Two potentially massive films will debut this year on Christmas Day. They are “Les Miserables” and “Django Unchained.” Let’s put these two contenders in the ring together.
Decisions, decisions. Which film will reel you in? We’ll kick things off by examining “Les Miserables.”
As a musical, “Les Mis,” based upon Victor Hugo’s classic novel, has become highly cherished. I, for one, sing along every time I see the trailer for the new film.
Is the story a sad one? Well, yeah. You can read that right from the film title. But there are plenty of reasons to see this film.
Director Tom Hooper is doing something revolutionary with “Les Mis.” This is the first musical film in which the actors are not lip-synching on camera. Usually, the actors would record their voices in a studio, shoot the film months later and lip-synch to the recording. Not so here. This time, Hugh Jackman, as Jean Valjean, Anne Hathaway as Fantine and the rest of the cast are listening to the music in earpieces as they are filmed singing on the set. The results reportedly are raw, rich performances. I’ve heard Hathaway will simply break your heart — in a good way!
But what about “Django Unchained?” This Quentin Tarantino flick likely won’t be for the faint of heart. It’ll probably be violent and a fair bit offensive. So what’s the allure? For one thing, this is the first time I can remember Leonardo DiCaprio playing a villain. For another, there’s always an element of art in the more memorable Tarantino films, and this one is already being called his best work since “Pulp Fiction.”
Still undecided? Well, Google the “Funny or Die” video in which Hathaway and “Django” co-star Samuel L. Jackson go toe-to-toe over which film is the saddest of the season. Warning: the video contains profanity.
If you haven’t seen anything convincing you to head to the movies this holiday season, don’t forget that “The Hobbit” is in theaters, and the comedy “This is 40” opens today, as does Oscar contender “The Impossible.” Starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, it’s the true story of a family’s Christmas vacation in Thailand when the 2004 tsunami strikes.
I hope you found a winner in the bunch.
McBrayer’s column appears weekly in the Courier. Watch reviews at www.coastalcourier.com.