My list of the year's best films, and what makes them great. Check it out!
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- I think looper,premium rush,cloud atlas, anna karenina have also made a mark in their respective genres although they aren't possible oscar contenders.Dec 28, 2012
- A pretty good year in film I think. Still have to see a couple of them (damn international release dates)Dec 29, 2012
- Anxious to see what you think of Les Miserables...I think Oscar Nods for Jackman and Hathaway for sure. I am a Les Miz freak and I love the movie but I don't see it taking Best Picture.Jan 2, 2013
- I think it'll get nods for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress (or Supporting Actress, depending on which category they apply to Hathaway), Best Costume Design, Best Makeup & Hair, Best Adapted Screenplay, and perhaps Best Director.
I think the first hour was incredible, and if the rest had been as great as the first part (from the opening scene all the way through "Castle on a Cloud" was completely perfect) then it would be among the top three films of the year, easily. But I think casting Sacha Baron Cohen was a big mistake, he mugged for the camera every time he was in a scene and acted like he was in another of his Borat-type films. It was distracting and completely upset the tone of the film repeatedly.
The sudden shift from the first portion of the film to the "Master of the House" scene was jarring. It went from a powerful & patient presentation full of emotion & strong direction, to something like a Tim Burton comedy staring Borat, then the tone never quite got back on track fully even when the story focused on the attempted revolution. Things improved once the story picked up the revolutionaries' tale, but it suffered from the lack of the earlier scenes' inclusion of Hathaway and of Jackman's earlier raw emotional performance. It was good, but never got back to being brilliant the way the opening half was.
Probably the biggest problem (besides Cohen) was that the romance never had much spark and didn't make me care enough about the romantic leads. There wasn't any chemistry between them, and I never got a single hint of why those two fell in love at first sight and felt so overwhelmed by one another. She never had much to do in the film besides wait for one man or another to take care of her, and he spent all of his time in a "what should I do" game between loving her and fighting for the revolution. The romance didn't feel interesting or tragic or on par with the events surrounding it.
And meanwhile, Samantha Barks was so awesome she completely overshadowed the romantic leads and delivered some of the best dramatic weight and emotion to the latter half of the film, which only served to increase the problem of how weak the romance worked in the film. The directing got a bit jumpy and choppy as the second half progressed, it lingered sometimes when it shouldn't and cut too quickly where it needed to take more time, and felt almost like the director knew how great the opening half was and then got desperate when the latter portions mostly weren't able to reach the same heights again.
However, all of those complaints aside, the film's opening WAS amazing and beautiful, and the second half had enough to make it entertaining and very good (instead of "great"). In places, it rose again toward the earlier greatness (as in Barks' every scene, and her solo song that suddenly delivered the needed patient pacing and real emotional heft again), it gained its footing better as the June Revolution got underway, and then it ended with a great deal of powerful imagery and drama in the final shot of the massive barricade in Paris peopled with all of the characters.
So despite it's faults, then, a film that's pretty much perfect in the first half and has moments of greatness in the second half (amid overall "goodness" and several flaws) is a film worth seeing, and one that deserves the nominations it's sure to get. I won't be surprised if Hathaway wins the Oscar for whichever category she's nominated in, her performance blew me away. I think if she's nominated for Best Actress, then it's a race between her and Jessica Chastain (from "Zero Dark Thirty").
And lastly, I'd say that this is a film that should be seen on the big screen, to retain the scope and impact of the story and singing. Regardless of its flaws, of all the musicals I've seen adapted to the screen, this one best retained the emotional impact and power of the play, and seeing it on a big screen preserves and enhances that impact.Jan 4, 2013
- I also edited my Forbes article about the Best Films of 2012 to note that I now rank "Les Miserables" among the year's best films.Jan 4, 2013
- Great comments Mark. Yes, Master of the House and the casting was a let down. That song should have been BIGGER and more FUN. It was kind of depressing in a way. And they cut out the second chorus of Master of the House. Helena Bonham Carter basically carried over her Mrs. Lovitt from the equally awesome Sweeney Todd. Samantha Barks was amazing and her character was always my favorite because how tragic it was. This is nitpicking but when she died, we didn't need a cut to the boy crying. Very jarring. I tell you, they nailed the ending. What an amazing vision of Valjean being called home and I loved the "curtain call" with the dead characters at the end,.Jan 4, 2013
- Agreed on all counts.Jan 4, 2013
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