I get swept up with film awards season as much as the next film-obsessed person, especially when something awesome and independent is recognized (ie Beasts of the Southern Wild). But I am frustrated by the celebration of films that are frankly mediocre (ie Les Miserables). I guess there’s one every year, and many films that deserve recognition but don’t receive it (Moonrise Kingdom, Hitchcock), and I should just get over it… but after the Golden Globes, and Hugh Jackman’s win for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, I must say my piece.
I went to see Les Miserables despite almost universally bad reviews because I needed to know just how bad it was, and whether I would be able to justify playing it at Images. I was a big fan of the musical in my teen years, and still know the words to some of the songs. The trailer was great and gave me hope, but the poor reviews gave me a sinking feeling, and with good reason. It was hard to sit through it, Hugh Jackman’s singing was just so bad. This surprised me, because I thought he was fine in Australia (but maybe I was distracted by his crazy Wolverine abs). I don’t know enough about singing to articulate exactly why it was so bad, but I know that it wasn’t good. Ann Hathaway’s rendition of I Dreamed a Dream was moving, but accounts for about 3 minutes out of an almost three hour film. Eddie Redmayne was surprisingly good, but not good enough to outweigh Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe’s consistent presence onscreen and in our ears. I could not book this film in good conscience.
But because it’s a film with major stars and has somehow managed to be nominated for buckets of awards this year, people are flocking it see it, and not going to see movies that are actually good, but haven’t been leading the nomination pack (ie Hitchcock).
My recommendation: see Hitchcock at Images Cinema this week (through Thursday only), and skip Les Mis. I still can’t look at a picture of Hugh Jackman’s face without some experiencing some ear pain.
Hitchcock is a fun, well-made film with plenty of star power (Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel). I especially enjoyed its playful use of horror film techniques to tell it’s domestic story of Hitch and Alma’s marriage. My husband and I are planning to watch Psycho as soon as we can get it from the library!