Les Miserables Shines

By Kassondra Granata

The moment rumors spread about Les Miserables coming to the big screen erupted on social media, theater aficionados everywhere, including myself, exploded with excitement. After seeing the production as well as being in the cast years back, it was thrilling to have the opportunity to see it in a different context along with high esteemed actors and actresses.

Winning three top awards at the Golden Globes, it is safe to say that all were merited. The film, directed by Tom Hooper, won Best Motion Picture- Comedy or Musical, Hugh Jackman won Best Performance By An Actor in A Motion Picture, and Anne Hathaway won Best Supporting Role as “Fantine.” The film was absolutely breathtaking and excellent.

Beginning with a novel by Victor Hugo, Les Miserables became a trademark as one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century. The story follows several characters who go through their troubles and interactions with each other during the French Revolution in Paris.

When the cast list was released, critics as well as others expressed their curiosity-some concern- about who will be portraying these famous roles. Hugh Jackman, who was casted as Jan Valjean, the protagonist, an ex convict on the run, was accepted in high regards. With Broadway under his belt, as well as being a successful actor, watching his performance was highly anticipated by viewers. Jackman was phenomenal throughout the play. His singing voice is beautiful, and this can be one of his best, most high-acclaimed roles yet.

Russell Crowe, who is famous for films such as The Gladiator and Robin Hood, was casted as Javert, a police inspector and Valjean’s enemy throughout the play. When small clips were leaked on Youtube and other websites, critics all around were extremely distressed with the sound of Crowe’s singing voice-not as great as the others-in the film. After viewing a few clips prior to seeing the movie, it was difficult not to be nervous. With a cast with musical reputations, it was feared that one not-so-vocally talented actor could throw off the whole film. Crowe, although not the best singer, did a fine job as Javert, and I actually enjoyed his character.

Anne Hathaway, playing Fantine, was absolutely flawless. After knowing her as the “Princess of Genovia” throughout my childhood, seeing her play such a powerful role, and nailing it, there was not one dry eye in the audience as she performed, “I Dreamed A Dream.” She grew as an actress and will be forever remembered for this particular role.

Other supporting roles, such as Cosette, played by Amanda Seyfried, Marius portrayed by Eddie Redmayne, Eponine played by Samantha Barks, and even the Thenardiers played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter molded the movie beautifully into an absolute winner. All characters complemented each other nicely, and worked together well. The amount of talent in this one film is mind-boggling. Aaron Tveit, who played my favorite character, Enjolras, was phenomenal. Hooper did an amazing job casting and directing this film.

With the film being two hours and fifty minutes, about the same length as the play, there was not one moment where time was wasted or dragged on. This all, of course, depends on if you can sit through almost three hours of singing. If you are a lover of musicals, talent, romance and classics, then Les Miserables is the film to see. The moment the film ends, you will return home to find yourself playing the soundtrack weeks afterward.

Bookmark It: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

By Morgan Skovich

The best way to summarize Truman Capote’s 1958 Breakfast at Tiffany’s would be to refer to it as The Great Gatsby’s partner text – full of wealthy and careless individuals. People throughout the world have viewed Blake Edwards’s 1961 film based on the novel countless times, but do they realize or even wonder how the man who wrote In Cold Blood became the inspiration of an Audrey Hepburn movie?

In short, the answer is the film is nothing like the book. There are definitely plot points in common and of course the infamous character Holly Golightly. Even 50 years after Capote wrote the novel, Golightly is still a bit shocking, yet relatable in ways such as her feelings on buying furniture and giving cat a name, other than Cat.

Unlike the movie, the book is not a romance. Avoiding any spoilers to the novel, we’ll leave it at. Truman saw Holly as a Marilyn Monroe rather than an Audrey Hepburn, and also the the narrator (known only as ‘Fred’ in the book) is gay.

The novel begins with the narrator and an old acquaintance, Joe the barkeeper, getting their first news in years of a Holly Golightly. It is Fred’s former neighbor Mr. K. who has picked up rumors of Holly traveling in Africa. The scene is literally brilliant; it’s set with three men consuming themselves with this woman whom the reader hasn’t even met yet.

“Truman Capote I do not know well, but I like him. He is a tart as a grand aunt, but in his way is a ballsy little guy, and he is the most perfect writer of my generation, he writes the best sentences word for word, rhythm upon rhythm. I would not have changed two words in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which will become a small classic,” said Norman Mailer (an American novelist / journalist) when asked about the book in an interview.

Later in life, Capote noted that his character Holly Golightly was his favorite. In an earlier version of the book he gave her the inappropriate name of Connie Gustafson, but later gave her a more fitting and symbolic name – Holly Golightly: for she’s a woman who makes a holiday of life, but treads through it lightly.

Tarantino Impresses Once More in ‘Django Unchained’

by Joe Suszczynski

Since his release of Reservoir Dogs in 1992, Quentin Tarantino has risen into becoming an A-list director. Some of his other famous works include academy awarding winning Pulp Fiction and the Kill Bill series. Some of his film trademarks are the gratuitous use of gore and heavily emphasized dialogue.

Recently, he has directed the movie Django Unchained. The story takes place during pre-Civil War about a slave, Django (Jamie Foxx), who is freed by a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz). The bounty hunter promises to rescue Django’s wife (Kerry Washington) who is owned by cruel slave owner Calvin Candie (Leo DiCaprio).

It’s  difficult to find words to describe this movie due to it’s credibility. The performances by all the actors and actresses were phenomenal. Foxx does a stellar job as playing the lead character. Christoph Waltz and Leo DiCaprio are considerable supporting characters. Tarantino has a knack of casting the right actors with the right roles. Waltz and DiCaprio are already nominated for Golden Globe awards for best supporting actors.

Tarantino’s directing skills just keep getting better as he directs this movie with great competence. He captures the gritty emotions of the characters and the gruesomeness of the slave holders in the movie. And no Tarantino movie comes without its fair share of gore with blood and guts at almost every turn.

The writing aspect of this movie is another Tarantino strong suit as he is able to pen a fantastic script. He writes the most compelling dialogue and has a great sense of storytelling. The plot has twists and turns and given this movie is two hours and forty-five minutes, it has terrific pacing. He is a dynamic director.

Despite being released on Christmas, Django Unchained is one of the best movies of 2012. Tarantino is also nominated for Golden Globes in directing and screenplay writing with the movie itself being nominated for best drama motion picture. This movie will be nominated for Academy awards. Tarantino has shown to be a great director and has always put out great movies that give me hope in Hollywood. I recommend seeing this movie; the price is well worth it.

CCSU Stands With Sandy Hook

by Amanda Webster

Hundreds of members of the CCSU community came together Tuesday night to honor and mourn the lives tragically taken in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday.

Twenty-six candles were lit at the front of Alumni Hall representing the teachers and children who were killed at the school and few dry eyes were seen as a video portraying the victims played.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Laura Tordenti said that the entire University has been deeply saddened by the events in Newtown for there were members of the Central community who were directly affected by the tragedy.

Principal of Sandy Hook, Dawn Hochsprung, was one of the victims and also a graduate of CCSU. Another victim, Ana Marquez-Greene, the six-year-old daughter of faculty member Nelba Marquez-Greene, was one of the 20 children killed in the violence Friday morning.

“We are all of us touched by this tragedy,” said Provost Carl Lovitt. “Connecticut is such a small state. Our collective grief is so much harder to bear because the events touch so close to everybody’s home.”

Survivors of the shooting Laura Swanson, Maryrose Kristopik, and Kathleen Reynolds are all teachers at Sandy Hook who graduated from CCSU.

“Tonight’s vigil is an opportunity for the community to come together to offer comfort and to really honor those who were killed and also to offer love and support to each other,” said Tordenti.

Tordenti welcomed students and faculty at the beginning of the vigil on behalf of President Miller who was not able to be on campus during the time of the ceremony.

“Our hearts ache for the family members and friends of those who died,” Tordenti expressed to the members of the crowd.

Outside of Alumni tables were set up for students and faculty to trace their hands and write a message of encouragement for the community of Newtown. Green and white ribbons were also passed out to those who attended the vigil in honor of the colors of Sandy Hook Elementary.

John Campbell of the CCSU Campus Ministry also spoke to those who attended the vigil.

“I don’t have any words to soften what happened at Sandy Hook,” Campbell said. “It was terrible and will have repercussions on those involved for the rest of their lives.”

Campbell said that though there were not words to make the events of Friday better, there are ways for members of the community to reach out and offer help to those suffering.

“We need to step up and be there for those who seek our help,” Campbell said. “Not only that, but we need to look for those who need our help.”

Lovitt said that it was important for everyone to take the time to listen to one another in an attempt to make sense of what has happened.

“We are those who care deeply about the pain of people we don’t even know because we can imagine their sorrow and their loss,” said Lovitt.





Obama Visits Sandy Hook: Vigil Spreads Across Newtown

by Irene Yukash

Candles illuminated Newtown last night as people from all over the world attended a vigil in memory of Sandy Hook victims at Newtown High School.  President Obama met with victims’ families privately before addressing the public.

“I’ll use whatever power this office holds,” promised President Obama.  In regards to the victims of the Sandy Hook Massacre that took place Friday morning when gunman Ryan Lanza opened fire in the elementary school, “God has called them all home,” said President Obama.

“My daughter is a survivor, my son was also in the school,” said Charles Calderbank.  “This was our lotto,” he said, feeling fortunate.

He credits the survival of his 9-year-old daughter to her schoolteacher Kaitlin Roig, first responders, and other school employees.

“She was sweet. We love her, she cared about students immensely,” he said about victim, Principle Dawn Hocksprung. “In the line of fire, they protected our babies.”

But sympathy and compassion spread far beyond Newtown High School.  For miles, the town has been covered in memorials.  In the center of town a giant Christmas tree collected countless toys, prayers, and visitors throughout the day.

“Coming together to be close to the people who need (it),” said Leah Shipchack, Milford resident.

The 21-year-old attended the vigil with her aunt and cousins.  Burning candle in hand, Shipchack was one of hundreds of people huddled outside out Newtown High School during the ceremony; the school had filled up hours prior to the event.  It was important to Shipchack to be there for her community.

Signs were randomly placed throughout Newtown as well as displayed in the windows of local business.  Little wooden angels, one for each victim, also occupied a space nearby.  A construction vest hung on one of the angels while teddy bears and flowers surrounded the others.

“There’s only one thing we can be sure of and that is the love that we have,” said President Obama.  He concluded by reading aloud the names of each victim.

“You remind us what matters, and that’s what should drive us forward in everything that we do.”