Posts Tagged ‘Adam Lambert’

Weekend Oscar Battle: “Zero Dark Thirty” or “Les Miserables”

There are nine movies nominated for “Best Picture” in this year’s Oscar race.  After going to the movies yesterday for a double feature, I’ve now seen five of the nine.  Interestingly enough, the only one of the nine that I really have no desire to see is “Django Unchained”, but I’ll check it out when it’s released on DVD.

With popcorn and Coke Zero (with a splash of Cherry Coke) in hand, we grabbed our seats for “Zero Dark Thirty”.

zero-dark-thirty

This Kathryn Bigelow-directed spy thriller, which is nominated for five Oscars, takes us along on the painstaking search and execution of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The movie begins on September 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  Those attacks led to the murder of more than 3,000 Americans and kicked off  “the story of history’s greatest manhunt for the world’s most dangerous man.”

While a very talkative movie, Bigelow and writer Mark Boal, who was also at the helm of the 2010 Oscar winner, “The Hurt Locker”, gives you a thorough history lesson that didn’t make it feel like you were in school.

When we first see Best Actress nominee Jessica Chastain, she’s a quiet, mousy CIA agent observing torture techniques to get information on al-Qaeda.  As the search for bin Laden drags on for almost ten years, we see her become a confident, assertive agent that gave the government the ammunition it needed to convince the president to order the U.S. Navy SEALs to go in and take bin Laden out.

The movie is being criticized in some circles as being pro-torture.  Yes, we see several scenes of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, starvation, physical abuse, and psychological torture with one prisoner being naked in front of his captors.  While the scenes were tough to watch and you did feel compassion toward the Middle Eastern detainee being interviewed, the reality of the situation is that 3,000+ Americans were killed and the U.S. needed information to prevent another 9/11 attack.

Jason Clarke was superb as the aforementioned interrogator.  The acting in the movie is top-notch.

The movie is more than 2 1/2 hours long, but once the order is given to storm bin Laden’s compound in Pakistani darkness, you’re sitting on your seat and you hold your breath to see how the operation will go down.

GRADE:  B+

les mis

As most of you already know, “Les Miserables”, or “Les Mis” is now a movie and Broadway musical based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel about Frenchman Jean Valjean, who served 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed starving relatives..

Once Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is released from prison, he breaks his parole and a police inspector, Javert (Russell Crowe) dedicates his life to track down Valjean and put him back in prison.  In the course of redemption, Valjean becomes a factory owner and the mayor and he rescues the child, Cosette, of one of his dying factory workers, Fantine.  (That’s not a spoiler if you know anything about “Les Mis”.)

Hugh Jackman received a Best Actor nomination and Anne Hathaway is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her heartbreaking performance of poor, dying prostitute Fantine.  Although her time in the movie is limited, when she performs “I Dreamed A Dream”, I was ready to give her the Oscar right then!

Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen were amazing as the lying, cheating, unconscionable Thenardiers.  Their comic relief was needed in a very bleak and depressing movie.

Now, since this is a musical, I have to mention the singing.  Instead of singing along to pre-recorded tracks and lip synching, the actors were required to sing live with piano accompaniments.  The orchestra was added in post-production.

Anne Hathaway and Samantha Barks (adult Eponine) were spectacular and Amanda Seyfried (adult Cosette) is just as captivating as she was in “Mamma Mia”.  Hugh Jackman has done many productions that required singing, so he did a great job, too.  I was also pleasantly surprised with the singing voices of Eddie Redmayne (Marius) and Aaron Tveit (Enjolras).  Even Oscar winner Russell Crowe, while not a spectacular singer, was acceptable.  Let’s just say he’s no Pierce Brosnan in the “Mamma Mia” movie!

However, singer Adam Lambert of “American Idol” fame was very critical of the singing in the movie.

Adam Lambert

While I like Adam and I have his latest album, I thought that was a little harsh.  I mean they all can’t be “American Idol” winners.  Oh wait, neither were you!

The “Les Mis” soundtrack is the #1 album in America and, in just the first ten days of release, it has already outsold Adam’s last album, “Trespassing”, in the U.S., which was released eight months ago.  And, yesterday, it was reported that Adam Lambert was dropped/parted ways from his label.  So, I guess he shouldn’t be too bitchy about the singing in “Les Miserables”.

My favorites numbers in the movie for those that have seen it are:  “I Dreamed A Dream” (Hathaway), “Master of the House”  (Bonham Carter, Baron Cohen, & Cast), “ABC Cafe/Red and Black” (Redmayne, Tveit, & Students), “On My Own” (Barks), Russell Crowe’s final song (giving you the title would be a spoiler!), and “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” (Redmayne)

While “Les Mis” was nominated for eight Academy Awards this year, after seeing the movie, I’m very shocked that director Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech) was snubbed for a Best Director Oscar nomination, along with director Ben Affleck of “Argo”.

“LES MIS” EXTRA — SAMANTHA BARKS “ON MY OWN”

GRADE:  A-

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They Said What??? The Pope, Mike Huckabee, & Matt Damon

POPE BENEDICT XVI

(quoted in his upcoming, “World Day of Peace” celebrated by the Catholic Church on New Year’s Day):  “There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.”

FAILED PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FOX NEWS MOUTHPIECE MIKE HUCKABEE

“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools.  Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

IOWA ACTIVIST ZACH WAHLS

“To be clear, I don’t blame responsible gun owners for this at all.  We need stricter and more deliberate background checks, more affordable and accessible mental health programs and, as a society, to ask serious questions about our fascination with violence generally.”

DR. MICHAEL FARRIS, CHANCELLOR AND FOUNDER OF PATRICK HENRY COLLEGE (PURCELLVILLE, VIRGINIA)

“It’s simple, really. Homosexuals can’t exist at Patrick Henry College because the students sign an honor code. [Homosexuals] could not sign our honor code.”

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON

(who is stepping down in January):  “I just want to see what else is out there. I’ve been doing … this incredibly important and … satisfying work here in Washington, as I say, for 20 years. I want to get out and spend some time looking at what else I can do to contribute.”

U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA

“If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”

MORE SCALIA

(on the Constitution):  “It isn’t a living document. It’s dead, dead, dead, dead.”

SINGER ADAM LAMBERT

“The way I look at it is everybody should have the right to get married, if they so choose.  Right now, personally, I’m not really thinking about marriage. When I grew up, I didn’t ever think marriage was even something that would be part of my reality. Now that that’s something new and that’s becoming totally accepted, it’s a different world.”

“GREY’S ANATOMY”, “PRIVATE PRACTICE” AND “SCANDAL” CREATOR SHONDA RHIMES

(responding to the tweet, “why all the gay people on your shows”):  “Because I believe everyone should get to see themselves reflected on TV. EVERYONE. And because I love all my gay and lesbian friends. AND because I think same-sex marriage is the civil rights fight of our era and back when being a person of color was the civil rights fight, people like Norman Lear put black people on TV and helped change some minds. So you know, it’s gotta be paid forward. As long as we are willing to sit by while one person is not free, none of us are free. And FINALLY: because as long as someone feels like it is okay to ask the question “why all the gay people on your shows”, then there is still a HUGE problem that needs to be solved. It’s like asking “Why all the black people on your shows”. (Which is, in fact, why there are also a lot of people of color on my shows . Cause people keep asking. Like it’s unusual. Which means we have a LONG way to go). Okay, done preaching.”

ACTOR MATT DAMON

“I never denied those rumors because I was offended and didn’t want to offend my friends who were gay — as if being gay were some kind of f**king disease…the whole thing was just gross.  But look, there have been great signs of progress — the fact that Anderson Cooper and Ellen DeGeneres can come out so beautifully and powerfully, and it’s a big f**king deal that it turns out nobody gives a shit. If Liberace were alive today, everybody would love his music and nobody would care what he did in his private life.”

MORE FROM DAMON

(about playing Liberace’s lover in the upcoming movie, “Liberace”):  “Normally I’d say no to nudity, but I just did a lot of it playing the long-term partner of Liberace.  I mean, it’s tastefully done. … But this movie’s not going to be for everyone.  I had to come out of the pool, go over to Michael Douglas, straddle him on a chaise lounge and start kissing him.  It’s not like I kiss him just once. We drew it up like a football plan.”

Anthony

 

They Said What??? Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, The Pope, Madonna, & Lady Gaga

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY

“When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem.”

VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE PAUL RYAN

(on not re-instating “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”):   “Now that it’s done, we should not reverse it. I think that would be a step in the wrong direction because people have already disclosed themselves. I think this issue is past us. It’s done. And I think we need to move on.”
RYAN AGAIN
(to a Cincinnati, Ohio crowd):  “The things you talk about like traditional marriage and family and entrepreneurship.  These aren’t values that are indicative to any one person or creed or color. These are American values, these are universal human values.”
JOHN BOLTON, MITT ROMNEY’S FOREIGN POLICY ADVISOR
(using a derogatory term toward gay men over President Obama’s Libya response):  “The US is viewed under Obama as weak, as Sen. McCain said, as declining in influence dramatically in the Middle East, pulling out of Iraq, intending to pull out of Afghanistan, having a limp wristed reaction to the assassination of four American diplomats.”

SINGER ADAM LAMBERT

(about Paris Hilton anti-gay/AIDS comments last week):  “I’m not touching that one. She’s not worth it.”

CHICK-fil-A COO DAN CATHY

“There continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago. That is incorrect. Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been.”

POPE BENEDICT XVI

(speaking to French bishops at the Vatican): “Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is injurious to society itself. [The family] is threatened in many places by a faulty conception of human nature that is proven to be defective. Defending life and the family in society isn’t retrograde, rather it’s prophetic. The Church must promote those values that permit the full development of the human person.”

LADY GAGA

(responding to the Pope): “I think that gay marriage is going to happen. It must. We are not actually equal — humanity — if we are not allowed to freely love one another…What the Pope thinks of being gay does not matter to the world. It matters to the people who like the Pope and follow the Pope. … It is not a reflection of all religious people.”

MADONNA

(in concert in Washington DC):  “Y’all better vote for f–king Obama, OK? For better or for worse, all right? We have a black Muslim in the White House. Now that’s some amazing s–t.  It means there is hope in this country. And Obama is fighting for gay rights, so support the man, goddamnit.”

RESPONDING TO THE UPROAR MADONNA RELEASED THIS STATEMENT:  “I was being ironic on stage. Yes, I know Obama is not a Muslim – though I know that plenty of people in this country think he is. And what if he were?  The point I was making is that a good man is a good man, no matter who he prays to. I don’t care what religion Obama is – nor should anyone else in America.”

Anthony