen other than just the person singing. I do think they could have done more of this in the film itself. Granted, Hathaway was exceptional and I have no complaints with seeing her in close-up singing all of 'I Dreamed a Dream' - but I don't think that should have been the decision each time.

Anyway, minor quibbles aside I really enjoyed the film, but I think a lot of that is to do with me already loving the stage production. I do think Les Mis is a 'grower' and it improves immeasurably once you are familiar with the score / songs.
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby Democritus » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:40 am

I hated this film, longest three hours spent in the cinema for a very long time. However I also loathed the stage production so a lot of this hatred is based on the over-wrought, over-long, sledge-hammer of a musical itself (was dragged to the cinema by a friend who made it her birthday request). Perhaps because I found the singing over-sung I actually enjoyed the worst singers in the film, namely Cohen, Carter, and Crowe. Crowe's one note voice and expression actually works for his character who is supposed to be humourless, relentless and completely unimaginative, which is exactly how Crowe plays him.
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby JewelSong » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:29 am

Demo, I'm surprised you went to see Les Mis at all...given how much you hated the stage production! :D

I enjoyed the film for what it was. I like the stage show, although it is not one of my "favorites" and in spite of the over-blown size of it. I was curious about the movie, because of the technique they used of having the actors sing "live" rather than lip-synching to a previously recorded track. However, I was underwhelmed with most of the voices. Seems they went for big names rather than big voices.

I was extremely annoyed by all the close-ups of singing...even Anne Hathaway's big number could have done with just a COUPLE of long shots.

I didn't understand why, at the end, Valjean ends up back on the barricade. I mean, he dies - isn't he supposed to be going to a better place? You know - "BEYOND the barricade there is a land we long to see?" LOL.
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby Nessa » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:14 am

It is not released yet in my country. Are there a LOT of songs in it? I'm not used to movies where everyone sings all the time :lol:

But the casting looks impressive...
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby ToshoftheWuffingas » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:45 am

I saw it last week. I was moderately informed about Hugo's novel, knew a little of French history of the period but had never seen the stage musical despite good intentions. The only songs I knew were in the musical were Master of the House and Do You Hear the People Sing and even those I had only heard a handful of times on radio. The latter had already put the hairs up on the back of my neck though. So like Hobbituk, I was a neophyte and my reactions are pretty close to his. It was utterly overwhelming. Jackman carried the whole movie on his back and Hathaway tore my guts out. Like Hobbituk I'm not certain I could watch it a second time but for fear of blubbing out loud.
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby JewelSong » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:55 pm

Nessa wrote:It is not released yet in my country. Are there a LOT of songs in it? I'm not used to movies where everyone sings all the time .


Are there a lot of songs???? LOL! It's a musical. And a " sung-though" musical, which means everything is sung, including the dialogue.

So, yes. There are a lot of songs. The whole movie is sung.
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby ToshoftheWuffingas » Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:12 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21414126
An analysis of a weepie.
(Contains spoilers)
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby portia » Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:39 am

I finally got the movie from the Library.

There is a real decision to be made concerning singing. Do You let the actors/singers sing on set or do you dub it? These actors were good enough to do a creditable job singing on set, but that is not always the case. I would vote for allowing them to sing on set for an emotional show such as this. As to Russell Crowe, there is a lot to be said for matching the singing voice to the character. I thought his voice went well with the character. His voice is fine for a singing actor. I would not want to go to a concert of his, if he were singing. I have heard Hugh Jackman sing elsewhere, and I know that he has been in better voice than this, but this fit the acting.

I was a little disturbed by the fact that some interesting scenes from the trailer were not in the film.

I agree that the barricade scene looked fake. Especially because who would care about a barricade put up in that place?

Overall, it was quite good and I am glad I saw it.
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby MeadowForest » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:19 am

I thought it was a wonderful film! I love many musicals as it is, so I knew I would at least like it. I like that they used to necessarily all the best singers to play the roles as we can't all open our mouths and suddenly be operatic singers! The cast was very well chosen. I could not hold back the tears at the end!

It was cool to be able to see Samantha Barks live a few weeks after when I saw the stage version of Oliver! :)
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby siddharth » Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:01 pm

I saw this today. I liked it but was still largely underwhelmed.

Lots of issues with this. I haven't seen the stage show but the novel is one of my all-time favorites.

Point one, Les Mis should bring tears to people's eyes. And it never did for me. Not once. (I don't say I am a soft-guy but I am not that hard as well! )

Point two, I can appreciate the musical-approach but I do not think that singing each and every diaolgue fits the story well. Why not say the plot-point dialogues traditionally (at least some of it) and sing the rest, ala, Sound of Music? I think it would atleast be more emotionally resonant.

Thirdly, I loved Anne's voice and acting. I loved Marius' voice as well as the actress playing Eponine. I loved the little Cosette and Gavroche too. (how come a little French boy has a Cockney accent?) But that's it. I didn't feel for any other character. Not even Valjean. (I thought Jackman's singing was the most mediocre among those who sang). I loved the songs by Crowe, as they had a certain energy and often broke the monotonous slow-singing by the rest of the cast. But Crowe himself didn't suit the role at all.

Fourth, Bonham Carter's make-up! :shock: WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT???

Fifth, I don't think I was moved by any of the scenes except Enjorlas and Gavroche's deaths. But Valjean's came close. I expected Javert's death to be heart-wrenching, but it just wasn't. And I feel it was mostly the director's fault. (actually, most of the films flaws are, imo, directorial flaws)

Sixth, favorite song? "Red, the Colour of dawn". I actually loved all the chorus and group songs. But I was left cold by the individual songs, especially Jackman's.

And lastly, the most annoying aspect of the film was the shaky-cams and close-ups!

All in all, at times it really came close to the spirit of the book, but the scenes where it mattered the most (i.e. Javert's suicide or Valjean's repentance at the start) it sank and sank deep.

Overall Score: 5/10

ETA: I wonder how many here have seen the 1999 adaptation of Les Mis with Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush? I saw it a couple of years ago and remember being mesmerized by it. Aside from being very true to the tone, Geoffrey Rush has to be the best Javert ever!
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby Lalaith-Elerrina » Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:33 am

I know this thread is way down there, but I just recently saw the movie Les Mis for the first time. I really liked it. It's one of my favorite operas ever. I think Javier is one of my favorite bad guys in literature. Being not so much bad, as unable to consider other people's perspectives, and thereby causing unnecessary difficulty for other people, and himself.
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby KittyCathy » Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:25 am

Oh! I love Les Miserables - movies, theatres, book, musical... Everything!And Les Miserables with Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean is pretty good.
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Re: Les Misérables

Postby JuliaF » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:06 am

Steerpike wrote:The new trailer for Tom Hooper's movie of the Broadway musical.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-WSCf3rDDc

I'm looking forward to it more than The Hobbit.


This version i like more than the previous. I have read the book as well very nice.
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