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Chicago (Widescreen Edition) (2002)

Musicals & Performing Arts movie directed by Rob Marshall

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Exotic, Sultry, Exuberant and Marvelous!

  • Jul 29, 2003
  • by
Rating:
+5
Simply put, this is not your grandmothers type of musical. Its a musical about women who kill.. their boyfriends, their husbands, their sisters and whoever may have wronged them. And when they relate their stories in the show stopping performance of the Cell Block Tango, you quickly discover that the sultry ladies of the Cook County Jail have standards that differ from those of polite society. They are not very likely to win points of sympathy. So its from this rather questionable basis that Chicago goes on to become a richly exuberant and incredibly entertaining movie musical.

If building a musical around a collection or cold-blooded killers, their shyster attorneys, corrupt authorities and scandal feeding tabloid press seems a bit specious for todays sensibilities, consider how Broadway of the Sixties reacted to an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet that substituted street gangs of New Yorks West Side for the Montagues and the Capulets. And Bob Fosses Chicago is every bit the ground breaker that Jerome Robbins West Side Story ever was.

Director Rob Marshal brings Chicago to the screen with a style that sacrifices none of the stage plays energy; and in many ways enhances it with fast paced editing that pulls the viewer along on a thrill ride of music and dancing. I confess that when I heard of the casting for this production, my first thought was the studio execs have sunk another one. After all, Catherine Zeta-Jones is gorgeous, Renee Zellweger can be cute and Richard Gere is always adequate as the eye candy for females, but these were all demanding roles that require singing and dancing as well as acting! But I stand corrected. Ms. Zeta-Jones steals the show as the exotic Velma Kelly, with a singing and dancing ability that never disappoints. Zellweger brings just a hint of sympathy to the ambitiously scheming Roxy Hart, and reveals a surprisingly good singing voice. And last but not least, who ever knew that Richard Gere sings, much less tap dances?

The supporting cast members grab even the smallest roles and imbue them with flair and excitement. John C. Reilly as Roxys cuckolded husband and Queen Latifah as the matron of the cell block add depth to an already rich collection of performances, along with other gems from Christine Baranski, Taye Diggs and Lucy Liu.

Admittedly, story line is razor thin. Roxy wants to be a star. She murders her boyfriend, ends up in jail with Velma (the type of star Roxy always wanted to be), and engages the services of Billy Flynn the flamboyant, press-hungry lawyer. But there isnt a bad song in the entire production. Its the most exuberant movie soundtrack in years if not decades! Last but not least, there is the choreography. Its sexy and fresh as can be, without quite crossing into the territory of vulgar. From All that Jazz, to the Cell Block Tango to the Finale, youll be left breathless and applauding!

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More Chicago (2002) reviews
review by . May 28, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Bob Fosse's "Chicago" is a spectacular and naughty musical. Two Showgirls (Rene'e Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones) are put in the slammer for each murdering their lovers. Their crimes of passion are presented as petty, but predictable in the Windy City during the Jazz Age. The only regrets they have are the gallows, and their only deliverance is a greedy and conceited lawyer (played by Richard Gere). Even though the women are desperate, they also crave the publicity that oddly gets them help …
review by . December 08, 2005
I've never seen the stage version of "Chicago", so I can't say if the movie was faithful to the source material, but judged on it's own by a pair of fresh eyes, "Chicago" was a lot of fun, especially considering I'm generally not crazy about movie musicals. No wait a minute........ Except for "West Side Story." After seeing this movie I clearly understand why it had won 6 Oscars including Best Picture.    Catherine Zeta Jones has a very nice voice and plays the confident Velma …
review by . June 25, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
This film deserves all of the praise it receives, especially given the fact that it is derived from a Broadway musical (1973) which was, in turn, derived from two non-musical films, Chicago (1927) and Roxie Hart (1943). I can think of few other works of high quality which have such a heritage. (Can you name five film sequels which are superior to the original?) Crisply directed by Rob Marshall with choreography devised by Bob Fosse, this film operates simultaneously (and seamlessly) on two different …
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Bob Fosse's sexy cynicism still shines inChicago, a faithful movie adaptation of the choreographer-director's 1975 Broadway musical. Of course the story, all about merry murderesses and tabloid fame, is set in the Roaring '20s, butChicagoreeks of '70s disenchantment--this isn't just Fosse's material, it's his attitude, too. That's probably why the movie's breathless observations on fleeting fame and fickle public taste already seem dated. However, Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones are beautifully matched as Jazz Age vixens, and Richard Gere gleefully sheds his customary cool to belt out a showstopper. (Yes, they all do their own singing and dancing.) Whatever qualms musical purists may have about director Rob Marshall's cut-cut-cut style, the film's sheer exuberance is intoxicating. Given the scarcity of big-screen musicals in the last 25 years, that's a cause for singing, dancing, cheering. And all that jazz.--Robert Horton
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Details

Director: Rob Marshall
Genre: Music, Musical
DVD Release Date: August 19, 2003
Runtime: 113 minutes
Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
First to Review
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