Local critics split on 'Les Miserables,' 'Django Unchained'

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The long-awaited movie musical adaptation of "Les Miserables," starring Hugh Jackman, and Quentin Tarantino's revenge fantasy "Django Unchained" are among the high-profile releases new in theaters Christmas Day.

Chris Hewitt of the Pioneer Press was riveted by Anne Hathaway's supporting turn as Fantine, and especially by her "fiery" performance of "I Dreamed a Dream." He finds fault, though, in many of Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper's decisions, like filming much of the movie in close-ups, saying it robs the musical of its epic quality.

While he says the film isn't revolutionary, Hewitt adds that fans of the musical will not want to "miz it."

Colin Covert of the Star Tribune, meanwhile, says "after decades of promises and delays," the film was "worth every minute of it."

He doesn't find any fault in Hooper's use of the camera, saying the "cast is inspired, delivering showstopping arias in tight, sustained close-ups."

Here's my take on both "Les Miserables" and "Django Unchained" on WCCO radio.

See the trailer for "Les Miserables" below.

Covert was equally as enthused in his Star Tribune review of Tarantino's Spaghetti Western homage "Django Unchained," a bloody action adventure about a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) who teams with a freed slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) to rescue Django's wife (Kerry Washington) from a vicious plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Despite the brutality, "Django" also has many comedic moments, leading Covert to declare it "a hell-for-leather hoot."

He also praises the film's stars, saying the "Oscar-winning leads are a dream team," and lauds Tarantino for making "an old-fashioned genre fresh and interesting."

Hewitt in his Pioneer Press review, on the other hand, says "Django" is the "first Tarantino film that feels tired," saying the "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill" writer-director "has made the same movie again."

He also chides Tarantinos saying, "enough, already, with the juvenile revenge fantasies."

See the trailer for "Django Unchained" below.

Bring Me The News news curator Tim Lammers is also a nationally-syndicated movie journalist whose work appears on more than 50 TV affiliate websites in the U.S. Tim has interviewed more than 1,000 major actors and filmmakers throughout his career, and locally, he reviews films on "KARE 11 Today" and WCCO Radio. Tim's work is also featured on his website, StrictlyCinema.com.

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