Les Misérables - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 58 Old 09-21-2012, 06:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Trailer with mostly BTS interviews, where the actors and crew explains how the singing in this film was recorded Live on set during shooting of the scenes, which are contrary to the normal way of recording the singing in a recording studio first and then mime to a playback during shooting.

Opening December 25, 2012.
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post #2 of 58 Old 09-24-2012, 06:19 AM
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Still waiting for the 10th Anniversary Dream Cast Blu-ray.
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post #3 of 58 Old 12-14-2012, 09:33 AM
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Not too many Les Mis fans on on this forum, it seems. Having watched the musical (albeit years ago), I'm personally looking forward to this smile.gif
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post #4 of 58 Old 12-15-2012, 03:25 PM
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I am a big Broadway show fan, and love Les Mis, i have seen it both on Broadway and in Miami. Cant wait for the movie, its almost time!!!!!

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post #5 of 58 Old 12-15-2012, 08:17 PM
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By far my favorite musical. Know every word. Very excited for the movie

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post #6 of 58 Old 12-27-2012, 06:43 PM
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I too am a big Les Mis fan. I saw the film today and was simply blown away. The singing is often imprecise but it is raw and emotional. The big numbers, such as Fantine's I Dreamed a Dream, Valjean's Let him Live, and Marcus's Empty Chairs at Empty Tables were gut wrenching. I Dreamed a Dream had me bawling, as I suspect many others in the theater were too. At the end of the film, the audience spontaneously applauded. See it, you won't be sorry. 10 Stars out of 10. I was so impressed that I ordered th 10th Anniversary DVD today, despite realizing that I will inevitably double dip and buy the BD when it is finally released.

PS: Just remembered Eponine's beautiful and ineffably sad, On My Own, sung by the beautiful and talented Samantha Barks. Jesus! Barks also played Eponine in the 25th Anniversary concert.
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post #7 of 58 Old 12-27-2012, 08:17 PM
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As a longtime fan of musical theater and movie musicals, I'm looking forward to seeing this, too, although I must confess to not being much of a Les Mis fan in particular. I wonder if there was any thought given to the cast re-recording their vocals more conventionally in a studio for the movie soundtrack CD/download where they can truly focus on their vocal performances and not also be too concerned about what their faces might look like in giant movie closeup. I've only heard some of the songs from the movie version in their entirety on Sirius' Broadway channel while a few members of the cast were being interviewed for pre-release promotion. Those recordings were taken directly from the movie and listening to just those vocals over and over again as one would with a CD/download of the soundtrack, without the accompanying movie images, could be a bumpy ride strictly from a musical standpoint.
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post #8 of 58 Old 12-27-2012, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

I too am a big Les Mis fan. I saw the film today and was simply blown away. The singing is often imprecise but it is raw and emotional. The big numbers, such as Fantine's I Dreamed a Dream, Valjean's Let him Live, and Marcus's Empty Chairs at Empty Tables were gut wrenching. I Dreamed a Dream had me bawling, as I suspect many others in the theater were too. At the end of the film, the audience spontaneously applauded. See it, you won't be sorry. 10 Stars out of 10. I was so impressed that I ordered th 10th Anniversary DVD today, despite realizing that I will inevitably double dip and buy the BD when it is finally released.
PS: Just remembered Eponine's beautiful and ineffably sad, On My Own, sung by the beautiful and talented Samantha Barks. Jesus! Barks also played Eponine in the 25th Anniversary concert.

Yup, I really enjoyed this, especially the wonderful Barks.

The performers were definitely chosen for their acting skills rather than their singing quality, in particular Jackman and Crowe were vocally quite shaky. But that did not matter as the performers nailed the raw huge emotions asked of them. Hooper's gamble of having the performers sing live on set paid off, particularly in Hathaway's remarkable single-take rendition of "I dreamed a dream" .

I can see why this film is so polarizing, Les Mis is quite an in-your-face musical...

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post #9 of 58 Old 12-28-2012, 01:51 PM
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Yup, I really enjoyed this, especially the wonderful Barks.
The performers were definitely chosen for their acting skills rather than their singing quality, in particular Jackman and Crowe were vocally quite shaky. But that did not matter as the performers nailed the raw huge emotions asked of them. Hooper's gamble of having the performers sing live on set paid off, particularly in Hathaway's remarkable single-take rendition of "I dreamed a dream" .
I can see why this film is so polarizing, Les Mis is quite an in-your-face musical...

Jackman concentrated so heavily on the dramatic aspects of his performance, it was often easy to forget that he is an established Broadway star, I thought Jackman's Let Him Live was beautiful but Jackman can't float those beautiful high notes as well as Colm Wilkinson, who originated the Jean Valjean role on Broadway. Nevertheless, I agree that Hooper's gamble to have the performers sing live during the shooting of their scenes paid big dividends. Hathaway's I Dreamed a Dream was overwhelming, heartbreaking.

Les Mis is a tragic morality play, which can be hard to take, as anyone who has read Victor Hugo's huge novel can attest. The musical version of the story is a musical but it sure as hell isn't a comedy. The film is beautiful to look at and, often, beautiful to listen to but the moral quandaries faced by its characters, particularly those of Fantine, Valjean, and Javert, are difficult to watch.
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post #10 of 58 Old 12-28-2012, 06:34 PM
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I just saw this earlier today and loved the film - it's essentially the musical transplanted to the screen. So if you don't really like the 'feel' of a musical theatre or stage production, you may not really warm up to the movie. On the whole, I thought most of the singing was done quite well, although you could definitely tell the difference between the ones who could sing really well i.e. Barks, and the ones who were 'just ok'. I thought that Russell Crowe was somewhat of a weak link from a vocal perspective. I also liked Seyfried's performance, although I read a few reviews which didn't think she didn't quite have the vocal range to hit the high notes properly.

As a friend of mine put it, this movie is a cry fest (especially if you already like Les Mis) - connecting with the audience on a very raw, emotional level. The close-ups on the actors' performances on select songs were quite effective.
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post #11 of 58 Old 12-28-2012, 07:16 PM
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One instance where an actor in a movie musical sang his songs live on set and where that was the version heard in the final film print and on the soundtrack album was Rex Harrison in MY FAIR LADY (1964), who went on to win an Oscar for his performance as Henry Higgins. I suppose he might have looped in a fix for a stray clam or 5 here and there for the final film print and the soundtrack album, but for the most part and at his insistence, his vocalizing in that movie was picked up by a special microphone hidden in his necktie. However, not being an accomplished singer, Harrison's version of that role and the composition of his songs for it, were famously crafted as a kind of "talk" singing where his vocals weren't required to soar very far above what you'd hear in one of his straight line readings.

But the roles and songs in Les Mis are not so forgiving. Not forgiving at all. While Colin Wilkinson was nailing those high notes in the live stage production, putting everything he had into nailing them for the sake of the musicality of the moment right to the back row of the balcony, he wouldn't have been distracted by a concern for what exactly his left eye and right eyebrow were doing since he knew none of the hundreds of audience members were close enough to detect either a tight squint or a relative slack jawed nothingness in his face. As much as the movie cast is now touting the process used here, they must have been terrified that at any moment they could produce both sub-par vocalizing in order to get the acting right or sub-par acting in order to get the vocalizing right.
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post #12 of 58 Old 12-28-2012, 08:04 PM
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One instance where an actor in a movie musical sang his songs live on set and where that was the version heard in the final film print and on the soundtrack album was Rex Harrison in MY FAIR LADY (1964), who went on to win an Oscar for his performance as Henry Higgins. I suppose he might have looped in a fix for a stray clam or 5 here and there for the final film print and the soundtrack album, but for the most part and at his insistence, his vocalizing in that movie was picked up by a special microphone hidden in his necktie. However, not being an accomplished singer, Harrison's version of that role and the composition of his songs for it, were famously crafted as a kind of "talk" singing where his vocals weren't required to soar very far above what you'd hear in one of his straight line readings.
But the roles and songs in Les Mis are not so forgiving. Not forgiving at all. While Colin Wilkinson was nailing those high notes in the live stage production, putting everything he had into nailing them for the sake of the musicality of the moment right to the back row of the balcony, he wouldn't have been distracted by a concern for what exactly his left eye and right eyebrow were doing since he knew none of the hundreds of audience members were close enough to detect either a tight squint or a relative slack jawed nothingness in his face. As much as the movie cast is now touting the process used here, they must have been terrified that at any moment they could produce both sub-par vocalizing in order to get the acting right or sub-par acting in order to get the vocalizing right.

Rex Harrison created the role of Professor Higgins on Broadway and repeated it in the film. Not surprisingly, he was wonderful. In stark contrast, the appealing and musically talented Julie Andrews, who created the Eliza Dolittle role. was passed over in favor of he beautiful and talented Audrey Hepburn. Unfortunately, Hepburn couldn't sing a lick and the voice of Marni Nixon was dubbed into the lyrics Hepburn was supposedly singing, I could never forgive the filmmakers for this, so never warmed to the film as many, perhaps most, others did. I guess this is one of the reasons why I so appreciated Hooper's raw but honest approach to the singing in his Les Mis. As you said, Les Mis is far different from Lerner and Loewe's far more traditional My Fair Lady. It is not only much harder to perform, it is also harder to watch, although, to me at least, it's well worth the effort.
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post #13 of 58 Old 12-29-2012, 09:15 AM
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I'm betting the primary reason Tom Hooper shot long takes and in mid to close-ups is sound recording. You need the microphone on top of them to capture clean sound. There is no way around this. That hurts the film, as cinematic camera movements are not used during crucial scenes. however, the power of the performances make up for this and so in my view, the film is successful.

The only moment that moved me to the point of choking up was the finale. But that is certainly a sign of success.

For the record, everybody around me was sobbing during that scene. Everybody.

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post #14 of 58 Old 12-29-2012, 11:03 AM
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I'm betting the primary reason Tom Hooper shot long takes and in mid to close-ups is sound recording. You need the microphone on top of them to capture clean sound. There is no way around this. That hurts the film, as cinematic camera movements are not used during crucial scenes. however, the power of the performances make up for this and so in my view, the film is successful.
The only moment that moved me to the point of choking up was the finale. But that is certainly a sign of success.
For the record, everybody around me was sobbing during that scene. Everybody.

The finale was a beautiful scene but, although it moved me deeply, it didn't have quite the impact of either I Had a Dream or Let Him Live did. I guess that was because by the time he died, Valjean was a happy man. For most of his life he had been either a prisoner or a fugitive, so at the end of the road things had finally broken his way. That said, I loved every frame of Les Mis and can hardly wait for the BD so I can see and hear it again, this time in my own HT with subtitles.
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post #15 of 58 Old 12-31-2012, 03:26 PM
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I'm betting the primary reason Tom Hooper shot long takes and in mid to close-ups is sound recording. You need the microphone on top of them to capture clean sound. There is no way around this. That hurts the film, as cinematic camera movements are not used during crucial scenes. however, the power of the performances make up for this and so in my view, the film is successful.
The only moment that moved me to the point of choking up was the finale. But that is certainly a sign of success.
For the record, everybody around me was sobbing during that scene. Everybody.

I think you are right about the sound requirements mandating the closeups. For me though, it gave the numbers a confessional quality as if they were singing their private thoughts directly to the camera. The exeption to this as was pointed out in the Slashfilm podcast was the Russell Crowe numbers where the camera was wildly spinning around him, perhaps to distract from his singing? (I still enjoyed his performance, though).

BTW, the take used in Hathaway's I Dreamed a Dream was take 4 of 20...

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post #16 of 58 Old 12-31-2012, 07:13 PM
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Just saw this today, it was good but I preferred the 1998 Les Miserables w/ Liam Neeson better. Felt like the film was rushed at times

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post #17 of 58 Old 01-01-2013, 06:54 AM
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I think you are right about the sound requirements mandating the closeups. For me though, it gave the numbers a confessional quality as if they were singing their private thoughts directly to the camera. The exeption to this as was pointed out in the Slashfilm podcast was the Russell Crowe numbers where the camera was wildly spinning around him, perhaps to distract from his singing? (I still enjoyed his performance, though).
BTW, the take used in Hathaway's I Dreamed a Dream was take 4 of 20...
Everyone is beating up on Crowe but I liked his voice. It was kind of rock-star in tonal quality and worked for the character. My wife HATED him in this movie, but after pondering it realized she hated the character he was playing and not the actor himself.

And by the way, just to clarify my thoughts on the ending and yes I am about to give spoilers away... It was the scene right before the final scene. When Jackman was in his chair, succumbing to age and Hathaway appeared, presumably from heaven, to sing with him and lead him off to the next world. while his daughter and son-in-law were kneeling before him, crying. That was powerful stuff. Nothing else in the film moved me to tears. That scene did. Even my wife cried and she never loses it in movies.

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post #18 of 58 Old 01-01-2013, 08:30 AM
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Everyone is beating up on Crowe but I liked his voice. It was kind of rock-star in tonal quality and worked for the character. My wife HATED him in this movie, but after pondering it realized she hated the character he was playing and not the actor himself.
And by the way, just to clarify my thoughts on the ending and yes I am about to give spoilers away... It was the scene right before the final scene. When Jackman was in his chair, succumbing to age and Hathaway appeared, presumably from heaven, to sing with him and lead him off to the next world. while his daughter and son-in-law were kneeling before him, crying. That was powerful stuff. Nothing else in the film moved me to tears. That scene did. Even my wife cried and she never loses it in movies.

I agree with you about Crowe's voice. It wasn't strong but he was solid musically. He was weak only in his inability to really belt out his big numbers. Dramatically, of course, Crowe was great, A+.

I cried more than once. Like you and your wife, I was moved by the finale but Hathaway's I Dreamed a Dream, Jackman's Bring Him Home, and Eddie Redmayne's Empty Chairs at Empty Tables,moved me just as deeply. Les Mis is an emotional show, to say the least.

Speaking of Bring Him Home, I just got the Les Mis 25th Anniversary BD and watched it last night. Alfie Boe starred as Valjean and was startlingly wonderful. He has a HUGE classically trained tenor voice and floated those high pianissimos in Bring Him Home more beautifully than I had heard it done since I heard Corm Wilkinson, the show's original Valjean, do it in his prime.
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post #19 of 58 Old 02-08-2013, 04:58 PM
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http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=BMmF9el0S7k&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DBMmF9el0S7k

The YouTube video above is the 10th Anniversary Dream Cast Concert of Les Mis in a 2 1/2 hr production. OMG, the production is magnificent! To fully understand and enjoy the video, I would venture that one would have to have seen a full production to place the songs in the video inside the story or plot. If you have not seen the entire production, the movie is great for the scenery and plot to which this video can add great voices, which the movie lacks. The wonderful baritone voice of Phillip Quast (Javert) was how that character was supposed to sound, as opposed to the miniscule tenor of Russel Crowe even though his acting of the part was terrific, IMHO, just as one example. The video has the advantage of also having the freedom of proper miking, which stage performances invariably do not have. I loved every single performer in this version, as they were exceptionally gifted and the full orchestra with massive choir was a blessing.

Tip: listen with good headphones or sound.

.........

"Without music, life would be a mistake." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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post #20 of 58 Old 02-08-2013, 06:40 PM
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http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=BMmF9el0S7k&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DBMmF9el0S7k

The YouTube video above is the 10th Anniversary Dream Cast Concert of Les Mis in a 2 1/2 hr production. OMG, the production is magnificent! To fully understand and enjoy the video, I would venture that one would have to have seen a full production to place the songs in the video inside the story or plot. If you have not seen the entire production, the movie is great for the scenery and plot to which this video can add great voices, which the movie lacks. The wonderful baritone voice of Phillip Quast (Javert) was how that character was supposed to sound, as opposed to the miniscule tenor of Russel Crowe even though his acting of the part was terrific, IMHO, just as one example. The video has the advantage of also having the freedom of proper miking, which stage performances invariably do not have. I loved every single performer in this version, as they were exceptionally gifted and the full orchestra with massive choir was a blessing.

Tip: listen with good headphones or sound.

As noted in an earlier post, I recently bought the Les Mis 10th Anniversary DVD from Amazon UK. I watched it in my home theater and got to hear its 5.1 audiotrack in all its glory. I should add that I love the 25th Anniversary BD, with Alfie Boe as Valjean, just as much but for different reasons. What a great show, what great performances! I can hardly wait to get the BD of the movie. I have preordered it from Amazon.
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post #21 of 58 Old 02-09-2013, 05:06 PM
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I have both but wish that they re-release the 10th in BR. Really got spoiled with 1080p PQ these days.

Wife and daughter went to see the movie but I decided to wait for the BR.
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post #22 of 58 Old 02-09-2013, 06:04 PM
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Sorry, but the YouTube URL I posted above has been removed by YouTube for copyright reasons after nearly a million views.

.........

"Without music, life would be a mistake." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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post #23 of 58 Old 02-09-2013, 07:42 PM
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I have both but wish that they re-release the 10th in BR. Really got spoiled with 1080p PQ these days.

Wife and daughter went to see the movie but I decided to wait for the BR.

I put off buying the 10th Anniversary DVD of Les Mis for, literally, years because I kept expecting the BD to be released. Finally, I gave up and just bought the DVD. The DVD is quite nicely done but still leaves something to be desired compared to 1080p video and lossless audio.

I saw Hooper's Les Mis on the day it opened and was so blown away I went back to see it again the next week.
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post #24 of 58 Old 04-15-2013, 10:55 AM
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Ok the 64K question here is will this movie bore the heck out of folks who normally don't like musicals? was the fully stock star studded cast entertaining enough to over look some of the negative aspects some have mentioned about it being dragged on too long, boring or that most of the actors in this movie were all amateur singers which was evident.
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post #25 of 58 Old 04-15-2013, 04:04 PM
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Wife and daughter saw it during the holidays and like it while I decide to wait. However, we all loved the play and both the 10th and 25th anniversary musicals.

I'll see it this weekend - Oscar awards are not correlated to good entertainment.
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post #26 of 58 Old 04-24-2013, 12:29 PM
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Tried to watch last night.....

GOOD GOD....I mean WTF!eek.gif

Would a horrible assault on the ears the first 1/2 hours is!
I was grinding my teeth and the wife (who is trained musician) was laughing, shaking her head and said "is this a student film?"

Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe trying to sing, with an accompaniment of the most amateurish dreck I have ever heard in a major Hollywood "musical."rolleyes.gif

One thing I can say with certainty: this crap can't carry the garter belt of Moulin Rouge!

Tom Hooper is no Baz Luhrman and Claude-Michel Schönberg is no Craig Armstrong/Marius de Vries.

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post #27 of 58 Old 04-24-2013, 12:42 PM
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Tried to watch last night.....

GOOD GOD....I mean WTF!eek.gif

Would a horrible assault on the ears the first 1/2 hours is!
I was grinding my teeth and the wife (who is trained musician) was laughing, shaking her head and said "is this a student film?"

Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe trying to sing, with an accompaniment of the most amateurish dreck I have ever heard in a major Hollywood "musical."rolleyes.gif

One thing I can say with certainty: this crap can't carry the garter belt of Moulin Rouge!

Tom Hooper is no Baz Luhrman and Claude-Michel Schönberg is no Craig Armstrong/Marius de Vries.
Damn! This is next in my NF queue and I was excited to see it. I've never seen it onstage or in another film and am not familiar with the story. I majored in music and will probably have a similar experience mad.gif Although I did very much enjoy Sweeney Todd even with Helena Bonham Carter hacking her way through those songs.

btw - Everyone knows Ewan sings a helluva lot better than Crowe or Jackman wink.gif

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post #28 of 58 Old 04-24-2013, 03:10 PM
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btw - Everyone knows Ewan sings a helluva lot better than Crowe or Jackman wink.gif
He surely does....his voice reminds of Bono.
The wife says he actually sings better than Bono.biggrin.gif

Anyway, for a fun modern musical go with Moulin Rouge!, or even Across The Universe.

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post #29 of 58 Old 04-24-2013, 03:18 PM
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Tried to watch last night.....

GOOD GOD....I mean WTF!eek.gif

Would a horrible assault on the ears the first 1/2 hours is!
I was grinding my teeth and the wife (who is trained musician) was laughing, shaking her head and said "is this a student film?"

Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe trying to sing, with an accompaniment of the most amateurish dreck I have ever heard in a major Hollywood "musical."rolleyes.gif

One thing I can say with certainty: this crap can't carry the garter belt of Moulin Rouge!

Tom Hooper is no Baz Luhrman and Claude-Michel Schönberg is no Craig Armstrong/Marius de Vries.

I'm really sorry that you didn't like Les Mis, for I fear my having extolled its virtues here and in the other thread may have contributed to your disappointment. Thats all right though, I watched Beasts of the Southern Wild mostly because of how much you loved it and hated it as cordially as you hated Les Mis. It just goes to show that tastes vary.

I have already said so much about my love for Les Mis here and in the other thread, I won't reprise it except to say, you are wrong, wrong, wrong!smile.gif
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post #30 of 58 Old 04-24-2013, 05:30 PM
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I enjoyed this. Not a fan of Russell Crowe, but he can actually carry a tune. Jackman, despite being a much better singer, drones in places; not hard to tell he's not classically trained.

I've never seen the play (or read the book), so had no idea how dark this is. Perhaps not the type of musical many may be accustomed to; this ain't The Sound of Music. I'm sure I'll purchase the BD.

"I knew you'd say that"...*BLAM!*
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