Monday, February 25, 2013

BaD Movie Mondays: Les Miserables and Most Anticipated 2013 Be Sure to Tell the Box Office Clerks You're Seeing "Less Miserable," To Look Smart Feb 04, 2013 10:50AM PST

So if you missed the Superbowl yesterday, let me recap: the commercials weren't that great. Beyonce I thought did a great job, and I thoroughly enjoyed her nationally broadcast striptease with singing, so much so the power went out for 35 minutes in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans (which we took as an opportunity to give Clinger his IV fluids, so I missed some ads). Then the 49ers came back to life, but still lost by not running it back for a touchdown in the last for seconds. Final score: 34-31

But there was one commercial I wasn't expecting that caught my attention.

Can YOU smell what The Rock is cooking? Then help Dora find his George Foreman Grill!

I haven't seen or cared about a Fast and Furious movie since 2 Fast 2 Furious came out ten years ago. I remember I liked the sequel better at the time, but I couldn't tell you much about either of them, other than the first had Vin Diesel, the second had Ludacris, and both were excuses to watch car stunts. As a 13 year old male at the time, it worked for me.

Yet, while I had no damn clue that they were up to 6 now, nor do I know how those movies made money considering how little I heard about them, this looks like exactly the kind of awesome spectacle of stupid the Liam Neeson movie, The A-Team was, and I LOVED The A-Team. Its balls in having a 30 minute opening credit sequence and action scenes that said "fuck physics, Newton's a downer," plus less talk, more action, and some good ol' cheeseball humor made it a damn good rental. It looks like that's what this movie will be, turning previous members, plus Dwayne Johnson, into the franchise's own A-Team. The military theme even fits!

That being said, I HATED The Expendables and thought it was ugly and boring, so this has the potential to become that, too. Fingers crossed it takes itself with a grain of goofball salt. Speaking of Sly Stallone, the Bullet to the Head trailer I've been seeing has had me laughing out loud in a good way, and I want to see it for the axe fight scene alone, but looks like it's not doing so hot at the box office. Might have to catch it on DVD.

Vikings: Ladies Love 'Em

Warm Bodies had #1 at the box office this weekend though (speaking of which, glad to see my favorite of last year, Silver Linings Playbook at #3), and while unlike everyone else and their friends watching Walking Dead, I don't care about zombies at all really, the premise of being inside a zombie's head as he deteriorates, plus making it a romantic comedy from the looks of it, has me thinking this is the most original thing Hollywood or a zombie flick has done in a while, so after I see Zero Dark Thirty, I might have to check it out.

I like Hot Fuzz more than Shaun of the Dead, but this still looks good, plus great Black Keys song!

My other most anticipated movies of 2013 so far are all nerdy comic book type movies you've heard of already, including Iron Man 3, which looks a lot darker in tone than the first two, Man of Steel, which looks like a chance to have a good modern Supermam movie, and here's the Superbowl trailer for Star Trek: Into Darkness, which I'm most looking forward to out of those three, in large part due to this amazing looking trailer:

It's the volcano scenes that do it for me

Also, Kickass 2, and I'm sure there'll be more as the year goes on.

Anyway, on Saturday, I got one step closer to seeing every nominee for a Best Picture Oscar, by going to a screening of Les Miserables. Once I see Zero Dark Thirty, I'm done ... except for Amour, which I don't really feel like seeing.

Wait a minute...

Nah, never mind. Not that similar.

Now, here's my problem with looking at what critics say before I see a movie. I'm smart enough to know when one of them is going to spoil something (I'm not, by the way... aaand you've stopped reading cause you don't believe me, still not gonna), and stop listening to or reading their review, but sometimes even if I hear just their technical gripes that couldn't possibly spoil anything, I find myself focusing on them too much.

Take every last snobby musical and/or film critic's hatred for Russel Crowe's voice in this movie, for example. I actually thought it was fine, and if I'd seen the movie without being told he was awful, I would have just not even noticed it that much. And yes, I realize the irony, and to some degree hypocrisy of me pointing this out in my own review, but I watch a ton of movie review shows online, and it seems like common knowledge at this point that a lot of people didn't like Crowe's singing.

Personally, I thought that while Crowe's voice was deeper and less showy than everyone else, what he did fit the character of Javert, and in a few of his scenes with Hugh Jackman, I actually felt like Jackman's voice was too close to just talking, which kind of annoyed me. It ends up not mattering, cause when Jackman has a chance to hit those long notes as Jean Valjean, he kills it, but the fact he's a better singer than Crowe didn't make Crowe's singing bad to me.

There were also a lot of complaints about how the shots should not have been so tight for so much of this very long movie. I actually kind of liked that directing style, as this story's best aspect for me was the emotional arcs of characters, and you get a better view of that with the camera as tight as it was on their faces. I think if you see the trailer and the shots don't bother you, you'll probably be fine.

Featured Above: Not Susan Boyle

I should let you know that I was never required to read Les Miserables throughout my academic career, and I've never seen the play, so this was my first exposure to it in any form. I have to say, I loved it and it was an emotional experience. I didn't cry or anything, I actually went in and out a bit because it's a damn long movie, but I followed what was happening, and the acting and singing and plot were all top-notch.

It does have a lot of depressing subject matter, but out of that comes a story of redemption and revolution that I found totally captivating. It has a great, clear rivalry between hero and villain in Jean Valjean and Javert, you really feel for the suffering Anne Hatheaway's character Fantine when she's forced into prostitution by severe financial hardships, and the young men conducting the revolution are some of my favorite characters.

I loved the music, especially the oft-reprised songs "Look Down," and "Do You Hear the People Sing?"

I also appreciated that while everyone else had a British accent in a French story, Sacha Baron Cohen had the decency to at least attempt a French accent, even if it was over-the-top, plus he provided much needed comic relief as a drunken inkeeper.

One thing I will say is that if you can't stand musicals, this is not for you, as it takes no more than ten seconds at a time for non-musical dialogue. I was even rolling my eyes and thinking I'd made a huge mistake when I watched the first conversation between Jean Valjean and Javert, and thought "really? you had to sing the exposition?" But then I got used to it and settled in, and I'm glad I did, cause while Silver Linings Playbook is still my personal favorite of 2012, I won't be mad at all if this gets Best Picture.

Let me know if you've seen the movie and what you thought, or what you're most looking forward to in the comments.

Sorry for not incorporating games into this blog outside of the EGM cover, but one of these weeks I'll try to talk about movie licensed games I actually liked.




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