Monthly Archives: December 2012
Last night I went to go watch Les Miserables in theaters. What can I say about this movie? It was one of the first movies I’ve seen in a long time that I would honestly call a masterpiece. I know that word gets thrown around by critics all the time and it has lost its meaning because of that but it’s true Les Miserables was a cinematic masterpiece. When the movie opened and the music swelled in the theater I actually whispered “wow”. It was an overwhelming feeling that sweeps you into the world of Les Mis and pulls you down a path of pain (lots and lots of pain), redemption, hope, love, and freedom.
The thing to know if you want to see Les Miserables is that it’s not the polished musical that people might expect. Les Mis is the first movie musical that records the music while they are acting. Traditionally movie musicals prerecord the music with the people singing and then later when filming the actor mouths what he/she has sung earlier. This gives us the polished perfect singing we usually expect in a musical (it also explains why these people never run out of breath when doing difficult dance routines and “singing”). Movie musicals also usually have acting and then people randomly burst into song. Les Mis doesn’t do that, for one it’s an opera and for those who don’t know what that is it means they sing the whole time, no talking. Don’t let that scare you though the music is fantastic, think new operas like Repo! The Genetic Opera not old ones like Carmen (I’m not saying anything against old operas I like them but they can be a bit inaccessible to a younger generation who can’t understand or associate with them).
It was a scary thing (and a really ballsy move) for the makers of the movie to do, record the singing while it was happening in the movie, it could have gone so very wrong very quickly. Like Javert does in the movie, Les Mis the entire time was walking a dangerous road on the edge of a steep fall and one wrong step would have led to a terrible death. Though the movie had some close calls they pulled it off beautifully and the fact that Les Miserables was an opera actually played into the favor of this new way of making a movie musical. The songs weren’t polished, they felt real and you weren’t yanked out of the reality of the movie because they all of a sudden burst into song. You were kept there and the way the actors took the songs and made them their own gave a sense of familiarity of a beloved musical but also made you feel the raw harshness and fragility of the world of Les Miserables. It stripped away the safe boundary you are given with a stage musical or a movie musical because it took away the feeling of “it’s only a musical” and replaced that with the a heavy realism that some people might not be able to handle.
One of the pleasant surprises of the movie was Russel Crowe as Javert. Russel Crowe has a beautiful singing voice and I didn’t know that before this movie so it was a nice little tidbit of ‘well how about that’. They cast this movie very well Hugh Jackman played the lead of Jean Valjean wonderfully (I only had issues with one of his songs but it was a minor nitpick), Anne Hathaway’s Fantine made me weep (in the good way), and while I felt that Amanda Seyfried’s voice was a bit thin for the part of the elder Cosette it wasn’t unpleasant (plus she’s pretty). The rest of the cast played their parts well and I was partial to the girl who played Eponine, Samantha Barks, she was definitely one of my favorite characters.
This movie I would suggest to anyone who loves music and has any form of human emotion. Les Miserables is a moving musical that took risky chances that paid off well and highlighted well the emotions of a tumultuous time. These make you feel for them even though you know they are probably doomed and despite that you hope for them. That’s what I loved most about this movie, it is one of the most depressing things ever and yet it’s so very human in the way it hopes in impossible circumstances, in the way that people even after being defeated have the courage to continue to dream and to fight for a better future. I left the theater eyes swollen from tears (I cried the entire end of the movie and I don’t usually cry in theaters) my heart was heavy from all of the heart-wrenching feels I had just been put through and yet I also had this undeniable feeling like a fire had been lit in me and that no matter what I should never give up on my dreams.
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!
I was overly negative yesterday so I decided to be completely positive in my post today. Every year I watch my favorite Christmas movie, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, with my family. It’s a peaceful moment of everyone just relaxing together and watching a good movie. I hope everyone can have moments like that. Happy Holidays!
Ah the holidays, a time of family and being kind to your fellow-man. A time of riots at stores, high suicide rates, and dealing with the relatives (gasp!). Now I don’t hate the holidays, I mean I get days off work and its one of the few times of the year that my family gets together and pretends that we’re a big happy family (it’s like cleaning your room by shoving all the crap in the closet). I even have family that I honestly enjoy, my favorite aunt was able to get here this year and I enjoy the idle bickering I have with my younger brother (it’s so fun to mess with him). It’s just I hate the feeling I get from the “Christmas season”, maybe it’s the fact that we’ve become a consumerist individualist culture but the older I get the more plastic Christmas feels. First of all the season seems to start before Halloween with the commercials and promotions, then you’re pressured to buy things for people and to be nice and charitable (which honestly if a holiday is the only reason you give a helping hand to your fellow human that’s great go ahead and give but just know that you’re still a terrible person, because I have a sneaking suspicion that after 12/25 you’ll completely ignore those orphans or whoever you gave guilt money to).
Wow that sounded a bit venomous, sorry I just had a ton of family over and I have three more days of family to go through. Luckily no more days of screaming children and bratty 10 year olds, that was just today. Lets try this again.
I’ve actually had a decent holiday so far, I was able to celebrate Yule since the world didn’t end (sadly I have to wait for zombies, but don’t worry it’s gonna happen). I think one of the reasons I dislike Christmas is that I’m the only Pagan in the family (the rest being of the good Christian persuasion) and the fact that I’m Pagan is one of those things conveniently pushed into the closet with all the other skeletons we’re not gonna talk about. Thankfully I have friends who genuinely care about me. I love when a holiday is genuine and not all fake smiles and pretending I’m a nice normal person instead of the nerdy freak I am because everyone already thinks I’m a heathen who’s going to hell so let’s not add fuel to the fire. I love my family (stop snickering, I do actually love them. If I didn’t I’d add a tank of gasoline to the fire laughing maniacally as the cops led me away) but I love them like I love Pointillism. From a distance. Like pointillism, family can only be appreciated as a whole and only when you’re standing way, way back. Once you get up close all you see are dots and you get a headache…and an urge to kill people.
But there are good aspects to the season as I said. I love when a holiday is simple and you can feel that the people you’re with enjoy you for who you are. I got some really nice gifts from friends this year and part what made them so great was not that they were expensive or flashy but that you could tell the person really took the time to think about you and what to get you. I received this year a Tardis cookie jar that lights up and makes the noise that the Tardis makes in the show, and a beautiful pair of Doctor Who/ Van Gogh earrings. Any of my readers would know that I was in nerdvana when getting those gifts. And honestly I didn’t even need the gifts (but if you try to take them away from me now you’re gonna die) it was just really nice to have a friend look at me and go “you know what I appreciate you and your friendship” that feeling is the warm fuzzies that holidays are supposed to instil. That and the look on their face when they opened their gifts, such a good feeling when someone opens a gift you gave them and the look on their face tells you ‘yes! I totally nailed it, they love it!’. Well I think I’m done venting at the internet for now. I’ll probably be too worn out after the next three days to complain so it’s good to get it all out now. 😉
In all honestly though I wish all my readers a wonderful holiday (whichever you celebrate) and that you can find that simple feeling of warmth and camaraderie that this holiday is supposed to give. I genuinely appreciate all of you 🙂
There have been a lot of reviews already about The Hobbit, I know this because my dad sent me a ton of them. Nearly all of them were mixed reviews but after reading all of them and being pestered about how different this movie was going to be and how many critics hadn’t liked it I threw up my hands in frustration. I said “You know what? The only review that matters is mine”, now I’m not saying that in all of the internet the only opinion that counts for anything is mine (I’m not that egocentric) what I’m saying is that I wasn’t going to be pushed around and my viewpoint changed just by what some critic said. I’m going to watch it for myself and then make my own opinion, only then will I have a review that I feel is accurate. I suggest that anyone who reads this review do the same, if you wanted to see The Hobbit don’t be influenced by what I say, just go see it.
Now many of the reviews I read brought up the same issues. The pacing was off/too slow, the new higher shutter speed didn’t add anything to the movie and was actually a detriment, people who weren’t hardcore fans of Tolkiens work wouldn’t be able to understand/enjoy the movie, how are they going to make three movies out of a 300pg book? etc, etc the list is long and just makes you feel bummed out after a while. I think I’m going to talk about my overall experience instead of picking it apart, I might pick it apart, we’ll see.
I went to go see The Hobbit, an Unexpected Journey with my brother and a couple of my friends, one who was a true Tolkien fan and the other had barely watched the LOTR movies (don’t worry I’ll remedy that). As I have stated in a previous post that I was a member of the Tolkien Society in high school we’ll all just assume I’m a big Tolkien fan. I knew going into this movie that they had added stuff to the movie that wasn’t in the book, Jackson had used Tolkiens notes as well as parts of the appendices from LOTR and the Silmarillion (a book which even Tolkien fans have trouble getting through, it’s so dry) to expand the movie. Many fans were kinda pissed about this but I don’t see why, when I was watching the movie I was truly enjoying what Jackson intended with this movie, a whole Middle Earth experience. Honestly the only time if found myself not enjoying the movie was when I was trying to identify what was and wasn’t in the book because nitpicking like that took me out of the experience. After I stopped trying to put the Hobbit in this little box of expectations that are set when a movie is translated from a book and I just accepted it for what it was, and what it was was a wonderful movie with a warm feeling to it that we don’t get to have with Lord of the Rings, I was able to relax and immerse myself into a comfortable and familiar world.
Many people said that Jackson was trying to recapture lightning in a bottle like he had with Lord of the Rings and he fell short with the Hobbit. Well yeah if you were expecting it to be a heart-wrenching epic like the LOTR movies filled with a bittersweet mixture of hope and despair then yes you will be sorely disappointed (if you want to see that the go see Les Miserables when it comes out, so excited about that by the way). The Hobbit is set 60 years before the events of LOTR the world then wasn’t fully poisoned by the darkness of Mordor (though there are hints of the events to come in the movie) Middle Earth was in a basically peaceful time when Bilbo set off on his adventure of course the pacing and the overall feel of the movie will be different. There was only one point in The Hobbit that made me go “this is exactly like Lord of the Rings” and that was when the group was climbing the mountain, the rest of it is familiar because it’s in the same world with similar characters but you can tell its a different movie. So don’t over think this, let it happen. Watching the Hobbit for me was, the only way I can describe it is cozy, it’s like pulling on a pair of old pj’s and snuggling under your favorite quilt. I got the warm fuzzies watching this movie and I wasn’t the only one the whole audience was very responsive to this movie, they laughed in all the right places (that’s another thing that is wonderful about this movie, it has really funny moments) and they were invested in it. A little girl sitting behind me actually said “no, don’t pick that up” when Bilbo found the ring, it was adorable. At the end of the movie people even applauded. There was one teenage girl who said as she was walking out “That was boring, I fell asleep” and the guy she was talking to was like “What the fuck is wrong with you? That was great.” yes random dude I don’t know but by chance overheard, it was great. I can’t wait for the next installment.
$445 – houseoffraser.co.uk