Tag Archives: Anne Hathaway

Les Misérables

25 Dec

les-miserables-four-new-production-featurettes

Synopsis: From the novel by Victor Hugo, Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption-a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit.

CAST:

Hugh Jackman………………………………………..Jean Valjean

Anne Hathaway………………………………………………Fantine

Russell Crowe…………………………………….Inspector Javert

Amanda Seyfried……………………………………………Cossette

Eddie Redmayne………………………………………………Marius

Sasha Baron Cohen……………………………………Thernardier

Helena Bonham Carter…………………..Madame Thenardier

Review:Go see Les Misérables, it’s that simple. I will not talk about plot points, I feel unless you are a Tibetan Monk, there isn’t an adult on the planet who hasn’t seen the  play or read Victor Hugo’s epic book. The Broadway show was eye candy compared to this realistic, gritty in your face interpretation. Director Tom Hooper delivers outstanding performances from his world class troupe of actors, so this is where I shall begin, from best to least.

Anne Hathaway will take your breath away as Fantine.  As Fantine, mother of Cosette, sacked factory worker turned prostitute, Hathaway delivers the show stopping number I Dreamed a Dream. Her soul searing, gut wrenching, sympathetic, performance of the song, will stay with you long after you leave the theater. Her interpretation of the song is so real, like the way Judy Garland sang, she just doesn’t sing the song she feels every emotion in it. Her performance is so strong when she appears toward the film’s end, her redemption of Valjean fills you with tears. Trust me there wasn’t a dry eye of any gender in the house.  Kudos to Hathaway, whatever awards she has been nominated for she certainly earned them with this performance.

Hugh Jackman no stranger to musical theater, delivers a solid performance as Valjean. Valjean stole a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s starving baby. Branded a thief, he spends the next 19 years at hard labor. His emotional transformation from criminal, to a man with a heart of gold, is both enthralling, and masterfully navigated by Jackman.  Blaming himself for Fantine’s downfall, he promises her, while she is dying in the hospital, he will find her daughter Cosette, and give her the life she deserves. It is through Cosette, he finds the love in his heart, and the goodness in the world he thought he had lost as a slave. His face says it all.

Sasha Baron Cohen chews scenery with comic timing. He plays Thernardier the pick-pocket, insidious, opportunistic, money grubbing low-life inn keeper, who is Cosette’s guardian. Cohen plays the part with much glee. The song Master of The House tells you everything you need to know about Thenardier. He would sell his own mother if he thought he could make a few francs. He is also quite stupid.

Helena Bonham Carter plays Madame Thenardier, she chews scenery with comic timing as well as Cohen. Together they make a nefarious pair. Madame has a daughter whom she loves, she took in Cosette to get Fantine to pay for her support. Fantine leaves Cosette with the inn keeper and his wife when she is left a single mother, and has to make it on her own. Madame takes full advantage of this and is always sending for more money. Obviously she is using the money to buy her daughter gifts and fine clothes. Cosette, until bought by Valjean, is forced to work as a servant at the inn. Carter is always fun to watch no matter what role she plays. This time she reminded me of her work in Sweeney Todd, with Johnny Depp.

Amanda Seyfried plays Cosette. Here is a young actress with a healthy future before her.  Her Cosette is lovely, innocent and yearning. Her juxtapose between her longing for Marius and her devotion to Valjean is hard to do for a seasoned actor, here she makes it her own.

Eddie Redmayne is Marius and delivers a heartfelt performance. His love for Cosette is real, you feel every twist of his emotions. He is torn between his love of country and his comrades fight for freedom, and his love for Cosette. When he finds out Cosette may be leaving the country, he fights with his comrades behind the barricade. Valjean finds out Marius loves Cosette, so he risks his life to save Marius. The revolution scenes tear at you as the songs of freedom and revolution are sung by Marius and his comrades.

Russell Crowe as Javert was unconvincing. His performance lacked what everyone else had, heart. Even when he sang his arms hung limp at his side, his face stoic , he didn’t reveal through his song his inner demons.  As much as Hathaway and Jackman let you see inside them, Crowe did not. There where times you felt Crowe would rather be anywhere else but playing Javert.  In fact when he struggles with the notion that Valjean represents God’s goodness and he, Javert, perhaps was wrong all along to stick with his sense of duty, you remain unconvinced. Javert final moments should have some sympathy, but not so with Crowe’s performance.

They say true art can change people. If that is truth, then Les Misérables is a work of art. Everyone at the film felt every emotion through the journey Hugo’s story takes you on. Despite what people say about the emotional manipulation of the book and score, the underlying themes of love and redemption are universal.

Recommended: camera-film-iconcamera-film-iconcamera-film-iconcamera-film-iconcamera-film-icon

The Dark Knight Rises

24 Jul

Synopsis: After an eight year absence and now an outlaw accused of killing Harvey Dent in the last installment, Batman returns to Gotham City to save it from sure destruction by the evil terrorists and their leader Bane.

Cast:

Bruce Wayne/Batman……………………………………………….Christian Bale

Selina/Catwoman…………………………………………………..Anne Hathaway

Commissioner Gordan………………………………………………..Gary Oldman

Alfred……………………………………………………………………….Michael Caine

Bane…………………………………………………………………………….Tom Hardy

Blake…………………………………………………………….Joseph Gordan-Levitt

Fox……………………………………………………………………..Morgan Freeman

Miranda……………………………………………………………….Marion Cotillard

Daggett………………………………………………………………..Ben Mendelsohn

Review:  The third part of this Christopher Nolan directed trilogy makes you pause and consider the nature of the relentless terrorist Bane in light of the tragedy that befell the midnight movie-goers at the now infamous showing in Aurora, Colorado. I couldn’t help but get the eerie feeling that this film could become a landmark in pushing our politicians into  passing new gun control laws, one can only hope. That said The Dark Knight Rises is the most timely and emotionally felt  story of the Nolan Batman films.

Bale’s Batman is the most multilayered of the three films as seen in his struggles going from recluse into hero. As Bruce Wayne watches his beloved Gotham City become under siege by Bane and his group of terrorists Wayne wrestles with his past and wonders if Gotham needs him to return.

Anne Hathaway plays Catwoman and she is an enigma fighting both her good side and her jewel thief/dangerous side. Catwoman is intrigued by Wayne/Batman who has been living as hermit for the past eight years and finds that she and Wayne have more in common that she needs to deal with. They are both driven by good and bad and she has to decide if she should walk the fine line and become allied with Batman.

Marion Cotillard has the least to do as Miranda a rich business woman who is also intrigued by Wayne. She is the only woman Wayne trusts to run his company after Bane using software stolen from the stock exchange wipes out Wayne’s fortune.

Michael Caine plays Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler/father figure. Caine’s portrayal is real and sympathetic once again proving how excellent an actor he is. He portrays Alfred as an unsung hero.

Morgan Freeman is the gadget inventor Fox, at Wayne Enterprises, who develops secret military projects such as specialized armed tanks, a black one that becomes the Batmobile and a new source of energy buried miles beneath Gotham that Bane is after as an integral part of the plot.

Gary Oldman is so believable as Commissioner Gordan, his understanding of the Batman and the city’s need to have him return is undeniably ingrained in him in a way that makes you realise he wishes he could be more like Batman. Oldman does this with understatement and this drives him to save his captured police force.

Joseph Gordan-Levitt plays Officer Blake who also had lost his parents and is an orphan like Wayne. His character is also relentless in saving people’s lives and is driven by circumstance.  Holy Robin Batman……although not in this movie it is alluded to perhaps for a future installment.

This film is very dark and serious compared to the first installment and some remarks the Catwoman makes about preferring to use guns as opposed to Batman who would rather fight without them becomes a poignant reminder of the tragedy that played out at the theater in Aurora. Is this a case where life imitates art or the other way around given the class warfare in our country today and the extremism of politics going on. The movie depicts Bane and company stripping the wealthy of their money and possessions and putting them on trial for their misdeeds to the public.

Should you go see it, I would say yes and keep a prayer in your hearts for the victims in Aurora and their families.

Recommended: