Tag Archives: oscars

Shortcutting… Les Miserables

12 Jan

Les Miserables, or Les Mis┬áto its friends, has been around for (I looked it up) 28 years. 28 years. That’s a long time for one musical. However, having been to see it last week, I can confirm it’s still got it. For those of you who don’t know the plot, it’s a cocktail of escaped convict turned nice, blended with angry, determined parole officer, a sprinkling of unrequited love and requited love that’s complicated all dipped into a large serving of French revolution. Yum. There are some truly iconic songs, such as I Dreamed a Dream and On My Own, and there’s even some comedy courtesy of the innkeeper and his wife. It’s a really good show, and I’d definitely recommend it, unless you really hate music. There’s a lot of that.

But why am I telling you all this now? You’ve had 28 years to see this thang, and no doubt have 28 more. Well, as you may have guessed, the real topic of this post is Les Mis’ new makeover: the big screen. As a follow up to my recent trip down to the theatre, this afternoon I went to watch the ‘major motion picture’ itself, and compared notes. If I had to describe in six words, I’d say, not unlike its theatrical counterpart, it is ‘really good, intense, sad, and long’. So let’s break that down a bit.

Good: it is definitely enjoyable, as it has a riveting plot (as previously mentioned) and it’s not hard to empathise with the characters, as the acting is of a high-quality, hence the Oscar nominations for best actor in a leading role, best actress in a supporting role, and best film.

Intense: there’s a lot of emotional singing, which is very much intensified by the fact that the singers’ faces are always so close-up you can practically feel their spit, sweat and tears falling on you. You will be moved by this film at least twice, I guarantee.

Sad: this is war, my friends. People die. Men die. Women die. Children die. Love doesn’t always work out. So if you’re looking for a light-hearted bit of comedy, try Pitch Perfect. I hear that’s pretty good too.

Long: at 157 minutes running time, plus 15-20 minutes of adverts and trailers depending on where you go, you need a bit of stamina. And they’re singing the whole way through. I have to admit, I got a bit frustrated at some points that it wouldn’t get a move on, but maybe I’m just impatient. Just make sure to stock up on pick ‘n’ mix.

So there you have it, my much-sought-after review. Go and watch it, and I’m sure you won’t be miserable…

Keep shortcutting,



Shortcutting… Classic Films

17 Jun

I watched Chariots of Fire today, the all-time classic about some Cambridge students and a Scottish guy training to compete in the Olympics. They’ve recently brought out a digitally restored version, in honour of this year’s Olympics I suppose, but I watched it in its original form, and it was still pretty damn good. Not surprising then that it won the Academy Award (that’s Oscar in layman’s terms) for Best Picture in 1981. This accolade gave me the idea at looking at the Best Picture films of the last thirty years and telling you a bit about the ones I’ve seen (shamefully few I’m afraid). Here goes:

1972 – The Godfather: This is one of the most famous films ever and it’s certainly worth the hype. As I’m sure you know it’s all about the Mafia and it’s definitely worth a watch, not least because it’s so much fun trying to imitate the godfather’s gravelly voice. Famous line: ‘I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse…’

1988 – Rain Man: This is slightly less well-known but still quite famous, starring Dustin Hoffman as the autistic Raymond Babbet with Tom Cruise as his brother Charlie. Famous line: There isn’t a blindingly obvious one here but I’m going to go with ‘I’m an excellent driver.’

1994 – Forrest Gump: This one’s Tom Hanks as the not exactly intelligent but extremely loveable Forrest, who is present at tons of historic events, and keeps on meeting the president, again… (Doesn’t work without his voice). Famous line: ‘My momma always said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” ‘

1997 – Titanic: You will cry. You will cry! If you don’t cry, you have no heart! This is famous ‘unsinkable’ ship that sinks (oh the irony!) of course, rather ruining the relationship of Leo and Kate – I mean, Jack and Rose. It’s a weepy. Famous line: ‘Oh shit, we’re sinking!’ Okay I made that up, but that’s the gist of the thing…

2000 – Gladiator: Russell Crowe is a gladiator with something to prove. If you like a bit of sword-clanging action, this one’s for you. Famous line: ‘Father of a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife and I shall have my vengeance in this life or the next.’ (Yes, vengeance is a bit of a theme in this one.)

2008 – Slumdog Millionaire: I saw this described somewhere as the ‘feel-good film of the year’. I’m not sure whoever said this was watching the right film. Gripping and emotional it is, but feel-good it ain’t. The first scene is a torture scene, for Christ’s sakes!! Anyway, it’s about a ‘slumdog’ who goes on Who Wants to be a Millionaire and knows all the answers due to (very sad) events that have taken place in his life. Famous line: ‘What the hell can a slumdog possibly know?’

2010 – The King’s Speech: A stuttering Colin Firth must learn to speak well enough to give a stirring speech to a country on the brink of war. Now this one is feel-good and heart-warming and all that jazz, and it’s also pretty funny. Even though the end is predictable, you still find yourself rooting for him. You go Bertie! Famous line: ‘Because I have a voice!’

2011 – The Artist: This one’s all silent and black and white but it’s still pretty fab, in fact, the whole silent thing makes it fab-er! Crazy, right! A silent film star gets left by the wayside as ‘the talkies’ become the next big thing, led by the undeniably peppy Peppy Miller. It’s funny and heart-warming and a great homage to the history of film if you’re into that sort of thing. Famous line: Umm… It’s silent…

So hopefully there’s at least one ther you haven’t seen and will now be dying to see thanks to my enthusiastic reviews!

Famous line: Keep shortcutting,