There are typically 3 types of screenings movies will do before they come out in the theatre.  Test Screenings, when a movie is in “rough draft” and the producers want to see how the movie is received by audiences before it is released to the general public.  Usually audiences are asked to give feedback after the movie ends.  For movies that do not test well edits or re-shots are done to fix things that do not resonate with the audience.  Press Screenings, for professional critics who write for big news outlets.  And lastly Hype Screenings.  These are when the film makers know they have a great movie on their hands and want to get the word out.  This was how we saw Rise of the Guardians. (Our Review)  

   When Les Miserables started releasing You Tube clips of some of the musical scenes I got really excited, then I started listening and my heart kind of sank. 

Update: The soundtrack is available on iTunes Now!

   When the first Trailer came out a few months ago I was really excited with the way they did “I Dreamed a Dream.”  It usually done so sweet and flowery, but it is not a sweet and flowery song.  It’s about less of hope and despair.  I loved the way the voices were recorded on set so it really natural and not over produced ala High School Musical.  Anne Hathaway’s sorrow is easily conveyed yet sung beautifully.  

   I was against the cast of casting of Russell Crowe from the start.  After some videos I saw on YouTube I didn’t think he had when it takes.  He is an excellent actor, but his voice is not the bold commanding presence of those who can be found on the Anniversary Concerts.  

   I really liked “At the End of the Day.”  It was that balance of song and drama.  But the chorus drove me crazy.  They sounded like an overzealous Ward Choir trying to do the Hallelujah Chorus.

   “Who Am I?”  He can’t be Jean Valjean because I don’t think any of those notes were in the original score.  There is a problem that I am noticing where people start sing talking their songs instead of singing them.  It started in the theatrical version of Phantom of the Opera during Raul and Christie’s romantic exchange in Masquerade, but made famous by Ke$ha.  I can bear this sometimes as a song is building, but when we get to the climax of the song the great declaration is simply whispered.  Such a waste.  I can only hope he picks it up on the 24601.

   All you naysayers to Taylor Swift are about to eat your worlds.  Amanda Seyfried has the voice of a waif with her forced vibrato.  Eddie Redmayne does a perfect job of balancing the sing talk as he flubs the words in nervousness.

   Samantha Barks will save this movie.  One of the best choices they made was casting someone from the stage version of Les Miserables.  Her voice is full and emotional, and her acting and facial expressions really sell it.

I want to love this movie so bad!  I hope that the music I am not seeing is groundbreaking and that the excellent actors can carry the film.  What are your thoughts?