Les Misérables

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  SenorSwanky on Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:45 am

Scorp wrote:
StrangerThanUDreamt wrote: I feel like we may have a case of 2004 Phantom; beautifully shot, some good supporting vocals, but missing that special 'something' that makes it such a fantastic stage show.

A case of 2004 Phantom? Yikes, I don't think it's going to be anywhere near that bad. At least, I hope not. For a start, Cameron put effort into this and Tom Hooper is not a bad director. That's two things that are already different from the Phantom film (which I thought was hideously shot, one or two bits aside). Generally this film has had excellent reviews so far in the UK; mixed by the looks of it in the States. The 2004 film was, rightly, negatively reviewed all round in both countries.

And while I'm not a fan of Crowe's singing voice either, thankfully Javert is not a title character upon whose performance the show turns completely nor is Javert supposed to be an Angel of Music, so I think I'll be able to get over that in the cinema. I don't generally like Crowe, but he can act and generally has star power and a good list of credits to explain why he's been cast. A certain person lacked all of these qualities in 2004, and still does.
Amen on all points. Seeing it at 3 pm tomorrow (well, today now). Will report back at some point, once I've digested and am back at my computer and away from family.

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  LadyCDaae on Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:51 pm

If nothing else, the critical reviews are much more favorable (72% on Rotten Tomatoes versus PotO's 33%) and I've heard pretty positive reaction from my friends who went yesterday. I'm also going this afternoon--I'm going to write a review for my web series, which I'll post as soon as it's available.

~LCD

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  ML6 on Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:01 pm

I posted this on a website. Not much of a review but these are my thoughts:

I saw Les Miserables last night. I think on the whole it was decent, a FAR, FAR, better adaptation of a 'world-wide phenomena musical' than a certain one back in 2004. There were a LOT of things that didn't work, but that all had focused on the close-ups and the editing. So, we can only hope that Tom Hooper does not win the Oscar for that. :/

The singers were... decent. Like, I'm not a fan of Hugh Jackman as Valjean but I could tolerate him. His singing at times really bothered me especially during 'Bring Him Home'. Bring Him Home is a prayer, damn it, and he's wandering around the empty Cafe Musain, shouting his lungs out. :/ No. Amanda Seyfried was not a very good Cosette, vocally, and her voice was dwarfed by Eddie's quite a lot. Russell, well, he was wrong for the part--vocally and physically--he did not possess the strength needed for the character. So when he 'changes' at the end, I felt no transition.

The vocal highlights were Anne (obviously), Eddie (obviously), and every member of that barricade (who were, surprise, surprise, actually actors who either played those parts or are currently in Les Miserables now).

Another issue I had was the orchestrations, at times they were very faint. 'Suddenly' should be dropped on account it's not very memorable and felt awkward. It better not win the award for Best Song.

Over all, this is what could be said: It was a FAIR adaptation. Les Miserables is pretty difficult to bring to the screen. Could it have been better? Yes, definitely. Was it bad? No. Are there faults? Yes. Will you go home hating or loving it? Yes.



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Re: Les Misérables

Post  StrangerThanUDreamt on Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:40 am

I actually was very surprised with how much I did end up liking it. I had a lot of reservations about Hugh, but I really liked him him in the role (Bring Him Home, was different..not bad or great just different, for me) I also agree "Suddenly" should be dropped, I know why it is there, but it feels out of place and honestly didn't to too much for the story. Eddy, Aaron and Anne were the standouts to me. Loved every scene at the barricade. And I also loved the twist at the end with a certain character during the epilogue, defiantly didn't see that coming, but it was very fitting. I agree the orchestrations still sound too quiet. However I will also say I too think this is a FAR better adaption of of a big stage to screen film than what happened to our dear Phantom. I also really liked the imperfections in the vocals too, it made it so much more raw and realistic. I will say I wanted a bit more from Crowe, not so much vocally but just more emotion in certain scenes. But overall I loved it, and really believe it deserves its hype.

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  SenorSwanky on Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:23 am

I'm not really sure how to organize this review, so it'll be a ramble. And spoiler warning for those who don't want to know some of the cuts, adds, and other stuff that's different from the stage show.

So overall I was disappointed. I guess it's mostly because I love this show so much, and there's no true way to experience it other than on stage. And I've been playing it in my head, imagining what a film might be like, for 15 years or so. My family mostly liked it quite a bit. I was sitting next to my grandma, who loves the show too, and she was bawling the whole time. My grandpa, who's also a discerning theatre and film person, was impressed. My brother and mom and aunt liked it, and they're all longtime fans of the show who've seen it on stage. But I'm pretty picky, and I guess I had let my expectations get the better of me, which is generally a problem for me with movies I anticipate in other fandoms as well (superhero and Bond films, mainly).

Now, while I didn't come away bowled over, I do think I might like it better on repeat viewings, now that I know how they treated the material and what to expect. And there were a lot of parts I really thought they knocked out of the park. First, those:

1.) Samantha Barks. Anne Hathaway was quite good and all, but I actually wasn't nearly as impressed by her IDAD and her performance in general as I thought I was going to be, based on the previews and reviews. It was Barks who really left a mark on me, vocally and acting and screen presence-wise. Her On My Own was superb, and was filmed well too. And Little Fall of Rain was pretty good as well.

2.) Daniel Huttlestone. Amazing performance, which brings me to...

3.) Look Down. This was by far the best scene of the film, I thought. Hooper should have filmed more of the movie in ways that utilize cinema's unique opportunities to explore the sets and move the camera and pull back from the action. I loved the way Gavroche was our narrator, taking us along on a carriage ride through the filth of the city and the political context of the time. That was one of the added bits of lyrics that actually worked for me. I understand the need to pad out the Javert/Valjean dynamic a little, but several of those bits early in the film were painfully shot and scripted for me.

4.) The bits between Valjean's parole and his capture by the police--nicely established his struggle to reintegrate into society, and I didn't really mind that they cut some of the sung bits, even though it stuck out to me at first, and even though I love what Valjean sings in those parts.

5.) In My Life/Heart Full of Love. Nice work by the actors all around, and pretty well staged.

6.) Do You Hear the People Sing? I love how they made this totally a people's anthem every time it was sung in the film, rather than just something Enjolras and other individual characters sing. I love how it spread throughout the crowd at the funeral, a sort of common language of the desire for democracy, and I liked how they reprised it when they realized the fight was hopeless but vowed to fight on anyway.

7.) One Day More. Not perfect (I didn't like how they kept pausing the music before Jackman sang "One day more!"--it was like he missed his cue or something), but overall, I think it was well staged and edited.

8.) The final scene. It wasn't as stirring or tear-inducing as on stage, and it was corny almost to the point where I chuckled a bit, but I did get teary still. And though they probably focused on him a bit much, and he had a self-aware wink and twinkle in his eyes, just as he did in the earlier scene, I liked that they included Colm in this bit instead of Eponine. Good touch at least in theory.

9.) Eddie Redmayne. No Michael Ball vocally, but a solid Marius who brought some nice touches to the role acting-wise. Not as much a fan of his Empty Chairs as others were, but it wasn't bad.

10.) Amanda Seyfried. She doesn't have the strongest upper register, but I didn't really wince at all during any of her bits, and she fleshed out the role much more than any stage Cosette I've seen, even Katie Hall.

11.) Anne Hathaway. Like I said, very good. She just didn't exceed my expectations because of all the hype around her performance.

Things I didn't like and probably still won't like upon repeat viewings:

1.) The Thenardiers. Just awful. They were out of place, couldn't sing, couldn't act. It felt like The Dictator and Mrs. Lovett walked in from another movie, as other reviewers have put it. Even in the realism Hooper was going for, they still could have made Master of the House more of a rousing showstopper. As much as I love Cohen in other things (he's a brilliant comedian), I would have gone with someone more at home with dramatic acting, like Geoffrey Rush or Bill Nighy, and I would have probably just played up the sleaziness of the characters more, rather than trying to both make them more crook-like and also clowns.

2.) Russell Crowe. Yeah, not surprised I didn't like him, though in some ways, I liked him better than I thought I would. His voice wasn't terrible--he just didn't know how to use it. As good an actor as he is, conveying an attitude or emotion just with a look, he couldn't figure out how to act through song, so in choosing to sing his lines literally, more than any other actor did, he always felt distant from the proceedings, more focused on the rhythm of the melody than on what was going on with his character and, particularly, the other characters in the scene. This is bizarre, since he was so clearly cast for his acting chops and not his voice. If he had sung-spoken and growled some of his lines more, and shown more inflection and expression in his singing voice, he would have been pretty good. And I will say I loved the touch--Crowe's choice--to pin the star of valor on Gavroche. I was actually expecting Javert to be the one who shot Gavroche, so I was surprised.

3.) On a related note, I absolutely hated how they filmed both Stars and Javert's Suicide. Terrible CGI, really boring cinematography, doing nothing to convey anything about the character, other than the nice symmetry of Crowe walking along the edge of the buildings in both scenes. I also was hoping, despite how much better I like the currently used ending of the song on stage with a strong-voiced baritone Javert, that they would have gone back to the original London ending ("keeping watch in the night..."). Would have fit with the softer delivery from Crowe. His attempt to belt the sustained notes was just a poor choice, and also not really in keeping with his simmering, clenched portrayal of the character. In the Suicide, why the hell did Hooper have Crowe finish the final note before jumping, and then follow his body as it hit the concrete edge of the dam or whatever that was, with a thud? Just ugly and unnecessarily violent, and an illogical change from the stage.

4.) Bring Him Home. I generally was quite pleased with Jackman (though I thought they could have done a better job aging both him and Crowe, particularly for Jackman so his sudden demise wasn't so sudden and odd). But why they chose to stage and sing this the way they did is beyond me. It should have been just as quiet and solemn a prayer as the reprise in the final scene, which worked not only by the way Jackman sang it almost in a plaintive whisper, but also because he transposed it down to fit his voice, which is not really a true tenor, at least not one with the traditional range of a stage tenor, and certainly not one for this role and this song. I would not have minded a bit if they had allowed Jackman to sing this and some other bits in a lower key. There were other parts of the film as well where they actually oversold the singing where they could have made it more understated, and other parts where they should have played up the majesty of the score more.

5.) Suddenly. Yeah, totally unnecessary. Could have kept in some of the other cut bits, particularly with the students.

6.) The editing and orchestrations. The reordered songs didn't bother me so much as the transitions between them, which are more fluid in the stage version musically because that's how they were written. And the volume of the orchestra wasn't as much a problem as its power. They neutered the percussions (which is also, to a lesser extent, a problem in the new orchestrations for the 25th anniversary tour), and they totally, unnecessarily redid the orchestrations to whole songs and parts of songs, namely Javert's two solos, among several other parts. Editing-wise, I had the most problem with Fantine's travails and the weird bit where Valjean and Javert talk in Valjean's office and then Valjean saves the guy from under the cart. Just choppy, partly due to the screenplay too, I imagine.

7.) I do see some of the critiques of Hooper's cinematography focusing too much on close-ups, as I mentioned when I talked about Look Down. I could definitely have used some more wide establishing shots and other, more creative shot selection choices, including while characters were singing.

A few sightings of stage actors other than Colm. I did see Frances Ruffelle underneath her makeup. Hadley Fraser was conspicuously featured (surprise suprise, though as I mentioned months ago, I would have preferred Roger Allam or Philip Quast fill that role), and I think I spotted Gina Beck in the shortened (thankfully) bit of Turning, which was a fairly nice scene, usually not one of my favorites, especially once they go into the round (literally, in the original production).

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  StrangerThanUDreamt on Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:38 am

SenorSwanky wrote:

1.) Samantha Barks. Anne Hathaway was quite good and all, but I actually wasn't nearly as impressed by her IDAD and her performance in general as I thought I was going to be, based on the previews and reviews. It was Barks who really left a mark on me, vocally and acting and screen presence-wise. Her On My Own was superb, and was filmed well too. And Little Fall of Rain was pretty good as well.

See my reaction was the complete opposite. I love Barks dearly, but I felt she was much better in the 25th anniversary concert than the film; and that Anne managed to "sell" her character more than Barks did overall.

SenorSwanky wrote:8.) The final scene. It wasn't as stirring or tear-inducing as on stage, and it was corny almost to the point where I chuckled a bit, but I did get teary still. And though they probably focused on him a bit much, and he had a self-aware wink and twinkle in his eyes, just as he did in the earlier scene, I liked that they included Colm in this bit instead of Eponine. Good touch at least in theory.

Did we see the same film? I saw nothing corny or chuckle-worthy in the films epilogue. In retrospect I felt more in the films version than I ever did for the stage version(s)

SenorSwanky wrote:1.) The Thenardiers. Just awful. They were out of place, couldn't sing, couldn't act. It felt like The Dictator and Mrs. Lovett walked in from another movie, as other reviewers have put it. Even in the realism Hooper was going for, they still could have made Master of the House more of a rousing showstopper. As much as I love Cohen in other things (he's a brilliant comedian), I would have gone with someone more at home with dramatic acting, like Geoffrey Rush or Bill Nighy, and I would have probably just played up the sleaziness of the characters more, rather than trying to both make them more crook-like and also clowns.

This I partially agree with, I felt they kind of phoned it in here. I say partially because I really like Helena's grittier take on it, but do agree someone else probably should've been cast in place of Cohen. If I recall his casting was very late in the process, so maybe they did have someone else in line but it fell through?

SenorSwanky wrote:2.) Russell Crowe. Yeah, not surprised I didn't like him, though in some ways, I liked him better than I thought I would. His voice wasn't terrible--he just didn't know how to use it. As good an actor as he is, conveying an attitude or emotion just with a look, he couldn't figure out how to act through song, so in choosing to sing his lines literally, more than any other actor did, he always felt distant from the proceedings, more focused on the rhythm of the melody than on what was going on with his character and, particularly, the other characters in the scene. This is bizarre, since he was so clearly cast for his acting chops and not his voice. If he had sung-spoken and growled some of his lines more, and shown more inflection and expression in his singing voice, he would have been pretty good. And I will say I loved the touch--Crowe's choice--to pin the star of valor on Gavroche. I was actually expecting Javert to be the one who shot Gavroche, so I was surprised.

I'm personally still on the fence about Crowe, I agree he was better than I thought, but he had little to no emotion during most of his musical numbers. I agree that he should've "sang" less and spoke-sung/growled his way through it, and it would've been miles better. The scene with him placing his pin on Gavroche was one that started a flood of tears in our theater, I wasn't expecting it at all but I loved loved loved it.

SenorSwanky wrote:5.) Suddenly. Yeah, totally unnecessary. Could have kept in some of the other cut bits, particularly with the students

Agreed. It felt out of place to me, it was a decent tune but just didn't do much to progress the story at all.



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Re: Les Misérables

Post  LadyCDaae on Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:55 pm

I don't know, I thought Cohen was a bit much in some places but I liked him overall and got several much-needed laughs out of him. He might have benefitted from leaving in "Dog Eats Dog," which would allow us to see more of the cruel, nihilistic aspects of Thenardier. Bonham-Carter's singing voice just doesn't fit with the crazy-haired harridans she specializes in, though--she should stick to animated musicals (I liked her work in Corpse Bride).

I agree about Crowe--he's a stellar actor and a decent singer (his vocal performance in this was much better than I'd anticipated, with several lovely moments), but he hasn't quite managed the trick of doing both at the same time. He gets points for effort, though.

I absolutely adored the ending--having the Bishop there instead of Eponine makes a lot more sense (and the sight of Colm Wilkinson smiling beatifically while surrounded by a blaze of candles was simply glorious).

~LCD

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  SenorSwanky on Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:52 pm

Another thought came to me in the middle of the night. I loved how they filmed Who Am I, starting in the factory, moving to his room as he packs, and then the courtroom. Fantine's Death and the Confrontation were pretty well done as well, and I like that Valjean escaped rather than felled Javert. His dive into the water was a nice nod to The Fugitive, which was a nod to Les Mis itself.

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  LadyCDaae on Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:02 pm

SenorSwanky wrote:Another thought came to me in the middle of the night. I loved how they filmed Who Am I, starting in the factory, moving to his room as he packs, and then the courtroom. Fantine's Death and the Confrontation were pretty well done as well, and I like that Valjean escaped rather than felled Javert. His dive into the water was a nice nod to The Fugitive, which was a nod to Les Mis itself.

I also thought that was another nod to the novel, where Valjean is arrested and sent back to the galleys again, but escapes by falling into the water and letting his captors think he drowned.

And speaking of book allusions, the added bit of music for the nuns in the convent was (pun not intended) heavenly.

~LCD

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  LadyCDaae on Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:13 pm

So, here's my video review. (Short version: really enjoyed it, despite a couple misses in the casting.)

I do have to add that although Hooper's direction mostly worked for me (or at least didn't bother me), I do wish he'd done more with "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables." For me one of the most powerful images in the entire musical is the reappearance of the students during this song, and I missed that. Eddie Redmayne sells the song beautifully, but it is kind of odd to have him singing about "Phantom faces at the window/Phantom shadows on the floor" when there's nothing there.

Oh, and here's something for ALW to stick in his pipe and smoke: after two days Les Miserables has grossed $30 million in the States, over half of the Phantom film's entire US take.

~LCD

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  ML6 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:23 pm

LadyCDaae wrote:So, here's my video review. (Short version: really enjoyed it, despite a couple misses in the casting.)

I do have to add that although Hooper's direction mostly worked for me (or at least didn't bother me), I do wish he'd done more with "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables." For me one of the most powerful images in the entire musical is the reappearance of the students during this song, and I missed that. Eddie Redmayne sells the song beautifully, but it is kind of odd to have him singing about "Phantom faces at the window/Phantom shadows on the floor" when there's nothing there.

In the screenplay, there is a shot where Marius is supposed to look at the window and see blood on the wall. I thought, if anything, that would have been nice. But when I didn't get that in the film I was pretty bummed.

LadyCDaee wrote:Oh, and here's something for ALW to stick in his pipe and smoke: after two days Les Miserables has grossed $30 million in the States, over half of the Phantom film's entire US take.

~LCD

I hope Webber is sh!tting out his life-savings over the amount of praise this film is getting. As I said, this film had faults but it was made with care and people who understood the book/source material.

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  LadyCDaae on Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:29 am

For me, the good outweighs the not-so-good (there's little, if anything, I would call truly awful in it)--and when it works, it works so amazingly and wonderfully well that I can easily forgive the missteps. The cast is mostly strong (and even the ones that aren't had a moment or two I liked), the choral parts are fantastic, and nearly all the major dramatic high points were hit--including but not limited to Valjean's Soliloquy, "Look Down," "Do You Hear the People Sing?" (and it's reprise--loved that addition), and every major character death (with the possible exception of Javert). In the end it took me on a great emotional journey and let me feel for the characters, and that's what matters most.

~LCD

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  LadyCDaae on Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:19 pm

So not only is the soundtrack charting on Billboard, but several of the stage recordings are seeing a boost in sales as well. Good to see interest in the movie is crossing over to the original theatrical production.

I'm on the fence as to whether or not to get the soundtrack--I did like the performances but I'm not sure if they will play as well in a strict audio format, plus the "highlights" contains several notable omissions (No "A Little Fall of Rain"? Shenanigans!). Does anybody here have it? Is it worth the trouble?

~LCD

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  ML6 on Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:50 pm

LadyCDaae wrote:So not only is the soundtrack charting on Billboard, but several of the stage recordings are seeing a boost in sales as well. Good to see interest in the movie is crossing over to the original theatrical production.

I'm on the fence as to whether or not to get the soundtrack--I did like the performances but I'm not sure if they will play as well in a strict audio format, plus the "highlights" contains several notable omissions (No "A Little Fall of Rain"? Shenanigans!). Does anybody here have it? Is it worth the trouble?

~LCD

This is so nice! Glad to see the other cast recordings are getting love. Smile

Also, I do own the soundtrack. I bought it for Anne, Eddie, Aaron, and the barricade boys. It's not very good stand-alone, but I think their performances warrant the purchase. It was on-sale, hence the purchase. (I also bought the Dream the Dream Tour album as well.)

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  Scorp on Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:34 pm

Well, I finally saw it, and I think I agree with the consensus here. My thoughts echo a lot of what Swanky has already written.

I really wanted to love it, especially since it's getting SO much hype in Britain, but I ulimately came away thinking it was just average and that the hype wasn't deserved. I didn't think it was bad but I don't think the direction was that great (I got close-up fatigue) and I think the pacing was rather off, so I actually got a bit bored and started looking at my watch, which is never a good sign. Some of the direction choices seemed inconsistent, e.g. some songs are a lot more muted and toned down, which I understand, but then we have Samantha Barks belting out 'On My Own' and then I start to feel like the piece is uneven. I think the film also brought out some of the flaws of the material, e.g. underdeveloped characterisation, that weren't necessarily so evident on the stage. Some of the messing around with the placement of songs worked (e.g. 'I Dreamed a Dream'), some of them IMHO really didn't ('On My Own').

There was something lacking that didn't make the show come to life for me. None of the songs had any momentum, sometimes because the keys were lowered so drastically as to take all the power out of the material, sometimes because of the casting issues (Russell Crowe - he seems to have concentrated so much on singing by numbers that he forgot to act too). I thought the cast wouldn't be a problem as it's an ensemble piece, but it does throw off the dynamics a bit. I thought orchestra(tions) severely lacking too for a big motion picture adaptation. At times I felt it would have been much better as a straight Les Mis film (especially when everyone seemed to come a bit more to life when there was just spoken dialogue rather than recitative), which kind of defeats the point I guess.

I thought it was to the film's disadvantage that it lacked a sense of red-blooded French flair. The whole thing felt very, very Anglicised, especially with the profusion of British Isles accents, be they RP, cockney, Scottish, Irish or otherwise. This is probably an issue with the stage production but it felt even more so on screen, especially when they're asking an audience to believe that a set which is a well-known part of London is really pre-Haussmann Paris.

As for the cast, Eddie Redmayne, Anne Hathaway and Samantha Barks came across very well. Hugh was OK but it doesn't help that his voice isn't particularly well suited to a lot of the songs and is not the most pleasant of things to listen to, and at some points I found his acting choices cheesy. Amanda Seyfried was not nearly as bad as I was expecting, but she may have been a little out of her depth vocally. But Cosette has had her part so brutally cut down over the years that it didn't really matter. Would someone care to enlighten me which accent Sacha Baron Cohen was trying to do? It sounded like a weird Irish-Jewish-Russian hybrid. At some points he seemed to be channelling Topol. I didn't like his performance; I actually found it worse than Crowe's. Sadly Aaron Tveit just didn't register. There didn't seem to be enough conviction, soul or charisma coming from him that I would expect to come from Enjolras.

I would probably see it again, but not at the cinema - on DVD. A 3 out of 5 from me. I remain unconvinced that musicals work on film. It's not a Phantom-type disaster by any means, but it's not the next King's Speech. I even thought Sweeney Todd made a substantially better transition to the screen than this did, despite the amount of material that was cut out of it.

Audience reception seemed positive, although there were a few titters at lines that weren't intentionally funny, either because of silly lyrics or because of the way they were delivered. I don't think the new song went down too well (and it was unnecessary). There was a very brief moment of applause at the end from one part of the audience, in common with (according to reports I've read) audiences around the country.

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  tiawhitecat on Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:53 pm

I saw it Thursday. I really enjoyed it. Looking back I can't even remember what the actor playing Enjolras looked like, never mind sounded like, didn't think the Thenardiers worked at all on screen, and some of the close ups were I agree a bit too close up. My attention span isn't the best in the world but I never looked at my watch once, unlike this year's Phantom tour, it seemed to fly. I also loved how Colm Wilkinson's Bishop was featured, and it always amazes me that he had hardly aged since the 10th anniversary concert. Very Happy There was spontaneous applause after the finale and a lot of sniffling, including me. I'm not over keen on cinema so I wont go again but I can't wait for the DVD.

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  SenorSwanky on Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:45 pm

The North Carolina Theatre is doing regional productions of Les Mis, Cats, and Little Mermaid this season. Les Mis is next February 11-23.

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  SenorSwanky on Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:53 pm

They just announced auditions for our regional production, directed by former Broadway Valjean Dave Clemmons. *sigh* If only....

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  SenorSwanky on Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:29 pm

Saw the NC Theatre production of Les Mis yesterday afternoon.  It was a little flat in parts, but they did a pretty good job.  Good lighting and staging.

Craig Schulman has never been my cup of tea overall, but he definitely had moments.  Chuck Wagner's Javert was a bit stiff in an over-the-top way throughout, but he has a fantastic voice, and he did sell me on the role toward the end. His Stars was superb as well.

Really disappointing, though, was Lauren Kennedy's Fantine.  I don't know how anyone can perform the role without raw anguish even before the film, let alone after it, but she managed to do nothing emotional with IDAD.

The standout was local student English Bernhardt as Eponine; her On My Own brought down the house.  I'd seen her as the Mistress in their production of Evita two years ago.  Watch out for her.

Also really good were Charlie Brady as Enjolras and Bruce Landry as Marius, who gave the character much more...character than any other Marius I've seen.  Both had fantastic voices as well.

Alison Cimmet was a pretty solid Mme. Thenardier, but Dirk Lumbard was a bit too understated for my taste.  Sometimes that really worked, but other times, I wanted a bit more of a ham.

5 minutes of footage here: https://www.youtube.com/embed/_WWW-eTUwBY

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  Raphael on Wed May 07, 2014 3:56 am

Saw the Broadway revival last week. Some observations:


  • Karimloo was shirtless for an unnecessarily long time at the end of the prologue
  • Karimloo's vocals were at times reminiscent of Jackman's in the movie
  • Most of the solos were well-sung, but lacked emotion, and seemed to be a contest of who could belt the loudest
  • Fantine's death was staged so that Valjean's back to the audience whenever he was sitting at her bedside.
  • New bits of humor added in here and there
  • I know Javert's supposed to be like a tightly-wound clock, but Will Swenson's acting made him seem more constipated that anything else
  • Samantha Hill was appropriately sweet and innocent as Cosette
  • The student numbers were good, I particularly liked Kyle Scatliffe's Enjorlas
  • Javert's suicide was nicely restaged
  • Good use of projections


It was 24 years since I last saw the show live onstage, so I don't remember enough of the original production to offer comparisons, but this version still carries the intent of the story, so I'd say it's successful in that right.

R.

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Re: Les Misérables

Post  RoseOfTransylvania on Fri May 30, 2014 2:17 pm

I don´t particularly care 2012 Les Miserables. Terrible photography, direction and singing - Jackman´s Bring him home has no place in the amateur show, Hathaway grotesquely overrated, Eddie Redmayne makes me miss Nick Jonas -  and even those who can sing - Hadley Fraser - have made to mumble.  On the other hand, I like that they put the Brick stuff in.  Earnest but terribly misguided effort.

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Re: Les Misérables

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