Les Miserables (2012)
I had put off seeing this, but finally saw it a few days ago over the course of two evenings. The break was necessitated by frustration. But lets start with the good. There is some great cinematography (scenes of places, rarely of people). Anne Hathaway was deserving of the Oscar. She is both dramatically good and sings well. Normally, I'd prefer singers who can act, but she does ok (as an actor who sings), even if others could do better. Epinine is ok too. Cosette and Marius are mixed. They look nice and capture the flavor well, but neither is a strong singer. I think that's about it.
Russell Crowe is horribly mis-cast. He can't sing. And when he does, it's like he's so worried about the pitch that the words come out with no inflection - just flat. His acting seems affected by this too - totally wooden. A major disappointment, considering how rich a role it could be. Hugh Jackman isn't at his best here. I've heard him sing much better than this. He seems strained a lot, and his vibrato irritates me. His acting is ok, but it's not enough to save things. The roles of the Thernardiers seems overdone. I get why, but they seem more grotesque than funny or a release for the drama in the rest of the story. Bonham Carter just doesn't have much to say and seems wasted to me.
Cinematically, the movie spends so much time looking up their nostrils when they sing (meaning, lots of really close close ups). What's up with that? Was the Director doing research on nostril hair? Very unoriginal for the most part. The only exception is Hathaway/Fontine's I Dreamed A Dream, where you can see all the different emotions/feelings/expressions flash across her face as she sings the words. Maybe they were trying to do this with everyone else too, but it rarely worked and was often thoroughly intrusive/uncomfortable (especially the men with beards - Jackman and Crowe mostly). it does work better with Epinine, Marius and Cossette, but the constant repetition of this technique was maddening. Sometimes less is more.
Anyway, if you like the show, you might still get some enjoyment out of it, but it should have been so much better considering the source material. Next time, maybe they will get singers first and actors second if they are going to adhere so strictly to the musical.