Chicago

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Chicago
Review (9/10)
(By Blair Barbesin)

Who says the Hollywood musical is dead? Granted we only get one or possibly two a year, but when we do get one...WOW. Of course it doesn't hurt to adapt a hit musical of the stage to the big screen. Following in the footsteps of last years acclaimed Moulin Rouge, Chicago is a dirty little jazz musical that is simply quite wonderful. It was captivating from the opening sequence as Catherine Zeta Jones sings "All That Jazz: very provocatively, and in the background wonderfully edited to the song was Renee Zellweger with her lover.

All the world is a stage, and in this movie everyone has their moment in the spotlight using jazz songs to get their message out. The songs were great with everyone driving a specific meaning, feeling or action. They all fit into the movie and story perfectly, and each number was wonderfully and sometimes humorously introduced by The Band Leader - even if all the musical numbers only happened in Roxie's head. Roxie looks at the world as stage - the one place that she wants to be but can't seem to get to. She puts everyone she meets on that stage, each singing their jazz song to advance the narrative.

After murdering her lover, Roxie (Renee Zellweger) is sent to prison, and after a great number by the Warden (Queen Latifah), Roxie is introduced to the other girls on murderers row. Elvis would have been proud of the jailhouse rock (...well jazz...) number that followed. Elvis, a touch of the "Roxanne" song from Moulin Rouge, and excellent dance numbers provide the setting as each girl tells her dark story of murder.

This movie is about fame, and fameseekers. Truth? Justice? Forget it! Just give me the headline. The top dog in prison was Velma (Zeta Jones), who shot her husband and sister while they were in bed together. She was a famous club singer, who was making all the Chicago headlines and was the star of the town. Her killings were the biggest news story of the day - that is until Roxie stole her headlines, and her lawyer. The flamboyant lawyer Billy Flynn (Richard Gere) moves from old news to the new in a heartbeat. He loves the spotlight. His numbers weren't so bad. His first one, "All I Care About", was the weakest one in the movie but he makes up for it later with a brilliant puppeteer and ventriloquist bit. Flynn leaves Roxie as she almost becomes yesterday's news, but a brilliant fake pregnancy restores her to prominence in the media headlines and restores Flynn's loyalty.

Gere was the weakest point in this movie. Sure, he was very good at times, but with him I just couldn't buy it. Roxie and Velma sold me. They were the real deal. But Gere? Sorry. He had his moments, but for the most part it just didn't seem like he was doing his own singing. He tried to do some nasal type voice on his entrance number that didn't fly. Sure, his ventriloquist number was excellent - but his last number, "Razzle Dazzle", was one of the weaker ones. As a lawyer, he was great. As a singer and dancer, well, he made a great lawyer - one only in it for the money.

Catherine Zeta Jones was excellent in this movie. Her "All that Jazz" number was one of the sexiest song numbers since Michelle Pfeiffer in "The Fabulous Baker Boys". Apparently she was such a great singer that the producers of the movie said 'thanks, but no thanks' to Janet Jackson doing some of the songs. Zellweger too did a wonderful job. Her performance as Roxie was amazing. The contrasting dance and singing style of Roxie and Velma kept the movie and music fresh. Not to be outdone was a touching little number from John C. Reilly, the lapdog husband of Roxie. His "Mr. Cellophane" was bordering on sappy, but was really very touching as he was more or less the invisible man behind Roxie.

Finally, at the end, Roxie makes it to that stage where she longed to be. Teaming up with Velma as the Twin Killers, they set the stage on fire with their tongue-in-cheek wild performance on stage.

Keyword : Eli, Aming, Michelle Pfeiffer, Renée Zellweger, Anne, Janet Jackson, Action, Musical, Queen Latifah, Music, Jai, A Di, Beat, Richard Gere, Ant, Ate, Chicago, Deal, Dirty, Ex, Fame, Good, Heart, Here, Holly, House, Hurt, Look, Love, Move, Murderer, Numb, Out, Pet, Rent, Screen, SIS, Spotlight, Style, The Invisible, The Invisible Man, The One, The Producers, The Town, The Ward, Trance, Up, W., War, YES, Yesterday, Fresh, Bi, Ryo, UEE, Ello, Eren


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