Misérables, Les

Director: Tom Hooper
Year Released: 2012
Rating: 2.0

Grotesquely embellished screen adaptation of Boublil and Schönberg's successful musical version of Hugo's notoriously lengthy novel once more has ex-con Valjean (Hugh Jackman, choice casting) squaring off against his timeless foil Javert (Russell Crowe, not so choice casting) and going on a long journey of redemption. Hooper, who directed the Best Picture-winning The King's Speech and did some work on British TV, decides to shove his wide-angle lenses in his performers' faces and have them sing straight into his cameras - as if that isn't annoying enough, he doesn't seem to quite have a handle on how to direct crowded sets, the editing is choppy and not all the vocalists in this can handle the task. To me, Raymond Bernard's 1934 film version of the Hugo text remains the definitive one; if you wish to see the dialogue sung (and a lot of omissions from the original story made), you're stuck with this.