Les Miserables – Movie Review

As a general rule, I do not like musicals. The lyrics are often sappy, and it seems ridiculous how, in the middle of a life-changing event, the characters will burst into song and dance around. The new version of Les Miserables does not fall neatly into the musical category. Yes, there is singing; however, it is not typical. In some instances it’s not even that good. And yet I liked it, far more than most musicals I’ve watched.

What is good about Les Mis is that it follows the book fairly well,which is saying something, since Victor Hugo could be long-winded. But the heart of the story is intact in this movie. The cinematography and costuming are wonderful, too.

The singing is the part that most people are talking about, though. Most of the dialogue of the movie is done through singing, which has an interesting effect. It actually adds emotion in parts, like Fantine’s song “I Dreamed a Dream.” Anne Hathaway was brilliant in the role of Fantine, and her version of “I Dreamed” was heart-breaking.

Les Miserables may not be the easiest or most comfortable movie you could watch, but it’s an important one, and the story is well-told. I would recommend watching it in the theater, too, to get the grand scope that Victor Hugo had in his book, and Tom Hooper was able to keep in the movie.

At last; I finally watched Robin Hood.  I wasn’t deterred by the negative reviews it’s been receiving, but I did have to wait until I had an evening free.

The legend of Robin Hood is quite well known, so Brian Helgeland, the writer, and Ridley Scott, the director, took the story in as different a direction as they could.  Even though Russell Crowe is older than some of the other incarnations of Robin Hood, he is supposed to represent Robin Hood at the beginning of the legend.  That certainly makes for a unique twist on the story.

However, the story-line was somewhat lacking in cohesion.  All of the characters that one expects to see were in the story, but the story itself was a bit fragmentary.  There were some very nice parts, though.  Sir Walter Loxsley, played with quiet exuberance by Max von Sydow, was an excellent addition to the story.  Cate Blanchett was also superb as the ‘reinvented’ Lady Marion.  After all, the list of what Blanchett can’t do would be much shorter than the list of what she can do.  But I digress.

Oscar Isaac was sufficiently distasteful as Prince John; and Matthew Macfadyen stepped away from the brooding romantic type he plays so well to become the smarmy, despicable Sheriff of Nottingham.  The main addition to the story was Sir Godfrey, played by Mark Strong, who is a double-crossing friend of Prince John.  Strong brings his usual intensity to the role, making him seem much more the dangerous villain than the tantrum-prone Prince John.

Was the movie worthwhile, considering all the changes to the story?  I found it to be an entertaining and enjoyable movie.  After all, who doesn’t like the idea of a common man standing up against tyranny?  The fight scenes were well-done and exciting, especially the use of archery.  I found Robin Hood to be enjoyable, despite the lack of cohesion.  It was a good story about people who would rather be left in peace, yet will fight oppression if they must.  In other words, the naysayers are wrong about this movie.

At last; I finally watched Robin Hood.  I wasn’t deterred by the negative reviews it’s been receiving, but I did have to wait until I had an evening free.

The legend of Robin Hood is quite well known, so Brian Helgeland, the writer, and Ridley Scott, the director, took the story in as different a direction as they could.  Even though Russell Crowe is older than some of the other incarnations of Robin Hood, he is supposed to represent Robin Hood at the beginning of the legend.  That certainly makes for a unique twist on the story.

However, the story-line was somewhat lacking in cohesion.  All of the characters that one expects to see where in the story, but the story itself was a bit fragmentary.  There were some very nice parts, though.  Sir Walter Loxsley, played with quiet exuberance by Max von Sydow, was an excellent addition to the story.  Cate Blanchett was also superb as the ‘reinvented’ Lady Marion.  After all, the list of what Blanchett can’t do would be much shorter than the list of what she can do.  But I digress.

Oscar Isaac was sufficiently distasteful as Prince John; and Matthew Macfadyen stepped away from the brooding romantic type he plays so well to become the smarmy, despicable Sheriff of Nottingham.  The main addition to the story was Sir Godfrey, played by Mark Strong, who is a double-crossing friend of Prince John.  Strong brings his usual intensity to the role, making him seem much more the dangerous villain than the tantrum-prone Prince John.

Was the movie worthwhile, considering all the changes to the story?  I found it to be an entertaining and enjoyable movie.  After all, who doesn’t like the idea of a common man standing up against tyranny?  The fight scenes were well-done and exciting, especially the use of archery.  I found Robin Hood to be enjoyable, despite the lack of cohesion.  It was a good story about people who would rather be left in peace, yet will fight oppression if they must.  In other words, the naysayers are wrong about this movie.

Am I the only one that’s a little weirded out by the choice of Russell Crowe to play Robin Hood in the upcoming movie Robin Hood?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Crowe will do an excellent job.  And yet, he seems sort of…wrong for the part.  That doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to seeing the movie.  I do think, however, that Mel Brooks has the best Robin Hood movie to date.