Honor roll: Musical films

Each of these Musical films has received at least one award nomination. They are ranked by honors received.

Film:Chicago (2002)

Chicago

Rob Marshall

Bob Fosse’s sexy cynicism still shines in Chicago, a faithful movie adaptation of the choreographer-director’s 1975 Broadway musical. Of course the story, all about merry murderesses and tabloid fame, is set in the Roaring ‘20s, but Chicago reeks of ‘70s disenchantment—this isn’t just Fosse’s material, it’s his attitude, too. That’s probably why the movie’s breathless observations on fleeting fame and fickle public taste already seem dated. However, Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones are beautifully matched as Jazz Age vixens, and Richard Gere…

Film:Les Misérables (2012)

Les Misérables

Tom Hooper

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption-a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.

The world’s longest-running musical brings its power to the big screen in Tom Hooper’s sweeping and spectacular interpretation of Victor Hugo’s epic tale.

Film:Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

The film that officially signaled Disney’s animation renaissance (following The Little Mermaid) and the only animated feature to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination, Beauty and the Beast remains the yardstick by which all other animated films should be measured. It relates the story of Belle, a bookworm with a dotty inventor for a father; when he inadvertently offends the Beast (a prince whose heart is too hard to love anyone besides himself), Belle boldly takes her father’s place, imprisoned in the Beast’s gloomy mansion. Naturally, Belle…

Film:Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

Baz Luhrmann

A spectacle beyond anything you’ve ever witnessed. An experience beyond everything you’ve ever imagined. Behind the red velvet curtain, the ultimate seduction of your senses is about to begin. Welcome to the Moulin Rouge! Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor sing, dance and scale the heights of passionate abandon in the year’s most talked-about movie from visionary director Baz Luhrmann (William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, Strictly Ballroom). Enter a tantalizing world that celebrates truth, beauty, freedom and above all things, love.

Film:Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Tim Burton

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton join forces again in a big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s award-winning musical thriller “Sweeney Todd.” Depp stars in the title role as a man unjustly sent to prison who vows revenge, not only for that cruel punishment, but for the devastating consequences of what happened to his wife and daughter. When he returns to reopen his barber shop, Sweeney Todd becomes the Demon Barber of Fleet Street who “shaved the heads of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard from again.” Joining Depp is Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney’s amorous accomplice, who creates diabolical meat pies. The cast also includes Alan Rickman, who portrays the evil Judge Turpin, who sends Sweeney to prison and Timothy Spall as the Judge’s wicked associate Beadle Bamford and Sacha Baron Cohen is a rival barber, the flamboyant Signor Adolfo Pirelli.

Film:The Princess and the Frog

The Princess and the Frog

Ron Clements, John Musker

Walt Disney Animation Studios presents the musical The Princess and the Frog, an animated comedy set in the great city of New Orleans. From the creators of The Little Mermaid and Aladdin comes a modern twist on a classic tale, featuring a beautiful girl named Tiana, a frog prince who desperately wants to be human again, and a fateful kiss that leads them both on a hilarious adventure through the mystical bayous of Louisiana.

Film:Ray (2004)

Ray

Taylor Hackford

Jamie Foxx’s uncannily accurate performance isn’t the only good thing about Ray. Riding high on a wave of Oscar buzz, Foxx proved himself worthy of all the hype by portraying blind R&B legend Ray Charles in a warts-and-all performance that Charles approved shortly before his death in June 2004. Despite a few dramatic embellishments of actual incidents (such as the suggestion that the accidental drowning of Charles’s younger brother caused all the inner demons that Charles would battle into adulthood), the film does a remarkable job of summarizing Charles’s…

Film:The Lion King

The Lion King

Rob Minkoff, Roger Allers

Not an ideal choice for younger kids, this hip and violent animated feature from Disney was nevertheless a huge smash in theaters and on video, and it continues to enjoy life in an acclaimed Broadway production. The story finds a lion cub, son of a king, sent into exile after his father is sabotaged by a rivalrous uncle. The little hero finds his way into the "circle of life" with some new friends and eventually comes back to reclaim his proper place. Characters are very strong, vocal performances by the likes of Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane, and Whoopi Goldberg are terrific, the jokes are aimed as much (if not more) at adults than kids, the animation is sometimes breathtaking, and the music is more palatable than in many Disney features. But be cautious: this is too intense for the Rugrat crowd. --Tom Keogh

How good-looking is the DVD restoration of Disney's popular animated film? Take a look at the serviceable but dull film…[more]

Film:The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Henry Selick

For those who never thought Disney would release a film in which Santa Claus is kidnapped and tortured, well, here it is! The full title is Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, which should give you an idea of the tone of this stop-action animated musical/fantasy/horror/comedy. It is based on characters created by Burton, the former Disney animator best known as the director of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and the first two Batman movies. His benignly scary-funny sensibility dominates the…

Film:The Commitments (1991)

The Commitments

Alan Parker

An irresistible, comic drama from director Alan Parker (Evita, Mississippi Burning), overflowing and alive with passion, humor, and music, The Commitments showcases some old R&B standards in a new light. A headstrong, fast-talking, ambitious young Dubliner (Robert Arkins) fancies himself a promoter of talent, and sets about assembling and packaging a local Irish R&B band. His group of self-absorbed, backbiting, but stunningly talented individuals begin to succeed beyond his wildest dreams, until petty jealousies and recrimination threaten to…

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