Oz: the (not so) Great and (not so) Powerful

I’ve been in Portugal for a week now and I haven’t got around to go to the movies yet, so today was the day!

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So I convinced a friend of mine to accompany me to go and see Oz: The Great and Powerful and I have to say that I’m still not sure exactly how I feel about this movie. I usually love this kind of fantasy films, but on this one, I don’t know if even all the fantasy it has saves it…

I confess that of all the main actors, I was curious to watch the movie mainly for Mila Kunis and Zack Braff, because I don’t know why, but I don’t really like James Franco and I don’t really see Michelle Williams as Glinda (something was so off!), and Rachel Weisz … I don’t know… maybe she’s just too good for her role… who knows… and in the end, Zack Braff as Finley and Joey King as the China Girl, whom only provide voices to their characters, totally steal the movie.

Mila does a good job playing Theodora/The Wiked Witch of the West, but I thought something was off with her characterization, maybe green is just not her color .. Rachel Weisz is great as Evanora, but Evanora is despicable  so no way to like her. Michelle Williams as Glinda, I just don’t see it, sorry, I don’t think that Michelle’s beauty is that kind of beauty… sorry! And James Franco… oh well, sure he has his moments, but how bad is it that my favorite James’ moments were the ones in black and white?!

I liked some visual effects, others I thought they were a bit much! The clothes were awesome, true that. The story?! Hhhhuuuummmm, well, tricks can be as much good as any witch or wizard, ok… but I just don’t know… I did not like it, but I also didn’t hate it… I’m so confused!!!

How about you? Did you liked it?!

My Harry Potter books

I was packing the other day, another BCN-LIS tryp and I was organizing my books and these ones just always make me smile!

I love love love my Harry Potter book series! I bought all seven books in the same day, because I just love this English edition. As far as books go, one of my favorite series!

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Les Misérables and the Barricade Boys: Gavroche

Is it possible to watch Les Misérables and not completely adores this little guy? I don’t think so!!! Gavroche, played by the 13 year old Daniel Huttlestone, is possible the most amazing, adorable, cute and brave of all of the Barricade Boys, although I guess he’s not technically one of them…

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Gavroche is a little boy who lives on the streets of Paris, sleeping in the big elephant statue, that believes in freedom, democracy and equality as much as any of the the Friends of the ABC. In the novel, he’s actually the oldest son of the Thénardiers, younger brother of Éponine, and looks after his two younger siblings, after his parents send him off to live in the streets because he’s better off (and I bet he really is better off…). In the movie, we can actually see an allusion to this relationship, when we catch Gavroche crying after Éponine’s death.

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Gavroche rocks! He gathers the people, he delivers the news, identifies Javert as a spy, he even goes to Valjean to deliver Marius’ letter to Cosette (as Marius fails at his attempt to keep Gavroche out of the fight) and latter saves Valjean from being killed. Then he tries to help his friends by collecting dry ammunition from the dead soldiers and ends up being shot and killed (and if you don’t cry in this scene, you have a stone heart!!!).

And little people know
When little people fight
We may look easy pickings
But we’ve got some bite
So never kick a dog
Because he’s just a pup
We’ll fight like twenty armies
And we won’t give up
So you’d better run for cover
When the pup grows up!

And then there’re the heartbreaking scenes when Courfeyrac (Fra Fee) and Combeferre (Killian Donnelly) realize what’s happening and then Courfeyrac goes to get little Gavroche’s body… (everybody dies in the movie, but some deaths are harder to take…)

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After their deaths, all of them are put side by side (except Enjolras, that’s still coming out of the window of the first floor) and as Javert passes through Gavroche, he stops and puts a medal on his jacket (sign of respect – and i’m just assuming that guilt as well!).

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Daniel was so perfect as Gavroche! And everyone said wonderful things about this kid.

They [Fra, Killian, and Alistair] would do warm-ups every morning — I was usually in the hair chair and couldn’t get out — where one of the guys was playing piano and everyone else would be singing, but they would end up singing “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King. And young Daniel [Huttlestone], the kid who plays Gavroche, would be there and at the very end, they would lift him like Simba. – Aaron Tveit

I genuinely, genuinely adore him. Daniel Huttlestone, for me he almost steals the movie. – Eddie Redmayne

And he has the most amazing photos… apparently every guy on the cast wanted to take a picture with him 😉

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Les Misérables and the Barricade Boys: Marius

I know that Marius is often not included in the group of the barricade boys, first because in the book he’s not as centered in the group as in the movie and then, because he’s the only one of them that DOESN’T DIE in the barricade!

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But truth be told, Eddie Redmayne did such an amazing job with his Marius, that I’m guessing that there’s not many people left who haven’t fallen completely in love with Eddie and his Marius!

Marius appears mainly as Enjolras right arm in the political department (although I know that the book isn’t exactly like this and that they, in fact, have rather different political ideals!). Still, in the movie, he’s always right there with Enjolras, protesting, gathering people, planing the revolution… and then he sees Cosette and his world changes completely…

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He falls in love with her and is heartbroken when he finds out that she’s leaving.

I’ve heard several versions of “A Heart Full of Love” and even tough the movie version isn’t complete, it’s by far my favorite… I just love the way Marius stumbles into his words, like he’s truly love-struck .. and also, the expression on his face when Grantaire is mocking him for finally being in love in “Red and Black”… PRICELESS!!! And the merit goes all to Eddie! AMAZING!

And then decides to join his brothers at the barricade, because he would rather die than live without her (and also because he truly believes that it’s the right thing to do!). He heroically saves them all at night, threatening to explode a barrel of gun powder and then has Éponine dying in his arms. And at the big fight the next day he gets injured and Valjean, not wanting him to die – because he’s meat to be with his daughter – carries him from the barricade, making the two of them the only survivors of that horrific event.

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Later he suffers for the fact that all of his friends are gone, while singing the amazing “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” – in it’s best version yet, in my opinion – I tear up each time I listen to it! His pain is so real in those 3 minutes that you just have this instant urge to go and hold him…

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Marius then makes up with his grandfather (as in the book) and marries Cosette, finding out that Valjean was his savior the night of the barricade, he takes Cosette to see her father, where he thanks him for saving his life and consoles his wife when her father passes away…

   

Eddie Redmayne… MAN! He’s freaking amazing! The first time I saw the movie I had no idea who he was and I actually thought he was a Broadway/West End actor (like many others on the movie), because his voice is so wonderful that I thought that had to be his number 1 focus! But no, he’s really an amazing actor who has the amazingly beautiful voice…

(and if you haven’t heard any of his interviews, he’s got the most sexy voice with the most gorgeous British accent! Yumiiii…)

Les Misérables and the Barricade Boys: Enjolras

Les Misérables has a pool of wonderful characters and you find yourself rooting for all (or at least most) of them! But a big premise of this story is that not many of these wonderful characters make it out alive… It starts with Fantine’s death early on in the story, ending with Valjean’s death at the end… but nothing hurts as much as that horrible dawn when, following Eponine’s demise, Gavroche, Enjolras, Grantaire, Courfeyrac, Combeferre, Joly, Prouvaire, and all the others, are killed by the National Guard. That fact is not made any easier when we see Marius singing Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, grieving for his friends.

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Enjolras, the charismatic leader of Les Amis de l’ABC (The Friends of the ABC) is portrayed by the very handsome Aaron Tveit in the movie. And if you don’t know how to pronounce the character’s name, Aaron gives us some help on that matter:

  

Enjolras is very passionate about their cause and is the engine behind that (small) unsuccessful revolution, where he and all of his friends (apart from Marius) die. He says things like “who cares about your lonely soul” and “our little lives don’t count at all”, and that’s it! How can one not fall in love with him?! Even Marius knows that he is right, right?!

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Here’s how Aaron describes his character:

Victor Hugo has so much description about his characters and about the time period. I mean, there’s a two page description of Enjolras in the novel, and it’s like acting gold. He talks about how this guy is in love with liberty and he’s fighting for the ideals of revolution, and that he’s this very kind person, but he’s capable of this ferocity. And there’s another line that any time he was approached by a female, Enjolras would “chastely” lower his eyes. I just thought that was so descriptive of who this guy is. Then, something that we found in rehearsal is that some of the students are kind of playing at revolution. They think it’s a good idea, but they might not really know what it means. But Enjolras has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He is wise beyond his years and he actually understands, and is committed to, the real ideals of what they’re fighting for. He knows in the back of his mind, even when they’re starting, that they’re going to be faced with death. And then by the time “Drink With Me” happens, I think Enjolras knows that he’s led his friends to death. So I just thought there was a weight to him and a depth and passion. And that’s where I started from. – Aaron Tveit on Enjolras

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I just have to say, I would follow him anywhere! His tragic death (that combined the death scene of the book with the one of the stage musical) is an epic scene… him dying alongside with Grantaire, with the red flag at hand and hanging through the window like that… He believed that Paris would come when they called and that people would rise, but they didn’t, and they were left alone to die! So sad…

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And Aaron Tveit… man!!! He’s really good. The Broadway guy in the middle of all the others West End guy’s was brilliant! He’s convincing in his leader role, his red jacket is outstanding (and way better than the vest from the stage musical), and what about that hair? The wig is incredible, I didn’t even know it was a wig until I saw an interview in which he explained that they did a camera test and they realized that two things wouldn’t fly: his very very white teeth and his very short hair! So he wore a wig that matched his hair color, the curls however, don’t match his natural hair (what a pity) and he had his teeth darkened everyday (I prefer his very white and beautiful teeth!). 

I personally loved his “Enjolras” in the movie, and the boy can sing like hell. He’s amazing!

It is time for us all
To decide who we are
Do we fight for the right
To a night at the opera now?
Have you asked of yourselves
What’s the price you might pay?
Is it simply a game
For a rich young boy to play?
The colors of the world
Are changing day by day…

Red – the blood of angry men!
Black – the dark of ages past!
Red – a world about to dawn!
Black – the night that ends at last!

Marius, you’re no longer a child
I do not doubt you mean it well
But now there is a higher call.
Who cares about your lonely soul?
We strive toward a larger goal
Our little lives don’t count at all!

Red – the blood of angry men!
Black – the dark of ages past!
Red – a world about to dawn!
Black – the night that ends at last!

(just one of my favorite musics of the movie… and not to mention the adorable look of embarrassment in Marius face when Grantaire is mocking him about being in love…)

Les Misérables: the amazing Hugh Jackman

I’ve said it before that I loved (loved) this movie! I loved it so much that I’ve watched 3 times in this last week (and mind you that the film is 2h40min long…) and I’ve been listening the soundtrack for the last few days as well (people who see me in the subway must think I’m insane or something, because now just listening to certain pieces can put tears in my eyes, the most effective for that effect are I Dreamed a Dream, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables and the Epilogue – with Jean Valjean’s death and the reprise of Do you Hear the People Sing? with all those adorable dead people singing…)

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By now I also saw a few of the cast’s interviews while promoting the movie and a common comment made is that there would be no film at all without Hugh Jackman! He never complained and he truly supported his mates. He also did incredible things to give credibility to the role: he lost 15 pounds for the beginning of the movie, when Valjean is a prisoner  and went 36 hours without drinking a drop of water in order to gain that gaunt look in the very beginning, and then he had to gain 30 pounds in order to get unrecognizable and to mirror his character’s success!

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Then there’s the “small” fact that the man can sing! And he can act and sing at the same time… his death scene is just brutal… I cry every time he looks at his daughter…

And in case you haven’t noticed it (because maybe you haven’t seen it and that is just wrong!), the man carries everyone and everything around through the movie: first is the France flag (enormous thing), then he lifts the carriage that had trapped this man, then he sweeps Fantine off her feet to carry her to the hospital, then he runs around carrying little Cosette and finally (as an old man) he carries Marius from the barricade though the sewers (and that wasn’t a dummy or anything, was the real deal, Eddie Redmayne spent 2 days (if i’m not mistaken) being carried around on Jackman’s shoulders! In an interview Jackman actually joked that given that he had to loose so much weight to do the movie, Eddie could have done the same thing, because carrying him around was not an easy job (he also said that Eddie’s ass got a lot of screen time, but I’m not complaining about that)!

And how amazing was their performance at the Oscars?!

   

But we can see him doing all of that, right?! The man is Wolverine, for god sake! 😉

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The Award Season is over…

The 2012/13 Award Season came to an end with the 85th Academy Awards last Sunday, after 4 months of several award shows and red carpet events.

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The Best Director of the year was Ben Affleck for Argo, winning the Critics’ Choice Awards, Golden Globes, Directors Guild of America and BAFTAS. The runner-up was Ang Lee for The Life of Pi, winning the London Film Critics and the Academy Awards (Oscars). Here the Academy really “messed up” and many public figures, including the Oscars’ presenter, mentioned that not even nominating Ben Affleck for the director Oscar was not right.

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The Best Actress of the year, well, the two best were Jennifer Lawrence, for Silver Linings Playbook, and Emmanuelle Riva, for Amour, with four awards each. Jennifer won the LA Film Critics, Golden Globes (musical/comedy), Screen Actors Guild and the Academy Awards. Emmanuelle won the LA Film Critics (they were tied), European Film Awards, London Film Critics and the BAFTAS. It was a great year for Jennifer Lawrence, winning an oscar at 22, and for a romcom (not easy!) and being, probably, the most beloved young actress right now. Who doesn’t love her?

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The Best Actor of the year was Daniel Day-Lewis, for his role in Lincoln, winning a total of six best-actor awards: New York Film Critics Circle, Critics’ Choice Awards, Golden Globes (drama), Screen Actors Guild, BAFTAS and the Academy Awards (where he became the 1st to win 3 oscars for Best Actor). Worth mentioning was Hugh Jackman‘s win at the Golden Globes (musical/comedy) for his amazing performance in Les Misérables.

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The Best Supporting Actor big winner was Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained, winning at the Golden Globes, BAFTAS and the Academy Awards. The runner up was Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master, winning at the Critics’ Choice Awards and the London Film Critics.

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The Best Supporting Actress was apparently an easy choice for most awards. She’s, of course, Anne Hathaway for her astonishing performance in Les Misérables.    She won the Critics’ Choice Awards, Golden Globes, London Film Critics, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTAS and the Academy Awards. Although highly criticized, she deserved every one of these awards.

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The Best Film of the year was Argo! From the producers Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov, and directed by Ben Affleck, Argo won five awards for Best Film: Critics’ Choice Awards (Best Picture), Golden Globes (drama), Screen Actors Guild (ensemble cast), BAFTAS and Academy Awards.

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The Best Animated Film of the year was Brave, winning three award including the Oscar. The Best Original Screenplay went for Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained, winning a total of four awards, including the Oscar. The Best Adapted Screenplay went for Chris Terrio, for his work on Argo, with a total of three awards including an Oscar. Amour was another big film of the year, winning 5 awards as Best Foreign Language Film and three awards as Best Film. On the Best Song department, Adele’s Skyfall won all three awards with this category: Critics’ Choice Awards, Golden Globes and Academy Awards

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The Oscars ended the season on a good note. Seth MacFarlane was the host and I liked it, true that sometimes his jokes were a little controversy, but I enjoyed moments like the “We saw your boobs” song, Seth making out With Sally Field while wearing the Flying Nun costume and the special appearance of Captain Kirk. My top 5 moments of the ceremony were:

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Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum dance while Seth sing, and then Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe sing and dance as well with the host!

Jennifer Lawrence tripped on the staircases on her way to collect her Oscar  but recovered brilliantly  and received a standing ovation: “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell and that’s really embarrassing.”

The cast of Les Misérables performed “One Day More” on stage.

The First Lady, Michelle Obama, presented the award for Best Picture from the White House.

Ben Affleck got his Oscar for Argo, Best Picture: “I thank everyone in the movie. I want to thank Canada. I want to thank our friends in Iran living in terrible circumstances right now. I want to thank my wife, who I don’t normally associate with Iran, but I want to thank you for working on our marriage for 10 Christmases. It is work but it is the best kind of work, and there’s no one I’d rather work with.

  

Note: My favorite real-life couple now is definitely Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. The proud look on her face each time her husband won an award during this season, and his devoted look to her, totally won me over.

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