Updates – Hollywood, Les Mis, and Car Show

I took a second trip to California (Long Beach nine years ago) last week. Took the Warner Bros. studio tour and went on a VIP passage through Universal Studios. Went on a few rides like Transformers 3D which was an advanced version of the Spider-Man amusement from Orlando, Florida. Had a great time while learning alot there.

On the last day, I saw Oz The Great and Powerful at the El Captan (with a magic show prior). There were just too many miscasts that couldn’t be ignored in retrospect. Johnny Depp (who was in the running) would’ve been better then James Franco (the stoner). But the biggest one was Meg Griffin (Mila Kunis) as The Wicked Witch. I’m sorry but screaming into the camera doesn’t make you scary. Margaret Hamilton (The Wizard of Oz) will always be the truly ugly one. Jackie’s co-star, Rachel Weiz (The Mummy) would’ve been better and they should’ve gotten somebody else to play The Witch of the East. The real heart and soul of this film came from Joey King as China Girl.

Now onto this year’s best picture so far. I was aware of the musical’s existence (the logo), but not acquainted with the original novel by Victor Hugo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). So, I was really interested in seeing this big screen adaptation. I found out later there was another one from 1994 starring Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, and Uma Thurman.

Hugh Jackman (outside the X-Men franchise) is awesome. As stated before, he can act, sing, and dance. When Anne Hathaway appeared on screen during “At the End of the Day“, Selina Kyle was still popping in my head. By about halfway through “I Dreamed a Dream“, that was all gone. Her levels of emotion blew my mind. She definitely deserved that Oscar for Best Supporting Actress unlike Argo which was okay at best but really didn’t warrant the Best Picture win. I felt Brian Cranston (Breaking Bad) was the only stand out performance that got snubbed for Supporting Actor.

I got teary-eyed when it was over. I’m able to handle any dark scenario that happens within a story. However, after relistening to “Epilouge” when I got back from the theatre, the imagery of Fantine’s spirit escorting Valjean to Heaven touched my heartstrings. I’ve never felt this much love, passion, and a sense of hope before in my life. As Hugh said in an interview, “Real Men Cry”. Hathaway and Jackman have so much chemistry (not that the groundwork wasn’t laid four years ago), they should star in more movies together.

I’ll admit Russell Crowe (Gladiator) was kinda ruff in the opening number, “Look Down‘ (going bug-eyed) but he got better as the film went on. So, I wasn’t a hater afterwards. The sound of him hitting the waterway in the suicide scene still echoes in my ears when I hear the end of this song.

Sacha Baron Cohen (the one trick pony) and Tim Burton’s wife (Helena Bonham Carter) did nothing for me as The Thénardiers. Alun Armstrong alongside Jenny Galloway (Madame) in the 10th Anniversary of the stage play were ten times better. The week after that I attended the International Auto Show at the Javits Center (where Comic Con resigns). There were some cool looking concept vehicles but I could’ve sworn I saw Samuel L. Jackson at one of the displays.