Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: cirque du soleil, friends, movie, movies

Like I haven’t had enough stuff to keep me busy, what with all the “glitter gigs,”
the Home Shows and getting ready for Christmas. Most people would kick back
& relax on the day after Christmas. But not us… we had planned a great day of fun
with some of my friends!!!

Pam & I met up with Sarah & Julie for breakfast at “Yolk” downtown in the Streeterville
neighborhood. We all had stories to share about our Christmas adventures and some
-adventures for others. Besides hanging out with friends, the highlight was the pancakes
we ordered as our group appetizer! They were multigrain pancakes with granola & blueberries
mixed into the batter, then sliced bananas & honey on top! So yummy, that I got another
stack of them with my omelet!!!

Cirque du Soleil : Worlds Away 3-D
Next, Pam and I met up with Nancy and we made it to the new Cirque du Soleil movie.
It was beautifully filmed – and the 3D effects were not too over-the-top like most movies.
The film has a very loose plot following a couple as they try to find each other while traveling
through the “worlds” of the permanent Cirque du Soleil shows that are in Las Vegas. After
awhile, I must admit that it seemed a little like a travelog advertisement to get you to go to
Vegas! The movie was beautiful, but being at the actual show is SO much better!!!
But if you can’t make it to Las Vegas, by all means, go see the movie!
Click here for the official Cirque du Soleil : Worlds Away 3-D movie trailer.

The three of us had some time to kill in between movies, so we went to the Grand Luxe Cafe
for lunch. I had never been there before, nor did I know that it was a “kitchen cousin” of
The Cheesecake Factory. So we sat around, relaxed and had some good food. Again, sharing
stories of our Christmases and plans for the New Year. But it was a little hard to focus…
I was too anxious for what was next…

Les Miserables
Finally. The highlight of the day that I had been waiting forever for!
My FAVORITE musical ever has finally made it to the silver screen. Sure, there are other
movie versions of “Les Miserables.” But none of them are the movie version of the stage
musical production! Which has always been my favorite. So I was just a little more than
excited to finally see it. We got to the theater a little early to make sire we got good seats.
And we did… smack dab in the middle!!! The commercials & previews seemed to go on
forever. When you finally hear the first few notes of the musical, my heart skipped a beat.
And I was mesmerized for the duration of the show. Which is fantastic!!!
Sure, it’s no replacement for seeing it live on stage, but it is a whole ‘nother version of it
with all of the grandeur & spectacle. It definitely did not disappoint.

Overall, it was incredible. When Anne “Fantine” Hathaway sings “I Dreamed A Dream”
towards the beginning of the movie, I had goosebumps and was choking back the tears.
Her performance was incredible. As was Hugh Jackman as “Jean Valjean.” He did an
incredible job of telling his story, singing the demanding songs and aging through the film.
Also loved Helena Bonham Carter & Sacha Barn Cohen as the Thenardiers. Brilliant casting.
Actualy, I think most of the casting was spot-on, and all of the voices were great. With one
exception… okay, I’ve never been a fan, I’ve never figured quite out his appeal, and I was
fearful of his singing abilities… not to mention any names…
Russell Crowe. For those of us
who have been fans for so many years, and have memorized every word to every song, you
know that the role of Javert is pretty strong. For some reason, Russell Crowe never quite
showed any depth or emotion, and his singing was fairly monotone as well. I kept waiting
for him to open up and belt out my second-favorite song “Stars.” But he never did. It wasn’t
until his “final” scene that there was some emotion in his singing voice. Finally.
But by then, it’s too late if you know what I mean…

But still… my favorite is Eponine. With “Les Miz” stage actress Samantha Barks securing
the role instead of some big Hollywood name, she delivered on all accounts. And when she
sings my favorite song of the entire show, “On My Own,” I must admit there were more than
a few tears welling up. Brilliant… so brilliant, that here’s a little sneak peek for you…
Click here for the Eponine “On My Own” version of the movie trailer.

So there it is. Finally. A beautiful film version of the stage musical “Les Miserables.”
And well worth the wait. I can’t wait to see it again. My only other “complaint” besides
Russell Crowe was how dark the film was. Sure, I know it’s supposed to be dark & moody.
But there were times when it seemed that the film was so dark that it was a little tough to see
what was going on?! Sure, a lot happens at night, I get it. But there are also some movie-
making tricks they could have used to I could at least see the characters singing. I’m just sayin’.

Also, so much has been said about how, for the first time, all of the actors in the movie are
singing live as they are being filmed. No dubbing. No sound stage mixing. How every word in
every scene was recorded live, along with breathing, background noises.
Click here for a special featurette about the special recording process for “Les Miserables.”

It’s also a great testament to the movie of how silent it was during the entire film. No rustling.
No candy wrappers. And oddly no singing. I found myself quietly mouthing the words. But it
was SO incredibly quiet that I didn’t feel that my singing would be appreciated. Totally silent…
until the very end when the audience applauded for the film! Serious applause. There aren’t
many films I’ve been too where the theater audience breaks out into applause.
It was that good.

So, all in all, It was a very long day. But SO much fun packed in along the way!!!
Squeezing in as much as I could with friends after the Christmas hustle & bustle.
Chatting, sharing stories & hanging out with Pam, Sarah, Julie & Nancy. So much fun.
Seeing two of my passions make it to the Big Screen. Not being disappointed by either one!
A great day…
                     … and now I need to see “Les Miserables” again !!!

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