Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”) directs this star-studded film adaptation of the beloved musical. “Les Miserables” is considered by many to be sight-unseen early frontrunner for Best Picture, which is not going to do the film any favors – since this film won’t actually come out until Christmas, that’s over six months of time for crushing expectations to set in. Just ask “War Horse,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “Nine,” “The Lovely Bones,” “Invictus”… sure, some of those films ended up with Best Picture nominations, but they were hardly the power-houses that early predictors thought they would be. You’ve got to play the anticipation game right.
So will “Les Miz” have the goods? Well, this trailer is certainly promising, but the marketing team here is clearly playing to the film’s strengths – that is to say, some stunning visuals of the French Revolution and Anne Hathaway. Oscar-watchers have been waiting for Hathaway to strut her stuff in a musical since her stand-out opening number with Hugh Jackman at the ’09 ceremony, and she’s chill-inducing here. Jackman’s also on hand of course, and while he doesn’t get a chance to speak here, he certainly has the Broadway experience to make a capable Valjean. More dubious is, like, everyone else. I hear that young Eddie Redmayne (last seen in “My Week with Marilyn”) has a good voice, and I suppose that Amanda Seyfried was in “Mamma Mia!” and all… but Russell Crowe as Javert? Really?
However the acting/singing turns out, I’m sure a bevy of technical nods (costume design, art direction, etc.) are pretty much in the bag already. Then again, “War Horse” seemed like a much safer bet at this point last year as well…
The Bourne Legacy
More footage for the latest installment of the most reliable action franchise of the past decade. The transfer of power from Paul Greengrass to Tony Gilroy has certainly resulted in a marked difference visually – forget the loss of Matt Damon, will the Bourne franchise survive without the Queasy-Cam? Considering “The Bourne Identity” was still good even before Greengrass rolled around, I would still be hopefuly, especially with Jeremy Renner on hand to kick all kinds of ass. After showing flashes of awesomeness in “Mission: Impossible IV” and “The Avengers,” he’ll get a chance to prove he can carry his own series. I hadn’t realized that Rachel Weisz will also be on hand to play the Marie surrogate for Renner’s troubled super-spy. Will she be as useless as most action-movie love interests, or can she be a shock of common sense, like Franka Potente was to the first two films?
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Ugh. Spare me. There’s some fun to be had in apocalyptic humor, and Steve Carell is a pretty good fit for the sad-sack schtick. But c’mon, there’s only two possible ways for this to end: a) the world doesn’t actually end and Carell and Knightley learn some valuable lesson about love and companionship, or b) the world ends and everybody dies. Now, let’s keep in mind that this is Hollywood and not Lars von Trier. What do you think is going to happen?