Musical

Les Miserables Anne Hathaway Shaved

Most trailers are anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes, but very few pack as much grandiose power as the new teaser for Les Miserables manages in just a minute and a half. To be fair, director Tom Hooper is utilizing time-honored music that swells and soars, but there’s also a power in the shots, the set design, and in Anne Hathaway‘s voice as she laments the death of a dream. With a shaved head. The scale looks nasty, brutish and epic. Check it out for yourself:

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Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables

As we all know, period pieces are beloved the world around for their gorgeous, detailed designs and their poorly shaved heads. Tom Hooper‘s Les Miserables will not disappoint on either front, especially considering that these new pictures show off both Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway with heads that look like they were shaved by an epileptic Edward Scissorhands. The joys of Victor Hugo’s novel, come to life!

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From On the Town to Royal Wedding to Singin’ in the Rain, Stanley Donen revolutionized movie musicals by making them truly cinematic. Instead of being anchored to the theater stage, he tossed those anchors away and set his ambitious sights on filming a musical in the largest city in the country (impossible!), using camera work to aid the story (crazy!) and challenging old ideas. That, and the fact that he just turned 88 this month, make him our Movie Icon of April. Let’s celebrate his work together. Download Episode #131

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Drinking Games

Do you have your taxes done? The clock is ticking away to midnight on April 17th to file. If you don’t, you might end up owing $5,000 to the government, and unlike a certain Chicago orphanage, you can’t rely on “Joliet” Jake Blues and his brother Elwood to raise that money for you. Although released more than 30 years ago, The Blues Brothers still strikes a chord with audiences around the world. Revisit the classic SNL-spawned musical from the days when SNL films were actually good. Kick back and wash down your dry white toast and four fried chickens with blue-collar beer from a honky-tonk bar. Just make sure you fill out those tax forms before you’re done with the game, or you might not remember to mail them.

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There must be some people somewhere looking forward to this, but Rock of Ages looks like the grandiose celebration of all things shoulder padded and hairspray covered. It looks like the movie version of “Now! That’s What I Call Music Volume -14.” There was a reason that the empty decadence of 80s music took a boot to the face in the form of The Ramones and was finally left to bleed out by Nirvana, but there must be people somewhere anxious to relive acid washed days of yore. Adam Shankman takes a break from judging So You Think You Can Dance to direct this musical starring a bunch of one-liners from Alec Baldwin, the offensive-to-no-one Julianne Hough, Tom Cruise as Aldous Snow/Axl Rose (which is weird because Russell Brand is also in this thing), and the font from Rock Band. It’s a bunch of wealthy people playing karaoke. Check it out for yourself:

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Edgar Wright, the man who brought us the brilliant musical zombie death set to Queen in Shaun of the Dead, has confirmed that he’s written a script that’s “kind of like a musical.” According to The Moveable Fest‘s recap of Wright’s curation of films at the New Beverly called The Wright Stuff, the director explained his choice of showing the 1964 Jacques Demy musical romance The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (featuring French superstar Catherine Deneuve) thusly: “I’ve written a script which is kind of like a musical. Slightly a departure for me in some ways, but when I’ve told people about the movie and the idea, most of them have said, ‘You’ve got to see Umbrellas of Cherbourg,’ So here we are.” At this point, fans will probably eat up anything from the talent who seems potentially, endlessly flexible. The final film in the Cornetto Trilogy would be a welcome sight to see, but why not a musical-ish movie from a filmmaker who clearly has an ear for song and the way it works within the confines of the screen? It’s unclear why everyone that hears his idea instantly tosses out the Cherbourg suggestion, but if it’s any clue as to what Wright’s movie might be like, it would be a colorful dramatic comedy with its fair share of sung scenes. Just for fun, here’s the love theme from the movie. Take a look and see if you can see Wright making something like it:

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Why Watch? We’ve all been there, and we’ve all made that promise, but probably none of us has done it in song. This musical interlude is brought to you by over-consumption. The team over at Half Day Today has made yet another hilarious video that could well be one song in a much larger musical. Plus, the video that comes after it in the Youtube rotation is called “Daddy Has A Penis?” which somehow scores it double points. Telling a story through song is difficult, but they pull it off alongside fun camera work and engaging (far too familiar) characters. What does it cost? Just 4 minutes of your time. Check out the trailer for Never Drinking Again for yourself:

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Why Watch? I’ve never posted a trailer in this column before because it’s more fun just to get right to the short film, but The Legend of Beaver Dam – which destroyed everyone’s minds at Fantastic Fest just last year – is still making its way around the festival circuit and possibly to a town near you. Since it’s not available online, but demands to be praised from the hilltops, this quick glimpse at brilliance is the best we can manage, but there’s no doubt that it will make you want to find out where the short is playing next. What does it cost? Just 1 minute of your time. Check out the trailer for The Legend of Beaver Dam for yourself:

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Any theater fan knows that making Les Miserable as a film will be a considerable undertaking (one that hopefully keeps the rotating stage). It’s an epic piece of writing made even larger by the music created for the stage version by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil (the English version libretto was done by Herbert Kretzmer). With a Best Picture under his belt, Tom Hooper wants to tackle it, and so does Universal, but they’ll both need some giants to fill the main roles, and it looks like they’ve gotten their first. Variety is reporting that Hugh Jackman, famous for being well-versed as an actor, a singer, and a not-too-shabby dancer, is currently in talks to star. It’s unclear whether he’ll be playing the fugitive Jean Valjean (who was imprisoned for stealing bread to feed his sister’s family) or Javert (the police inspector determined to hunt him down), but speculation seems to be that he’ll be running from the law instead of representing it. That speculation is based on Jackman’s natural tenor singing range, but it wouldn’t be the first time a production forced an actor to do something out of their safe zone. The real question is which part he’d be best for. That, again, is Valjean. Although he could honestly nail down either part firmly. Now to find a suitable counterpart. How about Liam Neeson (who portrayed Valjean in the 1998 film adaptation), Karl Urban (can he sing?), or Jean Dujardin (making a proper launch into US filmmaking)? On […]

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Why Watch? Because you were sold when you read the title. It’s refreshing to see a production take the prospect of a zombie musical seriously. The book here is filled with catchy, joyous songs about having to kill your mom after she’s turned and falling in love after the dead walk the earth. Production value is, frankly, higher than you might expect, and it’s got a distinctive Trey Parker-esque feel about it. It’s outlandish, over-the-top, and it shoves the absurdity of musicals into the insanity of running from brain-hungry hordes with delightful success. Longer than most shorts we post, but absolutely worth the investment. What does it cost? Just 32 glorious minutes of your time. Check out Rigamortis: A Zombie Love Story for yourself:

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Why Watch? Because when one genre turns into another, things get crazy. This short begins with two bloody-handed men playing a game of the highest stakes poker possible. The dialogue is soaked in whiskey, a little itchy, and it’s surrounded by dankness. Then, at the 1:05 mark, things change drastically and awesomely. This might not be for everyone (in fact, it’s guaranteed not to be), but even if it doesn’t light your fire, you have to admire the brass buttons on this thing. What Will It Cost? Just 6 minutes of your time. Check out The Tell for yourself:

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“Bye Bye Birdie is all about that certain something that excites young people when they reach that certain age.” It’s sex. They’re talking about sex. This movie is percolating with it even if they never even say the word. It’s got Dick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh comparing pajamas, Ann-Margret putting on pants, and the entire thing revolves around the marketing of a kiss. After all, you have to make the publicity count when you’re about to go off to war. This parody on the real-life drafting of Elvis Presley was the first feature film for Van Dyke, and even though the focus is supposed to be on Elvis, the name their spoofing is Conway Twitty’s. Because it’s far, far funnier.

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Sometimes, all it takes is a voice. Sometimes, it also takes Christian Bale pantomiming that he’s riding a horse while singing about his past in the wild west. Sometimes, yes sometimes, that’s all it takes to make every girl you know obsessed about a movie. Plus, there’s corruption, scandal, poverty, dirty kids singing and dancing, and papes. Lots and lots of papes.

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If you love a girl who loves raising the roof, this movie might just be for you. Especially if you dig musicals set in Paris. It stars Leslie Caron, a heavily drugged cat, and Maurice Chevalier. It was a giant hit, earning all 9 Oscars it was nominated for (a feat that hadn’t been achieved at the time), and it remains the Best Picture winner with the shortest name. It’s perhaps the most exciting film about ennui ever created, and it sets a romantic comedy standard for platonic relationships that have no chance of staying that way.

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Criterion Files

Welcome to the second installment of Guest Author month at Criterion Files: a month devoted to important classic and contemporary bloggers. Each Wednesday for the month of April, a writer and fellow Criterion aficionado from another site will be giving their own take one one of the collection’s beloved titles. This week, Joshua Brunsting, writer for CriterionCast and Gordon and the Whale, takes on Jean-Luc Godard’s beloved musical, A Woman is a Woman. Tune in every week this month for an analysis of a different title from a new author. Sometimes, the splash a filmmaker makes with his or her first feature ultimately breeds a wave too harsh to ride as a career living up to the beginning. While everyone and their mother points to a film like Jean-Luc Godard’s debut feature, Breathless, as the (in my eyes definitive) auteur’s crowning achievement, it’s almost as common to hear the director discussed as a filmmaker of diminishing returns. However, while his debut is for all intents and purposes a brilliant, all-time classic, it’s not until his third feature, the neo-musical fever dream known as A Woman Is A Woman, that one truly gets a hold of what kind of filmmaker Godard, in all of his feverish style, truly is. Starring a trio of fantastic thespians — Godard staple Jean-Paul Belmondo, Godard’s muse Anna Karina, and French New Wave star Jean-Claude Brialy — Woman follows the story of Angela, a sweet and caring exotic dancer, who is not only torn between two […]

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It’s hard to imagine, considering she was such an entrenched cultural icon, but it’s been 27 years since Barbra Streisand was last in a musical. That was, of course, Yentl, which also means it’s been 27 years since she’s cross-dressed in a movie. These are important facts, dear reader. That streak might be broken, though, if she secures the role of Rose for a new adaptation of the musical Gypsy – the story based on the memoir of famous stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. There are few people who could throw their lyrical weight around the way Streisand could here (unless Barbara Hershey has pipes on her), and it would be a highly recognizable figure playing a fairly iconic role. The play was just revived on Broadway in 2008, and it looks like Warners is teaming with the legendary Steven Sondheim (who wrote the original lyrics) and Arthur Laurents (who wrote the original book). Of course, the original music author Jule Styne passed away back in 1994. All in all, it’s got the authenticity, and the talent (especially if Streisand signs on), and it will give SNL some new material to work with. No word yet on if the new Fockers installment will be set to music. [Cinematical]

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Everyday, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. Today’s trailer celebrates tradition, match makers, and dances on top of the house. On the other hand…when it gets angry, even the flies don’t dare to fly. Think you know what it is? Check out the trailer after the jump.

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Every Sunday in September, Film School Rejects will present a musical that was made before you were born and tell you why you should like it. This week, Old Ass Musicals tells the story of a theater man played by James Cagney who takes the immense talent in his troupe and translates that into an impossibly large spectacle that movie-goers will enjoy before a film plays. If nothing else, it tells of a better time when singers and dancers thrilled movie crowds instead of Fill in the Blank quiz games sponsored by Coca Cola where “George Clooney” is always the answer.

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Every Sunday in September, Film School Rejects will present a musical that was made before you were born and tell you why you should like it. This week, Old Ass Musicals breaks the rules to present a story of a flim-flam man selling a small town of stubborn Iowans a boys’ band and selling a particularly blonde, stubborn Iowan on love. You won’t be able to resist the charms of The Music Man.

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It seems like there’s no reason to remake My Fair Lady, but if there’s going to eventually be a re-telling of the rags to vocal riches story, then it might as well feature Carey Mulligan. The casting is far from being a done deal, but the actress recently expressed interest in the project and praised the script written by Emma Thompson. Mulligan proved her singing abilities by appearing on a track by Belle and Sebastian, but the remake project – now in the hands of Shakespeare in Love director and part-time football commentator John Madden – won’t be happening anytime soon. At least not this year. In other words, it gives the audience a chance to see the original at least one and a half times before production starts. [Worst Previews]

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