BREAKING NEWS: Man of Steel is a hit! We're getting more superhero movies! AW commits mass suicide.
Movies recently reviewed by RRA:
Evil Dead (2013)
In the Mouth of Madness (1995)
Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
Star Trek (2009)
The Beautiful and Talented Godgend Señor El Diablo Blanchitto
Returning to Hollywood with a Vengeance in 2013
Were porn sets used in this movie at all?
The film still only has a 56 on MC (after 12 reviews), and most of those reviews mention major problems with the direction. I think there is a certain schadenfreude about Hooper getting his comeuppance, but that's certainly not the only reason he's been slammed.
Are they planning a sequel to the soundtrack? It's about 40 minutes shorter than, say, the Broadway soundtrack and is missing plot-important songs like Come to Me and A Little Fall of Rain.
Ang Lee - The only 2x Bafta/DGA/Oscar-Winning Director!
Meryl on Oscars: Y’see these little babies? These are my best f***ing friends
and they never let me down. Try to get ‘em away from me and I’ll eat you alive.
I haven't read the book, but I know the story and am a fan, and I'm also a fan of the musical... but this was a disappointment as well as a complete disaster.
The main problem is Tom Hooper's direction. There was one chance to make the Les Mis movie that the musical deserves, and he fucked it up. The live singing gimmick has its moments (notably, Anne Hathaway's rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream,") but the majority of the time it simply doesn't work. He gave his actors too much power, and not all of them (or most of them, really) are able to deliver. When they do, Hooper still manages to ruin it with his horrible aesthetic. By the time Russell Crowe performs "Stars" (about an hour in) and we are subjected to an extreme (and I mean extreme) close-up, I was sick of it. By the 2 hour mark (the barricades), I found it to be excruciating. Les Mis is an epic, but you wouldn't know it from this movie. Too many moments that should be powerful or emotional are ruined by having an actor's entire face take up the theater's screen. Not only that, but one starts to notice a lot of unflattering facial features about the actors; Redmayne, Tviet, and Barks all have really weird noses, you can see the foundation caked-up all over Seyfried, especially around her nose, AND you can see the lines of spit in between Hathaway's top and bottom rows of teeth whenever she opens her mouth (ETA: And a zit on Hugh Jackman's neck!) . On another note, based on the earlier released clips, I thought Redmayne was really hot... but he's not when his entire fucking face eats up the screen. Revoke my Redmaynia card, please.
Anyways, two of the worst examples of Hooper's direction standing in the way are when Gavroche delivers Valjean the letter from Marius... the camera is placed above Jackman, with him looking directly at it as he stands above a tall staircase that results in giving the audience some serious vertigo. Another is when Marius sings "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables"; the first half of the song is an extreme close-up of Redmayne's side profile that eventually and abruptly cuts to another extreme close-up of him looking directly at the camera. Hooper's vision is so claustrophobic that one cannot even see any of the sets or costumes, and the actors as well as the audience have no room to breathe. The pacing of the film also fails to allow any chance to breathe or even digest anything that's happening; it all goes by too quickly.
I don't have a problem with The King's Speech, and I never cared that it and Hooper won... but after seeing this film, I do. Hooper's Oscar win changed his career and allowed him a lot of opportunities, and this is what he did with it. I usually applaud films and filmmakers that fail yet clearly show a lot of ambition, but what Hooper is doing here is simply incompetent filmmaking.
As for the actors:
I know Hugh Jackman is a good singer, but he's not a good Jean Valjean. He doesn't look the part in any way, and frankly he looks ridiculous during the second half of the film. He's supposed to be old and tired, but it's just Jackman wearing a noticeably shitty and laughable wig. As for Jackman's singing, I don't think it works. His voice isn't strong enough, and he just sounds whiny. Really, the only time I was impressed with his singing was during his death scene... and it only worked for me because he's supposed to be weak and struggling to sing/talk.
Russell Crowe is as bad as everyone says. He's perfect for the part physically (he looks like Javert), but he can't sing for shit. All of the Valjean/Javert duets are abysmal.
As good as Anne Hathaway is, you can hear the clicking of the wheels inside her head at almost every moment. Even in "I Dreamed a Dream," every time she takes a breath she does this little sniffle. Honey, we know you're devastated and sick, but can you try to be just a little less obvious in your acting choices? That said, she's a terrific performer and IDAD is the best moment of the film (I didn't cry, but I had some tears). The film dies a slow death when she departs at around the 45-minute mark. I agree that she's easily the best in show, but it's an extremely relative statement considering the movie she's in.
Seyfried and Barks are both solid. Nothing more, nothing less. The main thing I took away from the former's performance is that she's a good cryer.
Redmayne has a wonderful voice, but Hooper's direction fucks him. I can't help but feel bad for him, to be honest. His performance of "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" was destroyed by Hooper.
Cohen and Bonham Carter are playing themselves. The former is a great singer, the latter is not (she talks her way through most of the film). The audience laughed essentially every time they were on screen, but that's to be expected with characters such as the Thenardiers. "Master of the House" was a lot of fun, though! For some reason it takes place at Christmas, so there's a little scene of a guy dressed as Santa Claus fucking a woman as she yells, "Oh, Santa!".
The little kid who played Gavroche was a pistol and I loved him. However, his death scene is not going to play well with audiences due to recent events. There was a notable awkward silence in the theater when he died, as well as when Javert puts a pin on his corpse.
Aaron Tviet and the rest of the barricade boys were fine, but they don't make a strong impression. The most noteworthy thing I can say about Tviet is that when he interrupts the funeral procession and he and Redmayne are on top of a carriage, it looks like the former is sitting on the latter's lap!
As for Oscar, Anne Hathaway's still going to win. However, a little part of me thinks that Sally Field might be able to steal it, but probably not. Nominations for Best Picture, Production Design, Costume Design, Sound Mixing, and Song will all happen (though I will be pissed if "Suddenly" beats "Skyfall"). Editing and Screenplay are not going to happen. Cinematography could, but there's so much backlash against the look of the film, that right now I'm not going to predict it. The only actor aside from Hathaway that has a chance to get nominated is Hugh Jackman, yet I have no idea if that's actually going to happen. It's between him and Phoenix for the last spot, and in a race this close, I feel like Phoenix's behavior and refusal to campaign (especially in comparison to the charming Jackman) may be the deciding factor. I don't think either one of them deserves it, so I don't care who ends up getting in.
Last edited by guany; 12-20-2012 at 04:36 AM.
You and Erik were fans of the show, so I take your opinion more seriously. I still think it's kind of impossible for me to not be moved at ANY rendition of it (I've been moved by even the most amateur productions I've seen) but yeah "Empty Chairs" in extreme closeu up sounds incredibly stupid. The point is showing the loneliness in an empty café, so you need to show the empty chairs, the empty tables, the phantom faces on the windows and the phantom shadows on the floor.
There's a grief that can't be spoken, indeed!
LOL, now I've remembered that once I was told by an amateur production's director that I had aced my audition in "A Heart Full of Love" but that I sucked in "Empty Chairs". The role went to one of the producer's son, so I decided to think I had aced Empty Chairs too, but he needed an excuse to not choose me.
A pessimist is a well-informed optimist-Napoleon