Tag Archives: Fantine

Ones to watch in 2013…

5 Jan

Happy New Year Film Fans!

So it’s been a great 2012 in the world of film, and to properly finish it off, I was lucky enough to feature on Channel 5 News at the end of December to chat about my favourite Christmas film to watch over the festive period. I decided that my top two films had to be those that were most nostalgic and memorable to me rather than those that were just critically acclaimed, and I’m sure a lot of twenty-somethings who grew up with these films will probably feel the same.

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So, I chose, first and foremost, Home Alone – the star making turn from Macaulay Culkin. I remember everything about this film, from the opening musical score to the amazing traps Kevin McAllister managed to set for bungling burglars Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. This is a film, which turns aScreen Shot 2013-01-04 at 14.03.19potentially tragic circumstance into something that becomes one of the most well remembered modern slapstick Christmas comedies of all time.

The other film that is important to me, but not always remembered as a Christmas film (but most certainly is), is Hook. Robin Williams plays the boy who actually did grow up, and it’s a tale of self-belief and acceptance with a lot of fun thrown in. Again, it’s a star-studded cast with Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins and Dustin Hoffman easily putting any panto Captain Hook to shame. It’s a film that I have always returned to and watched, again, and again and again, and will probably always continue to do so.

Screen Shot 2013-01-04 at 14.04.02 Anyway, if you managed to catch these two films over the Xmas period, well done you… you took my good advice, and if you don’t have these in your Blu-Ray or DVD collection, go get them in the January sales – they should be staple additions to your collection! But its 2013 now, and what a year of films we have ahead.

Hope you’re excited, if not, I wanted to share a list of my most anticipated films for the first half of the year, so you know what you have to look forward to over the next six months:

Les Miserables

Musical Theatre fans need wait no longer for this luscious retelling of the Victor Hugo book/Cameron MacKintosh stage phenomenon. I’ve seen it, and as a massive fan of the show liked it, but never the less managed to still pick holes in the fact that its never quite going to live up to the musical that I love and admire so dearly.

This film will be a must see for any fans of the show, and for anyone new and intrigued about this concept, you’ll be viewing an almost certain Oscar winning performance from Anne Hathaway as Fantine, and will hopefully enjoy this star-studded cast lead by Hollywood favourite Hugh Jackman. But be prepared, it’s verging on the three-hour mark, with little spoken dialogue and no interval!

For my full review check out my earlier blog post:  https://rebeccaperfectfilmpresenter.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/476/

Les Miserables hits cinema screens 11th January 2013

Django Unchained

It may contain a silent “d” but Django Unchained is causing plenty of controversy over its extensive use of the “N” word in this  American slavery based story. Starring firm favourites Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, and Christoph Waltz, this most certainly should be a must for any Tarantino fans – and I will be front of the queue.

Hailed as one of Tarantino’s best films by those who have seen it, it’s probably not for the faint hearted but will be an interesting and daring take on a very difficult subject matter.

Django Unchained hits cinemas 18th January 2013.

Zero Dark Thirty

Remember when The Hurt Locker came out and the Oscars hosted the biggest David and Goliath showdown between Avatar director and “King of the World” James Cameron and ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow? Well triumphant Bigelow is back with a bold production looking at Al-Quaeda terrorism and the hunt for the most dangerous man in the world.

Starring Jessica Chastain and Joel Edgerton, Zero Dark Thirty is already causing considerable awards buzz and as the critics screenings have just started we are starting to see the influx of glowing reviews as well as some further questioning from government forces into the level of  information exchanged between Bigelow’s team and the CIA – which probably means this film is verging more on fact than fiction and that we should probably keep a keen eye out when watching.

If you remain intrigued, then you only have to wait until the end of the month as Zero Dark Thirty hits cinema screens on 25th January 2013. Watch out Homeland…

Warm Bodies

I really hope this doesn’t turn out to be a big, fat, zombie turkey, because the trailer looks lots of fun. Nicholas Hoult moves on from Skins, About a Boy and UK territory altogether as he takes on this lead in this adaptation from the popular Issac Marion book of the same name.

The basic premise is that a zombie manages to prove that he’s not all gore and stunted walking as he falls in love with a human girl and gradually cures himself as a result – what will happen to the rest of the human race? We’ll just have to see…but rest assured it will probably be better than Hoult’s other 2013 film – Jack and the Giant Killer!

Warm Bodies ventures on to our cinema screens on the 8th February 2013.

The Great Gatsby

Speaking of book adaptations, F.Scott Fitzgerald’s classic has had a few re-tellings, but if Baz Luhrmann is anything to go by, this is going to be a Moulin Rouge visual feast…lets just hope it has substance to its style.

The trailer looks magnificent, and with a star-studded cast such as Leonardo DiCaprio in the titular role, Tobey Maguire as Nick, Carey Mulligan as Daisy, we’ll have to wait and see whether or not this takes its place as the biggest film of Summer 2013.

The Great Gatsby swings onto cinema screens ever so stylishly on the 17th May 2013.

Star Trek: Into Darkness

If you, like me, were pleasantly surprised by JJ Abrams re-versioning of this sci-fi series, then you’ll be just as excited to see what the directors next installment has in store for us all.

With the ever cryptic addition of British actor Benedict Cumberbatch (yes Sherlock fans get excited) as one of the baddies, it will be great to see what happens as Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto once again feed into the “Captains log” (sorry!) with their next adventure.

Star Trek into Darkness hits screens on 17th May 2013

Man of Steel

We’ll sort of forgive Zack Snider for Sucker Punch, now that he’s under the close watch of Christopher Nolan for Man of Steel. The trailer looks Batman Begins esq – so I can’t help but feel uber excited for this. Superman isn’t one of DC Comic’s best superheroes in my opinion, but over the years most of the films have done ok…

Hopefully Man of Steel will launch Clapham boy Henry Cavill to the A-List and no longer will he be losing out as one of the last two at every audition he attends (this happened apparently in Bond and Twilight amongst others – poor boy!) Plus the ever diverse Amy Adams steps up as Lois Lane – cannot wait!!

Man of Steel flies into action on 14th June 2013.

 

So just a few snippets of big ones to watch over the next six months. There’s also lots of offerings from World War Z through to Pacific Rim, Oblivion, Evil Dead and Welcome to the Punch – 2013 is shaping up to be a very strong year for films, so as ever, enjoy watching all is on offer, I know I will!

 

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Les Miserable – Film Review

18 Dec

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“Can you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men?” no? Well neither did I at this screening… as it was indeed more about jubilation as Les Miserables took from stage to screen in Tom Hoopers bold production.

The all singing story follows prisoner 24601 aka Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) ,imprisoned for stealing some bread for his sister, as he breaks parole and becomes a better man thanks to the compassion of a priest and a promise to young mother Fantine (Anne Hathaway) as she lays on her deathbed. The only problem being that persistent and law obsessive Javert is on a manhunt and nothing will stop him bringing this convict to justice.

Les Miserables is the longest running musical in history and its success is a testament to the story and the incredible musical numbers that expertly guide the audience through this complex tale. Tom Hooper has embraced this and done a valiant job in making it more widely available through the Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 11.26.17silver screen. To this I’m grateful, but as a Les Miserable fan, I can’t help but be a little nit-picking. After all, some of the wonders of the theatre production can never really have the same impact on screen, but it was interesting to see where the balance shifted and what surprised me the most.

First, lets look at the casting. By far the standout performance is from Anne Hathaway, in fact her portrayal as Fantine is Oscar worthy. She managed to reduce me to a quivering wreck throughout I Dreamed a Dream. The raw desperation in her performance will move even the biggest sceptic. I have seen the stage show six times and I have never seen a performance quite like this and I challenge anyone to not shed a tear throughout this song. The power that Hathaway possesses in this is also balanced with the simplicity of the shot which remains in a medium close up following her intimately.

Hugh Jackman is incredibly competent as Jean Valjean, he guides the audience with ease, and delivers some impressive vocals, however you can’t help but think that Alfie Boe would have delivered a far more commanding version and be able to hit the correct register as intended (and is the challenge) for numbers such as Bring Him Home. Never the less, out of Hollywood’s hot pickings, there is none more suitable than Jackson who, we must not forget has his roots firmly planted in Musical Theatre.

Pleasant surprises come also from baby faced Eddie Redmayne, who, bar an occasionally distracting “jiggly jaw” as I like to call it, demonstrates that his choir boy days at Eton have served him well, and he embodies Marius with ease and sends an exemplary chill down the spines of the audience throughout Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. Samantha Barks also shines as Eponine, however does not manage to provoke quite as much emotion from the audience throughout On My Own. However this may be down to the uncomfortable shot position given by Hooper throughout this song. Regardless, who would have thought that a spot on BBC’s I’d Do Anything, would have seen her just a few short years later be part of a major Hollywood film.

Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen delight as Monsieur and Madame Thenadier, and provide the light relief necessary throughout the Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 11.23.59film. Cohen is particularly standout with his ad-hoc one liners and surprisingly good singing voice. For Carter, although good, you can’t help but think you’ve seen her character multiple times before, as she dons a Tim Burton esq portrayal which is delivered like clockwork. Their biggest number Master of the House, is played for laughs as it should be, but is slightly drowned by the background noise and ambience that some of the particularly funny one liners are somewhat lost on occasions as it could have been one of the most memorable numbers.

The biggest surprise has to be Russell Crowe. Huge skepticism surrounded his casting as Javert, however, although clunky at times, he delivers an impressive performance.

Overall this film rests, as it should, on the ability of its cast members, but Director Tom Hooper brings to life a convincing 19th Century France. Some of the settings, particularly the rounding up of revolutionaries (shot in Greenwich) is visually spectacular, and you feel the excitement building for the big barracade showdown. However, when the time comes to see this spectacle, which on stage is one of the biggest wonders and ores of the production, you are left slightly underwhelmed. The enclosed area of streets in which this is set, very much look like part of a set and takes away from the marvel of the scene we have just seen, this is a shame, because it makes viewing inconsistent and those Les Mis fans who are very familiar with the stage production will be particularly observant in these parts.

Hoopers’ camera angles at times are also interesting. He mixes some of the most simple shots with some which more feel like he’s puffing up his peacock feathers to show his dominance in the film world. Ironically, it is the more simplistic work, which demonstrates his talent more effectively, Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 11.25.01rather than the more auteuristic attempts. It’s interesting however, seeing what works better on stage than on film. The magic of the theatre is about pushing peoples imagination, and scenes like the sewer are not as impactful in the film version. On the flipside, the visual portrayals in Master of the House really help elevate the song and the comedic element to the scene.

Overall this is a strong attempt at taking this concept to a cinematic audience. The faults are highlighted but are in no way damning to this pleasing production. Never before has anyone brought this musical version of the Victor Hugo novel to the cinema successfully before, and although I think there are far too many strong contenders for best picture at the Oscars this year, I think Les Miserable will have a considerable run at the awards ceremonies.

But whilst we wait for the award based outcome of this film, we can check out some interviews from the New York premiere…which aren’t quite what they seem…