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Movie Review: Les Misérables (2013 DVD)

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Movie Rating: PG-13

Plot Summary from IMDB: In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever.

One highlight of the film is the singing and acting. Hugh Jackman, (Jean Valjean)  Ann Hathaway (Fantine),  and Russell Crowe (Javert) were fantastic. In addition, Samantha Barks (Éponine) does a beautiful job that rivals the performance of Anne Hathaway.

In addition, some of the songs tell the story well.  In particular, “Look Down” forms a powerful theme by showing how all the protagonists are connected through social prejudice. Also, “One Day More” is a great rallying theme for the cast of the movie. When it comes to certain characters,  some songs like Fantine’s “I Dreamed a Dream” and Jean Valjean’s “What Have I Done?”capture them well.

Despite the excellent singing and songs, there are huge flaws that made the film less enjoyable. One flaw that is noticeable within the first ten minutes is the fast pacing. It made certain events a bit confusing and unrealistic. For instance, Jean Valjean’s epiphanies were too rushed because of the singing.

Another flaw of the film is the lack of dialogue. Since this is a movie adaptation of the broadway show, this is understandable. However, both the film and the broadway show were inspired by a poignant novel with thought-provoking lines. Without some of them in place of the songs, the movie feels like a musical soap opera that is hard to take seriously.

Overall, the film was mostly a disappointment. If you enjoy the broadway show or musicals in general, then feel free to give the film a try. However, avoid this film if you read the book first or if you hate musicals.

Similar and Related Posts:

Movie Review: RENT (DVD)

Book Review: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (Unabridged Version)

Written by Serena Zola

March 25, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Op-Ed: Why John Green’s Looking For Alaska Needs A Film Adaptation

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I was on the Huffington Post Books section when I saw this article about the film adaptation of the teen fiction book The Fault in Our Stars  and thought I’d spread the word and say my two cents on here.

As much as I enjoyed John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, I’m only half-happy about the filming. After all, The Fault in Our Stars isn’t my favorite John Green book. That honor goes to the very first John Green book I ever read: Looking For Alaska.

While The Fault in Our Stars is impactful to anyone dying of any disease and the people affected by them, Looking For Alaska is impactful for anyone learning to live in the moment while discovering the truth about themselves and others. Both books deserve to be made into films, but Looking For Alaska is one of those books that can define many generations of young people.

Nowadays, teens are more pressured than ever to be something they’re not for acceptance. Miles Halter, Alaska Young, and Takumi,  the main characters of Looking for Alaska, could care less about it for the most part. Yet, looking for acceptance involves so much more than just doing a dare, doing drugs, or drinking to be “cool.” Looking for Alaska shows that acceptance can be sought simply by putting up a front and what happens when that front breaks a person.

This is a message I rarely see in today’s teen fiction and movies. You’d have to go back in time to films like The Breakfast Club  to see it more often. It it important that a good film adaptation of Looking For Alaska be made so that people  can read the book and see each other in a more honest, if raw, light.

Written by Serena Zola

January 31, 2013 at 11:06 AM

A Contemporary Wish

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Tomorrow, the film adaptation of the dystopian novel the Hunger Games will be released worldwide. Since I was a huge Harry Potter fan and saw almost every film when they were released, I can understand the Hunger Games fans’ excitement. At the same time, I’m also disappointed.

The reason for this is that it seems like film companies think that all youth care about is action, adventure, and romance. Before the Harry Potter series (both the films and books) were complete, I read contemporary teen fiction novels like Looking For Alaska and Thirteen Reasons Why, books were just as good, important, and sometimes better than fantasy. Sometimes I’d think, “This book should be made into a movie.” Yet, it seems because the contemporary teen fiction hasn’t sold as much as Harry Potter, they weren’t made into films. Eventually, it made me wonder if the film industry was a popularity contest.

In this present day era, there have been non-book adaptation teen films such as Finding Forrester that present teens in an honest and realistic light. For whatever reason, films like these seem too scarce.  In fact, good contemporary teens films seemed to have peaked in earlier times, with films like Rebel Without a Cause and The Outsiders.  When you consider how much of an impact the entertainment media has on youth, there is a huge difference between a cookie cutter film and an authentic one. Whether it comes from a book or not, a film should have a fresh impact on people.

Recently, I’ve heard the film adaptation of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being A Wallflower will be released later this year. Depending on how I feel, I may or may not see the film. However, when it is released, I will pray that similar teen films will follow.

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