Monthly Archives: January 2013

Les Miserables

I came out of seeing Les Miserables an emotional wreck. I wasn’t expecting the film to hit me this hard. After all everyone’s singing –it can’t be sad right?

Very wrong.

The basic plot of Les Miserable starts in 1815 when prisoner Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is set free after nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread. When he breaks his parole to start a new better life for himself under a new identity he is followed by Russell Crowe’s Javert who is determined to bring him to justice. Years later Valjean’s life crosses that of Fantine (Anne Hathaway) and her daughter Cosette (Isabelle Allen and later Amanda Seyfried) changing his life forever.

It’s astonishing that Tom Hooper is not nominated for Best Director at this year’s Oscars. The scale of this film is immense and he handles an all-star cast and the extravagantly detailed sets with aplomb. Anyone else might have let the grandness of this film overwhelmed the film itself, Hooper manages to keep everything in order and produce a fantastic film at the same time.

As the film is set in three time periods it appropriate that there’s three actors who stand out in each time period.

In the film’s first section set in 1815, Hugh Jackman is amazing as Jean Valjean. When we first see him he is thin, haggard, a prisoner whose been barely treated like a human for nineteen years. His desperation shows throughout his face and his transformation from petty criminal without hope to a well-respected man with a new sense of dignity and responsibility is convincingly portrayed. He thoroughly deserved his win at the golden globes.

Speaking of golden globe winners-best supporting actress Anne Hathaway steals the second part of the film based eight years later.  Although she is barely in the film Hathaway makes a huge impact. Her character’s Fantine’s fall from grace is harrowing and Hathaway bares it all in her performance. Fantine is broken and has given up everything for the love of her child. It was a risk for Hooper to make the cast sing live on film, rather than in a recording studio but it pays off when you hear the emotion and despair in her voice during “I dreamed a dream”.

The last part of the film takes place nine years later. It’s here where newcomer Samantha Barks (from tv’s I’d do Anything) stands out against the Hollywood heavies acting beside her. It helps that she played Eponine in the west end. As lonely, hopelessly in love Eponine she conveys much more feeling and emotion than the bland love story between Marius (Eddie Redmayne) and Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) does. Her song of unrequited love for Marius in “On my own” shows her impressive vocal range whilst pulling tightly on your heart strings. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the poor girl.

It’s fair to say that Anne Hathaway and Samantha Barks break my heart in this film.

However the film is not without its flaws. It does feel too long at times, where the story seems to drag. I didn’t feel emotionally connected to the story of Cosette and Marius (mostly because I cared about poor Eponine instead). Also Russell Crowe doesn’t have the strength in his singing voice that the other actors do, although it’s not as bad as others may have you believe, but he does struggle with the singing but then that is the risk in letting all your actors sing live. However he acts the part well and is an intimidating antagonist to Jackman’s Valjean.

These points however don’t get in the way of a heartbreakingly, emotional film full of terrific performances.

Rating 4/5

Tears, young love, unrequited love, death, a man on the run and a student uprising-the film packs a lot in its 158 running time, but it wasn’t a disappointment.

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Pitch Perfect

Prepared to get Pitch Slapped

Surprisingly getting pitch slapped is more enjoyable than I had imagined. This college set comedy centring on an all-female a cappella group infuses songs, adult humour and a feel-good sense of fun.

So sulky Beca is a freshman at Barden University but she really wants to be in the LA music scene. Her dad-trying to persuade her to be sociable-encourages her to join the Barden Bellas. There she meets an array of girls who are struggling to get through to the finals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella and beat their rivals the Treblemakers.  Can wannabe music producer Beca get the girls to loosen up from their tired, boring routines and do something more modern and funky? What do you think?

The film itself may have some predictable notes but that doesn’t stop it from being funny. The film is full of many hilarious one liners that are bound to have moviegoers repeating to their friends as they leave the cinema.

The performance everyone will be talking about is Fat Amy played by rising star Rebel Wilson. She gets most of the best lines and will become a cult comedy character. Out of the rest of the supporting cast I had a soft spot for Benji, (Ben Platt) the Treblemakers super fan who loves magic. In the lead role Anna Kendrick manages to make Beca moody but not too cold to root for. Her relationship with Jesse (Skylar Astin) helps as she begins to soften through their interactions. Austin makes for a refreshingly three dimensional love interest compared to the shallow ones you normally get in this kind of film. In fact he was so nice that half the time I wanted Beca to ditch the Bellas and start up her own super group with Jesses, Benji and Fat Amy (Maybe an idea for sequel?)

The film’s main sour point for me was the subplot of Beca’s relationship with her dad. He wants her to integrate into student life, she just wants to listen to her music. Dull. Luckily the film doesn’t spend too long on this plot strand. Not when there’s so much singing and dancing to be had.

Rating 4/5

Fun and Fabulous.  Plus you got to love a film that promotes The Breakfast Club as heavily as this one does.

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Super Sweet Blogger Award

I’ve been nominated  for the Super Sweet Blogger Award by MyReelPOV.  Thank you very much-my first nomination-how exciting! What a way to start the new year.

I started this blog back in July 2012 mostly mostly for my own amusement. I wasn’t sure how to write a blog (some may say I still don’t!) and I didn’t know if anyone would be interested in what I have to say. It’s been lovely that people enjoy what I write enough to like, comment or follow my blog. So thanks to everyone whose spent their time reading my blog.

So the rules of this award:

1:  Give credit to the person who nominated you (thanks again MyReelPOV great blog btw)

2:  Answer the Super Sweet Questions

3:  Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen”

So first the Super Sweet Questions.

  1. Cookies or cake?

I’m torn but I’ve just had a Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake and that was delicious so I’ll have to say cake.

2.  Chocolate or Vanilla?

Chocolate

  3.   What is your favourite sweet treat, cheesecake or frozen yoghurt?

In case it’s not obvious from the first question-cheesecake!

4.   When do you crave sweet things the most?

Anytime, but mostly late afternoon/evening

5.   If you had a sweet nickname what would it be?

Cookie Monster

Now this is my list of fabulous bloggers who make up my Baker’s Doze

Charlie Derry

Andy Watches Movies

Eyes Are Out

Simply Film

Hollywood Fix

Sidekick Reviews

Patrick Latter Photography

A Confederacy of Spinsters

moviejoltz

Lasers, monsters and barbarians oh, my!

Sarah Gets Critical

Freebird

Christan Mihai

The lucky chosen ones don’t have to accept the award but if they choose to then just follow the rules and nominate your own baker’s dozen.

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Goodbye 2012 Hello 2013

We are now in the New Year. So it’s time to look back on what films I enjoyed and what I’m looking forward to this year.

 2012 has given us some great films. Top of them all, for me, would be the Indonesian movie The Raid. The film is a wonderful collaboration of Welsh director and writer Gareth Evans and actor Iko Uwais. Uwais also choreographed the fights scenes (along with fellow co-star Yayan Ruhian) which use the traditional Indonesian martial art pencak silat.  It features some of the most creative action sequences of recent years and I’m excited to see what Evans and Uwais comes up with next.

Besides The Raid I also loved The Avengers (did anyone actually call it by its UK release title Avenger’s Assemble?), The Hunger Games, Cabin In The Woods and Silver Linings Playbook.

But enough of looking back, what is there to come?

Well Hollywood aren’t going to stop remaking classic horror films anytime soon, so if I have to see one remake this year then I might as well give The Evil Dead at try. Personally I preferred The Evil Dead 2 to the original (probably has something to do with the whole tree-rape thing. Actually it’s a lot to do with the tree-rape thing). But I do remember how creepy The Evil Dead was and how much they manage to do on a small budget, and with Sam Rami having a big involvement in the remake could this remake be any good?

Having devoured The Hunger Games books and then encouraged all my family and friends to read it (I say encouraged, I mean hounded them) I really enjoyed the film adaptation last year. It also stars one of my favourite young actresses at the moment-Jennifer Lawrence. So fingers cross the sequel Catching Fire will live up to the huge expectations I have.

Speaking of huge expectations, 2013 will finally see Star Trek: Into Darkness released in cinemas. How excited am I? When I was at the cinema watching the trailers before The Hobbit began, I nearly choked on my popcorn when I saw  the trailer of Chris Pine and co on my screen. If that wasn’t enough the amazingly named Benedict Cumberbatch is the villain! Sherlock v.s Kirk. I may collapse at the screening.

On the other sci-fi front, I’m interested in seeing how The Host turns out. A love triangle in two bodies, The Host concerns aliens called Souls who take over humans but find they can’t quite control the feelings of their human bodies. I haven’t been the biggest fan of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series and The Host isn’t perfect but I think it has a potential to be an intelligent sci-fi film regarding what it means to be human. If it’s done right. I’m also excited about Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, basically it’s giant robots battling giant monsters and starring Idris Elba. I don’t need to know anything else about this film to know that it’s going to be amazing.

Over to my girlie, musical side, I’ve never seen the stage show of Les Miserables but the film version starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway has already got Oscar buzz written all over it and I for one can’t wait to see the big screen spectacular.

I’m sure as the year continues I’ll see many other amazing films, and hopefully not too many bad ones. Well one can hope!

 

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