You can hear the people sing — really hear them — in the long-gestating screen version of that Broadway juggernaut Les Misérables. Countering the standard practice of having the actors in a film musical lip-synch their songs to prerecorded tracks (AKA "playback"), director Tom Hooper (The King's Speech) insisted that all of the singing in his Les Mis happen live on the set, in the moment, with hidden earpieces allowing the actors to hear the orchestrations. The result is a movie musical unlike any you've heard before: Real voices emerge in real time, complete with assorted tremors, gasps for breath and other "imperfections" of the sort typically smoothed away in the studio. The quality of the sound recording is exceptional, too, as crisp as in the best concert films and live albums. Inevitably, you wonder what the likes of My Fair Lady, West Side Story, and The King and I would have sounded like if they'd been made this way, and without the reassuring soprano of Marni Nixon emanating from... More >>>
Proletarian hero Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) sloshes through the sewers of Paris.