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From 'Hustle' to 'Mr. Banks,' this season's movies hit musical highs

When you think of the movies you really love, your memories of a great many of them are probably linked, in one way or another, to music. Yet movies and music remain, at least in our heads, beautifully complimentary yet distinct things, like food and wine, or football and big TVs. They shouldn’t, though. A musical, of course, is its own special mashup. Yet there are so many other incredible ways that movies and music can merge. The title sequence of Singin’ in the Rain is a great number — and so, in its way, is Ewan McGregor’s performance of “Your Song” in Moulin Rouge!¬†Yet what about the opening-credits sequence of American Hustle? We hear Steely Dan’s great 1972 song “Dirty Work” laid over slow-motion images of Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, and Amy Adams sauntering through the Plaza Hotel with a suspicious-looking briefcase. The song is reconfigured, with an irony that gently explodes in your brain, from being about an adulterous lover tired of being used as a slimy third wheel into a song about a con man tired of being used by the law. More that just a terrific song choice, this, too, is a bona fide musical number — a piece of opera, really. And it’s just one of many moments in American Hustle¬†that remind you why movies and music, when they’re really working together, chemically and synergistically, create a sensual pop poetry all their own. Here’s a look at a few of the other memorable numbers unfolding in the big-screen operas-by-any-other-name that are ruling the megaplex this season. READ FULL STORY

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