Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2012 by David Chen
I was delighted to finally have the chance to catch Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables last night and despite a few significant missteps (e.g. Russell Crowe as Javert), I found it totally brilliant and engrossing. Nonetheless, I’ve been reading a bunch of criticism on the internet about Hooper’s directorial decisions, most pointedly regarding the look and sound of the film.
In Anthony Lane’s slam of the film in the New Yorker, Lane writes, “The actors were recorded live as they belted out the big numbers, and Hathaway, in particular, takes full advantage, turning in precisely the sort of performance, down to the last sniff, that she would be the first to lampoon on ‘Saturday Night Live.'” Over at The Atlantic, Christopher Orr writes, “The second or third time we watch a face fill the screen with notes tender or tragic, the effect is genuinely arresting. The 22nd or 23rd time…” Critics all over are having a ball blasting the unconventional directorial decisions made in the film. As someone who loved the movie, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on some of these decisions.
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There’s a moment about 30 minutes into Tom Hooper‘s musical adaptation of Les Miserables where you’re either with it or not. Anne Hathaway, beaten and bruised, hair raggedly cropped short, sings the iconic song “I Dreamed a Dream.” She does so on her own, in a single long-take close-up that lasts at least three minutes. It’s Hooper’s way of telling the audience this film is going to be dark, it’s going to be dirty, it’s going to have emotions, and yes, it’s going to be these actors (who we know better as Wolverines, Catwomen, Gladiators or Mean Girls) singing — and only singing — their hearts out for almost three hours.
In this moment, Hathaway provides one of the most stirring and impressive emotional moments of 2012, perfect capturing the tone and wonder of Les Miserables. It’s mesmerizing, moving and magical. Read More »
Amongst even the most fervent Quentin Tarantino fans, the subject of Death Proof is touchy — is it a good film, or not? I love the movie, seeing it as precisely the sort of grindhouse movie that it hoped to replicate, with a layer of commentary thrown in for good measure. But Tarantino stirred up new conversation about the film today with comments in a long interview about the fact that he hopes Death Proof ends up judged as the least of his films.
The beginning of awards season each year sees THR assembling talent in one room for great roundtables, and this year the director roundtable features Ang Lee, Tom Hooper, Ben Affleck, David O. Russell, Gus Van Sant, and the dominating presence of Tarantino.
The comment about Death Proof may have been the most attention-getting thing Tarantino said, but he had a lot more to offer, from a breakdown of his own writing and directing process, to plans to write books (novels and film criticism) after he stops actively directing. And the end of his directorial career seems prompted by technological change, as the move to digital projection leaves him cold.
And there’s a lot more, too — while Tarantino tends to dominate the conversation, each of the participants has great stuff to add about the business of directing. It’s worth an hour of your time to watch the whole thing. Read More »
Tom Hooper follows up his Oscar-winning The King’s Speech with a film version of the stage musical classic Les Miserables, and the first public screenings of the film were met with great enthusiasm, first by a New York City audience, then by LA viewers. Sure, the deck was stacked in favor of Hooper and the film, given that the NYC audience was a particularly theater-friendly crowd, so the reaction might not be a pure gauge of how to expect the film will play elsewhere.
But with the cast (Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen) drawing raves and individual musical numbers earning huge applause, the film does sound like a great success. Reviews are embargoed at this point, but a selection of reactions is below. Read More »
Posted on Monday, November 12th, 2012 by Angie Han
The year-end prestige film crush is just beginning, and one of the crown jewels from this year’s crop looks to be Tom Hooper‘s Les Misérables. Between the source material and the on- and off-camera talent, it’s totally clear why Universal believes the musical has the potential to be a massive critical and commercial hit, and the trailers so far have lived up to those lofty expectations.
As part of the promotional push, Les Misérables has landed a lush Annie Leibovitz-photographed spread in Vogue. Hit the jump to see new portraits of stars Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (Javert), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette), Eddie Redmayne (Marius), and Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter (the Thénardiers).
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While we’ve seen a teaser and extended production trailer for Tom Hooper‘s new adaptation of Les Miserables, this UK trailer is the fullest, most traditional look at the film to date.
It has a lot of footage we haven’t previously seen, and introduces most of the primary cast, including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham-Carter, and Eddie Redmayne. We get to hear almost all of them in song, which is a first for some, and see a good bit of the grand scope of Hooper’s take on the revolutionary France, as originally told by Victor Hugo. Read More »
Briefly: Universal has seemingly decided that the new film adaptation of Les Miserables, starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway and directed by Tom Hooper (The Kings Speech), makes a good Christmas present. (A present for Universal, at least.) The film has been pushed back to a December 25 opening.
It doesn’t hurt that the December 25 berth has less competition now than it did not long ago, as Ang Lee’s Life of Pi was pulled forward to November 21 and Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby was pushed to 2013.
But the month is still crowded, as Les Mis will face direct competition from Django Unchained, and the comedies The Guilt Trip and Parental Guidance. There’s a very busy two weeks in the runup to Dec 25, with The Hobbit opening on the 14th, and then Monsters Inc 3D, This is 40, Zero Dark Thirty, and Jack Reacher opening on the 21st. Les Mis was originally scheduled to hit on the 7th, then moved opposite The Hobbit, but with the slightly cleared-out Christmas Day opening, the film is likely do have more of a chance. [Deadline]
The phrase “Oscar contender” has been thrown around a lot over the past week or so, mostly thanks to festivals in Telluride, Venice, and Toronto. Films like Argo, The Master, Cloud Atlas, The Place Beyond the Pines and The Silver Linings Playbook have all been deemed likely instant “Oscar contenders.” And that may be the case, but Hollywood likely has a big budget trick or two up their sleeves. Several major studio releases that are likely “Oscar contenders” still remain a mystery, such as Lincoln, Flight, Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, and Les Miserables.
Tom Hooper‘s follow up to his last Oscar-winning film opens December 14 featuring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Eddie Redmayne in the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo‘s novel. The first trailer left goosebumps and now there’s a video of Redmayne, who plays Marius, discussing the final day of filming on a massive, practical set. Check it out below. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 by Angie Han
Just yesterday, we got a big batch of promising photos from the set of Tom Hooper‘s Les Misérables, and today we have something even better: the first teaser. While we’ve seen video of the cast on set before, this is our first time seeing actual footage from the movie. Expectations for this project have been sky-high ever since it was first announced, thanks to its beloved source material and A-list talents. This first video, at least, has no trouble living up to them.
Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe lead the cast as Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert in Hooper’s adaptation of the classic Victor Hugo novel and smash Broadway musical. Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen also star. Watch the video after the jump.
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