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'Les Misérables' Isn't Quite Revolutionary

Fans will love this movie; others, not so much

One From the Heart (1982) Francis Ford Coppola built an entire Las Vegas street on an indoor set for his revisionist musical — and the resulting flop nearly ruined him. But with its one-of-a-kind look, gutsy performances by Frederic Forrest, Teri Garr and Raul Julia, plus a growling song score by Tom Waits, this is one heartfelt experiment that deserves a second look. It's also just now becoming available on BluRay disc.

Chicago (2002) Gangland Chicago is the backdrop for this raw-edged musical that showed off the unexpected song-and-dance chops of Richard Gere, Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones. One of the few movie musicals that vastly improved on the stage version.

All That Jazz (1979) Bob Fosse's dark-and-dirty musical about Broadway's underbelly features a whole number built around open heart surgery. As the central character, Roy Scheider is a chain-smoking, drug-addled human time bomb.

Cabaret (1972) The whole movie musical genre was redefined by Bob Fosse's muscular, grungy take on the Kander and Ebb Broadway hit. The stage show's original "book" songs, sung by the characters as part of the show's narrative, are all dumped. Here, all the songs are sung on a stage, as part of the show-within-the-movie, and the result is a harrowing glimpse of a decrepit society defined by its culture.

Pal Joey (1957) Frank Sinatra stars as the guy we always suspected he was: funny, cool, talented … and a complete heel. Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak try to set him straight.

Little Shop of Horrors (1986) A man-eating plant from outer space, a meek little guy (Rick Moranis) who chops up his boss (Vincent Gardenia) as plant food, and a good-hearted girl (Ellen Greene) who's abused by her sadist dentist/boyfriend (Steve Martin). What's not to love?

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100 Must-See Movies for Grownups

100 Must-See Movies for Grownups

By Bill Newcott
E-book
January 2015


A treasure trove of delightfully offbeat recommendations for discerning moviegoers, from the beginnings of film right up the present.

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