You might not think that Bob Fosse’s Cabaret and Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables would have much in common. They hardly seem comparable aesthetically, narratively, or musically. Yet during a recent viewing of Fosse’s classic film (out on Blu-ray today), I was struck by a not-so-distant kinship between these stage-to-screen musicals. Les Mis and Cabaret don’t just present a movie to their viewers. They welcome us in directly, intimately immersing us in the action.
Cabaret literally (actually literally) invites us in. The film begins with The Kit Kat Klub’s Master of Ceremonies (Joel Grey) looking directly at us before launching into a song welcoming us and the club’s audience. Cabaret knows we’re there and doesn’t want us to linger at the threshold. It symbolically sits us down in the Kit Kat Klub. Throughout “Willkommen” (and almost every subsequent musical number) the camera becomes us — an audience member constantly roaming around to get the best view. Cabaret goes on to extend that sense of our presence to the entire movie. The audience is made to be an omnipresent voyeur, living inside the film, while fostering an intimate and immersive connection with the characters and story.
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Les Miserables managed to beat out Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained at the Christmas Day box office, bringing in an estimated $17.5 million and setting records for both the highest opening day for a musical and the top weekday Christmas opening of all time. Several of the performances in the film — particularly Anne Hathaway’s gut-wrenching portrayal of poor, fallen Fantine and Hugh Jackman as the redeemed criminal, Jean Valjean — have been getting some serious Oscar buzz. Yet, Tom Hooper’s epic adaptation of the beloved Broadway musical currently has a 63% fresh rating among top critics on Rotten Tomatoes. So what gives?
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1. American music legend Arthel “Doc” Watson — the blind guitarist who helped pioneer the folk revival of the early 1960s, and won eight Grammys over the course of his career — has died at the age of 89. Read his New York Times obituary here.
2. The first teaser trailer for Tom… Read More
Recently, we found out that Sacha Baron Cohen is slated to play Monsieur Thénardier in The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper’s upcoming film adaptation of popular Broadway musical Les Misérables. Now, we love Sacha Baron Cohen as much as the next guy, and we know he can sing, but we can’t help but think he’s altogether too goofy for the role. Other than Cohen, so far Eddie Redmayne is signed on for Marius, Anne Hathaway for Fantine, Hugh Jackman as Valjean and Russell Crowe as Javert — all adding up to a group that we have mixed feelings about at best. To soothe our souls, we decided to put together a dream cast for the Les Misérables movie, and just for fun, we’ve decided to pick only from proper singers, and just resolve to hope that they can act. Click through to see our picks for Cosette, Javert, Fantine and the rest, and let us know which musicians you’d love to see in the classic roles in the comments.
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1. Exciting news for those of us who didn’t score tickets: Pitchfork has announced that it will stream LCD Soundsystem’s final show ever at Madison Square Garden on April 2nd. It will be a one-time only broadcast and will not be replayed.
2. Word is that Oscar winning-director Tom Hooper is close to… Read More