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Chicago (2002)

PG-13 · 113 minutes

Directed by Rob Marshall
Written by Maurine Dallas Watkins, Bob Fosse, Fred Ebb, Bill Condon

 · Taye Diggs
 · Clive Saunders
 · Catherine Zeta-Jones
 · Renée Zellweger
 · Dominic West

Review by The Gnome (Billy Dal Porto)

Who wouldn't want to see a show with two homicidal girls, one greedy lawyer, and all that jazz? Well, to be quite honest, me.

If you ever came up to me and asked how much I loved Moulin Rouge, I'd slap you across the face and wait for you to ask for seconds. The film took an "O.K." musical and turned it into a new age fad, equipped with all kinds of pop inuendos. Why, I ask you, why was that Oscar worthy? Why was taking someone elses idea and making it your own worth a couple of golden boys? It wasn't.

Chicago... is different. Instead of revamping and giving life to a show that didn't need it, it just adds fuel to the fire. You see, Chicago follows the blueprints of a well oiled machine and gives credit where credit is due... and it does it without having to take an old Nirvana riff or two.




As I said, the problem with Moulin Rouge is that it was a musical, not a movie. So how do you take a musical and put it on the big screen? By performing it. It's that simple. You don't need new songs, you don't need to change the story a little. If the source material is hot, then it'll sell. Moulin Rouge wasn't hot. Chicago is. Chicago is great piece of work that gets you involved. You feel like you're in a night club, enjoying the music and the dancing and everything. At least, that's what seeing it in the theater should be like, but the cinema is a different story.

I'm not rating the show. That should be left to theater critics. I'm a movie critic. This is a movie. I'm rating the movie. Does it capture the shows essence? Does it make you believe that this is what you're going to see when you go to the theater and pay to see people perform it right before your very eyes? It does. With a bullet... or two.

The best part about it is that the people on the screen aren't living their lives singing and dancing. No, no. We get a movie AND a musical here, not just one. We get to see acting on one side of it, and on the other, we get to see the magic of performing arts. That's exactly what was right about this film. It didn't forget that we came to see a movie, not a bunch of weirdos running around singing in their daily lives. Heck, a musical isn't even that strange. No, we get what we paid for, and then we get a little bonus, a little incentive.

However, since this movie wants to be Oscar material, and since it wants to boast the best actresses, I'm going to judge it on that level. Renee Zellweger was great. Was she Oscar material here? Nope. Catherine Zeta-Jones was good. Was SHE Oscar material here? Not likely. The picture itself doesn't deserve it either, since it's basically taking a visual art and putting it into a different medium. Hey, what can I say? The film was a blast, but it's still a blast in it's originality.




I had fun watching this flick. I mean, it didn't freak me out like most 'musical to film' movies. It didn't make me feel like I came to get an appreciation for the arts or like I had a superior intelligence for the mere fact that I enjoyed it. When you break it down, it's entertainment. People have been doing it for years. Just cause you've seen something not everybody has doesn't make you dignified. It doesn't change who you are, and it doesn't give you a right to be stuck up. This movie doesn't alienate the audience or provoke those feelings. The filmmakers knew this was just a movie, and I'm glad that's the way it ended up.

The acting was pretty good. I mean, I've seen a lot better, but I've seen a lot worse. They did their job, made me believe it, but I'm not about to start handing out little men with a sword to these people. Renee Zellweger does steal the spotlight, though, much like her character. She's not amazing, but she did make me feel like I should start taking her more seriously. And Richie, where did that voice come from? Either you hired a voice double or you've been holding out on us. Do some more theater, please.



Don't go cause you want a big head and don't go cause you think by seeing this you're not a slob. It's just a movie. It takes part in all the major focuses of entertainment. Violence, sex, money... it's all there. It's all part of the same thing you see every day on TV, or every time you see a different movie. The best part about this movie though... it doesn't make you feel stupid for thinking that. That's Chicago.

826 Words · Published: 10 March 2003

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