“Les Miserables” film review

For whoever may care, the following is my review of the feature film adaptation of Les Miserables. Beware of spoilers!

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Anne Hathaway as Fantine

The past year of my life has involved Les Miserables quite a lot. I first watched the 25th anniversary DVD of “Les Mis” last winter, after which I had fallen in love with the music. Then, I saw the stage version of the show on October 20th. It was my first time seeing the show live, and I was utterly gob smacked!
Today, January 5, I went and saw the film version of this show that I have come to love so much. Overall, I think it is safe to say that I was fairly disappointed. However, there are some parts of it that I liked.

PROS

Samantha Barks as Eponine

Samantha Barks as Eponine

 

Acting: Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Samantha Barks (Eponine), and Eddie Redmayne (Marius) are the three actors that I thought did the best job in portraying their characters in the film. I have seen Samantha play Eponine before, so I knew she was going to do a fantastic job! She was the one casting choice that I was really excited about before I even saw the film! I knew Anne Hathaway did an amazing job in this film. I now understand all of the Oscar hype that has been surrounding her name lately. Eddie Redmayne was a pleasant surprise. My other favorite was Daniel Huttlestone as Gavroche. He was a scene stealer.
Singing: Anne, Samantha, and Eddie did a superb job.
Songs: Some people may not care for the new song “Suddenly,” but I found it endearing and a nice addition to the epic soundtrack.
Scenes/Moments: One of my favorite moments was getting to see Hadley Fraser (who has played many Les Mis roles on stage) donning a cheesy fake mustache as a soldier at the barricade. If only they would have given in a bigger role in the film! Also, I am so glad that they included Colm Wilkinson (the original Jean Valjean) in this film! Seeing him as the bishop was awesome! Another one of my favorite bits was when Javert takes the medal of his jacket and places it on Gavroche.

CONS
Acting: I don’t think I was necessarily disappointed by any of the acting, I just think different actors could have been chosen for some of the roles.
Singing: I think Hugh Jackman has done much better in other musicals I have seen him in (example: Oklahoma!). I felt like he was forced to sing in an uncomfortable key for this film; most of his singing seemed to be placed in his falsetto. I was also disappointed by Russell Crowe, though I think he sounded okay. I’ve just heard better Javerts.
Songs: The order in which the songs occur in the show were swapped around a bit in the film. What really upset me was that one of my favorite songs “A Little Fall of Rain” was shortened.
Scenes/Moments: The sewer scene was disgusting; I prefer the stage version of that scene.
Filming: Too many close-ups were used! They should have showed off the amazing sets more. Why spend so much money on the sets if you are going to display them?

That’s all I have to say for now. If I think of anything else I will add it in later. I would love to hear your opinions on the film too!

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A Tough Act to Follow(except on Twitter)

As an actor,  I feel it is important to follow other actors and entertainers on Twitter.  Here are ten actors that I feel are important for fellow acting hopefuls to follow.  They sure are a tough act to follow(except on Twitter).

   1) Darren Criss

At the age of 24, Darren has already achieved so much.  Darren was first introduced to the public when he co-founded a theatre company called StarKid Productions.  Through this company of University of Michigan classmates, Darren was first seen by millions of viewers on YouTube as a singing Harry Potter in “A Very Potter Musical”, for which he composed music.  Since then, Darren starred in  and wrote music for the sequel and composed the music for two other of the company’s shows.  He also appeared on the show Eastwick for a time.  However, Darren’s true fame arrived when he joined the cast of GLEE this season and premiered with a #1 single.  The great thing about Darren is that he hasn’t let the fame change him.  He is still true to himself and loyal to his friends.  He even took time away from shooting GLEE to visit the rest of StarKid in Chicago when they were putting on their newest production, “Starship”.  Being a singer, songwriter, and actor has made Darren a force to be reckoned with.  You can follow Darren here:  @DarrenCriss

2) Joey Richter

Like Darren, Joey is an original member of StarKid Productions.  At the age of 21, Joey is known around the world by Starkid fans.  He is mostly known for playing the Ron Weasley to Darren’s Harry Potter.  Joey has starred in all four of the company’s productions.  You can tell that he has a strong friendship with all the StarKid members as well.  I enjoy following Joey on Twitter because he always has something fun and interesting to say.  You can follow Joey here:  @JoeyRichter

from ppjumpping on flickr.com

3) Kaley Cuoco

Kaley has been on TV shows like 8 Simple Rules and Charmed, but she is most well known for playing Penny on The Big Bang Theory.  Kaley is very talented, and she has a great acting range.  I hope to some day have opportunities like she has had.  I enjoy following her because she seems to be very genuine and down to earth.  You can follow Kaley here:  @KaleyCuoco

from iCarly Downloads on flickr.com

4) Jerry Trainor

Jerry Trainor(pictured with costar Nathan Kress) is one of the best comedic actors of our time.  Jerry has been working for Nickelodeon since 2004.  First as a recurring character on Drake & Josh, and now he is one of the stars of the hit show iCarly.  Jerry’s antics are guaranteed to make anyone laugh.  His characters always provide comic relief, though he can also conquer dramatic scenes.  I admire Jerry because he has proven that you can be successful working for youth-geared television, and I think that I would like to work for Disney or Nickelodeon in the future.  I enjoy following Jerry on Twitter because he is just as funny in real life as he is on screen, minus the physical comedy of course.  You can follow Jerry here:  @jerrytrainor

courtesy of fanpop.com

5) Rainn Wilson

Rainn is most well-known for playing Dwight Schrute on The Office.  Rainn is also very intelligent which adds to the appeal of his Twitter account, as does his wit.  Rainn is very multi-faceted.  I love following Rainn on Twitter because he always has something funny or interesting to say.  You can follow Rainn here:  @rainnwilson

courtesy of femalefirst.co.uk

6) Steve Valentine

British actor, Steve Valentine, currently resides in LA.  He has been on many TV shows including Crossing Jordan, and Monk.  Steve currently stars on the DisneyXD show I’m in the Band.  Not only is Steve an actor, but he is also a professional magician and he often gets to perform magic on his shows.  Steve has a very wide range of acting talent as well.  Steve is a great person to follow on Twitter because he has been very successful so far.  You can follow him here:  @Stevevalentine

courtesy of davidhigham.co.uk

7) Stephen Fry

British actor, Stephen Fry, is known for many things in his native country.  In fact, some would consider him a national treasure.  Among all of his accomplishments, Stephen is most well-known for starring opposite Hugh Laurie in the TV series A Bit of Fry and Laurie.  Also, Stephen currently hosts a panel show called QI, on which he educates the panel and audience weekly about things that are “Quite Interesting”.  This shows allows Stephen to showcase his extreme intellect while keeping his sense of humor.  I really admire Stephen for both his acting and his intellegence.  I have learned so much from watching his show.  I like following Stephen on Twitter because he always has something interesting to say.  You can follow him here: @stephenfry

8 ) Jim Gaffigan

courtesy of socal.com

Jim Gaffigan is an actor and stand-up comedian.  Jim has been in many movies and TV shows.  He has also performed stand-up comedy for many years and he has sold lots of comedy albums.  He is most well-known for his comedy routine concerning Hot Pockets.  I enjoy following Jim on Twitter because his comic nature always appears in his tweets.  You can follow him here:  @JimGaffigan

courtesy of Freedom To Marry on flickr.com

9) Ellen Degeneres

Ellen has won 15 Emmys for her daytime talk show since it first premiered in 2003.  Ellen came out to the public in 1997, becoming the first openly-gay actor to portray an openly-gay character on prime-time television.  In this way she paved the way for others.  I admire Ellen because she always stands up for what she believes in.  It is Ellen’s courage, love of life, and sense of humor that draw people to her.  She even hosted her show from a hospital bed because she is so devoted to her job and her fans.  I love that she dances with her audience on every show.  Ellen is also a great stand-up comedian.  It is also evident from her Twitter that Ellen genuinely cares for everyone on staff for the Ellen Show.  I enjoy following Ellen on Twitter, because it is just one more channel for me to experience her humor.  You can follow her here: @TheEllenShow

10) Chris Colfer

courtesy of about.com

Chris Colfer will celebrate his 21st birthday this month, and he already possesses a Golden Globe Award, which he won this year.  He won the award for playing the role of Kurt Hummel on GLEE.  Chris is extremely talented.  Not only can he sing and dance, but watching his dramatic scenes on GLEE evokes gut-wrenching emotions in the viewers.  He is a powerhouse performer.  The other great thing about Chris is that he stays true to himself.  This is easy to see through his tweets.  You can follow him here:  @chriscolfer

Fun Stuff

Here are two video clips the first is of Darren Criss and Joey Richter performing on one of the Starkid shows, “A Very Potter Sequel”.  The second is of Stephen Fry on his show QI.  ENJOY!

Article Review #4

What article did I read?

I read an article about the new censorship laws in India. The article comes from The New York Times website.  The article is titled “India Puts Tight Leash on Internet Free Speech” and it was written by Vikas Bajaj.  The article can be found here:  http://tinyurl.com/443u4wt

courtesy of Gobinath Mallaiyam on flickr.com

What was the article about?

India has recently put new restrictions on the Internet use of its citizens.  “The new rules… allow officials and private citizens to demand that Internet service providers remove content they consider objectionable on the basis of a long list of criteria.”  This long list includes anything that “threatens the unity, integrity, defense, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign states or public order.”  The Indian government continues to add more restrictions to the already severely restricted concept of free expression.  The government has already found reason to “ban books, movies and other material about sensitive subjects like sex, politics, and religion.”  Now, the Indian government’s focus has moved to the Internet.

How does this tie into class discussions?

This article relates to class discussion because we were just talking about free speech and censorship in chapter 16.  The citizens of India are losing their freedom of speech and freedom of expression.  What will they lose next?

courtesy of dream photography on flickr.com

Why should media professionals care about this issue?

With more and more restrictions being put on Internet access in India, the citizens of that country could soon become detached from most world media.  Therefore, media professionals would lose job opportunities in India, and they would have to be sure to monitor what they release in India.

courtesy of wns08 on flickr.com

What is the Gen Y component to the media information?

The Indian members of Gen Y are losing access to what makes Gen Y what it is.  Gen Y is a generation of people dedicated to using technology and the Internet.  What will happen to the ones who can not use it?  The citizens of India who have such restricted access to the Internet will become less technologically advanced than those who have unrestricted access. 

Does this information change the current media landscape in anyway?

This information does change the current media landscape.  Many businesses that write software or create Web services are based in India.  What will happen to these companies if the restrictions increase?  At this rate, the companies will most likely eventually flounder.  Then there will be a shift in the balance of the world’s technology providers.


Fun Stuff

This video will probably be banned in India in the near future for some unknown reason, so you might as well enjoy it now.

International Student Interview

For my Survey of Professional Media class, I was asked to interview an international student.  I was asked to inquire about the differences in American media and the media of the student’s country.  So I decided to interview my friend and fellow theater student Oyunna Gavaasuren.

courtesy of oenvoyage on flickr.com

Mongolia vs. The United States

Oyunna is from the country of Mongolia, and she first came to the United states in January of 2007.  I asked Oyunna if she had created any assumptions of Americans based on our media before she came to the United States.   She replied, “When I was kid, Mongolian TV would show lot of American movies , so from those movies I got this basic idea of American families all live in nice big house, all drive expensive cars etc, and I was definitely expecting lots and lots of big, tall nice fancy buildings.”  Oyunna quickly learned that not all Americans are like what she expected them to be.

What ever happened to educational Television?

I also asked Oyunna if their were any similarities between media in Mongolia and media in the United States.  She said that their were some similarities, but the differences are more numerous.  Oyunna gave an example concerning the differences in television in both countries.  She said, “Media in Mongolia-is basically, they air more educational programs than reality shows or any soap operas, they would air programs that could actually help viewers to learn something new, like new languages, music instruments etc. ”  This made me wonder why America doesn’t have more educational programming.  I am certain that a great number of people would rather learn how to cook or play instruments, than watch another one of Snooki’s escapades.

courtesy of foto_morgana on flickr.com

Why all the food?

Oyunna also said, “Also, one thing i noticed is media in US would air lot of food commercials, and that, I think affects people a lot.  That is probably the main reason people eat more and more junk food, and having obesity.”  It is funny have you never notice something until a person with a fresh views points it out to you.  It is like when you stare at a word search puzzle forever trying to find the same word, and then another person looks at it and finds it right away.  This is how I feel about Oyunna noticing the food commercials.  As soon as she said it, I realized how right she was.  There really is a great number of food commercials.

courtesy of Emilavatar on flickr.com

Magazines

When I asked Oyunna about magazines, it seems that they differ just like the television programs do.  Oyunna said, “Magazines are also little different too, of course there is gonna be pictures of hot skinny models on those magazines, but however we dont fill those magazines with all gossips of celebrities! Instead we would put more news on fashion, or new cook recipe, new exercise etc so you actually spend your money, on something worth and something you could use later on.”

Final Thoughts

Oyunna had one final thing to add about the differences in our media: the use of profanity.  Oyunna said, ” Oh one more thing, I feel like all these reality shows, mostly, use lot of inappropriate words, and that is just something new to me.  You know?  I mean it’s good that people can express themselves, but I just think that there should be some limit.”  I completely agree.

Fun Stuff

Check out this video of a man playing a traditional Mongolian instrument.

If you would like to learn more about Mongolia, visit the country’s official tourism website http://mongoliatourism.gov.mn/

Ad Analysis

GEICO, the insurance company, has had many memorable commercials.  Many of these commercials involve a little, green gecko telling the viewers how to save money on insurance.  However,  I believe that the commercial starring the “little piggy” is much more memorable.  The commercial is memorable because it takes the “this little piggy went…” game, that most of us learned as children, to an entirely new level.  This commercial is bizarre, yet fun which is why people enjoy watching it.

Here is the commercial:

Analysis: What elements of “puffery” and deception can you find?

The deception is this commercial is the product placement.  The product, which is GEICO insurance, is only mentioned twice in the commercial.  The remainder of the time, the audience is just watching a little pig squealing.  The audience can become so involved in the commercial, that they completely forget what is being sold to them.

Analysis: What are the conventional persuasive strategies used?

The conventional persuasive strategy utilized in this commercial is “plain folks”. Since the commercial does not utilize any of the other five strategies, “plain folks” is the most likely. This commercial uses “plain folks” to appeal to the everyman.  Sure, not everyone drives a talking pig around, but I am sure they have driven children that act in much the same way.  I was once part of a carpool with such a child.  GEICO also uses the “this little piggy went…” game, which is known to most people, as the basis of their commercial. Since it is a game that most people learned during their childhood, this commercial can appeal to a broad audience.

courtesy of advertlover.com

Analysis: What is the ad really selling?

I believe that the little piggy ad from GEICO is selling annoyance.  Just as the mom driving the car in the commercial becomes annoyed, so to will the audience.  The audience will become so annoyed that they will be driven to buy insurance just to shut up the little piggy.

Placement: Was the placement of the ad effective in reaching the ad’s target market?

GEICO’s little piggy ad usually airs during prime-time television hours.  The people watching prime-time television shows are usually of driving-age.  Which means that the people that need car insurance are more than likely seeing the little piggy commercial.  So, yes, the placement of the ad is effective in reaching it’s target market.

Placement: Did you buy the product after seeing this ad?

No, I have not bought GEICO insurance.  I am currently on an insurance plan with my family, so I have no need to buy insurance by myself at the present moment.  However, who knows what the future will bring?

Fun Stuff

You can also follow the GEICO piggy on Facebook here:   http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Geico-Piggy/139332126099323

And if you are interested, GEICO’s official website can be found here: www.geico.com


Article Review #3

What article did I read?

I read an article about the current advertising change for Aflac.  The article is titled Aflac and Monster Team Up to Find a Duck’s Voice, and it was written by Stuart Elliot.  You can find the article here: http://tinyurl.com/4o4rxlc

What was the article about?

Gilbert Gottfried (courtesy of Flickr.com)

Gilbert Gottfried, who has been the voice of the Aflac duck for many years, was fired last week because of some jokes that he posted on his Twitter account.  The jokes were about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which Aflac “deemed insensitive”.  Since Mr. Gottfried was fired, Aflac has been airing a silent commercial, originally from 2005, while they search for a new voice for the duck.

Aflac has teamed up with Monster.com to find a replacement for Mr. Gottfried.  The two companies have launched a nation-wide search/competition to find a new voice for the duck.  More details about the competition can be found on Aflac’s Facebook page.  The competition is open to everyone, both amateurs and professionals.  The competition will run through April 1st, and the winner will become the new voice of the duck.

The Silent Commercial

How does this tie into class discussions?

Advertising is one of the topics of which we have been discussing in class.  Aflac is currently in the midst of restructuring their entire advertising scheme.

Why should media professionals care about this issue?

This issue is important because media professionals who go into advertising could have a similar situation to deal with some day.  Advertisers must be able to think and create a new ad campaign at a moments notice.

What is the Gen Y component to the media information?

Aflac commercials have been around for many years of Generation Y’s lifetime.  The Aflac duck is a icon, especially with Gilbert’s voice.  Now, Generation Y is getting a chance to become the new duck through social networking sites, like Facebook and YouTube, which have become a big part of our culture.  Since Generation Y is so tech savvy, they will have a better chance at entering the competition then some of the older generations.

Does this information change the current media landscape in any way?

The Aflac duck and his voice have become a media icon in recent years.  Some children will even say “Aflac!” when they see a white duck.  So, the fact that the duck is going to get a new voice could impact the media landscape.  In what way exactly?  Well, that is something that we will just have to wait to find out.

Who will be the new duck?

(courtesy of Flickr.com)


Adapting to New Media: Local Television News

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