“The Theory of Everything” and Thoughts on Star-Crossed Lovers

Theory of Everything!

Before Eddie Redmayne bewildered audiences as a space Cenobite with laryngitis in Jupiter Ascending, he was promoted to Academy Award Nominee Eddie Redmayne thanks to his performance as physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, the closest thing to a British costume drama in this year’s Oscar race. Unlike his turn as the rebel Marius in Les Miserables, his rendition of the increasingly immobile Hawking had no show-stopping musical numbers and ended up forfeiting the Best Original Song category, even though there are plenty of words that rhyme with “black hole”.

(Special note: if you’d prefer to be surprised by historical records, beware light spoilers ahead.)

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“Jupiter Ascending”: Today’s Horoscope Says You Were Meant to Rule

Jupiter Ascending!

Mila Kunis takes overlording lessons from Douglas Booth. Formal fashions by Amidala’s of Naboo.

From Lana and Andy Wachowski, the visionary minds behind The Matrix and its optional ancillary products, comes the next wave in old-fashioned space opera, Jupiter Ascending. It’s got a Chosen One, a shirtless A-list actor, rich evil oppressors, sharp-dressed bounty hunters, garbled proper nouns, mad science, spaceship explosions, a dashing hero saving a damsel in distress from certain death, human/animal hybrids, flying lizard-men, the Chicago skyline, toilet bowl cleaning, a commercial for Dark Souls II, and something way better than your musty old Marty McFly hoverboards: alien hoverskates! If you can’t find anything in this movie that speaks to you, that’s why the new Spongebob Squarepants movie also opened this weekend, just in case.

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MCC Request Line #6: “Les Miserables”

Hugh Jackman, Les MiserablesWelcome once again to the Midlife Crisis Crossover Request Line, in which recommendations from MCC fans send me reading, viewing, and reviewing assorted art and art-like objects, either because they want a proxy to evaluate the damage, or because my life won’t be complete without seeing them. Today’s suggestion came from Niki, one of MCC’s most dedicated fellow Bunheads fans. (Believe it or not, I hadn’t forgotten!)

Today’s subject: The world-famous Les Miserables, the mammoth French novel turned immortal Broadway play turned Hollywood film (not for its first time), today nominated for twelve Academy Awards. Niki’s original suggestion was for any version of the tale, but for some reason our local big-box stores have yet to be flooded with copies of the previous Liam Neeson/Geoffrey Rush version. The touring version of the musical performed in Indianapolis at some point, but that was before I received the suggestion. Blame the timing.

What I knew beforehand: It’s a big, famous book. More people have probably seen the musical than read the book. I knew it had characters named Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert, whose cat-and-mouse routine was an early precursor to The Fugitive. A tiny girl was prominent in all the musical’s ads and best-selling merchandise. That’s really all I knew before walking in.

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