Review c/ped from esteven
I keep forgetting to mention that I'd seen Les Mis
For context, I haven't read the book, or seen/heard the musical before, but have seen the 1998 movie a bunch of times.
I found the sung dialogue disconcerting at first. I'm used to musicals where everyone talks normally, then there's songs, not singing all the time. I got used to it pretty quickly though. The pacing suffered in the same way that the Neeson version did, where they had to really rush a couple sections, with show piece bits stuck in the middle. The story didn't really get started until Fontine's first scene, then rush rush rush after she died up to Paris and the students.
I can't say I was a huge fan of Jackman's singing, though he emoted well. It just sounded sharp or something? I didn't hate it, but his songs weren't my favourites. I thought Hathaway was spectacular, and I really liked the Tenardiers, especially Eponine. The parents were also a fun (if super cynical) break from all the doom and gloom. I still don't care about Marius (or Cosette, especially), but the rest of the students were well done. I really liked the "I Have Heard the People Sing" number, both at the funeral and in the final scene; it made me cry both times.
I loved Crowe. I thought his singing was great, and I don't know why people didn't like it. Some people commented that he seemed to be focusing more on hitting his notes than acting, but I thought a less emotive style suited the character. I had a difficult time rooting against Javert, because CAPTAIN JACK!!!!!! But I also thought that he was played tragically and sympathetically. I really liked the competing versions of Christianity between Javert and Valjean. That wasn't in the 1998 movie as much, and it really helped here, I think.
Overall, I probably prefer the Neeson version, but thought this was very good.cruisedirector
has been writing fun bits of J/V, notably Five Times Javert Failed To Commit Suicide
and Ten Times It Was Not Javert's Fault
, crack certainly but also lovely and really showing off what one can do with drabble form.
February is the wasteland of cinema. I really don't think there's anything else running that I want to see.
I also finished a couple books, that I've forgotten to mention.The Hammer And The Cross: A New History Of The Vikings by Robert Ferguson
Going into this, I knew next to nothing about the Vikings, other than what most people do (793 And All That). For the most part, it was a fascinating read. I'd say I learned a lot, and the massive amount of information, names and dates was presented well enough for me to follow what was going on with one or two exceptions.
I liked how he broke down the history by region then by period, so you could follow one set of characters for a while without bringing 40 other people (inevitably named Herald or Olaf) into the picture. The chapters on the causes of the Viking Age, the Volga Vikings, the Settlement of Iceland, and the raids on Muslim Spain were especially interesting. I also liked the stories about individual Vikings and bits of poetry. There's a lot of quoted text here, often from sagas or chronicles.
I did find the chapters on Danelaw in England somewhat confusing. With so many related characters going back and forth over the same ground so many times, it really didn't hold my interest. Also, all his citations were in Norwegian (?), so it makes tracking down further reading difficult for an English speaker.
Would recommend to anyone who wants to learn Viking basics. It certainly made me interested to read some of the sagas quoted in the book.Wilful Impropriety: 13 Tales of Society, Scandal and Romance edited by Ekaterina Sedia
Excellent collection of reasonably diverse stories. As with all themed collections, a couple of the stories didn't do much for me, but mostly I found the highly enjoyable and interesting. It had a nice mix of steampunk, Victorian-era stories, and historical urban fantasy.
I was pleased at how many queer characters, men and women, were in this collection. Probably an over-abundance of white characters but not entirely, and a mix of social classes though it did tend to upper class. It also tended to "getting married at 17 will solve everything," which was one way to go at the time, I guess, and the romances were often unconventional, but I found the book a little romance heavy.
Having said all that makes me sound like I did not like it, and I really did. There were cross-dressing adventures, and women solving things by being the smartest person in the room, and adorable gay girls falling in love, and friendship between women, sisters getting along, and strong feelings about loyalty, and The Secret Garden
fan fiction (and I'm preeeetty sure
Doctor Who fic with the serial numbers rubbed off).
I would recommend this collection if you like YA romance, steampunk or girl adventurers. Beacon of Love by Ann Roberts
I have yet to finish this one, though I do kind of want to out of morbid curiosity. One of the other lightkeepers lent it to me, and I was all, a lighthouse-themed lesbian romance novel, what more could I want?
Erm, yeah. So here's the thing, I don't know how old Ann Roberts is, but I strongly suspect she's of my parent's generation, which would be fine, if she were setting the book in 1983, but she's writing about a hip young lesbian in Seattle in 2009. She "twitters" to her followers. As of about half way through the book, no one had suggested that the woman who had left her husband, and had both male and female affairs might be bisexual, she had to be straight or gay. This is the same character who had really liberal and understanding parents, grew up in coastal Oregon in the '90s, and still insisted on having a heterosexual freakout ever three pages. Also there was a plot wherein one character had to become straight to inherit from her mother, which is... probably not legally binding? It just felt super dated and clunky. I do want to lay hands on that book again, just to see what happens.