7 Quick Takes (3/15/13)

--- 1 --- I've joined up on one of the online campaigns for Dungeons and Discourses, and, meanwhile, friend of the blog Christian H has invented an expansion pack for Scott's game.  He's invented spells and feats for a new Critic class and you can see how he put it all together chez lui.  Here's one I particularly enjoyed: PERFORM GENDER Type: self, feminist, lgtbq, postmodern Prerequisite: 2 Level Utopian or Ethicist Cost: 2W Duration: 2 turns Spell: You use your knowledge of gender … [Read more...]

Pulling Off the New Vulgarity

I am cautiously optimistic for Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby, though, like pretty much everyone, I have some hugely unsettled and queasy feelings each time I watch the trailer below: The modern music is jarring, and the dancing looks lewd.  But I think that might be all to the good.  It's hard to manage vulgarity when it occurs in a period piece.  Flapper dresses are so much prettier and more embellished than my jeans and a t-shirt that it's hard to remember that, in … [Read more...]

What Do We Owe All the Valjeans?

valjean bishop

Since Les Mis seems to prompt endless reprises on this blog, you won't be surprised to find I'm over at First Things today talking about Valjean, Javert, and what we owe to the prisoners in our criminal justice system. When Jean Valjean appears for the first time in the stage musical Les Misérables, he is in the process of being paroled, and he is in an argument with his former jailer. When Inspector Javert barks out “You are a thief,” Valjean replies, “I stole a loaf of bread.” For … [Read more...]

But Aren’t Saints Dreadfully Dull?

colm valjean

Tonight I'm seeing Les Miserables for the third time (there have been various outings as people have straggled back into DC after the holidays) and, a day or so after my second viewing, I ran across David Denby's pan of the movie for The New Yorker.  Some of the criticisms are fair (the camerawork draws attention to itself in a bad way, Jackman's voice isn't as well suited to Valjean as it was to Curly, etc), but there was one plot-related criticism that I disagreed with big time.  Denby … [Read more...]

The Inspector Javert Medley [Sequence Index]

Isn't moral conviction dreamy?

I may not have drawn little hearts in my middle school notebooks labelled "Leah + Inspector Javert" but I've loved him far too much since the first time I saw Les Miserables.  (And, this year, I immediately dibsed his part when organizing a Les Mis flashmob).  But some of the things I've loved most about the adamant Inspector are the things I've had to set aside in order to be a Christian.  So, to mark the occasion of the movie's release, I wrote three meditations on … [Read more...]

Javert and Valjean at Prayer

javert and valjean

The two things I found most frustrating about the Les Mis movie were the camerawork and Russell Crowe's performance as Javert.  And they both came together to annoy me during "Stars."  Crowe is sad-eyed instead of steely from his first appearance and, for this number, director Tom Hooper places him on a ledge.  This seems to be done simply so that Hooper can set up some parallelism in his cimematography; the shots of Javert walking right along the edge of the roof in "Stars" are echoed when … [Read more...]

Give Me (and Javert) a Firm Place to Stand

javert

While googling to nail down some of Javert's lyrics, I ended up on his IMDB quotes page, which draws on film adaptations of the book going back to 1935.  And, looking over these selections, it's clear a number of productions have seen Javert as some kind of atheist, possibly of an existentialist stripe.  One movie has him saying, "There is no God. There is only the law. Good and evil do not exist outside the law." But the Javert of the book and the musical isn't a heathen; he's a heretic. … [Read more...]


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