Les MisérablesDirector: Tom Hooper, Universal Pictures International, Rated M, 158 mins
This masterfully made movie from Tom Hooper (the Academy Award-winning director of The King’s Speech) is the latest adaptation of Victor Hugo’s much-admired novel and is nothing short of spectacular in terms of acting, vocal performances and visual presentation.
Based on the popular stage musical of the same name and set in post-revolutionary France, Les Misérables essentially revolves around the struggles faced by French convict Jean Valjean (Aussie actor quasi singer Hugh Jackman - Australia) as he avoids capture from his persistent pursuer, the irrepressible Inspector Javert (Aussie actor Russell Crowe - Robin Hood) by beginning a new life - a life that changes forever through his encounter with the destitute Fantine (Anne Hathaway - The Dark Knight Rises), resulting in Valjean caring for Fantine’s daughter Cosette (Mamma Mia’s Amanda Seyfried).
Jackman delivers a stand-out performance as Valjean - both in acting and singing, which is only equalled by Hathaway in her fleeting role as Fantine through her scene-stealing, heart-felt rendition of that stupendous song I Dreamed a Dream.
Besides Jackman, Hathaway, Crowe and Seyfried, Hooper has assembled a stellar cast of other fine actors to take on supporting roles such as Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the unscrupulous Thenardier and Madame Thenardier, Eddie Redmayne as Marius (Cosette’s love interest) and Samantha Barks as the heart-broken Eponine.
There have been many movie musicals made in the past but not one with the combination of some great performances, memorable songs and spectacular scenes that will make Les Misérables a movie not to be missed.
Furthermore it is no surprise that this magnificent movie and its leading stars (Jackman and Hathaway) have been nominated for the Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globes and British Academy Awards (the BAFTAs).
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 ½ Rubber Stamps
Parental GuidanceDirector: Andy Fickman, 20th Century Fox, Rated PG, 105 mins
This fun-filled family-friendly movie is from Andy Fickman (director of Race to Witch Mountain) and stars Billy Crystal (Analyze This) as Artie (a baseball commentator who has been made redundant) and Bette Middler (The Women) as Diane, the grandparents who are called upon by their daughter Alice (Marisa Tomei - The Ides of March) to baby-sit their three grandchildren while Alice joins her husband Phil (Tom Everett Scott - Mars Needs Moms) on a business trip.
Of course unbeknown to the grandparents, all three kids, Harper, Turner and Barker, are highly strung and only used to the modern parenting techniques instilled in them by their parents resulting in a number of awkward and sometimes funny situations arising for Artie and Diane.
Despite Fickman’s fickle approach in having the families bond closer together there are instances of true family relationships being borne out by the sometimes humorous interaction between the grandparents and their grandkids especially between Artie and the boys, with a major highlight being Crystal’s comical quips and Midler’s supporting role.
Overall Parental Guidance is an enjoyable movie to watch with a few lessons thrown in for future grandparents.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 Rubber Stamps
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