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Les Miserables Film Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 31/05/2012 @ 12:44
Subject: Film

Total films seen so far this year: 155
Films seen in the last week: The Women On The Sixth, The Five-Year Engagement, Joyful Noise, On The Sly, Lay The Favourite, Prometheus

FILM OF THE WEEK: The Angels' Share

Edinburgh Film Festival 2012 line-up
This morning (early this morning, I might add), I attended the London launch for the Edinburgh Film Festival, the full programme for which was released yesterday. While the festival failed to include any films from last week's Wish List (no Looper, no Sightseers, no Safety Not Guaranteed, no Welcome to the Punch and not even feelgood doc Ping-pong), there's still a good amount to look forward to. I confess, I haven't had time to go through the whole programme yet (that's actually something I like to save for the train journey to Edinburgh), but a cursory glance throws up several films I'm looking forward to.

These include: Shadow Dancer, an IRA-turned-MI5-informant thriller from director James Marsh, starring Clive Owen and Andrea Riseborough (which I'm reliably informed is excellent); Rubber director (ha ha) Quentin Dupieux's lost dog comedy Wrong, which made a bit of a splash at Cannes recently; Scandi-crime black comedy Jackpot, based on a novel by Headhunters' Jo Nesbo (which I'm seeing tonight and am very excited about); Brake, a presumably fairly low budget thriller about Steven Dorff being trapped in a car boot for 90 minutes; and The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus, a self-explanatory documentary from the director of The People Vs George Lucas, an Edinburgh highlight from a couple of years ago that never got a theatrical release but is well worth seeking out.

On a more personal note, for over ten years (this year will be my 12th consecutive Edinburgh Film Festival), I have been saying to anyone who would listen that they should put on a season of Gregory La Cava films and it turns out that incoming festival director Chris Fujiwara (who I met this morning) is also a fan and has programmed the exact retrospective I've been begging for since I saw a similar season in the Madrid Filmoteca in 1996. However, I was disappointed to discover that they're not screening both versions of little-seen classic Gabriel Over the White House, which it turns out I made a nerdy imdb post about, twelve years ago. Anyway, Edinburgh kicks off on 20th June with William Friedkin's southern fried thriller Killer Joe and ends on 1st July with Pixar's Brave. I'll be there for the whole festival and I can't wait.

Trailerwatch: Les Miserables
This week saw the release of the teaser trailer for director Tom Hooper's follow-up to The King's Speech, the big screen version of the successful stage musical of Les Miserables, based on Victor Hugo's classic novel. I confess, although I've seen the 1998 version of the film (Claire Danes, Liam Neeson, Uma Thurman, Geoffrey Rush), I'm not at all familiar with the musical version and don't know (or don't THINK I know, as is often the case with musicals) any of the songs.

The trailer features just one of the songs (I Dreamed A Dream, which the internets tell me was recently popularised by Susan bloody Boyle), being belted out by Anne Hathaway (as Fantine) over lots of period drama shenanigans (rain, orphans, poverty, revolution, etc). Set in 19th century France, the film stars Hugh Jackman (singing credentials
excellent) as ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, who's hunted for decades by ruthless policeman Javert (Russell Crowe – singing credentials
middling) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine's young daughter, Cosette (Amanda Seyfried – singing credentials decent), “their lives change forever”, or so it says at the bottom of the YouTube video.

Hathaway's singing skills seem pretty impressive based on her work here and her commitment extends to the full-on poverty look (rags, short haircut, dirt, etc). The film also features Eddie Redmayne (in the trailer – singing skills unproven) as Marius (who, I'm guessing is Cosette's love interest), Sacha Baron Cohen (not in the trailer – singing skills probably quite good) as Thenardier and Helena Bonham Carter (briefly in trailer - singing skills decent) as Madame Thenardier. Anyway, it all looks pretty damn good to me and I'm excited to see the full trailer. Opens at Christmas, which means it will almost certainly show up at the London Film Festival and will likely be an Oscar contender come awards time (assuming it's good, obviously).

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Only two new entries into the top ten this week, with just Ken Loach's surprisingly feel-good comedy The Angels' Share (which just won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes) and Ridley Scott's sort-of Alien prequel Prometheus (which I gave three stars to, but could just as easily have gone four or two, as it's that sort of film – basically, the lower your expectations, the more fun you'll have, though die-hard Alien fans should steel themselves for disappointment) making it onto the list. With the caveat that I haven't seen LOL (no press screenings – never a good sign), Himizu or The Turin Horse (my review, unseen: “Two and a half hours of people eating potatoes”), I will also put in a good word for the Top Cat movie, which has picked up some terrible reviews elsewhere, but I quite liked (and I was expecting to hate it as Top Cat is basically my all-time favourite cartoon). On top of that, if you're in London, please note that Paul Duane's excellent documentary Barbaric Genius has been held over for a second week at the Odeon Panton Street (London's finest second run cinema).

Interview-wise this week we have an exclusive interview with The Angels' Share director Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty, press conference interviews with the stars and director of Snow White and the Huntsman (Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Clafin and director Rupert Sanders), and an exclusive interview with the voice of Top Cat (alongside several other voices) Jason Harris.

Elsewhere you can still read our exclusive interview with Barbaric Genius director Paul Duane; a press conference interview with Cameron Diaz, Anna Kendrick, Chace Crawford, Matthew Morrison and Rodrigo Santoro, the stars of last week's What To Expect When You're Expecting; our exclusive interview with The Raid director Gareth Evans and star Iko Uwais; our exclusive interview with She Monkeys director Lisa Aschan; our exclusive interview with Damsels in Distress director Whit Stillman; an exclusive interview with horse whisperer Buck Brannaman (subject of Buck); and press conference interviews with most of the Avengers.

There are also semi-exclusive interviews with American Pie Reunion stars Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge; Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Chris Klein; and directors Hayden Schlossberg and Jon Hurwitz. You can read our exclusive interview with Marley director Kevin Macdonald; a press conference interview with Salmon Fishing in the Yemen stars Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt; and our exclusive interview with Battleship star Taylor Kitsch (since Battleship has only just opened in the States) and director Pete Berg.

Come back in two week's time for an exclusive interview with Ti West, writer-director of The Innkeepers, my favourite film from last year's FrightFest.

1. Avengers Assemble
2. Moonrise Kingdom
3. Damsels in Distress
4. The Hunger Games
5. The Angels' Share
6. The Raid
7. She Monkeys
8. Prometheus
9. Barbaric Genius
10. Jeff Who Lives At Home

DVD of the Week: The Artist (out Monday 28th May, online RRP £9.99/£14.99 for DVD or Blu-Ray)
This week's DVD/Blu-Ray of the Week is the Oscar-winning silent comedy The Artist, directed by Michel Hazanavicius (who made the OSS-117 films with Dujardin). Set in 1920s Hollywood, the film is a pastiche of silent films and stars Jean Dujardin as silent film star George Valentin, who captivates audiences along with his canine sidekick Jack (Uggy the dog). When he meets charming ingénue Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo, who's also Mme Hazanavicius), he instantly falls for her and is instrumental in getting her her first big break, but he stops short of acting on their mutual attraction because of his marriage to Doris (Penelope Ann Miller). With the arrival of sound, George's career takes a nose-dive as he's dropped from the studio but he dismisses the talkies as a fad and ploughs all his money into a self-directed jungle adventure, only for the film to flop and for George to be wiped out financially by the Wall St Crash. Meanwhile, Peppy's career goes from strength to strength and soon she's the studio's new 'It' girl, but are their paths destined to cross again?

Jean Dujardin is wonderful as Valentin, displaying the perfect combination of old-style movie star looks (he strongly resembles Gene Kelly), brilliant comic timing and impressive physicality; needless to say, his dancing scenes are a delight, though it's a shame there isn't a little more swashbuckling. Similarly, Bejo is utterly adorable as Peppy, generating strong chemistry with Dujardin and displaying a knockout smile that's genuinely infectious, while there's strong support from John Goodman as Valentin's producer. However, the film is almost completely stolen by Uggy the dog, who deservedly won the Canine D'Or in Cannes and who's nothing short of astonishing: the routine where Dujardin and Uggy mimic each others' actions at the dinner table to cheer up Doris is just one of several highlights.

Hazanavicius directs with an obvious affection for his material (the production design is impeccable) and the fabulous script is packed full of brilliant sight gags, fan-pleasing references to classic films and wonderful little details, while the final scene will have you grinning from ear to ear. In short, this is a complete and utter joy from beginning to end and I stand by the five star review I gave it at the time, despite the critical tendency to backlash once something becomes popular and wins Oscars. In a word, unmissable.

Extras (on both DVD and Blu-Ray) include: a 21 minute Making Of featurette, a 6 minute featurette on Hollywood as a Character; 12 minutes of grouped Behind the Scenes featurettes (production design, cinematography, costumes, music); a 45 minute Q&A with the cast and crew; and a lovely 2 minute blooper reel (COUGH available on YouTube COUGH) that shows that Uggy wasn't quite the wonder-dog the finished film leads you to believe.


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