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Les Misérables - Page 2

post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by rezzy View Post

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.

Crowe has a very small voice, which is a real problem for a singer who performs Javert. Nevertheless, Crowe is such a wonderful actor, even his singing mostly worked because he conveyed perfectly the emotions of the tragically driven Javert. Also, as you noted, he is musically secure and hit all the pitches, albeit without much volume.

I am a Les Mis addict and not only own both the 10th and 25th Anniversary concert versions of the show, I have even read Victor Hugo's 1000 plus page book upon which the musical version is based. to say that the story is dark understates the case. Indeed, its darkness and sorrow, along with its optimism, are the reasons why the tale so fascinates me.
post #32 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

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.
Hey, it's all good.smile.gif

It really isn't possible to agree with someone else 100% of the time....
Heck, sometimes I don't even agree with MYSELF.biggrin.gif

Quote:
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
You are not the first to say that to me.tongue.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by rezzy View Post

I
I've never seen the play (or read the book), so had no idea how dark this is.
Stretching the classic Victor Hugo novel into a movie musical is....well, a stretch.

NOT every piece of classic literature is prime for a Hollywood musical treatment.

To be fair, one thing I did notice with the movie is the actors were committed...no question there.
post #33 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by oink View Post

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.

This is a better review than the negative one I wrote back in December. biggrin.gif

True, it's not for everyone. You don't know until you try it.

-G
post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by oink View Post

Stretching the classic Victor Hugo novel into a movie musical is....well, a stretch.

NOT every piece of classic literature is prime for a Hollywood musical treatment.

To be fair, one thing I did notice with the movie is the actors were committed...no question there.

The film is based on Alain Boublil, Herbert Kretzmer, and Claude-Michel Schönberg's musical theater version of Les Mis. I have always thought that Les Mis was a landmark in musical theater, along with Show Boat, Sweeney Todd, and a very few others. I thought Tom Hooper's conversion of the piece to film was brilliant. By using the wider scope made possible by film he heightened the drama. As you know, I agree that he did so in a way that made the musical aspects of the film frustratingly uneven. Still, at its best, the music was as overwhelming as the drama, to me at least.

I believe that both the musical theater and film versions of Les Mis do a brilliant job of capturing the sadness frustration, moral ambiguity, and optimism of Victor Hugo's novel.

Finally, when Les Mis opened in the West End in London in 1985, it was roundly panned by the critics but survived due to word of mouth from theatergoers who were as captivated by the piece as I always have been. This just goes to show, as our discussion here has done, that Les Mis has always been and remains a controversial show.
post #35 of 58
I've seen the stage play many times and I am not one of those people who finds the need to compare everyone in the movie to their stage counterparts, past or present. I thought everyone did great, even Crowe, who I expected to be much worse. In fact, the only part I didn't like was the horribly botched "Master of the House", which was sung poorly, confusing, and plain unfunny. Very disappointing considering the players involved.
post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoThru22 View Post

I've seen the stage play many times and I am not one of those people who finds the need to compare everyone in the movie to their stage counterparts, past or present. I thought everyone did great, even Crowe, who I expected to be much worse. In fact, the only part I didn't like was the horribly botched "Master of the House", which was sung poorly, confusing, and plain unfunny. Very disappointing considering the players involved.

Agreed. Master of the House is one of the high points of the show. All Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen's performance of the piece did for me was to make me fondly remember how incredibly wonderful Jenny Galloway and Alun Armstrong were in it. In fairness to Cohen, though, I thought he was mostly pretty good as Thenardier but there has never been another actor whose performance of the role was in a class with Armstrong's. As noted in an earlier post, either here or in the other thread, I thought that Helena Bonham Carter was seriously miscast as Madame Thenardier.
post #37 of 58
I ended up feeling that the tone of the Thenardiers was all wrong for the rest of the film. With both "Master of the House" and "Beggars at the Feast", they felt like inappropriate intrusions in the serious happenings around them, edging on boorish, and for me felt very quickly like they'd outstayed their welcome. And in the sewer scene after the fall of the barricade, Thenardier didn't manage to generate the menace the scene needed.

But for me, the weakest aspect of the film was Rusty. Shockingly awful, to be blunt. Specifically, as with Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia, you could see and hear his self-consciousness, and see that his conscious focus was on trying to sing rather than the expression of his character through the song. For me, it completely ripped the dramatic guts out of both his two big soliloquies and the Confrontation, three of *the* big cornerstone pieces of the entire show. Aaach, so frustrating!!
post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Branais View Post

I ended up feeling that the tone of the Thenardiers was all wrong for the rest of the film. With both "Master of the House" and "Beggars at the Feast", they felt like inappropriate intrusions in the serious happenings around them, edging on boorish, and for me felt very quickly like they'd outstayed their welcome. And in the sewer scene after the fall of the barricade, Thenardier didn't manage to generate the menace the scene needed.

Great point! The Thenardier's while supplying some comic relief should also convey their avarice and evil. Bonham Carter and Cohen didn't do that very well.

Quote:
But for me, the weakest aspect of the film was Rusty. Shockingly awful, to be blunt. Specifically, as with Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia, you could see and hear his self-consciousness, and see that his conscious focus was on trying to sing rather than the expression of his character through the song. For me, it completely ripped the dramatic guts out of both his two big soliloquies and the Confrontation, three of *the* big cornerstone pieces of the entire show. Aaach, so frustrating!!

By "Rusty" I assume you mean Russell Crowe. I agree that his small singing voice was poorly suited to the role of Javert musically but I thought he knocked it out of the park dramatically. I admit, though, that it was a little disconcerting to hear Crowe try to sing a role that cries out for a huge baritone voice.
post #39 of 58
I have Les Miserables - The Dream Cast in Concert (10th Anniversary) and saw it on stage in D.C. I really wasn’t looking forward to watching this, but its one of my wife’s favorites, along with Phantom of the Opera, so I had to indulge her. I thought it was excellent. Even though the singing has been criticized, I thought the acting was exceptional. I really didn’t have a lot of issues with the singing that others have expressed; although I fail to see how Crowe was chosen - I thought he was the weak link. The person who really surprised me was Eddie Redmayne. He was much better than I could imagine. Anne Hathaway knocked it out of the park. Too bad she was only in it for a third of the movie; otherwise I would have given her the Oscar.

Much like Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter’s career continues to revolve around really weird characters.

Some posters have named their favorite songs; mine is At the End of the Day. Watching and listening to it on the Dream Cast is incredibly powerful and makes the movie version seem amateurish. That really isn’t fair because one has the acoustics of a theater and everything that goes with it, while the other is a movie.

Quote:
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.

Throughout the film my wife kept reaching for the Kleenex. She really enjoyed this.



I’m a numbers person and into numerology, so when I see or hear numbers my mind starts doing its thing. 46201 is Jean Valjean's prisoner number. Add those numbers and you get 13. smile.gif I have to think Hugo did that intentionally. The order is irrelevant, just so he came up with 13.
Edited by Aliens - 4/29/13 at 1:15pm
post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliens View Post

I’m a numbers person and into numerology, so when I see or hear numbers my mind starts doing its thing. 46201 is Jean Valjean's prisoner number. Add those numbers and you get 13. smile.gif I have to think Hugo did that intentionally. The order is irrelevant, just so he came up with 13. Also, interesting to note, back in 1971 The Guess Who had a song called Sour Suite. In it, Burton Cummings sang about being back in 46201. Its been said, but not confirmed by Cummings, 46201 is a zip code in Indianapolis, Indiana, from which Burton received a piece of mail while writing this song. Or was he referencing Hugo’s Les Mis?
You just revealed the secret code you and your extraterrestrial pals plan to use to start the invasion.rolleyes.gif

46201 is actually read from right to left by you Alien scum: 10264
102-64 = 38
10+26-4 = 32
102-6+4 = 100

38-32+100 = 106

106 = 10/6 = D-Day


Here's a tip: next time try to respect the intellect of us "stoopid" humans a little more.....mad.gif
post #41 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliens View Post

I’m a numbers person and into numerology, so when I see or hear numbers my mind starts doing its thing. 46201 is Jean Valjean's prisoner number. Add those numbers and you get 13. smile.gif I have to think Hugo did that intentionally. The order is irrelevant, just so he came up with 13. Also, interesting to note, back in 1971 The Guess Who had a song called Sour Suite. In it, Burton Cummings sang about being back in 46201. Its been said, but not confirmed by Cummings, 46201 is a zip code in Indianapolis, Indiana, from which Burton received a piece of mail while writing this song. Or was he referencing Hugo’s Les Mis? I’m not sure. In any case, I love that song, and ironically, have been playing it a lot lately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oink View Post

You just revealed the secret code you and your extraterrestrial pals plan to use to start the invasion.rolleyes.gif

46201 is actually read from right to left by you Alien scum: 10264
102-64 = 38
10+26-4 = 32
102-6+4 = 100

38-32+100 = 106

106 = 10/6 = D-Day


Here's a tip: next time try to respect the intellect of us "stoopid" humans a little more.....mad.gif

It seems to me that you boys may have too much time on your hands. Either that, or I lack the imagination to be afraid, very afraid.smile.gif
post #42 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post


It seems to me that you boys may have too much time on your hands.
SOMEONE has to be vigilant.
It ain't like we can rely on the dumba$$es at the CIA or Homeland Security.
post #43 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by oink View Post

You just revealed the secret code you and your extraterrestrial pals plan to use to start the invasion.rolleyes.gif

46201 is actually read from right to left by you Alien scum: 10264
102-64 = 38
10+26-4 = 32
102-6+4 = 100

38-32+100 = 106

For a second I thought I ended up in the Lost thread. wink.gif
post #44 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morpheo View Post

For a second I thought I ended up in the Lost thread. wink.gif
Unlike those Alien pervs, I NEVER underestimate the opposition.wink.gif
post #45 of 58
Hmm. Don't want to mess up the prognostications, but wasn't Valjean's number actually 24601 ?

;-)
post #46 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Branais View Post

Hmm. Don't want to mess up the prognostications, but wasn't Valjean's number actually 24601 ?

;-)
That's part of the effect of the Transmorgifier Dyslexic Mind Beam being deployed from space against us.
post #47 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by oink View Post

That's part of the effect of the Transmorgifier Dyslexic Mind Beam being deployed from space against us.

Ahh. That must be it. I thought I was feeling more confused than usual!


Meanwhile:
I have a dilemma. In a spasm of ring-in-the-nose acquisitiveness, I pre-ordered the digibook version of this flick from Amazon UK, but ... I'm not sure i want it. I really love the show of Les Mis, but was enormously disappointed with the film. It fell short of my expectations in so many ways (and yeah, I get that my response is subjective, just like everyone else's) that I'm not certain I even want to watch it again. I fear that it will only serve to remind me of all the boxes it didn't tick, and I'll never get past that to actually enjoying the film for what it is. (Yeah, just like Sweeney Todd.)

Ahh, but that ring in the nose ... if I don't buy this, and then decide I *do* want to see the film again, I'm only going to regret I didn't get the digibook after all. It's a First World dilemma, I tell you!! wink.gif

Anyone have insight to offer?
Edited by Branais - 4/29/13 at 11:13am
post #48 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Branais View Post

Hmm. Don't want to mess up the prognostications, but wasn't Valjean's number actually 24601 ?

Right you are, 24601. Still 13. Be afraid. Be very afraid.


Quote:
Originally Posted by oink View Post

46201 is actually read from right to left by you Alien scum: 10264
102-64 = 38
10+26-4 = 32
102-6+4 = 100

38-32+100 = 106

106 = 10/6 = D-Day

You are getting there, but no cigar. Valjean's number is 24601. 106 is the day of the year (notice the number inversion), which this year is 4-16-2013. The first five numbers of that day are the same numbers that are in Valjean’s prison number. And of course they add up to 13, which is the year you humans are in. Don’t try to fight us. We have no sexual organs. So unlike you humans, we think with our brain. tongue.gif
post #49 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliens View Post


You are getting there, but no cigar. Valjean's number is 24601. 106 is the day of the year (notice the number inversion), which this year is 4-16-2013. The first five numbers of that day are the same numbers that are in Valjean’s prison number. And of course they add up to 13, which is the year you humans are in. Don’t try to fight us. We have no sexual organs. So unlike you humans, we think with our brain. tongue.gif




Nice misdirection.....rolleyes.gif


post #50 of 58
Finally got around to watching this tonight. Holly crapbags this was a long arse song! I've never seen the broadway show or had any other experience with this story so went in totally blind. My wife said "be prepared, it's a musical"... I'm thinking Grease, yeah, I loved that... or maybe as much music as Sweeney Todd, love that one too. Nope, this was one giant arse song. That said I did enjoy it and found the story, set design, and costumes all fantastic. The music, for a first time listen was all brilliant however I felt the lead characters (Crowe and Jackman) were in way over their heads. I have no basis for comparison but studied music theory, composition, and did my time in a capella choir and what was written for those two leads demanded much a more seasoned and powerful voice to deliver what it felt like it was meant to convey. Hathaway was fantastic, one of very few voices that really sounded it belonged right where it was with that character and emotion. I enjoyed Borat and Mrs. Burton who both were perfectly suited for their rolls. Overall I enjoyed the movie and the music but now that I've had a first experience with Les Mis I'd like to hear what it sounds like when well known actors aren't getting in the way of the music.
post #51 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by General Kenobi View Post

Finally got around to watching this tonight. Holly crapbags this was a long arse song! I've never seen the broadway show or had any other experience with this story so went in totally blind. My wife said "be prepared, it's a musical"... I'm thinking Grease, yeah, I loved that... or maybe as much music as Sweeney Todd, love that one too. Nope, this was one giant arse song. That said I did enjoy it and found the story, set design, and costumes all fantastic. The music, for a first time listen was all brilliant however I felt the lead characters (Crowe and Jackman) were in way over their heads. I have no basis for comparison but studied music theory, composition, and did my time in a capella choir and what was written for those two leads demanded much a more seasoned and powerful voice to deliver what it felt like it was meant to convey. Hathaway was fantastic, one of very few voices that really sounded it belonged right where it was with that character and emotion. I enjoyed Borat and Mrs. Burton who both were perfectly suited for their rolls. Overall I enjoyed the movie and the music but now that I've had a first experience with Les Mis I'd like to hear what it sounds like when well known actors aren't getting in the way of the music.

Interesting review and I agree with the majority of it. If you can get your hands on either the BD of the 25th Anniversary performance or the DVD (there is no BD, alas) of the 10th Anniversary performance of Les Mis watch it. Both are filled with top of the line musical theater performers and will give you a baseline for evaluating Hooper's movie version of the show.

I agree that Russell Crowe's small voice worked against his performance as Javert because the part was written for a musical theater performer who could fill the house with the sound of his bel canto singing. Although Crowe certainly couldn't do that I thought his performances of his songs was wonderful from a dramatic perspective, more so the second time I saw the film. Javert is a tortured and conflicted fellow, so filled with sadness and doubt than in the end he couldn't go on. Crowe made me believe in and sympathize with the guy.

Hugh Jackman's often rough singing surprised me. Jackman is a seasoned musical theater performer, having performed the role of Curly in a West End production of Oklahoma, which later moved to Broadway. Jackman was nominated for both an Olivier Award and a Tony Award for his performance. Jackman's performances in Les Mis of One Day More and Bring Him Home.though were lyrically beautiful. I suspect the reason he wasn't as good musically in his other numbers was Hooper's insistence on the primacy of the drama. Consistently beautiful singinig under the constraints imposed by Hooper had to have been hard and Jackman couldn't quite handle it in some of his numbers.

In stark contrast to Jackman, Eddie Redmayne, as Marius, was not only spot on dramatically, all of his singing was transcendently beautiful. Redmayne is good enough to carry a Broadway musical and I wish he would do it some time. Redmayne's performance of Marius', Empty Chairs at Empty Tables was the best I have witnessed from anybody in any venue.

If you are a Sweeney Todd fan see if you can find the DVD of either the 1982 film of a stage performance of Sweeney, starring Angela Lansbury and George Hearn, or the 2001 concert performance of Sweeney, starring Hearn and Patti LuPone. Hearn and Lansbury are the definitive Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett and LuPone isn't chopped liver.
post #52 of 58
As luck would have it the show is going to be in Sacramento from 5/29 - 6/9. Not sure if the cast is worth admission but I may give it a go.
post #53 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by General Kenobi View Post

As luck would have it the show is going to be in Sacramento from 5/29 - 6/9. Not sure if the cast is worth admission but I may give it a go.

My experience with national touring companies has been that the leads are uniformly excellent but the ensemble usually falls a little short of Broadway standards. Still, the national touring company productions I have seen were uniformly excellent. The best national touring company production was of Ido! I do!, starring Mary Martin and Robert Preston in the roles they created on Broadway. Of course, it was a two person show so there was that.smile.gif
post #54 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

My experience with national touring companies has been that the leads are uniformly excellent but the ensemble usually falls a little short of Broadway standards. Still, the national touring company productions I have seen were uniformly excellent. The best national touring company production was of Ido! I do!, starring Mary Martin and Robert Preston in the roles they created on Broadway. Of course, it was a two person show so there was that.smile.gif
It's been many years since I have been... I think my last one was Beauty and the Beast in Century City right by that building John McClain dropped Hans Gruber out of wink.gif
post #55 of 58
it would seem that Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame borrows heavily from this story. After watching Les Mis, the songs from the animated film came flooding back to memory.
post #56 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by rezzy View Post

it would seem that Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame borrows heavily from this story. After watching Les Mis, the songs from the animated film came flooding back to memory.
Some of those songs were a bit much for a Disney flick... I remember the Hell Fire song or whatever it was called and that was a little much for the we lads.
post #57 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

My experience with national touring companies has been that the leads are uniformly excellent but the ensemble usually falls a little short of Broadway standards. Still, the national touring company productions I have seen were uniformly excellent. The best national touring company production was of Ido! I do!, starring Mary Martin and Robert Preston in the roles they created on Broadway. Of course, it was a two person show so there was that.smile.gif
Yes, that national tour cast would be hard to top! I remember seeing the national tour of Grease with the original Danny and Sandy (Barry Bostwick and Carole Demas), both excellent, and John Travolta playing Doody. This was before any of Travolta's television work and I can verify that the star quality was already radiating from the stage in his portrayal of Doody in the national tour. During his number you couldn't help noticing half the audience reaching for their programs to find out who the hell THAT guy is. I was one of them.
post #58 of 58
I'm still not sure if I want to see it. I'm not a huge fan of musicals which is why I haven't watched older versions. People keep raving about this movie though and I know Hugh Jackman usually does an awesome job and picks some great roles. Feeling a bit torn, but I'll probably break down and rent it because you guys all have some awesome things to say about it.
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