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Doogie Hoser

Member Since 20 Mar 2007
Offline Last Active Apr 04 2013 11:47 AM
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#251951 Les Mis Movie

Posted Doogie Hoser on 14 January 2013 - 10:46 PM

They had a great all star, big name cast.  I wish they'd compromised on Javert and gone with one of the numerous principally stage actors who could have done justice to the role.  Then again, Hugh in my books was only adequate so maybe a strong Javert would have increased mixed reaction to him.  I thought Hugh did a great job of acting the role but his voice was no Ramin Karimloo, John Owen Jones, Alfie Boe, Geronimo Rauch... everybody will have a better voice to nominate.


#251856 Movie Musicals - Post Les Mis

Posted Doogie Hoser on 13 January 2013 - 11:21 PM

I'd like to Sunset Blvd. done, not perhaps as a film, because I don't think it's got the box office potential.  But I'd like to see it filmed for television broadcast in a complex package.... big screenings before broadcast to create buzz.... something like a Royal Albert Hall venue... then sold out commercially to like a PBS or something and then the DVD marketed.  

With a cautious budget, I think there's a place for musicals to be made and sold profitably... but I don't think the margins for most would sustain a big budget production.  Phantom should have and didn't.  Whatever you made of the performances, my opinion is the theatre going world isn't large enough to deliver the profits so it has to appeal to a mass market... given the success of the musical, it should have been a slam dunk as a film and pffft.  Yet Les Mis is chugging along really well it seems.  

I am skeptical stage productions generally translate well to the screen.  Theatre is such a unique experience.  It's about the performance, less about the world around it... you consider the intensity of see Les Mis and then think about the simplicity of the set and staging.  Look at how well the Phantom plays on stage and think of the money it cost to recreate it properly for film.. and the outcome.

I'm vested.  I love musicals.  I'd like to see them preserved once the West End or Broadway goes dark on them.  Be so nice on the right rainy or winter night to settle down with one of your favourites.  I'd hate to see film box office as a barrier to access.  Of everything right now, I can see Wicked as a blockbuster and probably Jersey Boys.  I hate to say it but I think the era for musicals as a viable big budget film has largely passed.  

Then again, if Mackintosh does forge ahead with a film of Miss Saigon and it works, maybe there's a truth and money to be made in the emerging silver market as the boomers get older.  I read an article that says they aren't as keen for things exploding constantly, hence the success of movies like The King's Speech and the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  But those movies succeeded by making impressive returns on very, very small budget.  I was shocked to learn they made if for 15 million pounds.  I didn't think you could do a video for YouTube for fifteen million pounds.  Well, you follow..


#251771 Les Mis Movie

Posted Doogie Hoser on 13 January 2013 - 03:10 PM

To your point Cactus, I guess I am referring to how I've seen Grantaire played of late by Adam Linstead.  He definitely is quite attached to Gavroche and I always thought it was a small point that evolved the character from little more than a drunk with an unexplained but deeply evident attachment to Enjolras.  It fleshed the character out and I thought gave it a depth the 'second string' student characters generally don't benefit from.  In the flim, I didn't get a particular sense that any of the students paid particular attention to Gavroche... he always seemed to be hovering around and inserting himself into the action but he I didn't get a strong sense of connection with anybody.  

Interestingly my companion at the film was seeing the story pretty cold - she'd seen in on stage ten years ago - and she felt the movie better explained much of the story, which I think was down to the La Marque funeral sequence.  I did think that was genius.  

I was thinking about it this morning and I wonder if the sung through musical doesn't work as well on screen as the dialogue and song musical.  I do think the live singing contributed tremendously to the strengths of this film version.

The Plague coming on fast seemed rather silly to me, too.  I assumed the plague in Europe was long done by the early 1800s and it was - the last outbreak in France was in Marseilles in 1720.  Hardly a deal breaker but nonetheless doesn't make a lot of sense.

I think I have to see it again to see if my initial impressions still hold.


#251747 Les Mis Movie

Posted Doogie Hoser on 13 January 2013 - 04:21 AM

I am relieved to see The Scorpion's review because I saw it for the first time tonight and was slightly disappointed.  

What I loved/liked/admired:

Samantha Banks.  Enough said.  Oh, OK.  How marvellous to see a relative unknown make such a stellar impression.  Well done, Samantha Banks.

Eddie Redmayne.  He gave it his all and I really admired all of his effort.  The Empty Chairs scene:  he was giving it!

Amanda Seyfried.  I could listen to her sing all day.  It's a total taste thing but I love her voice (which I gather puts me in a distinct minority.)  I thought she put a real stamp on In My Life.  There was a little bit of anger and frustration there.  I thought Cossette came across as having some strength and backbone than I'd ever seen and somehow, Seyfried seemed to play her as Valjean had done an exceptional job of raising and grounding her.  One thing I think made it easier for Amanda was that Isabelle Allan (Allen?) was so strong as young Cossette.  The little girl made a real impression in character and I think that laid the foundation for Amanda's work as the grown up Cossette.

Hugh Jackman.  He did the best talk singing I've seen.  The acting was terrific.  He impressed me more than I expected he would, as am not particularly a Hugh Jackman fan.

The Bishop of Digne's silver.  Lots of it.  Finally enough bling that you could see Valjean pawning it for a stake in life.  (I've always assumed M. Madeleine International was founded on the proceeds of the honest Bishop's silver tea service.)

The Thenardiers' relationship.  By my interpretation it was really some kind of twisted love match and by my interpretation Madame was actually the brains behind their nefarious operations for the most part.  Though overall HBC and SBC did well with the characters I've seen much stronger Thenardiers on stage.  I thought she was much stronger than him on film.  I did giggle at wee Eponine laughing it up with Daddy while they scammed more money out of people.  That was amusing to me.

Whoever played Grantaire. Hubba bubba.

The raw emotion from whoever it was who collected Gavroche's body.  It was the only point in the whole film I was moved to tears.  (I would have, should have been moved by Anne Hathaway, but we've all been so exposed to her I Dreamed a Dream already that it was more of a confirmation of all the hype.)

Anne Hathaway:  just lovely, just fantastic.  I worry she won't get the Oscar because bloody Hollywood will vote for somebody else out of spite and fatigue.  (Though I did think Fantine was a bit too touchy feely with the dying Valjean.)

The introduction of the La Marque funeral into the narrative.  Worked so well.  Launched the action so genuinely.  The use of Do You Hear the People Sing? as a literal and figurative rally of the crowd toward action was brilliant.

The movement of many of the songs.  Some very good calls.

What left me more disappointed than enthralled:

As almost everybody has pointed out, the sound.  The orchestra sounded as if it was two theatres down Shaftesbury.

The Steady Cam, which should be renamed the Shaky Cam.  Seriously, twice I had to shake my head to refocus.  I didn't mind the close ups, though I noticed Hugh Jackman had an ingrown hair pimple in one scene.  But I found the editing, when they cut away from the eternal close up, was terribly choppy.

The edits to the narrative/songs.  To me it felt like they cut short a lot of the lines that made sense of most of the characters and some of the action or built mood or context.  And the new sections I thought didn't strengthen the film at all.   For example, Grantaire just seemed like a guy who happened to be drinking during the proceedings, not the conflicted drinker who stayed with his friends but really wanted to be somewhere else or at least getting the I am going to die in the flower of my youth part of the proceedings over with fast.  In the last stage version I saw, Grantaire had an affection and protective attachment to Gavroche.  That was sacrificed.  As was Drink With Me, which with the movie cast, might have been quite an effective scene.

Was A Little Fall of Rain reduced?  It felt it but at one point I decided to stop reciting the lyrics in my head and just go with the show.  Still I was often left with a sensation of 'isn't it a bit longer?'  Also, I thought it should have started raining sooner.  All of sudden Eponine and everybody else was soaked.  Which technically isn't a little fall of rain, in my books anyway.

Master of the House.  Shouldn't have been cut down.   Comedy was sacrificed.  

Same with the dire ruin of Beggars at the Feast.  Very sorry about that.  Though it was funny watching the two of them pull their carriage entrance switcheroo and then later being removed bodily.  I am still confused as to why Madame was in possession of Tom Petty's glasses.  A weak exit for what should have been a totally memorable turn.  

Suddenly.  If you have 2:33 for that - and all that emotion was pretty fucking sudden relative to where the song popped up in the script - give me that 2:33 in the lines you cut.

The Grandfather.  Waste of time.

The orchestrations:  I don't know the technical term, but it felt to me like a lot of the bridging music was lost, to the detriment of the flow.   Scene after scene just seemed to be stitched abruptly to the other.

Javert decorating Gavroche.  Totally out of character.  The two barely interacted previously, bar Gavroche outing Javert as per usual. It should have been a great and moving moment, but Javert never gave nor was given an opportunity to give a hint there was anything in him that would secretly find little Gavroche valourous.  

Hugh Jackman's singing:  it was fine, but we've all seen, if I may presume, far superior Valjeans.  That said, his facial expressions were awesome and it was a strong, strong performance in my view.  Marvellous interpretation of the internal conflict, grief, bitterness and regret after the silver.

Russell Crowe.  He did not do a bad job.  He just didn't do a particularly good one and his voice - in addition to making me think of Gordon Lightfoot the whole time - was not up to Javert's job.  There's wound tight and then there's wooden.  There's stoic and then there's stone.  There's a whole raft of memorable Javerts and then there's Russell.   He was miscast.  Not his fault.  He delivered well with what he's got to offer.  But when I recall the number of Javerts who've gone wild with confusion and anger leading up to taking the plunge, it just didn't do it for me.  They obviously invested a lot in terms of the script and story in emphasizing the lifelong hunt/hunted relationship between the two men.  An opportunity was missed.

I suppose making this film was a hopeless task.  The material is so well known and over the years so many massively talented people have left their mark on it.  It's hard to push up against that.  Still, and overall, the piece felt rushed to me with many unhelpful eliminations of well known material that strengthened the richness of the story and the experience.  They seemed to want to have it every which way.  Part the musical, part the book, part 'well you all know it cold anyway so you know what you need to know when we do this, even if we're not actually showing it on screen.'  Well, what about the people who don't know it that well?  

That said, maybe I am one of those who knows it all too well.  And certainly they weren't setting out simply to transpose the stage musical to the screen, that was evident.   Even so, the movie version served for me as a reminder of how powerful and marvellous the stage musical is and I look forward to seeing that again.  And again.  And again.  The movie - I probably will see it again before it exits theatre - be worse on a television screen I think - but I haven't got a firm date in mind.

There was considerable applause, briefly, from the audience at the end.  None at any other point.  I heard people griping about both Jackman and Crowe's singing... not bitterly, but a number of people were underwhelmed as I heard them exiting.

6/10 and I'm sorry to say it.


#251059 Favourite Lyrics In Les Mis

Posted Doogie Hoser on 06 January 2013 - 12:29 AM

And must I now begin to doubt?  Who never doubted, all these years.


#248230 Les Mis Movie

Posted Doogie Hoser on 08 December 2012 - 02:59 PM

I'm sure they have a massive hit on their hands.  How could they not?  Look at the history of the show.  And heaps and heaps and heaps of people the world over can far more easily afford the cinema than the theatre.  

To read the reviews, in the main, if the reviewer loved it, they really, really, really loved it.  Those less enthused seemed to have some subtext going on as to why they didn't really, really, really love it.

The story, in the end, is about love, hope, redemption, kindness... all human virtues so often lacking in the world.  I think the thing will hit the heart and create great word of mouth, just as the musical resonated so deeply despite the initial critical slams.   Critics don't see things as regular people do.  I don't know how big of a big hit it will be but am certain it will be a big hit by anybody's standards.


#236006 The Ongoing Les MisÚrables Discussion Thread

Posted Doogie Hoser on 07 September 2012 - 12:03 AM

Seemed kinda pouncy to me, too, but I'm not a regular.

However, nobody is as obnoxious here as on the Broadway boards.


#224637 Phantom Cast Change

Posted Doogie Hoser on 14 June 2012 - 01:59 AM

Read it in the Mail and the Telegraph as well.  

It was a poorly judged reaction, by both of them.  (The actress and the boyfriend, I mean.)

I don't know Sofia Escobar, so I won't criticize her as a person, but I saw her Christine and I would offer if I said what I thought she would angry Tweet me.   Oh, what the hell... it was like watching a silent movie actress chewing up the scenery.  Except there was sound.


#222566 Converted To A Swing

Posted Doogie Hoser on 28 May 2012 - 10:51 PM

If you had a (minor) part in a musical, but a named character who was part of the plot, and you were turned into a swing... is that a good thing or a bad thing?