Tag Archives: Hugh Jackman

Wolverine Tribute

This weekend saw the release of Logan, Hugh Jackman’s final appearance as Wolverine. I haven’t seen it yet, but I keep hearing great reviews for it. And I know I’m going to have mixed feelings about it–it’s another Wolverine movie! But it’s the last one with Hugh Jackman! How can this be a good thing?

Either way, I wanted to post this video as a tribute to the irascible mutant even if it’s not a particularly serious video. This was recorded in 2014 when Hugh Jackman visited a radio station to promote X-Men: Days of Future Past. This video was actually what made me decide to look into the X-Men movies, and I am so glad I did.

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At Long Last…the “Les Miserables” Review

This is a curious post to write. I think back to previous posts where I was so excited about the movie, then skeptical about the stars’ singing abilities, then deciding to hope for the best, and finally thinking “It’s can’t be any worse than casting Gerard Butler in Phantom of the Opera.” It turns out it could–and it was. Everything felt stiff and wooden, and the movie itself reminded me of cardboard for some reason. It had none of the special spark that made the 25th anniversary concert so entertaining to watch; it was as if the majority of the cast was merely going through the motions of acting out this movie and not being genuine about any of it. The music didn’t seem to flow, either; it felt as if it was just stuck into the story instead of being part of it. I also didn’t like how they shortened some of the songs.

It wasn’t all bad, though. My inner literary nerd was most gratified to see that the movie included elements from the book that hadn’t made into the stage version because of time/space constraints. Also, I was expecting to loathe Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thenardiers, but they were perfect. Their singing was great, and you could tell they were having fun with their roles. Getting to see and hear Hadley Fraser–even though it was for far too short a time–was fun; I actually cheered when he came onscreen. And a shout-out is absolutely mandatory for George Blagden’s Grantaire; his role may have been small, but he owned it. My favorite performance, though, came from Samantha Barks. She nailed her role; every note was perfect, and her acting was spot-on, especially with “On My Own”. There wasn’t the least bit of acting then; she was Eponine.

My final conclusion: skip the movie and just watch the 25th anniversary Les Miserables concert. The singing’s much better.

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Yet Another “Les Mis” Post

So I saw an interview that Hugh Jackman, one of the stars of the upcoming film release of Les Miserables, did with a news program, and it included some clips from the movie. My verdict on Hugh Jackman’s singing as Jean Valjean: “Gaaahhhh! It’s Gerard Butler as the Phantom all over again! Noooooooo!”

It’s sad, really; I had such hopes for this movie, especially hearing some of the other cast members sing. Anne Hathaway is a beautiful Fantine; Eddie Redmayne has some impressive musical chops as Marius, and I already know from the 25th anniversary concert that Samantha Barks is a killer Eponine. But Valjean is the central role of the entire play, and if the singing is weak on his part, the entire impact is lessened.

This is how “Bring Him Home” should be sung, ladies and gentlemen:

Need I say more?

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And the Countdown Continues…

I’ve been very excited to see the releases of new trailers for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and  Les Miserables, the two movies I am most waiting for this winter. Both are such epic stories, albeit in different ways, that it thrills me to know they’ll be on nice, large, shiny screens very soon now.

Although I am still leery of The Hobbit‘s being broken into three parts, I can’t deny my awe at seeing some of the visuals they’ve released in the trailers. From the regal halls of Rivendell to the humble corridors of Bag End, this should be just as beautiful to look at as it will be to enjoy. I’m also looking forward to Martin Freeman’s performance as Bilbo Baggins; just from what I’ve seen, it would seem he’s going to do a magnificent job.

The same can be said for Les Miserables. Mind you, some of the singing I heard in the trailer didn’t overly impress me (cough cough, Russell Crowe, cough cough), but this is still shaping up to be one of the biggest musical movies ever made–at least in my opinion.

Yep, December is going to be an exciting month for moviegoers everywhere…are you ready?

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Filed under National Blog Post Writing Month November 2012, Reviews

Two-for-One Review Special: “For Greater Glory” and “Les Miserables”

Today I’ll be giving you some brief lowdowns on For Greater Glory, the movie based on the events of the Cristero War, and the upcoming movie version of the hugely popular musical Les Miserables, scheduled for release around Christmas.

First up, For Greater Glory. I’ll be honest; I did not think I would enjoy this movie. In my experience, movies that attempt to capture events like this mean very well but achieve only a poor, one-dimensional status of both plot and characterization. Consequently, I do not much care for these sorts of movies since the Catholics always seem to end up as caricatures. This was not the case with For Greater Glory; beautiful sets and fine acting made this incredible to watch. It actually made the story compelling. One of my favorite parts, though, was during the credits when they showed pictures of the actual Cristeros depicted in the movie, in a way cementing the fact that these were real people who fought in a real battle. The credits even featured video footage of the martyrdom of Blessed Miguel Pro, perhaps one of the best known martyrs of the Cristero War although he was not portrayed in the movie. I was surprised to see this because I had not known that his death had been recorded on camera. I had seen pictures but had never heard of the execution being captured in video format. Just as a heads up, For Greater Glory is rated R for very good reasons; battle and martyrdom are not exactly pretty. However, if you can stomach the blood and violence, you’ll be in for quite an experience.

And now for Les Miserables. This is a much shorter update and based only on what I recently viewed in a special behind-the-scenes sneak peek that was on YouTube. From that clip, however, I can say that this movie might actually be quite good. It would seem that many stops have been pulled in production, and–what I found even more promising–they’ve got a Marius who can sing! Really well! This counts as a momentous revelation because of the 25th anniversary concert. It was practically perfect except for whoever thought it would be great to cast Nick Jonas as Marius. To be fair, he was probably doing a better job than I would in that situation, but compared to the other singers, he just wasn’t that good. The Marius they have cast in this movie, Eddie Redmayne, seems to be quite a strong singer from the brief clip I heard and should be able to hold his own. I think I’m looking forward to this as much as I am The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which should tell you something.

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Hope on the Horizon

So I’ve been wondering exactly how well the film production of Les Miserables is going to be when it releases in December. After watching the spectacular that was the 25th anniversary performance, I was extremely doubtful that they would find a cast to rival the likes of Alfie Boe, Norm Lewis, Ramin Karimloo, Lea Salonga, et al. Perhaps they won’t, but I don’t think it will be the disaster I feared it might be.

I began to see this hope after watching the first trailer, which featured Anne Hathaway singing “I Dreamed a Dream”. I had not been aware that Anne Hathaway could sing, but it turns out that she has a lovely voice, and I really look forward to watching her performance as Fantine. I was also excited to learn that the film’s Eponine will be Samantha Barks, who did an extraordinary job with the role in the 25th anniversary performance. At the same time, however, I was still highly skeptical over the fact that Hugh Jackman was cast as Jean Valjean. I freely admit, though, that I do not know much about Hugh Jackman apart from hearing his name associated with such movies as X-Men and Van Helsing. But after what, in my opinion, was a poor casting decision having Gerard Butler play Erik in The Phantom of the Opera, I was extremely leery of having Jackman as Valjean–especially when we hear versions of “Bring Him Home” that sound like this:

Yes, it isn’t fair to compare him to the magnificent John Owen Jones, especially when the latter is clearly in a league of his own, but Valjean is a meaty role, and it requires a phenomenal singer to pull it off. Fortunately, there is hope on the horizon. Last night the local PBS station was running a special on Oscar Hammerstein and featured a clip from a stage performance of  Oklahoma! I happened to notice that the featured male singer had a nice, strong voice, and I assumed he was some regular stage performer. Imagine my surprise when the pledge break host said that the singer was Hugh Jackman! Immediately I was relieved. Although I’m still uncertain what his version of “Bring Him Home” will sound like, I think he’ll manage to pull off the role of Jean Valjean quite expertly.

So, yeah, this version of Les Miserables might actually be quite good!

P. S. For those of you who are wondering, I found out that Russell Crowe can sing, too, which is good since the role of Javert requires some musical chops.

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