Thursday, January 3, 2013


Les Miserables has certainly had its version in film as a non-musical, on Broadway as a musical and can now be enjoyed at a favorite movie theatre near you in a star studded in-your-face musical.   In fact, if you take advantage of viewing it at the AMC Theatre in Fresh Meadows (Horace Harding Expressway and 190th Street) , your reserved seat is a plush reclining chair (reclines to various positions) with a cup holder.  So relaxing that it is best not to go if you haven’t had a prior good night’s sleep as the running time is 157 minutes…you figure it out.

There are actually those who have never seen a version of Les Miz (as we have no learned to call it).  So here is the plot, quoted from Wikipedia. “In 1815, convict Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is released on parole by prison guard Javert (Russell Crowe) after serving a nineteen-year sentence. He is offered food and shelter by the Bishop of Digne (Colm Wilkinson), but later steals the Bishop's silver during the night. He is caught by the authorities, but the Bishop says that the silver was given as a gift, and secures Valjean's release. Genuinely touched by the Bishop's love, grace and generosity, Valjean breaks his parole and vows to start an honest life under a new identity. Javert swears he will bring the escaped convict to justice.

Eight years later, Valjean has become a factory owner and mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer. Fantine (Anne Hathaway), one of his workers, is discovered to be sending money to her illegitimate daughter, Cosette (Isabelle Allen), who lives with the unscrupulous Thenardiers (Sacha Baraon Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter) and their daughter Eponine (Natalya Angel Wallace), and is dismissed by the foreman (Michael Jibson). Left with no option, Fantine turns to prostitution. During an argument with an abusive customer, Javert, now a police inspector, arrests Fantine, but Valjean intercedes and takes her to a hospital.”  Editor’s Note…this is around the time that Hathaway sings, “I Dreamed A Dream”.

Later, Valjean learns that a man believed to be him has been arrested. Unable to condemn an innocent man, Valjean reveals his identity to the court before departing for the hospital. There he promises a dying Fantine that he will look after her daughter. After escaping Javert, Valjean finds Cosette and pays the Thénardiers to allow him to take her, and promises to be like a father to her.”

Nine years later, Jean Maximilien Lamarque, the only government official sympathetic toward the poor, is nearing death. Students Marius Pontmercy (Eddie Redmayne) and Enjolras (Aaron Tveit), together with street urchin Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone), discuss fomenting revolution. Later Marius catches a glimpse of Cosette (Amanca Seyfried), now a young woman, and instantly falls in love with her. Meanwhile, despite Cosette's questioning, Valjean refuses to tell her about his past or Fantine.”

At a café, Enjolras organizes a group of idealistic students as Lamarque's death is announced. Meanwhile, Éponine (Samantha Barks), now Marius's friend, leads him to Cosette, where the two profess their love for one another. Lamenting that her secret love for Marius will never be reciprocated, Éponine fatalistically decides to join the revolution. Later, an attempted robbery of Valjean's house makes him mistakenly think that Javert has discovered him, and he flees with Cosette. As they leave, Enjolras rallies the Parisians to revolt, and Cosette sends a farewell letter to Marius.”

Enough with the plot.  What I truly enjoyed about this version is being able to clearly see the expressions of each actor as they sang…if you haven’t seen the Broadway show…there’s no dialogue.  Add the sets that you simply can’t get from a Broadway version as well as knowing that these actors are doing their own singing and a good job of it.   I never realized that Hathaway had a singing talent until now and I cannot imagine that this movie will not win loads of nominations (let alone, awards).   Not to missed!

Here’s the logistics.  The AMC Theatre in Fresh Meadows charges a mere $6 for shows before noon and this one appears to be starting the run at 11:40 a.m. Seats are reserved so give yourself an extra 15 minutes if you want to skip the previews. You may not be able to get a 32-ounce cup, but there are free refills. Not only do they have machines that dispense a wide variety of sodas and water, but you can add a flavor.  I chose Sprite with a cherry flavor.  

Food area has a little better than your typical movie food, such as packaged hummus and turkey slices with crackers as well as chicken sliders.

Just steps away from the theatre is a new restaurant called Bud’s Ale House. Had to check it out for lunch.  You know how difficult is it to find a restaurant that uses fresh chicken wings?  Get this. Available on or off the bone with or without breading and your choice of sauces. Choose 8, 16 or 24 pieces. Sauces are: Southern Gold, Sweet Teriyaki, Lemon Pepper, Chesapeake, Kick ‘in Bourbon, Bud’s Specialty, Spicy Buffalo, Chipotle Citrus, Cayenne Pepper and Cannonball BBQ.  Blue cheese or ranch for dipping.  
Appetizer?  Bud’s Irish Nachos.  No nachos but piled high kettle cooked potato chips…yes, they make their own.  Just thick enough for the piled high fixings of queso sauce, crumbled bacon, Pico de Galo, sour cream and scallions.   Show them your movie ticket stub and get 10% off your bill. 

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