Anne Hathaway

Les Miserables

Year: 2012
Directed By:  Tom Hooper
Written By: Victor Hugo (novel) William Nicholson, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg, and Herbert Kretzmer (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW 

I think this is one of the greatest stories of all time, yet I have never actually read the book.  About 15 years ago it was our assignment during my sophomore year in English class.  I specifically remember utilizing the internet for the first time to read the Spark Notes for the novel.  What I found to be so interesting was how much I loved the story simply reading the synopsis.  I enjoyed it so much I actually earned the highest grades in the class on all the tests even though I hadn’t actually read it.  I was very vocal during discussions too because I had a lot to say about the story back then.  I think I was about 15 at the time and I thought I was so clever but despite being lazy and cheating on the assignment I still felt I learned something from it.  It’s a great story with powerful characters in it, I hope it is still required reading today and kids are putting more effort into it than I did despite what I may have learned or felt about it.

I did enjoy this story when I was in tenth grade but hadn’t revisited it in the years that passed before this movie came out and had forgotten most of it.  I had looked forward to this movie at first because the cast was shaping up to be significant but when I heard it was a musical I wasn’t sure what to make of it.  I always tell people that there is no room for musicals in the movie industry these days and then something this great comes out and makes me look like an idiot.  What’s funny is it’s a mistake I continue to not learn from.  I should have learned my lesson when Chicago blew me away but I didn’t.  This movie too has made me take back a statement or two.  When we finally sat down to watch it I was really dreading it too; I couldn’t have been more surprised by how wrong I was.  This movie is incredible from beginning to end and every single one of the actors literally blows me away with the power of their performances.

Who knew Wolverine could sing? I literally had no idea and during that scene when he rips up his papers I was literally floored by the strength of his voice.  He put on a powerful performance all throughout the film but when he walks out of that house holding that note for what seems like forever my jaw dropped.  I hope he didn’t have to do too many takes for that scene because he looked on the verge of an aneurysm at a certain point.  I have liked Hugh Jackman since he first hit the scene playing Wolverine for the first of seven times, so far.  I have been a fan of most of the movies he has made and of course there is nobody out there that can bring one of the coolest Marvel characters to life like he does.  I think he did a great job as Jean Valjean and have a new found respect for an actor who already had plenty of my respect.

Surprising me even more than Jackman is Russell Crowe.  Seriously, who knew he was capable of this? I have said it many times now, but Russell Crowe always brings it.  Think he can’t do something? Don’t hold your breath because just when you count him out he is belting out these songs with a range that seems completely out of nowhere.  Javert is one of the coolest characters ever even though he is an antagonist in the story.  He is the enemy of Valjean but only because the two find themselves on other sides of the law.  Javert is noble and true to the point that he would rather die than dishonor himself.  I love that in the character, it’s an honesty worthy of respect and Crowe carries it on his face throughout the film.  Despite how much a dick Crowe is rumored to be in real life he pulls off noble and honest characters really well.  He didn’t get nominated for his role in this movie and I am surprised by that because so many were.

Anne Hathaway did win the Academy Award for her role and definitely deserved it. Her performance is so profound I nearly feel bad for all those things I said in our Havoc review.  She is too good and talented an actress to talk about so shamelessly. She is a rare actress who actually has the skills to match her flawless beauty.  I look forward to what else she can do as an actress; the sky is the limit for her.  I thought she would have a longer role in this film but that just goes to show how little I remembered about this story that had such an impact on me in my youth.  Sadly Fantine isn’t in the film for very long but the fact that she won the Oscar despite that is a testament to what she accomplished.

Amanda Seyfried is nice on the eyes but I didn’t think she was exceptional in the film, or maybe she was just drastically outshined by her peers.  Helena Bonham Carter is great in everything she does and this is no different.  She is seemingly ageless and bringing her talent to a wide range of films lately. I was a huge fan of Da Ali G Show and for a while thought Sacha Baron Cohen was a genius and probably one of the most incredible comedians out there.  Once the game was up and he couldn’t get away with his type of comedy anymore I lost interest.  He does a great job in this movie but I just haven’t been a big fan of him as an actor.  The rest of the cast is more or less unknown to me but I thought they all held up well and held their own next to these huge stars.

I am always pleased to be surprised by a movie and this one surprised me in many ways.  I went in with a bad attitude about watching a musical but found myself enthralled by the power of the film.  It captivated me immediately and by the end of the movie had earned my respect. I like the songs, I like the actors in the movie, and I think the story is incredible.  Hands down this movie earned its keep in our collection and I think it is without doubt worth your time to see it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie is truly incredible. The way the music carries you through the entire film, but isn’t confusing at all is a work of genius. I don’t even know how they were able to sing an entire movie and I was able to keep up and understand. And the immense talent that this film has in it is remarkable. Anne Hathaway blew me away. I just think she is the bee’s knees when it comes to acting. She started in the silly little film about becoming a princess and here she is lighting it up on the big screen singing across from Hugh Jackman. She completely impressed me as well as the entire cast. This film is an amazing adaptation and it is well worth anyone’s time, even if you aren’t the biggest musical fan.

Cosette-Official-Movie-Poster-les-miserables-2012-movie-32280133-864-1280

I love this poster. The coloring is spot on for the mood of this movie. And this girl is almost the reason for hope. The hope to be something better and to live a better life where you can dream to be better. Her eyes are stark and draw you in. I love the proportions. She is a little off center to the right and her hair goes to the opposite direction. This creates a dramatic view of movement. The typography is great and almost has a bit of passion to it. I love this poster. I think the designers did an incredible job.

NEXT MOVIE: Lethal Weapon (1987)

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Havoc

Year: 2005
Directed By: Barbara Kopple
Written By: Stephen Gaghan and Jessica Kaplan

RYAN’S REVIEW

So a month or so ago I found myself watching the Academy Awards with Amber.  Despite how big of a movie fan I am I have never had much interest in watching this ceremony and prefer to just read who wins when it is all said and done.  Amber is a big fan of seeing it though and I was cool with watching it if it made her happy.  However, all I took away from watching it was that Anne Hathaway has an incredible set of breasts.  She wore a dress that displayed a significant amount of sideboob and it must have been a bit chilly in Hollywood that night because she was poking right through the front of that dress.  Needless to say, her boobs left an impression on me and I spent the following day discussing it with other chauvinistic male co-workers.  I have since had a hard time getting those lovely breasts out of my head and eventually came across this film and bought it without seeing it.  Yes, I am a pig that bought a movie specifically to see Anne Hathaway’s boobs but is that really a bad thing? The woman has it going on and I must say that I think they were worth the purchase to see.

To my surprise this film offered a lot more than simply a few glances of a big star’s boobies.  I genuinely thought it was a good movie and enjoyed seeing it. This is a story about some wankster rich kids who really think a lot of themselves until they find out just how privileged and fake they really are.  I guess “until” isn’t really appropriate because the wankster boys continue to think they are badass even after being shamed by real gangsters.  The shaming of them makes the girls start to think twice about them though and their fascination with bad boys leads them to take things farther with the real gangsters.  This movie is about how foolish young people can be and about the dangers of simply letting privileged kids run wild with no real parental authority. The movie is dedicated to someone in the end and at first I thought this implied the story was loosely based on real life experiences.  The dedication is not to anybody who had a similar experience though and is actually the writer of the film who died shortly before it was released.

The cast is the real strength of this movie and I think it’s interesting because this movie came out right before a few of them really took off.  The biggest star of course is Anne Hathaway who gives a very compelling and provocative performance.  I may have gotten this movie simply to see her boobs but I was literally blown away by her performance in general.  She is a very talented actress and I think the sky is the limit for her.  There is one scene in this movie in which my jaw dropped and I just literally could not believe what she was doing.  If you have seen this movie you no doubt know what I am talking about but if you haven’t you will know what I mean when you see her on the couch. Joseph Gordon-Levitt also blew up shortly after this movie came out but I doubt his performance in the film had anything to do with it.  He doesn’t play a bad part and in fact I think he did a great job but he is just playing such a pathetic character, one of the wankster kids who thinks he is bad.  Another one of those kids was played by Channing Tatum, who Hollywood can’t seem to get enough of now.  I happen to think this was probably one of the best roles he ever played.  Specifically because I don’t know that he actually said anything in the film.  Tatum may be a big star now but I maintain he is at his best when he says nothing at all because he is not a very good actor.

Bijou Phillips plays Hathaway’s main counterpart and ultimately the victim of the situation.  I am not really familiar with her but she looked great in the movie and we get to see her boobs too as an added bonus. Mike Vogel played the top wankster who gets shamed by the real gangster played by Freddy Rodriguez.  I only mention Vogel because he is playing a significant part in the upcoming TV series Under the Dome on CBS.  I was a big fan of the book and look forward to the adaptation, although I know it will probably be disappointing.  I like Rodriguez because he played the hero in one of my favorite movies, Planet TerrorPlaying the part of Hathaway’s parents are Michael Biehn and Laura San Giacomo and I have always liked both of them very much.  Giacomo’s part is too small in the movie to really mention but I have long since been a fan of Biehn since his many collaborations with James Cameron and he has a more significant role in the movie.  Raymond Cruz is in the movie as well playing the type of role he has always been typecast to, a Latino gangster.  His best role as such had to come in Breaking Bad when he played the hardcore drug dealer Tuco. He is listed as being in a couple of episodes when the show comes back on in August so keep an eye out for some Tuco flashbacks.

I really think this is a movie that all wankster wanna be kids should see.  They can play Billy Badass all they want but they are only kidding themselves.  When they finally grow up and look back on themselves at that age they will consider their behavior petty and stupid but more often than not by then it is too late. For the young privileged girls out there that want to be bad and push boundaries a film like this should come as a reality check.  The world is a dangerous place, especially for curious girls who don’t know what they are getting themselves into. I also think this film should be a reality check for parents of teenagers as well.  You can’t let things get this bad, and it is your responsibility to make efforts to know what your kids are getting into.

I think this is an interesting movie and enjoyed watching it. Aside from Anne Hathaway’s aggressive sexuality and willing nudity I thought there was plenty here that was worth seeing. I think it tells a compelling story about kids who go places they have no business being and suffer the consequences of their decisions.  It’s a movie and story that I think we can all learn from and that is always worth your time.  I have to say buying this movie was a win win for me, Anne Hathaway was totally worth it, and the movie was good to boot.

The Dark Knight Rises

Year: 2012
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, and David S. Goyer

Like many people I have been a huge fan of this franchise over the years.  I have spent over three years waiting patiently for this movie and had every certainty that it would be awesome.  The news that broke with the release of this film was tragic.  It was hard to sit down in the theater today without thinking about what had happened to the innocent people in Aurora.  To make matters even worse there is hardly anything this film will ever be able to do to distance itself from that tragedy.  It will be forever remembered as the movie that people were watching when that mad man decided to do something so awful.  It’s unfortunate that a second Batman movie has come with such darkness looming over it.  No matter how great this franchise has been I fear it will always be shrouded with sadness and disaster.  We did our best not to think about the news when sitting down to watch the movie, but it wasn’t easy.

In all the time I spent following this movie through production I never had any doubt that it would be awesome.  I have absolute faith in Christopher Nolan after seeing his first two installments.  I also thought the cast is too great to disappoint. Bale makes a great Batman and guys like Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Gary Oldman can only make a movie better.  I also liked all the new characters made up of several actors from Inception and Anne Hathaway. I watched all the trailers as they were released and they served to build my anticipation even more.  It looked just as good as the others and seemed to offer more adrenaline and excitement as well.  However I have to admit that after sitting through the TWO HOURS AND FORTY TWO MINUTES I left feeling more disappointed than anything else.

I think this movie was far too long, and there was not enough action, or Batman for that matter.  Thinking back over it on the way home I don’t even know that I would even say this movie was about Batman at all.  I hate that he was so Howard Hughes like in the beginning. I think it is ridiculous that he goes from needing a cane to walk around to suddenly suiting back up as Batman.  I won’t go too far in this discussion because I don’t want to share spoilers.  I am not out to discourage others from seeing the movie I am just in straight up SHOCK right now. I am in shock at the fact that I find myself so disappointed, I really believed it would be otherwise.  There is just not enough of Batman in this one, he has no new gadgets to work with aside from “The Bat” and we do not see enough of the rebuilt Batcave.  Batman is almost like a side character in this one jumping into a larger story about Gotham as a city.

I thought Tom Hardy was great as Bane but I do not think Bane was really great.  I think he could have been great but we don’t really get to know him well enough.  What are his actual motives anyway? I understand the why in the end but it doesn’t seem good enough to me.  I think Anne Hathaway was terrific as Catwoman too but like Bane I think she could have been better. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman both saw smaller roles and I don’t think either shined as they have before.  Caine more so than Freeman. I love Michael Caine, but he is usually the comic relief in this franchise and here I only saw him as a bleating drama queen.  These great characters were pushed to the background to an extent in favor of the newbies Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard. I think this was a mistake but I do think Gordon-Levitt was great.  He continues to rise as an actor and he stole the screen for most of this movie.

If the franchise does not intend to make a fourth installment then much of the story in this movie seems unnecessary.  I have read time and time again that this is the last film of this franchise. Both Nolan and Bale have both said they were done no matter how much money is on the table and I believe it coming from them. So why did they waste so much time in this story the way they do?  I know without doubt we will see more Batman movies in the future but I don’t see much reason to have hope for them at the moment.  The studio will look to make more money and the film will suffer for that reason alone. They will “reboot” it again and we will see a whole new cast the next time around.  That is what will most likely happen but at the end of the day anything is possible.

I think if you are a Batman fan you should go see this movie, and I sincerely hope you enjoy it more than I did.  I am shocked and at a loss of words over how disappointed I am. The word flabbergasted comes to mind.  The more I think about it the more disappointed I am.  I think the movie lacked the intensity of the first two films, and the clever writing that tied everything together so smoothly.  I think that we would have seen a much more incredible film had Heath Ledger never died because I think the story obviously would have continued with the Joker.  We will never know though, and this will be what we always have.  If you are reading this and disagree with me please reply with an argument.  I might need to be talked into seeing this one again, and that too is so disappointing.

I would like to mention as well, The Avengers was a better movie and I think it is now without doubt the best movie this summer had to offer.  Click on the title to read our review of that movie, and if you haven’t seen it there might still be time to catch it in the theaters.

UPDATE #1

This movie was easier to stomach a second time around when my expectations weren’t so high.  I still stand by everything I said above but I can see now that it is not as awful as I implied the first time.  I think my biggest problem is that I just didn’t like the story in general and expected more.  Bruce Wayne is just so weak in this movie.  I think a movie that directly followed its predecessor involving a Batman in his prime fighting some new villain as well as cops would have been much more exciting.

I have read that there is a possibility of Joseph Gordon-Levitt taking on the role of Batman and continuing the franchise.  I really like this idea although Gordon-Levitt really doesn’t have the stature to don the cape and cowl. I think it would be a much better plan than him simply being a Batman-less Robin despite his size.  I do not know what Warner Brothers is doing as far as their Justice League movie goes but I think they have to find a way to connect everything in order to compete with what Marvel did with The Avengers.  Using Gordon-Levitt as Batman would be a good way to get that done.

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Year: 2010
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Lewis Carrol (story), Linda Woolverton (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW:

This movie surprised me, possibly more than any other.  I don’t know that I have ever sat down to watch a film so whole heartedly determined to hate it end up loving it.  Why would I be so determined to hate anything right? Well let me explain, by 2010 I had long since given up on both Tim Burton and Johnny Depp.  By that time it had been more than 10 years since Tim Burton had made a film I enjoyed (since Sleepy Hollow 1999) and nearly 10 years since Johnny Depp had played a part I thought was any good (since Blow 2001).  When Tim Burton butchered a classic with his remake of Planet of the Apes in 2001 I was disappointed, and I wasn’t really all that impressed with Big Fish in 2003. I personally feel Johnny Depp’s career has been on a downward spiral since he became the eccentric, ridiculous, feminine, and pathetic Captain Jack Sparrow. I feel like every time he makes a new movie now he is wearing MORE make-up, and while he is great in this film this one is no different. Nevertheless my opinion about him hardly matters because while my disappointment has mounted his fame has sored.  I thought Depp ruined Charlie in the Chocolate Factory and I hated their next collaboration inSweeney Todd, though this movie really just wasn’t for me, I’m sure many people thought it was great. In 10 years of disappointment I grew angry with these two men who I used to think were the best, and I just really didn’t want them to give me a reason to like them again.  Nevertheless they did because my best efforts to hate this film were foiled by a great story, great performance, and great direction.

We didn’t go see this movie in the theater, sure it would be awful. I regret this decision as I do think this film may have challenged Avatar in visual effects in 3D.  This movie is visually appealing in a way that only Tim Burton can provide.  I actually think this may have been one of his greatest films of all time, if nothing else it is the best movie he has made since Edward Sissorhands (1990). It’s possible that technology has finally caught up to the imagination of Tim Burton, finally allowed to fully bring it to life.  While the effects are top notch in the movie they only make an already great film that much better.  The story is very clever, and the script is well written.  Those who haven’t seen this film may not know it but this is actually a sequel to Disney’s original Alice in Wonderland. That makes it a better movie because it is a completely new story, not a remake, and there was no telling where it might go when watching it for the first time.  The performances are fantastic as well.  I hate what Tim Burton did to his beautiful wife Helena Bonham Carter with computer imaging but she is so great nonetheless.  Helena Bohnam Carter is one of the greatest actresses out there, I have always been a big fan of hers. She is fearless as an actress, and very talented. I hate to admit it too but Johnny Depp is great in this film, he isn’t over-acting and I think his level of weirdness was appropriate for the role. The rest of the cast is worth mentioning as well, newcomer Mia Wasikowska is good, Alan Rickman, Anne Hathaway,  and Crispin Glover all bring their talent to the cast.

I literally could not say enough good things about this movie, I simply thought it was awesome.  One of the best movies I have seen in a while.  It was definitely worth the time.  I hope that you take a chance on it and it surprises you too.

AMBER’S REVIEW:

TIm Burton is not just a filmmaker. He is an artist. I have a Fine Arts degree, and I see all of my studies about art in his films. The asymmetrical and colorful sceneries are so intriguing and sometimes I feel like I am looking at works of art instead of a movie. When I first heard that Tim Burton was making this film, I was worried because it is such a well known story. It was the similar feeling I had about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. After watching the film and realizing the movie is actually a sequel, I was intrigued.

The costumes and makeup in this film are so extraordinary, in true Tim Burton fashion. The dresses at the dance in the beginning are so regal. Each character has such an original look. Mad Hatter, Knave of Hearts and Alice are adorned with crazy awesome face makeup. It looks like the artist just painted it on like their faces were canvases. This brings me to the Queen, played by the great Helena Bonham Carter. She is one of my favorite actresses. She brings something so original and special to every film that she is in. She also happens to be married to Tim Burton.

If you haven’t seen this film, you need to. It is a great follow-up to the original Alice in Wonderland and is truly an artistically beautiful film.

NEXT MOVIE: Alien (1979)