Toronto: Pubs, Lounges, and Les Miserables!

I’m FINALLY back! I vanished over the weekend, not because I didn’t want to post but because the time I spent at the hotel and by the computer rounded up to about 2 hours in total.  All the other times, I was on the move and my phone was threatening to die on me after using the GPS function for an hour that morning, other times, I was on the road.

Despite that being the case, this Toronto trip came at a really good time.  I have some crazy stuff happening in life so changes are going to come, I’ll talk about it when the time is right.  Nanowrimo writing is getting hurt because of that and the trip, but I’ll try my best to catch up. Its a bit frustrating because for once, I know where the story has to go at least for another 3000 words, but I just need to find the time to sit down and get it all out on paper or the computer…

Who wants to check out my Toronto trip? (I have nothing else to post about for the next few days, so bear with me)…

As mentioned in my post on Friday, my trip was set for the late afternoon.  We ended leaving my place around 3:45pm.  It was a pretty smooth drive except for one area where cars slowed down because the opposite direction was in traffic because of a huge fire next to the bridge/overpass in Kingston.  We made our stop at Markham T&T Supermarket to get some late dinner.  After checking in to Novotel Toronto Centre in Downtown Toronto we rested up a bit.  I had a room with my mom so I just sat around and watched some Food Network while I ate.  How fitting 🙂 It was tempting me to go eat out after dinner again by showcasing a Rosedale Diner that had awesome looking ribs *drools*

Right at that time, my friends messaged me from their room and we went out to check out some nightlife ended up across the street at this place called Amsterdam Bicycle Club which had a live band who was pretty awesome called The Throwback Soundtrack. 🙂 Plus, it had some cute decor and the crowd was pretty nice.

Amsterdam Bicycle Club

Amsterdam Bicycle Club


Amsterdam Bicycle Club

Cute decor at Amsterdam Bicycle Club

Our pitcher of Sangria

Our pitcher of Sangria

We sat around, listened to some great 90s cover music and drank a little till about 2am and then headed back to the hotel.

The next day was more separate stuff.  However, the highlight of our trip was also that day at 1:30pm. We met up at Prince of Wales Theatre to see LES MISERABLES on Tour.  YAY!

Les Miserables Prince of Wales Theatre

Les Miserables on tour

Les Miserables inside at intermission

Les Miserables inside at intermission

Les Miserables was totally awesome! It was great.  *Almost* the whole cast was fantastic.  I think they had the best Marius and Cosette that I’ve heard.  Valjean and Javert was amazing.  The Thenardiers were witty and the highlight of the show as always 🙂 The young Cosette, Eponine and Gavroch was outstanding.  My biggest issue was just that Fantine took a while to get into her role and do good at her singing and Eponine wasn’t all that impressive.  Not saying their bad, its just I’ve heard a lot of versions and now there’s a comparison, right? Still, it was a great show! My mom amazingly didn’t understand much but stayed awake through the whole thing and the effects was totally captivating, especially for the One Day More part! Seriously, if you get the chance, GO SEE IT!

After the show, we all walked to Eaton Centre while waiting for our dinner plans to come along.  I was waiting for my cousin while my friends were waiting for her friend.  The streets were filled with Christmas decor already and it was all so pretty!

Christmas Toronto

Window Display in Toronto

christmas torontochristmas toronto

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Thats all just outside display! Once we hit inside Eaton Centre, it was decorated with a huge Christmas Tree and a bunch of cute reindeers all over the place!

Toronto eaton centre

Christmas tree in Toronto Eaton Centre

toronto eaton centreNice, right? Talk about upping my Christmas spirit.  All of a sudden, I thought about, “OMG, Christmas is around the corner and I don’t know what to get for anyone!”….Thats when my cousin arrived 😉

My cousin took us to Asian Legend (my fave) in Chinatown and then to try a new dessert place called Sugar Marmalade. I’ll have a food post going up tomorrow 🙂 We did a LCBO stop and then a visit to her place to see her dog, then back to the hotel where I met up with my friends again for our late night activities! Saturday night we wanted more live music and through some recommendations, we went to the Reservoir Lounge for some live jazz!

the reservoir lounge

No pictures but thats the front door!

That place is pretty classy and man, do they make some awesome amaretto sours, plus the music was awesome! I was the boss (since I’m the driver the next day) as to when we leave but even though I said midnight, we ended up leaving 30 minutes later! It was so fun! I’d definitely go back there!

Sunday’s planned day was pretty tight.  We had to check out at 10am to get to Costco, for my friends’ request.  Then, we had to get to Pacific Mall and T&T Supermarket to pick up some lunch and food for the road.  Shopping was the focus of Sunday and I’ll have a post for my Toronto Finds (Take 3?).  I was gentle on my wallet this time around since Les Miserables already cost me a bit more than expected.

Weekend getaways are always fun, plus I got to see my cousin.  I spent some quality time with my friends to relax before the crazy starts when I get back (and I mean immediately). Still, going home was good.  I get my comfy bed, my loving boyfriend and my silly cat 🙂 Today, I even get to take off the therapeutic tape (don’t know what you call it) on my shoulders that my chiropractor put to help release stress.

There you go! Thats my weekend! Prepare yourselves for more Toronto for tomorrow and the day after! I’ll be playing catchup for Nanowrimo and dealing with some other stuff in my life.  I’ll try to stay as active as possible 🙂

How was your weekend?

Les Miserables (2012)

les miserablesDirector: Tom Hooper

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Raymayne, Samantha Barks, Aaron Tveit

Les Miserables is a Broadway based on the famous book by Victor Hugo with the same name.  It has gone on for over 25+ years on stage and is renowned. This movie is an adaptation of that Broadway led by the producer of Cameron Mackintosh who is also the one who put it all together on stage.  I will give you a general plot summary in case you are unfamiliar with it.  Les Miserables is about the life of a man called Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman).  He was convicted because he stole some bread for his sister’s dying child and after that trying to escape, he ended up staying as a slave in jail for 19 years.  When he gets his parole by Javert (Russell Crowe), that is where his story starts.  Valjean is angry at the world and of the prejudice and discrimination he gets because of his convict.  The cause is poverty and when the priest welcomes him, he steals his silver and runs away.  When he is caught, the priest defend him and say that he gave it to him as gifts and gets rid of the police.  He then asks him to use the silver well and become an honest man.  Flashing forward eight years later, we see that he now is the mayor and is known around the town. He lets go of Fantine (Anne Hathaway) accidentally and then leads up to her falling deeper and deeper.  In regret, he saves her and promises to take care of her daughter, Cosette.  At this time, Javert has entered into the town as the police.  He learns of Valjean’s identity and then pursues him to bring him back to the law.  Valjean quickly escapes and runs to save Cosette from the innkeeper (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his wife (Helena Bonham Carter).  After he escapes from town, we flash forward to another nine years later and they are at the brink of a French Revolution.  General Lamarque, who stands up for the people is on his deathbed and the people are getting ready to rebel lead by Enroljas (Aaron Tveit) and Marius (Eddie Raymayne).  We also see that Valjean and a grown up Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) has returned.  Through this, we get the love story that comes alive with Cosette and Marius.  We also see Eponine (Samantha Barks), who has a crush on Marius and is the innkeepers’ daughter and she helps.  Its here that the French Revolution happens and Valjean decides to help out in hopes to protect Marius. Long plot summary, I know but it was the only way that I could bring everyone into the picture.

Let me first by saying that out of the few 2012 movies I did see and I saw some really high expectation ones, this one is my film of the year for 2012.  Its not because I do love the Broadway and the music to bits.  The story is fantastic.  I had my doubts about this movie even though I was pretty hyped up about it.  Knowing the musical itself very well, this could have easily bombed, as most musicals adapted into movies turn out.  This one had wonderful voices to support it.  Thats one of the most important parts because it is ALL singing.  The dialogue is sang just like the original musical.  Now that we are on music and vocals.  If I was to treat this as a standalone film, its perfect.  However, I do know the actual musical, there was a few issues with casting.  Russell Crowe has a beautiful voice but I didn’t think it was strong enough for the role of Javert, but since he nailed the last solo song that he performed, I let it pass.  Hugh Jackman really made the role his own.  The BEST role was Fantine as she was captivating and just pulled at my heartstrings.  However, if I was to put a weak link, I’d say it would be Amanda Seyfried.  She has a very sweet voice and she did a pretty good job as Cosette but her voice wasn’t as high so it turned a bit shaky and that bothered me a bit.  I was extremely shocked by Eddie Raymayne.  That guy is a wonderful actor and has an amazing voice and just his expressions when he did his solo was just amazing.  I’d also like to give special mention to Samantha Barks, as she is a really awesome Eponine.  She also played this role for the 25th anniversary in concert performance and she was fantastic in that as well.  I’d really like to see her in more movies because she makes a pretty good actress.  Another special mention is to the priest who did the role of Jean Valjean in the 10th anniversary musical.  Although, I think Jackman got some pointers from him on being a good Valjean because there are similarities in the way  he expresses it.  I wonder if that did happen.

Another thing that a lot of people seemed to criticize was the close up shooting of the characters.  I actually thought that it did add to the movie experience because above all, this is a musical and a lot of the acting is in how they express themselves in their faces and perhaps less their movements.  I can tell how it could be bothersome at times, but nothing beat the biggest thing that is unique to my movie experience and thats French subtitles for the lyrics flashing at the bottom which cut off part of the performer’s face because of the close-up.  It comes with the territory though, so what can I say? It was something I had to live with.

Another mention has to go out that this is produced by Cameron Mackintosh who is the one who put together the musical in the first place.  To me, he is renowned for putting together successful musicals and seeing him being the producer of this already gave it so much  more promise.  Very pleased with that!

It turned my New Year’s Eve into a slight cry fest because it was just so emotional.  To have me cry in public is not a easy thing to do, but I did because it was done so well.

This movie is a must-see because its probably the best musical that has been made so far.  I highly recommend it if you are into musicals.  If you aren’t, it might be harder for you to enjoy it.