Les Misérables

(PG-13) ★★☆☆☆

This film version of the popular French Revolution musical (based on the classic novel) is destined for Oscar nods. That being said, it doesn’t exactly work. Hugh Jackman has the chops to sing his way through as Jean Valjean. Anne Hathaway takes a turn as Fantine and nails her one song, “I Dreamed a Dream.” But otherwise, director Tom Hooper fumbles with a few numbers, moves his camera far too much, and relies on Russell Crowe who can’t really pull off the singing as Javert. It’s just all right.

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The first months of the year are known as the “dump months” in Hollywood. It’s a bleak stretch for cinephiles, traditionally packed with movies that studios dislike, and want to release with little fanfare. In the Hollywood ecosystem, the dump months serve an important purpose; not only is winter often a low point for movie revenue, regardless of content (the top-grossing film of January generally earns half of the haul brought in by December’s top grosser), but padding theaters with celluloid sacrifices allows for all-important Oscar coverage to dominate the news cycle.

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