Monday, February 11, 2013

Oscar 2012 - Les Miz and final recap

Les Misérables is the last of the 9 Best Picture Nominees that I screened. While it is not what I would choose for Best Picture out of the field, it has some very good qualities...

What stands out in Les Miz... The performances by Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway were spellbinding. Amanda Seyfried was a revelation. The production was spectacular—beautiful in its lived-in splendor and glorious in the detail of the design and photography. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but I was surprised by the scale and sheer breathtaking audacity of it all. Well done.

The negatives are particular to me and my likes and dislikes. I don't care for Russell Crowe in general and didn't care for him here, either. His acting was good, but his singing voice is not of the caliber of the rest of the cast.

While I enjoy musicals, I am not a fan of the modern use of the word for shows like Phantom, Miss Saigon, and Les Misérables. To me, musicals have songs and dialog. Opera is all singing. The (what I would call) songs in Les Misérables are good. However... the dialog songs, the ones where a regular musical would just have the people talk, are not. The melodies are weak and not necessary. Just let the characters talk.

So, to recap, other than the dialog songs, and the sometimes dragging pace, I thought the film was outstanding, but not Best Picture.

Here is my personal (and really hard to do with this many really good movies) ranking of the choices for Best Picture:

Zero Dark Thirty
Django Unchained
Silver Linings Playbook
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Les Misérables
Life of Pi

None of these are bad movies, in fact, they are all really good and this is a tough choice this year. All of these movies are very good. It was fun pushing myself to watch all nine nominees this year and something I haven't done in many years...

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