How will 'Les Miserables' compare to these classics?
BONUS: 'A Hard Day's Night'
No musical of the past 50 years generated more debate than Richard Lester's lively 1964 classic. Several of us declared it the best musical ever made, while others claimed it wasn't a musical at all. It's hard to know what Lester's nearly plotless masterpiece is, though, if it isn't a musical. The Beatles songs steer nearly every moment of the film and Lester's approach to the now-classic hits shaped the vernacular of the music video and of cinema for the decades to come. Part documentary-style verite, part wacky slapstick comedy and part surreal deconstruction of John, Paul, George and Ringo and the phenomenon of Beatlemania, "Hard Day's Night" would be nothing without its music and, reflexively, our contemporary image of the band would be different without Lester's approach. The '80s and '90s were the decades of the "MTV movie" and "Hard Day's Night" is the core DNA of all that followed.
- Daniel Fienberg