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RE: NO WAY HELEN O HARA THIS IS FIVE STARS!

 
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RE: NO WAY HELEN O HARA THIS IS FIVE STARS! - 13/1/2013 3:16:19 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3970
Joined: 19/10/2005

France 1815: convict Jean Valjean is released on parole by prison guard Javert after serving a nineteen-year sentence. When he steals silver from a bishop who gives him shelter and the bishop lies so he is released by the authorities, Valjean breaks his parole and vows to start an honest life under a new identity, though Javert swears he will bring the escaped convict to justice. Eight years later, Valjean has become mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer and owner of a factory where Fantine, one of the workers, is sacked for sending money to her illegitimate daughter and falls into prostitution. When a man believed to be him is arrested, Valjean reveals his identity to the court before promising a dying Fantine that he will look after her daughter, but Javert is still on his trail….



Before I spend much of this review criticising this shatteringly disappointing, horribly directed atrocity, let me just say that, despite writing for a website called Horror Cult Films, I have nothing against the musical genre and actually cannot praise enough the stage production of Victor Hugo’s great novel, where the combination of Hugo’s timeless story of morality, redemption, love and obsession combines with the wonderful music of by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, a score which runs the full gamut from tender love ballads to rousing anthems to light-hearted ditties, to create an really powerful and moving experience. Nor am I one of those ‘purists’ who demand that a film version of their favourite stage musical be exactly the same. I do though think I know a bad film when I see one, and yet it’s one that appears to have been praised to the skies and loved by audiences everywhere…..at least at first glance.

This unaccountably favourable reception seems odd initially. Compare the response to Les Miserables to the mediocre reception that greeted the 2004 film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera, which was also based on a well known book that has been adapted for the screen many times. Now musical fans can argue as to which musical is superior, and I would probably say that the Schonberg, Boublil and Natel production has the edge at least musically, where it’s more diverse and sophisticated, but the differing critical responses to the films seemed to be very odd. I say seemed, because then I realised that Les Miserables is directed by a guy who made a film about a person overcoming a disability and the royal family, two subjects which, combined, are bound to have critics falling over themselves to praise it regardless of how good the film really is, while The Phantom Of The Opera is directed by Joel Schumacher, whose films, while being diverse in nature and subject matter, just don’t appeal to those folk who tell us which films are good and which films aren’t, despite the fact that any one of his films shows more directorial competence in one scene than virtually the whole of Les Miserables.

One must remember of course that the stage version initially received very poor reviews even if it immediately became a hit with the theatre-going public. And actually, there are quite a few people who have not liked the film. As the showing I was at finished, some people clapped, an act which for few minutes made me worried about the human race, and I wondered if I was alone in seeing what a poor piece of cinema in it. However, a quick glance at the IMDB board for the movie revealed that there are plenty of others who share some of the serious issues I had with it. Not all the problems are that serious of course. A good example of this is the way the music has been mucked about with. Songs have been shortened, moved about or slightly changed, in ways that don’t really hamper the film or the story, but don’t improve or significantly alter it either, so what’s the point? Of course if you’ve never seen the stage show this kind of stuff is unnoticeable except the fact that the one new song Suddenly is one of the weakest in the whole thing and I can’t remember a single bit of it. The real problem with the film, and something from which there is little reprieve, is the direction, which is so inept I thought at times Ed Wood was the director [but then it would have been more fun, wouldn’t it?].

Tom Hooper loves close-ups. Close-ups certainly have a place in the cinema, and many directors like John Cassavetes and Yasujiro Ozu have worked wonders with them. However, Hooper has decided that 80% of a musical should be shot with them, which not only means that his film is insufferably cramped and claustrophobic to the point that they could have filmed the whole thing on an empty stage and it would hardly have made a difference, but that most of the songs are shot with the camera constantly close to the singer’s face. I could have stood this for one song, but when I realised Hugh Jackman’s mug was going to be looming out at me so much that I felt like he was trying to kiss me, it soon became unbearable. Song after song is filmed like this, and worse than that, they’re shot handheld with a wide angle lens, so that not only is the camera rarely truly still but faces actually sometimes look distorted. Hooper doesn’t even feel like is necessary to show more than one singer in the same shot, so much of the film just looks like as if a bunch of people had filmed themselves singing songs, sent them in, and the film had cut them together .

Even with the larger numbers the film mostly refuses to pull back and give us a sense of geography, but then again the sets do look half-completed, as if they’d started building them and then been told: “You may as well stop because we’re not really going to use them anyway”. Take Master Of The House, which should be a lavish, spectacular sequence with great stuff happening all over the place. Here, we mostly focus on various pairs of dancers and the camera just fails to show us a decent view of the whole thing until near the end. Saying that, Les Miserables is an astoundingly ugly film throughout. Some early scenes show us the squalor of the locale, but after that we are hardly allowed to see anything, so arguments that the film is going for a gritty realism just don’t hold water. Bizarrely Javert’s two full songs are filmed with a variety of angles, some of them from a distance, and I will say the transitions which move the story forward in time are well accomplished.

Sadly the horrible technique of ‘shakycam’ [shaking the camera around by someone seemingly having an epileptic fit] is often employed in this film. This idiotic way of filming seems to be working its odious way into every film genre, so now it’s the turn of the musical. Whenever somebody runs, the camera follows him or her and shakes about. The battles in the final third are little more than an incoherent mass due to wobbly camerawork and random cutting. It’s not realistic and doesn’t give you the feeling of being ‘”in” the action because most of us don’t see things at virtually the same time from ten angles and bounce about like Zebedee, and even if we do, whatever happened to actually seeing what is happening. What really saddens me is that few critics have even touched on this, which says to me that this style is becoming the accepted norm, a style whose thinking goes against logic. Something happens in a film, we see it. Surely it’s that simple? Of course there are countless films, even if you ignore the Found Footage kind [where its use is justified], which employ this style more, but as I cringed at and got sore eyes from its use in this particular film, I felt seriously concerned for the future of the cinema.

Of course it’s not entirely bad. How can it be with such a terrific,multi-layered tale and that great music, which sounds terrific with the sound blaring out at you in the cinema? The singing is of a surprisingly high quality – this is no Mamma Mia, that’s for sure – with Ann Hathaway certainly deserving of the praise she is getting. Her rendition of I Dreamed A Dream [Susan who?] is a gut-wrenchingly powerful combination of good singing and downright brilliant acting, and just about survives the useless camera person placing her in the middle of the screen against black and randomly shifting the camera to the left and back even though nothing’s there. For God’s sake, if you’re going to shoot someone singing in close-up in one take DO IT PROPERLY. Hugh Jackman sometimes sounds strained, as if it’s becoming almost too much of an effort, though some may argue that it works for the character, while Russell Crow is a little better than many have said but also seems to struggle and as an actor fails to sell Javert’s final scene, but then many of the great scenes from the novel are botched, often because they are rushed. The sewer pursuit near the end was longer and more detailed on stage, where you would think the opposite, then it was in this film. As for the rest of the cast, Eddie Redmayne reveals a good singing voice but can’t seem to help pulling funny expressions as he sings, while Helena Bonham Carter sounds so much like her character in Sweeney Todd I kept expecting Johnny Depp to show up. Of course what really lit up the film occasionally for me was the always hilarious Sacha Baron Cohen who just rules every scene he is in. He seems to be acting in a really fun film, a film that is different from the one he’s actually in.

Les Miserables should have been terrific, but it’s not, it’s a dreary, stodgy mess sunk by bad decisions and incompetence. There is a small amount of good stuff in it, and the story and music cannot help but compell somewhat, which is why my rating for the film is maybe a little higher than the tone of this review may suggest. I cannot believe more people don’t see the huge problems the film has though, but I suppose it’s not much different from the weird popularity of the abysmal Twilight franchise. I don’t think it will win Best Picture at the Oscars [my vote’s on Lincoln, because of its subject matter], but if it does I may as well give up going to the cinema, because it will mean that just dreadful filmmaking has been rewarded and there will be more of it. God help us. I can some up my overall feeling on Les Miserables by saying that when I watched the stage production I cried once, absolutely weeped buckets another time, and had a lump in my throat on two other occasions. During the film, I couldn’t give a toss. The ending……I just wanted him to get on with it.

Rating: 4/10

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Bighousewill)
Post #: 31
RE: Les Mis - 13/1/2013 4:49:01 PM   
rich


Posts: 5001
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Neo Kobe
quote:

NO WAY HELEN O


Jeez, give the caps lock a break

_____________________________

Meanwhile...

(in reply to Hood_Man)
Post #: 32
RE: Les Mis - 13/1/2013 6:15:59 PM   
Coyleone


Posts: 567
Joined: 13/10/2008
Just saw this and I have to say, by about half way through I wanted to reach in to the screen, take Crowe' s Rifle from him and literally shoot myself in the face with it. Musical has never been a genre I've particularly liked, but this took it to a whole new level of dislike. The vocal performances were honestly so annoying and emotionless (bar Hathaway, who was brilliant), I'm all for a song or six, but having everything sung to me, every single line of dialogue, in an awfully monotone dreary way was horrible to endure. There also seemed to be some real problems with the plot and character development too, i don't know how I was supposed to care about Seyfried's character when she got no time devoted to her, and yet she was supposed to be one of the main parts of the story. Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter felt so out of place with everything else, to the point I felt like I was watching a Burton movie when they were on screen, and they only served for some comedy value, which was also out of place in the overly serious tone of everything else. Maybe it's the same in the stage show, but I would never sit through that on a stage, since the only thing that kept me interested was the nice set designs and aesthetic of everything. There were a few good moments, the war scenes towards the end with the charging of the barricade was great and very well done. It had a very epic feel to it also, but that wasn't enough to make up for the rest of it. I'd have to be forced to watch it again similar to the famous Clockwork Orange scene. 4/10.

(in reply to rich)
Post #: 33
RE: NO WAY HELEN O HARA THIS IS FIVE STARS! - 13/1/2013 7:58:09 PM   
BelfastBoy

 

Posts: 582
Joined: 30/11/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera


France 1815: convict Jean Valjean is released on parole by prison guard Javert after serving a nineteen-year sentence. When he steals silver from a bishop who gives him shelter and the bishop lies so he is released by the authorities, Valjean breaks his parole and vows to start an honest life under a new identity, though Javert swears he will bring the escaped convict to justice. Eight years later, Valjean has become mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer and owner of a factory where Fantine, one of the workers, is sacked for sending money to her illegitimate daughter and falls into prostitution. When a man believed to be him is arrested, Valjean reveals his identity to the court before promising a dying Fantine that he will look after her daughter, but Javert is still on his trail….



Before I spend much of this review criticising this shatteringly disappointing, horribly directed atrocity, let me just say that, despite writing for a website called Horror Cult Films, I have nothing against the musical genre and actually cannot praise enough the stage production of Victor Hugo’s great novel, where the combination of Hugo’s timeless story of morality, redemption, love and obsession combines with the wonderful music of by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, a score which runs the full gamut from tender love ballads to rousing anthems to light-hearted ditties, to create an really powerful and moving experience. Nor am I one of those ‘purists’ who demand that a film version of their favourite stage musical be exactly the same. I do though think I know a bad film when I see one, and yet it’s one that appears to have been praised to the skies and loved by audiences everywhere…..at least at first glance.

This unaccountably favourable reception seems odd initially. Compare the response to Les Miserables to the mediocre reception that greeted the 2004 film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera, which was also based on a well known book that has been adapted for the screen many times. Now musical fans can argue as to which musical is superior, and I would probably say that the Schonberg, Boublil and Natel production has the edge at least musically, where it’s more diverse and sophisticated, but the differing critical responses to the films seemed to be very odd. I say seemed, because then I realised that Les Miserables is directed by a guy who made a film about a person overcoming a disability and the royal family, two subjects which, combined, are bound to have critics falling over themselves to praise it regardless of how good the film really is, while The Phantom Of The Opera is directed by Joel Schumacher, whose films, while being diverse in nature and subject matter, just don’t appeal to those folk who tell us which films are good and which films aren’t, despite the fact that any one of his films shows more directorial competence in one scene than virtually the whole of Les Miserables.

One must remember of course that the stage version initially received very poor reviews even if it immediately became a hit with the theatre-going public. And actually, there are quite a few people who have not liked the film. As the showing I was at finished, some people clapped, an act which for few minutes made me worried about the human race, and I wondered if I was alone in seeing what a poor piece of cinema in it. However, a quick glance at the IMDB board for the movie revealed that there are plenty of others who share some of the serious issues I had with it. Not all the problems are that serious of course. A good example of this is the way the music has been mucked about with. Songs have been shortened, moved about or slightly changed, in ways that don’t really hamper the film or the story, but don’t improve or significantly alter it either, so what’s the point? Of course if you’ve never seen the stage show this kind of stuff is unnoticeable except the fact that the one new song Suddenly is one of the weakest in the whole thing and I can’t remember a single bit of it. The real problem with the film, and something from which there is little reprieve, is the direction, which is so inept I thought at times Ed Wood was the director [but then it would have been more fun, wouldn’t it?].

Tom Hooper loves close-ups. Close-ups certainly have a place in the cinema, and many directors like John Cassavetes and Yasujiro Ozu have worked wonders with them. However, Hooper has decided that 80% of a musical should be shot with them, which not only means that his film is insufferably cramped and claustrophobic to the point that they could have filmed the whole thing on an empty stage and it would hardly have made a difference, but that most of the songs are shot with the camera constantly close to the singer’s face. I could have stood this for one song, but when I realised Hugh Jackman’s mug was going to be looming out at me so much that I felt like he was trying to kiss me, it soon became unbearable. Song after song is filmed like this, and worse than that, they’re shot handheld with a wide angle lens, so that not only is the camera rarely truly still but faces actually sometimes look distorted. Hooper doesn’t even feel like is necessary to show more than one singer in the same shot, so much of the film just looks like as if a bunch of people had filmed themselves singing songs, sent them in, and the film had cut them together .

Even with the larger numbers the film mostly refuses to pull back and give us a sense of geography, but then again the sets do look half-completed, as if they’d started building them and then been told: “You may as well stop because we’re not really going to use them anyway”. Take Master Of The House, which should be a lavish, spectacular sequence with great stuff happening all over the place. Here, we mostly focus on various pairs of dancers and the camera just fails to show us a decent view of the whole thing until near the end. Saying that, Les Miserables is an astoundingly ugly film throughout. Some early scenes show us the squalor of the locale, but after that we are hardly allowed to see anything, so arguments that the film is going for a gritty realism just don’t hold water. Bizarrely Javert’s two full songs are filmed with a variety of angles, some of them from a distance, and I will say the transitions which move the story forward in time are well accomplished.

Sadly the horrible technique of ‘shakycam’ [shaking the camera around by someone seemingly having an epileptic fit] is often employed in this film. This idiotic way of filming seems to be working its odious way into every film genre, so now it’s the turn of the musical. Whenever somebody runs, the camera follows him or her and shakes about. The battles in the final third are little more than an incoherent mass due to wobbly camerawork and random cutting. It’s not realistic and doesn’t give you the feeling of being ‘”in” the action because most of us don’t see things at virtually the same time from ten angles and bounce about like Zebedee, and even if we do, whatever happened to actually seeing what is happening. What really saddens me is that few critics have even touched on this, which says to me that this style is becoming the accepted norm, a style whose thinking goes against logic. Something happens in a film, we see it. Surely it’s that simple? Of course there are countless films, even if you ignore the Found Footage kind [where its use is justified], which employ this style more, but as I cringed at and got sore eyes from its use in this particular film, I felt seriously concerned for the future of the cinema.

Of course it’s not entirely bad. How can it be with such a terrific,multi-layered tale and that great music, which sounds terrific with the sound blaring out at you in the cinema? The singing is of a surprisingly high quality – this is no Mamma Mia, that’s for sure – with Ann Hathaway certainly deserving of the praise she is getting. Her rendition of I Dreamed A Dream [Susan who?] is a gut-wrenchingly powerful combination of good singing and downright brilliant acting, and just about survives the useless camera person placing her in the middle of the screen against black and randomly shifting the camera to the left and back even though nothing’s there. For God’s sake, if you’re going to shoot someone singing in close-up in one take DO IT PROPERLY. Hugh Jackman sometimes sounds strained, as if it’s becoming almost too much of an effort, though some may argue that it works for the character, while Russell Crow is a little better than many have said but also seems to struggle and as an actor fails to sell Javert’s final scene, but then many of the great scenes from the novel are botched, often because they are rushed. The sewer pursuit near the end was longer and more detailed on stage, where you would think the opposite, then it was in this film. As for the rest of the cast, Eddie Redmayne reveals a good singing voice but can’t seem to help pulling funny expressions as he sings, while Helena Bonham Carter sounds so much like her character in Sweeney Todd I kept expecting Johnny Depp to show up. Of course what really lit up the film occasionally for me was the always hilarious Sacha Baron Cohen who just rules every scene he is in. He seems to be acting in a really fun film, a film that is different from the one he’s actually in.

Les Miserables should have been terrific, but it’s not, it’s a dreary, stodgy mess sunk by bad decisions and incompetence. There is a small amount of good stuff in it, and the story and music cannot help but compell somewhat, which is why my rating for the film is maybe a little higher than the tone of this review may suggest. I cannot believe more people don’t see the huge problems the film has though, but I suppose it’s not much different from the weird popularity of the abysmal Twilight franchise. I don’t think it will win Best Picture at the Oscars [my vote’s on Lincoln, because of its subject matter], but if it does I may as well give up going to the cinema, because it will mean that just dreadful filmmaking has been rewarded and there will be more of it. God help us. I can some up my overall feeling on Les Miserables by saying that when I watched the stage production I cried once, absolutely weeped buckets another time, and had a lump in my throat on two other occasions. During the film, I couldn’t give a toss. The ending……I just wanted him to get on with it.

Rating: 4/10


I usually agree with your reviews but not this time. If you truly believe that Schumacher's Phantom Of The Opera is better than Les Miserables then I'm lost for words. It's nothing to do with some perceived elitism about the director's past works - Phantom is an utter disaster because someone made the tragic mistake of thinking that Gerard Butler could sing and dance when in fact he could do neither. His terrible performance dooms that film to failure. Most of your criticisms of Les Miserables are based on the film's technical merits - fair enough. They're your opinions which you've written very eloquently about. But are you really saying that shaky camerawork and closeups (the significance and importance of which you seem to have missed) ruined the experience completely? Were you not moved at all?

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 34
Les Miserables - 13/1/2013 8:30:55 PM   
Whistler


Posts: 3116
Joined: 22/11/2006
I really enjoyed it. Certainly it will help if you're a fan of musicals - which I am - and while Les Mis isn't my very favourite, I had a great time. All of the cast are excellent, both with their acting and singing (yes Kermode, even Russell Crowe), the direction is assured, the sets are wonderfully designed, and there's just a real sense of grandeur about the whole thing. There was clapping in my screening too, and even a whistle or two, so it's definitely working for the majority. And I have to say, I really don't understand that complaint above about lines of dialogue being sung; this is a musical, that's generally what they do.

I'm not saying it's perfect; you do feel the length and at times it feels just a little rushed and disjointed, but the good overwhelmingly outweighs the small nuggets of not so good. It's not a Best Picture winner, but it's an awesome, cathartic cinematic experience, and one you shouldn't miss.

(in reply to BelfastBoy)
Post #: 35
RE: Les Miserables - 14/1/2013 8:57:58 AM   
Dannybohy


Posts: 1374
Joined: 7/1/2009
Well its 2013 and this is the first movie in along time I walked out of half way through!. I was just that bored and underwhelmed! I left my Wife and Friend to endure to the end!. Its badly cast, badly acted , badly sung!. Some musicals just don't work on the screen. I thoroughly enjoyed the non-Musical version with Liam Neeson! so assumed I would enjoy the 'proper' version!. painful stuff.

I went home and ended up watching 'As good as it gets' on Lovefilm! so the day didn't end too badly

_____________________________

'Man of Steel!,Man of Shit!' -fairyprincess

(in reply to Whistler)
Post #: 36
RE: Les Miserables - 14/1/2013 11:17:02 AM   
steffols


Posts: 7689
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: Jungleland
I think its a bit of an insulting kick in the face to theatrical singers when you say they are singing for note perfection rather than putting their emotions into it. I loved Hugh Jackman was a brilliant Valjean, he really made the role his own and I was completely convinced in his struggle. However, Colm Wilkinson (who played The Bishop at the beginning and the end) will always be the definitive Valjean, purely because his performance is one of the emotive I will ever witness. When he sings, he is absolutely racked with the emotions the character carries, its a blistering performance, both of singing ability and acting.

I did love this. I loved the show, the characters and the songs for about 7 years now, so know the story and songs very well. I was blown away by both Hathaway and Jackman. Jackman for me seems to transport himself into another person altogether. At parts, I was trying to relate the man playing Valjean onscreen to the man who has played Wolverine in X-Men and I just could not do it. That is the true mark of a wonderful actor. Hathaway has such a wonderful voice and she really acted her socks off as Fantine. It's a really great role to sink your teeth into and she took huge chunks of it.

I can see where peoples complaints of Crowe are coming from, but it never bothered me as such. His version of Stars is just as emotional as any I have heard. Eddie Redmayne was brilliant. I was a bit nervous about his version of Empty Chairs and Empty Tables, I heard it on the radio and it didn't sound very powerful and that is a very powerful song, but put with the film and his acting, it worked perfectly. That section was one of my highlights.

All in all, I want to see it again.

< Message edited by steffols -- 14/1/2013 11:19:17 AM >


_____________________________

It's midnight in Manhattan, this is no time to get cute, it's a mad dog's promenade,
So walk tall, or baby don't walk at all.

(in reply to Dannybohy)
Post #: 37
RE: Les Miserables - 14/1/2013 12:13:57 PM   
jcthefirst


Posts: 4425
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: Bangor
Having literally no clue about Les Mis was all about, I kind of loved this.

The first hour or so, up until Valjean takes Cosette away is absolutely perfect for me; the standout songs being "Valjean's Soliloquy," ending with him ripping up the letter, "Lovely Ladies," catchy and then turning on a dime with Anne Hathaway's "...dead," "I Dreamed a Dream" was suitably gut wrenching.

The second half, with all the Rebellion stuff was slightly underwhelming however. Never bad, just a little stretched out for my liking. And the only song I truly liked in this second half was "A Little Fall of Rain" with fantastic work from Barks there.

However, Crowe does seem to be more barking orders than singing and gets shown up by his moe vocally talented co-stars.

Still, a high end 4 stars for me.

_____________________________

@Jonny_C85

My Movie Blog | My Other Various Rantings Blog

(in reply to steffols)
Post #: 38
RE: Les Miserables - 14/1/2013 12:14:52 PM   
jcthefirst


Posts: 4425
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: Bangor
Having literally no clue about Les Mis was all about, I kind of loved this.

The first hour or so, up until Valjean takes Cosette away is absolutely perfect for me; the standout songs being "Valjean's Soliloquy," ending with him ripping up the letter, "Lovely Ladies," catchy and then turning on a dime with Anne Hathaway's "...dead," "I Dreamed a Dream" was suitably gut wrenching.

The second half, with all the Rebellion stuff was slightly underwhelming however. Never bad, just a little stretched out for my liking. And the only song I truly liked in this second half was "A Little Fall of Rain" with fantastic work from Barks there.

However, Crowe does seem to be more barking orders than singing and gets shown up by his moe vocally talented co-stars.

Still, a high end 4 stars for me.

_____________________________

@Jonny_C85

My Movie Blog | My Other Various Rantings Blog

(in reply to steffols)
Post #: 39
RE: Les Miserables - 14/1/2013 2:44:55 PM   
Whistler


Posts: 3116
Joined: 22/11/2006
I really don't understand all the criticism of Crowe. I liked his voice.

(in reply to jcthefirst)
Post #: 40
RE: Les Miserables - 14/1/2013 3:17:05 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
Seen this yesterday - a curious experience.

Considering I'm not the greatest fan of musicals (particularly ones that started off as a theatre production first), I'm probably not the best person to judge its merits...but I'll try.

Les Miserables is a strange concoction of trying to do something cinematic with a source firmly within the confines of a stage production. The subversions of its roots lie in its usage of close-ups and the occasional CGI-enfused sweeping shot which of course are in place to distinguish itself from its theatrical origins. Yet its success on this front is mixed. The close-ups work extremely well with individual song numbers (none more so than Hathaway's rendition of 'I dreamed a dream' - which alone will guarantee her the supporting actress oscar gong, even if her over screen time in the film is little over 10 minutes in total), yet it can't quite address the problem that everything in terms of setting feels within a couple of minutes of each other (never a meaningful problem for the stage, but a hugely noticeable one for the screen). As a result, the sense of "epic" feels a bit compromised and when it works best, it's because you're up close & personal with the performers (with the exception of Crowe, who for the simple factor that he's nowhere near a singing & dancing man - his scenes lurch dangerously close to unintentional hilarity each and every time). I guess that's the point, yet for me it results in the film failing to fully transcend its theatrical nature.

Its a musical where its entire construction is motivated to facilitate the close-up of the actors (who apart from Crowe are all very good in their respective numbers), which is fine I guess if you've ever seen the stage production and were frustrated that you didn't get caught up in the emotional intensity because you could hardly see a thing from your cheap seat stuck way way back in row ZZ of the stalls. Yet as a film, for me it needed to do a wee bit more. The ferocity of the beginning suggests this may well happen, yet it never really threatens to materialise once we find ourselves in the back-streets of Paris. For the French Revolution, there's also a disappointing high level of "cor blimey guv'nor!" as well (I'm guessing this is a fundamental problem of the source carried over anyway?)

Still, it's one of the few films I've seen that achieved spontaneous applause in the screening I sat in (second film in a row for Hooper as well), so what do I know?

Certainly a strong best picture contender, but not one I'll be rooting for.

3/5

_____________________________

Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to jcthefirst)
Post #: 41
RE: Les Miserables - 14/1/2013 3:39:05 PM   
Dannybohy


Posts: 1374
Joined: 7/1/2009
Watch the Liam Neeson movie version instead!! much better and none of this singing nonsense!!

_____________________________

'Man of Steel!,Man of Shit!' -fairyprincess

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 42
RE: Les Miserables - 14/1/2013 3:42:10 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dannybohy

Watch the Liam Neeson movie version instead!! much better and none of this singing nonsense!!


But if you walked out half way through the film, how would you know?

_____________________________

Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to Dannybohy)
Post #: 43
RE: Les Miserables - 14/1/2013 3:44:23 PM   
Dannybohy


Posts: 1374
Joined: 7/1/2009
quote:

ORIGINAL: Qwerty Norris


quote:

ORIGINAL: Dannybohy

Watch the Liam Neeson movie version instead!! much better and none of this singing nonsense!!


But if you walked out half way through the film, how would you know?


because I didn't walk out half way through the Liam Neeson movie.

Seriously , Liam was great as Jean and Rush was a far far superior Javert!, Crowe looks like he just couldn't be bothered! . Worth a watch

< Message edited by Dannybohy -- 14/1/2013 3:48:49 PM >


_____________________________

'Man of Steel!,Man of Shit!' -fairyprincess

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 44
RE: Les Miserables - 14/1/2013 3:45:35 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dannybohy


quote:

ORIGINAL: Qwerty Norris


quote:

ORIGINAL: Dannybohy

Watch the Liam Neeson movie version instead!! much better and none of this singing nonsense!!


But if you walked out half way through the film, how would you know?


because I didn't walk out half way through the Liam Neeson movie.


Yet you've compared that film to one that you haven't seen half of, so how could you possibly know?


_____________________________

Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to Dannybohy)
Post #: 45
RE: Les Miserables - 14/1/2013 4:00:00 PM   
Whistler


Posts: 3116
Joined: 22/11/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: Qwerty Norris


quote:

ORIGINAL: Dannybohy


quote:

ORIGINAL: Qwerty Norris


quote:

ORIGINAL: Dannybohy

Watch the Liam Neeson movie version instead!! much better and none of this singing nonsense!!


But if you walked out half way through the film, how would you know?


because I didn't walk out half way through the Liam Neeson movie.


Yet you've compared that film to one that you haven't seen half of, so how could you possibly know?



Once again, it's a friggin' musical! Honestly, what were you expecting?

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 46
RE: Les Mis - 14/1/2013 4:11:51 PM   
Dannybohy


Posts: 1374
Joined: 7/1/2009

quote:

ORIGINAL: Coyleone

Just saw this and I have to say, by about half way through I wanted to reach in to the screen, take Crowe' s Rifle from him and literally shoot myself in the face with it. Musical has never been a genre I've particularly liked, but this took it to a whole new level of dislike. The vocal performances were honestly so annoying and emotionless (bar Hathaway, who was brilliant), I'm all for a song or six, but having everything sung to me, every single line of dialogue, in an awfully monotone dreary way was horrible to endure. There also seemed to be some real problems with the plot and character development too, i don't know how I was supposed to care about Seyfried's character when she got no time devoted to her, and yet she was supposed to be one of the main parts of the story. Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter felt so out of place with everything else, to the point I felt like I was watching a Burton movie when they were on screen, and they only served for some comedy value, which was also out of place in the overly serious tone of everything else. Maybe it's the same in the stage show, but I would never sit through that on a stage, since the only thing that kept me interested was the nice set designs and aesthetic of everything. There were a few good moments, the war scenes towards the end with the charging of the barricade was great and very well done. It had a very epic feel to it also, but that wasn't enough to make up for the rest of it. I'd have to be forced to watch it again similar to the famous Clockwork Orange scene. 4/10.


First entry for my favorite start to a post 2013.

_____________________________

'Man of Steel!,Man of Shit!' -fairyprincess

(in reply to Coyleone)
Post #: 47
RE: Les Mis - 14/1/2013 4:34:41 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dannybohy


quote:

ORIGINAL: Coyleone

Just saw this and I have to say, by about half way through I wanted to reach in to the screen, take Crowe' s Rifle from him and literally shoot myself in the face with it. Musical has never been a genre I've particularly liked, but this took it to a whole new level of dislike. The vocal performances were honestly so annoying and emotionless (bar Hathaway, who was brilliant), I'm all for a song or six, but having everything sung to me, every single line of dialogue, in an awfully monotone dreary way was horrible to endure. There also seemed to be some real problems with the plot and character development too, i don't know how I was supposed to care about Seyfried's character when she got no time devoted to her, and yet she was supposed to be one of the main parts of the story. Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter felt so out of place with everything else, to the point I felt like I was watching a Burton movie when they were on screen, and they only served for some comedy value, which was also out of place in the overly serious tone of everything else. Maybe it's the same in the stage show, but I would never sit through that on a stage, since the only thing that kept me interested was the nice set designs and aesthetic of everything. There were a few good moments, the war scenes towards the end with the charging of the barricade was great and very well done. It had a very epic feel to it also, but that wasn't enough to make up for the rest of it. I'd have to be forced to watch it again similar to the famous Clockwork Orange scene. 4/10.


First entry for my favorite start to a post 2013.


Well, at least you love something....

_____________________________

Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to Dannybohy)
Post #: 48
RE: Les Mis - 14/1/2013 4:45:21 PM   
Dannybohy


Posts: 1374
Joined: 7/1/2009
quote:

ORIGINAL: Qwerty Norris


quote:

ORIGINAL: Dannybohy


quote:

ORIGINAL: Coyleone

Just saw this and I have to say, by about half way through I wanted to reach in to the screen, take Crowe' s Rifle from him and literally shoot myself in the face with it. Musical has never been a genre I've particularly liked, but this took it to a whole new level of dislike. The vocal performances were honestly so annoying and emotionless (bar Hathaway, who was brilliant), I'm all for a song or six, but having everything sung to me, every single line of dialogue, in an awfully monotone dreary way was horrible to endure. There also seemed to be some real problems with the plot and character development too, i don't know how I was supposed to care about Seyfried's character when she got no time devoted to her, and yet she was supposed to be one of the main parts of the story. Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter felt so out of place with everything else, to the point I felt like I was watching a Burton movie when they were on screen, and they only served for some comedy value, which was also out of place in the overly serious tone of everything else. Maybe it's the same in the stage show, but I would never sit through that on a stage, since the only thing that kept me interested was the nice set designs and aesthetic of everything. There were a few good moments, the war scenes towards the end with the charging of the barricade was great and very well done. It had a very epic feel to it also, but that wasn't enough to make up for the rest of it. I'd have to be forced to watch it again similar to the famous Clockwork Orange scene. 4/10.


First entry for my favorite start to a post 2013.


Well, at least you love something....


Easy now!. I love lots of things!.In fact I would just add! I did like the opening sequence with the prisoners hauling in the boat!.. then they started singing...badly. I knows its a musical, and I love a musical (In a very manly heterosexual way of course), but this isn't a great movie musical. My better half confirmed that it doesn't get much better apart from the barricade scenes! and she is mental for Les Mis!. Then again she likes Mama Mia!...daft cow


_____________________________

'Man of Steel!,Man of Shit!' -fairyprincess

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 49
RE: NO WAY HELEN O HARA THIS IS FIVE STARS! - 14/1/2013 4:58:54 PM   
horribleives

 

Posts: 5064
Joined: 12/6/2009
From: The North

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera


France 1815: convict Jean Valjean is released on parole by prison guard Javert after serving a nineteen-year sentence. When he steals silver from a bishop who gives him shelter and the bishop lies so he is released by the authorities, Valjean breaks his parole and vows to start an honest life under a new identity, though Javert swears he will bring the escaped convict to justice. Eight years later, Valjean has become mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer and owner of a factory where Fantine, one of the workers, is sacked for sending money to her illegitimate daughter and falls into prostitution. When a man believed to be him is arrested, Valjean reveals his identity to the court before promising a dying Fantine that he will look after her daughter, but Javert is still on his trail….



Before I spend much of this review criticising this shatteringly disappointing, horribly directed atrocity, let me just say that, despite writing for a website called Horror Cult Films, I have nothing against the musical genre and actually cannot praise enough the stage production of Victor Hugo’s great novel, where the combination of Hugo’s timeless story of morality, redemption, love and obsession combines with the wonderful music of by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, a score which runs the full gamut from tender love ballads to rousing anthems to light-hearted ditties, to create an really powerful and moving experience. Nor am I one of those ‘purists’ who demand that a film version of their favourite stage musical be exactly the same. I do though think I know a bad film when I see one, and yet it’s one that appears to have been praised to the skies and loved by audiences everywhere…..at least at first glance.

This unaccountably favourable reception seems odd initially. Compare the response to Les Miserables to the mediocre reception that greeted the 2004 film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera, which was also based on a well known book that has been adapted for the screen many times. Now musical fans can argue as to which musical is superior, and I would probably say that the Schonberg, Boublil and Natel production has the edge at least musically, where it’s more diverse and sophisticated, but the differing critical responses to the films seemed to be very odd. I say seemed, because then I realised that Les Miserables is directed by a guy who made a film about a person overcoming a disability and the royal family, two subjects which, combined, are bound to have critics falling over themselves to praise it regardless of how good the film really is, while The Phantom Of The Opera is directed by Joel Schumacher, whose films, while being diverse in nature and subject matter, just don’t appeal to those folk who tell us which films are good and which films aren’t, despite the fact that any one of his films shows more directorial competence in one scene than virtually the whole of Les Miserables.

One must remember of course that the stage version initially received very poor reviews even if it immediately became a hit with the theatre-going public. And actually, there are quite a few people who have not liked the film. As the showing I was at finished, some people clapped, an act which for few minutes made me worried about the human race, and I wondered if I was alone in seeing what a poor piece of cinema it is. However, a quick glance at the IMDB board for the movie revealed that there are plenty of others who share some of the serious issues I had with it. Not all the problems are that serious of course. A good example of this is the way the music has been mucked about with. Songs have been shortened, moved about or slightly changed, in ways that don’t really hamper the film or the story, but don’t improve or significantly alter it either, so what’s the point? Of course if you’ve never seen the stage show this kind of stuff is unnoticeable except the fact that the one new song Suddenly is one of the weakest in the whole thing and I can’t remember a single bit of it. The real problem with the film, and something from which there is little reprieve, is the direction, which is so inept I thought at times Ed Wood was the director [but then it would have been more fun, wouldn’t it?].

Tom Hooper loves close-ups. Close-ups certainly have a place in the cinema, and many directors like John Cassavetes and Yasujiro Ozu have worked wonders with them. However, Hooper has decided that 80% of a musical should be shot with them, which not only means that his film is insufferably cramped and claustrophobic to the point that they could have filmed the whole thing on an empty stage and it would hardly have made a difference, but that most of the songs are shot with the camera constantly close to the singer’s face. I could have stood this for one song, but when I realised Hugh Jackman’s mug was going to be looming out at me so much that I felt like he was trying to kiss me, it soon became unbearable. Song after song is filmed like this, and worse than that, they’re shot handheld with a wide angle lens, so that not only is the camera rarely truly still but faces actually sometimes look distorted. Hooper doesn’t even feel like is necessary to show more than one singer in the same shot, so much of the film just looks like as if a bunch of people had filmed themselves singing songs, sent them in, and the film had cut them together .

Even with the larger numbers the film mostly refuses to pull back and give us a sense of geography, but then again the sets do look half-completed, as if they’d started building them and then been told: “You may as well stop because we’re not really going to use them anyway”. Take Master Of The House, which should be a lavish, spectacular sequence with great stuff happening all over the place. Here, we mostly focus on various pairs of dancers and the camera just fails to show us a decent view of the whole thing until near the end. Saying that, Les Miserables is an astoundingly ugly film throughout. Some early scenes show us the squalor of the locale, but after that we are hardly allowed to see anything, so arguments that the film is going for a gritty realism just don’t hold water. Bizarrely Javert’s two full songs are filmed with a variety of angles, some of them from a distance, and I will say the transitions which move the story forward in time are well accomplished.

Sadly the horrible technique of ‘shakycam’ [shaking the camera around by someone seemingly having an epileptic fit] is often employed in this film. This idiotic way of filming seems to be working its odious way into every film genre, so now it’s the turn of the musical. Whenever somebody runs, the camera follows him or her and shakes about. The battles in the final third are little more than an incoherent mass due to wobbly camerawork and random cutting. It’s not realistic and doesn’t give you the feeling of being ‘”in” the action because most of us don’t see things at virtually the same time from ten angles and bounce about like Zebedee, and even if we do, whatever happened to actually seeing what is happening. What really saddens me is that few critics have even touched on this, which says to me that this style is becoming the accepted norm, a style whose thinking goes against logic. Something happens in a film, we see it. Surely it’s that simple? Of course there are countless films, even if you ignore the Found Footage kind [where its use is justified], which employ this style more, but as I cringed at and got sore eyes from its use in this particular film, I felt seriously concerned for the future of the cinema.

Of course it’s not entirely bad. How can it be with such a terrific,multi-layered tale and that great music, which sounds terrific with the sound blaring out at you in the cinema? The singing is of a surprisingly high quality – this is no Mamma Mia, that’s for sure – with Ann Hathaway certainly deserving of the praise she is getting. Her rendition of I Dreamed A Dream [Susan who?] is a gut-wrenchingly powerful combination of good singing and downright brilliant acting, and just about survives the useless camera person placing her in the middle of the screen against black and randomly shifting the camera to the left and back even though nothing’s there. For God’s sake, if you’re going to shoot someone singing in close-up in one take DO IT PROPERLY. Hugh Jackman sometimes sounds strained, as if it’s becoming almost too much of an effort, though some may argue that it works for the character, while Russell Crow is a little better than many have said but also seems to struggle and as an actor fails to sell Javert’s final scene, but then many of the great scenes from the novel are botched, often because they are rushed. The sewer pursuit near the end was longer and more detailed on stage, where you would think the opposite, then it was in this film. As for the rest of the cast, Eddie Redmayne reveals a good singing voice but can’t seem to help pulling funny expressions as he sings, while Helena Bonham Carter sounds so much like her character in Sweeney Todd I kept expecting Johnny Depp to show up. Of course what really lit up the film occasionally for me was the always hilarious Sacha Baron Cohen who just rules every scene he is in. He seems to be acting in a really fun film, a film that is different from the one he’s actually in.

Les Miserables should have been terrific, but it’s not, it’s a dreary, stodgy mess sunk by bad decisions and incompetence. There is a small amount of good stuff in it, and the story and music cannot help but compell somewhat, which is why my rating for the film is maybe a little higher than the tone of this review may suggest. I cannot believe more people don’t see the huge problems the film has though, but I suppose it’s not much different from the weird popularity of the abysmal Twilight franchise. I don’t think it will win Best Picture at the Oscars [my vote’s on Lincoln, because of its subject matter], but if it does I may as well give up going to the cinema, because it will mean that just dreadful filmmaking has been rewarded and there will be more of it. God help us. I can some up my overall feeling on Les Miserables by saying that when I watched the stage production I cried once, absolutely weeped buckets another time, and had a lump in my throat on two other occasions. During the film, I couldn’t give a toss. The ending……I just wanted him to get on with it.

Rating: 4/10


You liked Phantom Of The Opera.
Lots of people didn't.
Lots of people liked Les Miserables.
You didn't.

Why this angers you so much is beyond me.


_____________________________

www.hollywoodunbound.co.uk - some nonsense about alien film directors and musclebound man-children.

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 50
RE: NO WAY HELEN O HARA THIS IS FIVE STARS! - 14/1/2013 5:04:48 PM   
Dannybohy


Posts: 1374
Joined: 7/1/2009

quote:

ORIGINAL: horribleives


quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera


France 1815: convict Jean Valjean is released on parole by prison guard Javert after serving a nineteen-year sentence. When he steals silver from a bishop who gives him shelter and the bishop lies so he is released by the authorities, Valjean breaks his parole and vows to start an honest life under a new identity, though Javert swears he will bring the escaped convict to justice. Eight years later, Valjean has become mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer and owner of a factory where Fantine, one of the workers, is sacked for sending money to her illegitimate daughter and falls into prostitution. When a man believed to be him is arrested, Valjean reveals his identity to the court before promising a dying Fantine that he will look after her daughter, but Javert is still on his trail….



Before I spend much of this review criticising this shatteringly disappointing, horribly directed atrocity, let me just say that, despite writing for a website called Horror Cult Films, I have nothing against the musical genre and actually cannot praise enough the stage production of Victor Hugo’s great novel, where the combination of Hugo’s timeless story of morality, redemption, love and obsession combines with the wonderful music of by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, a score which runs the full gamut from tender love ballads to rousing anthems to light-hearted ditties, to create an really powerful and moving experience. Nor am I one of those ‘purists’ who demand that a film version of their favourite stage musical be exactly the same. I do though think I know a bad film when I see one, and yet it’s one that appears to have been praised to the skies and loved by audiences everywhere…..at least at first glance.

This unaccountably favourable reception seems odd initially. Compare the response to Les Miserables to the mediocre reception that greeted the 2004 film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera, which was also based on a well known book that has been adapted for the screen many times. Now musical fans can argue as to which musical is superior, and I would probably say that the Schonberg, Boublil and Natel production has the edge at least musically, where it’s more diverse and sophisticated, but the differing critical responses to the films seemed to be very odd. I say seemed, because then I realised that Les Miserables is directed by a guy who made a film about a person overcoming a disability and the royal family, two subjects which, combined, are bound to have critics falling over themselves to praise it regardless of how good the film really is, while The Phantom Of The Opera is directed by Joel Schumacher, whose films, while being diverse in nature and subject matter, just don’t appeal to those folk who tell us which films are good and which films aren’t, despite the fact that any one of his films shows more directorial competence in one scene than virtually the whole of Les Miserables.

One must remember of course that the stage version initially received very poor reviews even if it immediately became a hit with the theatre-going public. And actually, there are quite a few people who have not liked the film. As the showing I was at finished, some people clapped, an act which for few minutes made me worried about the human race, and I wondered if I was alone in seeing what a poor piece of cinema it is. However, a quick glance at the IMDB board for the movie revealed that there are plenty of others who share some of the serious issues I had with it. Not all the problems are that serious of course. A good example of this is the way the music has been mucked about with. Songs have been shortened, moved about or slightly changed, in ways that don’t really hamper the film or the story, but don’t improve or significantly alter it either, so what’s the point? Of course if you’ve never seen the stage show this kind of stuff is unnoticeable except the fact that the one new song Suddenly is one of the weakest in the whole thing and I can’t remember a single bit of it. The real problem with the film, and something from which there is little reprieve, is the direction, which is so inept I thought at times Ed Wood was the director [but then it would have been more fun, wouldn’t it?].

Tom Hooper loves close-ups. Close-ups certainly have a place in the cinema, and many directors like John Cassavetes and Yasujiro Ozu have worked wonders with them. However, Hooper has decided that 80% of a musical should be shot with them, which not only means that his film is insufferably cramped and claustrophobic to the point that they could have filmed the whole thing on an empty stage and it would hardly have made a difference, but that most of the songs are shot with the camera constantly close to the singer’s face. I could have stood this for one song, but when I realised Hugh Jackman’s mug was going to be looming out at me so much that I felt like he was trying to kiss me, it soon became unbearable. Song after song is filmed like this, and worse than that, they’re shot handheld with a wide angle lens, so that not only is the camera rarely truly still but faces actually sometimes look distorted. Hooper doesn’t even feel like is necessary to show more than one singer in the same shot, so much of the film just looks like as if a bunch of people had filmed themselves singing songs, sent them in, and the film had cut them together .

Even with the larger numbers the film mostly refuses to pull back and give us a sense of geography, but then again the sets do look half-completed, as if they’d started building them and then been told: “You may as well stop because we’re not really going to use them anyway”. Take Master Of The House, which should be a lavish, spectacular sequence with great stuff happening all over the place. Here, we mostly focus on various pairs of dancers and the camera just fails to show us a decent view of the whole thing until near the end. Saying that, Les Miserables is an astoundingly ugly film throughout. Some early scenes show us the squalor of the locale, but after that we are hardly allowed to see anything, so arguments that the film is going for a gritty realism just don’t hold water. Bizarrely Javert’s two full songs are filmed with a variety of angles, some of them from a distance, and I will say the transitions which move the story forward in time are well accomplished.

Sadly the horrible technique of ‘shakycam’ [shaking the camera around by someone seemingly having an epileptic fit] is often employed in this film. This idiotic way of filming seems to be working its odious way into every film genre, so now it’s the turn of the musical. Whenever somebody runs, the camera follows him or her and shakes about. The battles in the final third are little more than an incoherent mass due to wobbly camerawork and random cutting. It’s not realistic and doesn’t give you the feeling of being ‘”in” the action because most of us don’t see things at virtually the same time from ten angles and bounce about like Zebedee, and even if we do, whatever happened to actually seeing what is happening. What really saddens me is that few critics have even touched on this, which says to me that this style is becoming the accepted norm, a style whose thinking goes against logic. Something happens in a film, we see it. Surely it’s that simple? Of course there are countless films, even if you ignore the Found Footage kind [where its use is justified], which employ this style more, but as I cringed at and got sore eyes from its use in this particular film, I felt seriously concerned for the future of the cinema.

Of course it’s not entirely bad. How can it be with such a terrific,multi-layered tale and that great music, which sounds terrific with the sound blaring out at you in the cinema? The singing is of a surprisingly high quality – this is no Mamma Mia, that’s for sure – with Ann Hathaway certainly deserving of the praise she is getting. Her rendition of I Dreamed A Dream [Susan who?] is a gut-wrenchingly powerful combination of good singing and downright brilliant acting, and just about survives the useless camera person placing her in the middle of the screen against black and randomly shifting the camera to the left and back even though nothing’s there. For God’s sake, if you’re going to shoot someone singing in close-up in one take DO IT PROPERLY. Hugh Jackman sometimes sounds strained, as if it’s becoming almost too much of an effort, though some may argue that it works for the character, while Russell Crow is a little better than many have said but also seems to struggle and as an actor fails to sell Javert’s final scene, but then many of the great scenes from the novel are botched, often because they are rushed. The sewer pursuit near the end was longer and more detailed on stage, where you would think the opposite, then it was in this film. As for the rest of the cast, Eddie Redmayne reveals a good singing voice but can’t seem to help pulling funny expressions as he sings, while Helena Bonham Carter sounds so much like her character in Sweeney Todd I kept expecting Johnny Depp to show up. Of course what really lit up the film occasionally for me was the always hilarious Sacha Baron Cohen who just rules every scene he is in. He seems to be acting in a really fun film, a film that is different from the one he’s actually in.

Les Miserables should have been terrific, but it’s not, it’s a dreary, stodgy mess sunk by bad decisions and incompetence. There is a small amount of good stuff in it, and the story and music cannot help but compell somewhat, which is why my rating for the film is maybe a little higher than the tone of this review may suggest. I cannot believe more people don’t see the huge problems the film has though, but I suppose it’s not much different from the weird popularity of the abysmal Twilight franchise. I don’t think it will win Best Picture at the Oscars [my vote’s on Lincoln, because of its subject matter], but if it does I may as well give up going to the cinema, because it will mean that just dreadful filmmaking has been rewarded and there will be more of it. God help us. I can some up my overall feeling on Les Miserables by saying that when I watched the stage production I cried once, absolutely weeped buckets another time, and had a lump in my throat on two other occasions. During the film, I couldn’t give a toss. The ending……I just wanted him to get on with it.

Rating: 4/10


You liked Phantom Of The Opera.
Lots of people didn't.
Lots of people liked Les Miserables.
You didn't.

Why this angers you so much is beyond me.



I guess when you have massively hyped films its always going to create more rage than normal when the movie is deemed by one to be actually rather bad?.
I wasn't enraged, more disappointed. I also got to go to the Nandos next door and have a couple of starters while I was waiting for the missus! How expensive is Nandos now!!! its still just chicken ffs!!


_____________________________

'Man of Steel!,Man of Shit!' -fairyprincess

(in reply to horribleives)
Post #: 51
RE: NO WAY HELEN O HARA THIS IS FIVE STARS! - 14/1/2013 5:11:11 PM   
horribleives

 

Posts: 5064
Joined: 12/6/2009
From: The North
True, we've all been personally disappointed when we don't enjoy a film as much as we were hoping (Killing Them Softly would be a recent example for me). But when I dislike a film it doesn't bother me in the slightest if other people like it.

_____________________________

www.hollywoodunbound.co.uk - some nonsense about alien film directors and musclebound man-children.

(in reply to Dannybohy)
Post #: 52
RE: NO WAY HELEN O HARA THIS IS FIVE STARS! - 14/1/2013 5:22:01 PM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
It is...ok? Some really powerful moments, but a really drawn out final act and the epic opening shot is sadly the only time the movie really feels BIG.

_____________________________

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.


(in reply to horribleives)
Post #: 53
RE: NO WAY HELEN O HARA THIS IS FIVE STARS! - 14/1/2013 9:02:04 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3970
Joined: 19/10/2005
Belfast Boy - Thanks for your comment, no I wasn't moved at all, though I really wanted to be! Regarding the close-ups, I hated them but if someone can explain why they are so good then go ahead tell me! The shakycam though- there is NO excuse for having the camera shake about whenever somebody runs in my opinion.

Horribleives -fair play, I don't normally get so worked up about a film, and may have gone over the top, but I really feared for cinema in parts of this film, even though far worse films will come out this year. I guess it's because I spent most of last year suffering through films full of things I hate and that are prevailent in modern cinema, from hyperfast cutting to shakycam to 3D to Media Ventures-style scores etc etc etc, I know Les Miserables doesn't feature all these things but I did feel like "o fuck, here we go again". I still stand by my point that the way alot of stuff is filmed at the moment goes against any kind of logic.

Maybe I should just stop going to the cinema lol...

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Rgirvan44)
Post #: 54
RE: NO WAY HELEN O HARA THIS IS FIVE STARS! - 15/1/2013 1:17:50 PM   
BelfastBoy

 

Posts: 582
Joined: 30/11/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

Belfast Boy - Thanks for your comment, no I wasn't moved at all, though I really wanted to be! Regarding the close-ups, I hated them but if someone can explain why they are so good then go ahead tell me! The shakycam though- there is NO excuse for having the camera shake about whenever somebody runs in my opinion.

Horribleives -fair play, I don't normally get so worked up about a film, and may have gone over the top, but I really feared for cinema in parts of this film, even though far worse films will come out this year. I guess it's because I spent most of last year suffering through films full of things I hate and that are prevailent in modern cinema, from hyperfast cutting to shakycam to 3D to Media Ventures-style scores etc etc etc, I know Les Miserables doesn't feature all these things but I did feel like "o fuck, here we go again". I still stand by my point that the way alot of stuff is filmed at the moment goes against any kind of logic.

Maybe I should just stop going to the cinema lol...


Definitely keep going to the cinema! To expand on what I said in the earlier post, even if I don't agree with your opinions, I enjoy reading your reviews! You have a point about some of the shaky camerawork - at the start I found it a bit distracting but got used to it quickly enough. The closeups - IMO and especially because I saw it on a so-called 'Omnimaxx' screen that's supposedly halfway between normal and IMAX - worked for me because the actors' faces were so big, which I felt allowed them to deliver their performances in a kind of stark, brutal detail that I hadn't experienced before. Fully accept it's not to everyone's tastes though.

As for 'death of cinema', surely the mere existence of Keith Lemon: The Movie, anything starring Kevin James / Adam Sandler, or Battleship, are worse than Les Miserables?! You're dead right about Media Ventures film scoring atrocities though. Compare the glorious orchestras under the batons of the likes of Williams or Goldsmith with Hans Zimmer, his hard drives full of generic synthesised strings, and armies of uncredited ghostwriters getting 'overproduced' by their boss!

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 55
A wasted opportunity. - 15/1/2013 5:01:45 PM   
sephiroth7

 

Posts: 152
Joined: 14/10/2009
Crowe cannot sing. Jackman made a bollocks of Bring Him Home. One point for Hathaway. Haven't had a case of numb bum like that in years. zzzzzzzzz

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 56
RE: NO WAY HELEN O HARA THIS IS FIVE STARS! - 16/1/2013 12:24:14 PM   
SarahBanks195

 

Posts: 41
Joined: 4/12/2012
This film was amazing from start to finish I literally couldn't take my eyes off the screen, Anne Hathaway literally is the stand out star of this film, and breaks your heart when she sings I Dreamed a Dream. Russell Crowe is also suprsingly good in his role and shows a vulnerable side to his character. And Hugh Jackman as usual is cast perfectly in this theatrical role. My only criticism is the Therandier's as they seem a bit too OTT comedy and it kind of breaks away from the film.

I've seen many reviews of this film like this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Rt5Y6yjg_g# but I have to diagree, I don't think you have to be a fan of the musical to like the film, if anythingI'm not a fan of the musical but I am of the film

(in reply to Bighousewill)
Post #: 57
RE: NO WAY HELEN O HARA THIS IS FIVE STARS! - 16/1/2013 9:48:16 PM   
Drone


Posts: 966
Joined: 30/9/2005
I have to be honest; if I hear one more fucking trendy jackass refer to this as "Lez Miz" I will break their teeth.

(in reply to SarahBanks195)
Post #: 58
RE: NO WAY HELEN O HARA THIS IS FIVE STARS! - 16/1/2013 11:30:56 PM   
Deviation


Posts: 27284
Joined: 2/6/2006
From: Enemies of Film HQ

quote:

ORIGINAL: Drone

I have to be honest; if I hear one more fucking trendy jackass refer to this as "Lez Miz" I will break their teeth.


Lez Miz.

_____________________________

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dpp1978
There are certainly times where calling a person a cunt is not only reasonable, it is a gross understatement.

quote:


ORIGINAL: elab49
I really wish I could go down to see Privates

(in reply to Drone)
Post #: 59
RE: NO WAY HELEN O HARA THIS IS FIVE STARS! - 17/1/2013 6:45:07 AM   
horribleives

 

Posts: 5064
Joined: 12/6/2009
From: The North

quote:

ORIGINAL: Drone

I have to be honest; if I hear one more fucking trendy jackass refer to this as "Lez Miz" I will break their teeth.


I'm not sure 'trendy's the right word considering people have been calling it that for nigh on thirty years.

_____________________________

www.hollywoodunbound.co.uk - some nonsense about alien film directors and musclebound man-children.

(in reply to Drone)
Post #: 60
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