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Chicago the Movie


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#16 dirac

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Posted 20 December 2002 - 05:56 PM

I never thought of Gwen Verdon as being hard and lean. Rivera, maybe.

#17 glebb

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Posted 20 December 2002 - 08:40 PM

Originally posted by dirac
I never thought of Gwen Verdon as being hard and lean. Rivera, maybe.


Have you seen the 1957 film "Damn Yankees"?
Verdons body is to die for!

#18 Old Fashioned

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Posted 21 December 2002 - 05:46 AM

Originally posted by dirac
Yes, and it might even make Zeta-Jones a little closer to the showgirls of that era, who were well upholstered.


Ah, I forgot about that. When Fosse did Cabaret , he wanted his German dancers (all were actually German except for two) to put on weight and leave their armpits unshaved. I read that Marshall tried to create the same affect for this movie- guess it didn't turn out as well (wouldn't have worked for audiences, anyway).:)

Originally posted by Ari
she was soft, plush and sensual.

When I first heard who would be cast in the movie, I was a bit disappointed. CZJ and Zellweger didn't strike me as the "murderess" type; they seemed just as you had described Zeta-Jones as "too ladylike, too soft." Now I'm being optimistic about it.

For some reason, I see the cast of Xena in this. Lucy Lawless as Velma, Renee O'Connor as Roxie, Kevin Smith as Billy...they can all sing, too.

#19 dirac

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Posted 22 December 2002 - 02:44 PM

glebb, I never meant to imply that Verdon was anything less than a dish from head to toe. But she had curves - she wasn't pared to the bone.

#20 glebb

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Posted 22 December 2002 - 04:57 PM

A lean, sexy dish indeed!

I can't get over how good she is, even for today.


Her "Whatever Lola Wants" number is on my list of highly recommended dances to view.

#21 Calliope

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Posted 27 December 2002 - 05:51 PM

Movie was fabulous.
Be sure to look for the Rivera cameo, if you blink you might miss it.

I was pleasantly suprised by both Zeta-Jones and Zellweger, though Zellweger is a wee bit on the thin side, and she has the unrefined biting the bottom lip quality during an intense dance routine.

Queen Latifiah is perfect as Big Mamma.
Gere, he was passable, more than I would have expected, but the weakest link in the chain.

The camera angles are a bit choppy, not as blurry as Moulin Rouge, but influenced by it.
Zeta Jones is really fantastic though. She carries her scenes well.
I can't wait to see it again!!!

#22 Old Fashioned

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Posted 27 December 2002 - 08:07 PM

I thought it was amazing. What a beautiful transition to the screen; this definitely did not feel like a taping of a stage production. Gere didn't disappoint as much as I thought he would, but I still would have preferred to see someone else in the role (he did do some nice footwork, though). I'm still WOWing over the performances given by both Zellweger and CZJ. They are decent enough dancers- I thought the faultiness in the "I Can't Do it Alone" number was a nice touch. Maybe they don't have the greatest voices in the world (I didn't think Verdon and Rivera did, either), but the sensuality of their singing worked wonders on the audience; the point is they are great performers. John C. Reilly also really shone in this film. *Sigh* what I would give to see Queen Latifah and Zeta-Jones do "Class."

#23 Ari

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Posted 28 December 2002 - 09:10 AM

Old Fashioned, you will be able to see "Class" when the DVD comes out. The number was filmed but not included in the big screen release, but it will appear on the DVD (whether it'll be in sequence or an "extra" I don't know). I also don't know which version of "Class" they're going to include — apparently it was filmed two or three different ways, once with CZJ and QL, and once with QL and RZ.

I also believe that the song will be included in the CD.

#24 Old Fashioned

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Posted 28 December 2002 - 05:04 PM

What I actually meant was I wished to see it on the big screen.

I was wondering if I should pre-order the soundtrack on Amazon. If you do, does it arrive at your house the day of the release or is it shipped off the day of the release?

#25 Ari

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Posted 29 December 2002 - 02:38 PM

O-F, I ordered another CD from Amazon last summer and it was shipped on the day of release.

#26 dirac

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 12:24 PM

Chicago arrived in the sticks last weekend, and so I was at last able to check it out. Um, all I can say is, if this represents a revival of the musical genre, it might be better to allow it to die an honorable death. I see by the papers that some reviewers have hailed it as the best musical in thirty years, i.e., since Cabaret – not a large statement, even if true, as there haven't been too many in the interim. It would be distressing if people were to take this to mean as good as, or even in the same ballpark as, Cabaret. I've always thought Kander and Ebb's score was several cuts below what they produced for the earlier show, and the movie did not change my opinion. The dialogue was feeble and is still feeble – crudely cynical with no sharpness, wit, or edge.

Fortunately, it's just as well that the numbers aren't top-drawer, because if they were, Rob Marshall's staging hardly allows you to focus on them. He takes a device Fosse used effectively and sparingly in "Cabaret" -- intercutting between the songs and action/dialogue scenes – and works it to death, so that neither the numbers or the action build up any kind of rhythm. Maybe audiences of today can't take a song if it's not cut into several thirty second sound bites, I don't know. The malign influence of Moulin Rouge is clearly evident here. (I got the feeling, after about forty-five minutes, that I was watching a series of commercials or trailers for a movie. The movie itself didn't make an appearance.) Every number is staged to stop the show, even if the bit in question would probably not stop a high school play. It's a very basic point, but in order for your Big Moments to stand out, you have to have a quiet one or two. (Even John C. Reilly winds up planting his legs far apart and booming at the ceiling, like Judy belting "Swanee" at the Palladium.) There's not a whole lot of choreography to speak of – lots of high kicks, splits, and in the murderesses' number, what looked to be some dry humping. If you're into women's thighs, this is a good movie for you – usually you have to rent porn or tune into cable after hours for this kind of display.


Of the three stars, Zellweger comes off the worst. I've always liked Zellweger and her unstarry looks (What did they say in the front office, I wonder – "She lisps! She squints!" We're gonna make her a star!"), but the character as conceived in this version of the story has no charm or humor, the photography is not kind to Zellweger's face or figure, and her big number looks like amateur night. Zeta-Jones does better – she gives you the impression that she could carry a number like the opener if she were allowed to, which she isn't. Both actresses perform in a naturalistic manner unsuited to the high-theatrical, near-abstract style of the show. Gere does better in this respect, but…..boy, does his dancing suck. (The frantic intercutting reaches a nadir with his tap dance – you shift back and forth between a bad courtroom scene and a bad dance. Not a pretty sight.)


I don't know if Rob Marshall thinks this is a really cool way to shoot a movie, or if this was his response to the problem of filming a dance-driven musical with stars who cannot really sing or dance. It may also be Firsttimedirectoritis, an affliction that often results in hyperactive camerawork. (Fosse himself experienced an attack of this for his first film, "Sweet Charity," but there the choreography and the songs still came through.) Maybe it's a bit of all three.


I'm sorry if the foregoing is harsh, and I hope no one who really liked the movie will hesitate to speak up. I should note that the movie isn't awful, although I might have made it sound so, and it's over refreshingly fast.

#27 Calliope

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 01:06 PM

dirac, you are the first person that I know that hasn't liked it.

it's unfortunate that the movie can't just stand on it's own. it's like people who complain The Two Towers is slightly different from the Tolkien book.
For the $10 price, I'd go see this movie 7 times before I went back to the theater to see it.
Perhaps it's a generational thing. I liked it, that whole fast, blitzy feeling is like going to a club and trying to see.
For 2 hours I was entertained, I was impressed these actors whom I had no hope for, in my opinion pulled it off.

#28 dirac

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 01:21 PM

Calliope, I'm happy to stand alone on this issue. And debate is always welcome.

The fast camera movement is fine for a segment or two, but I don't think it works for almost two hours without any contrast.

Also, with all due respect to the sensibilities of the younger generation, I was able to hobble into the theatre without the aid of a walker. :) I also have enough respect for young people to believe that they can sit through a single well staged song without three or four cuts to Other Business.

#29 Calliope

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 01:40 PM

I didn't mean to direct the age differential at you dirac :)
I just meant, they don't know any better.
Fosse, who's that?
Chicago, that's a candy bar, right?

A generation that thinks Barnes & Noble is the new library.
And I'm not saying it mean spirited, I'm a Generation X-er, so I've seen black and white movies,
but if you look at Baz's Romeo & Juliet, big hit with the younger set, same cutting, craziness, I blame it on Soderbergh, actually, but....
if you've not seen anything good (in the movie theater) you have nothing to compare it to.
We're talking a generation who's "My Fair Lady" is "Grease"!
Special effects and camera "trips" (a la the Matrix) have spoiled the stable camera angle.

As my neighbor said of Chicago, "it was like being on E (cstasy) without having to take it"
whoa

#30 Old Fashioned

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 06:16 PM

Originally posted by Calliope

I just meant, they don't know any better.  
Fosse, who's that?
Chicago, that's a candy bar, right?


Hmph. I think I'm fairly familiar with Fosse's work, and I still enjoyed the film. I didn't try to compare it to how movie musicals "used to be" or theatrical stagings.


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