Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the trip to Mars drama “red Rover,” the opioid story “Castle in the Ground,” the French arthouse hit “Les Misérables,” the horror comedy “Porno” and the documentary “They Call Me Dr. Miami.”
In an age of remakes and reboots comes an unexpected one, a radicle updating of “Les Miserables,” Victor Hugo’s classic novel of broken dreams and sacrifice, now on VOD. Set in modern day France, the new film “Les Miserables” eschews the grandeur of the Broadway musical of the same name to tell the gritty story of the downtrodden and three members of an anti-crime brigade.
Taking place over the course of two, event-filled days, the action begins when the even-tempered rookie Stéphane (Damien Bonnard) joins the suburban Montfermeil Anti-Crime Squad. Teamed with Gwada (Djebril Zonga) and Chris (Alexis Manenti, who also co-wrote the script), hair tempered alpha male nicknamed Pink Pig patrol the crime ridden area of Les Bosquets. When one of the local kids, Issa (Issa Perica), steals a lion cub from a circus it sets into motion a series of events that brings to a boil the already simmering relationship between the police and the townsfolk.
Gritty and naturalistic, “Les Miserables” occasionally uses a hammer where a softer touch would suffice but the picture it paints of social unrest is vivid and unforgettable. The slow build to the explosive ending effectively echoes the tradition of revolution popular in French history and storytelling.
Introducing talented non-actors into the mix gives the movie a realistic, cinema-verité feel to the tale of injustice and anger. It’s often not an easy watch but the revolt against oppression is an important and timely topic.
“Les Miserables” is a stirring debut for director Ladj Ly, one that is both thought provoking and an indictment of failed social policy.
Richard and CP24 anchor Courtney Heels have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the middle-aged adventures of “Bad Boys for Life,” the animal tales of “Dolittle” and Victor Hugo inspired “Les Misérables.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the pseudo Bayhem of “Bad Boys for Life,” “Dolittle,” the strange adventures of the doctor who can speak to the animals and France’s entry to the Academy Awards “Les Misérables.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Montreal morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the seventeen-years-in-the-making sequel “Bad Boys for Life,” the reboot of a remake “Dolittle” and France’s entry for Best International Picture at the Oscars “Les Misérables.”
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest and most interesting movies! This week Richard looks at the the reunion of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in “Bad Boys for Life,” the talking animals of “Dolittle” and France’s entry into the Academy Awards “Les Misérables.”
In the Heart of the Sea features less of Chris Hemsworth than we’ve seen on screen before. He’s in virtually every scene, but for much of the film the usually bulked up Thor star is set adrift in a raft, starving and physically much less imposing than usual.
The movie is an old-fashioned whale of a tale. Literally.
Based on the true story said to have inspired Moby Dick, it’s about whalers battling not only repeated assaults from the one whale who fought back, but also malnourishment and dehydration.
At sea for three months in tiny whaleboats the men are pushed to the edge of sanity, taking drastic steps to survive.
To convincingly play a starving sailor Hemsworth trimmed 33 pounds off his already toned 6’2 3/4” frame.
“My crazy diet would make you pass out from exhaustion,” he said. At certain points he was eating just 500 or 600 calories — that’s less than a combo lunch meal at most fast-food places — in the form of a boiled egg, two crackers and a celery stick a day.
Hemsworth and his underfed cast mates passed away the time with conversations “about our favourite foods and what we would eat when we finished the film.”
The actor says losing that amount of weight isn’t something he’d like to do again, but adds, “by those final sequences when we were supposed to be exhausted and emotional. We were feeling that way off screen too, so it helped.”
Dramatic weight loss isn’t new — actors have been yo-yo dieting for roles for years — but doctors say rapid body mass reduction can lead to malnutrition, maladies like gallstones and worse. In other words, as Christian Bale who dumped 60 pounds for his role in The Machinist says, “It ain’t great for your health.”
Still, actors take on dramatic diets to aid in their dramatic work. Anne Hathaway dropped 25 pounds by food deprivation and exercise to make Les Miserables while Matthew McConaughey survived eating only Diet Coke, egg whites and a piece of chicken a day to play AIDS patient Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. According to The Playlist he stopped dieting when “people stopped asking if he was all right and started suggesting he seek help.”
Just as common are actors who gain weight. Russell Crowe gained 63 pounds to play a CIA bigwig in Body of Lies, George Clooney gained 35 pounds for Syriana and Renee Zellweger gained 30 pounds for Bridget Jones’s Diary, lost it, only to regain it for the sequel.
Jared Leto who lost 40 pounds to play Rayon in Dallas Buyer’s Club, gained 67 pounds for the film Chapter 27 by drinking melted pints of chocolate Haagen Dazs ice cream mixed with olive oil and soy sauce “to get me bloated even more.”
Why do actors alter their bodies? Some call it dedication while cynics suggest it’s an easy Oscar. Physical transformations (plus acting talent) brought Robert DeNiro, Charlize Theron and McConaughey to the winner’s circle.
But some actors have sworn off manipulating their weight. Jim Carrey turned down a role in the Three Stooges biopic that would have required him to gain 40 to 50 pounds and Tom Hanks blames gaining and losing weight for roles with him developing Type 2 diabetes.
“I’ve talked to a number of actors who have gained weight for roles and — just out of the sheer physical toll on one’s knees and shoulders — no-one wants to do it again,” he told the BBC.
If the number 24601 brings a tear to your eye then you can likely skip past the synopsis paragraphs in this review as you probably already know the epic story of “Les Misérables.” For the uninitiated, however, what follows is the sad and tragic tale of obsession, love and redemption, now an all singing (but no dancing) operetta from “The King’s Speech” director Tom Hooper.
Based on the mega-musical that brought Victor Hugo’s 1862 French novel to Broadway, the film is a faithful adaptation of the show that inspired gallons of tears on the Great White Way.
Hugh Jackman is Jean Valjean, a French national imprisoned for two decades for the crime of stealing a loaf of bread to feed a starving child. Once released he breaks parole, flees, makes a new life for himself and searches for redemption. Searching for him is police Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe), who refers to Valjean by his ID number, 24601. Their cat and mouse game spans two decades culminating in the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris.
Wringing extra emotional from the melodramatic tale is a side story concerning Fantine (Anne Hathaway), ill-fated factory worker (her story is one of the main reasons this is called the “Miserables”) and mother of an illegitimate child, Cosette (played by Isabelle Allen as a child, Amanda Seyfried as an adult). Forced into prostitution, she entrusts the care of her daughter to Valjean.
After the royal bollocking Joel Schumacher gave “The Phantom of the Opera” a few years ago the future of poperas on the big screen looked bleak. Sure “Chicago” hit some of the right notes, but apart from lighter fare like “Mama Mia” big time musicals have been few and far between at the movies.
Add to that the reputation of “Les Misérables.” It’s not only an emotional epic, combining a stew of audience grabbers like forgiveness, self-sacrifice, and courage but it’s also the world’s longest-running musical. Fan expectation is high.
Director Hooper’s all-star cast (with the addition of stage vets Samantha Barks and Colm Wilkinson, who originated the role of Valjean on Broadway) is game for the challenge, and once you get past the giggles at seeing tough guy Russell Crowe warbling operatic, it works.
Jackman is a natural, with both the acting and vocal chops to play Valjean. He’s the lead, the heart of the show, but he isn’t blessed with the most interesting repertoire. His songs are occasionally repetitive but perhaps because they’re weren’t prerecorded—as is the usual practice in screen musicals—but sung live on set, Jackman ups the sentiment and could land an Oscar nod for his work.
Crowe has better songs but a different approach, less musical theatre and more Pink Floyd.
Eddie “My Week with Marilyn” Redmayne as Marius is terrific in a strong supporting role and Amanda Seyfried’s voice is almost as big as her eyes, but it is Anne Hathaway’s performance that lingers.
As Fantine she has the smallest role of the leads, but given her slim screen time makes the biggest impression. Her version of the show’s four Kleenex signature song “I Dreamed a Dream”—shot in one take—is a microcosm of the entire show. It’s raw in its passion, hits on themes of life, death and disappointment echoed by the other characters and yes, it’s a little bit showy. Hathaway nails it and kind of blows everybody else away in the process.
“Les Misérables” succeeds by playing it straight. Hooper highlights the star power but underplays everything else. The film looks sumptuous, but wisely avoids the flamboyant approach that sunk “Nine” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”