Chicago (DVD)

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Chicago (DVD)

This Hollywood adaptation of the classic Broadway musical sparkles with glamour and reverberates with the energy of good, old-fashioned song and dance...

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Review of "Chicago (DVD)"

published 24/09/2003 | JessL
Member since : 30/11/-0001
Reviews : 121
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Excellent
Pro Entertaining, great musical numbers, very enjoyable
Cons None
very helpful
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Story
Characters / Performances
Special Effects
Soundtrack

"I didn't stab him ten times; he fell on my knife!"

Chicago is one of my newest favourite films; right up there with Billy Elliot and Forrest Gump. I wouldn't have thought it was my type of film, but I decided to buy it on Amazon after winning a gift voucher from another opinionating site. I was wary, but I'm glad I did!

It did very well, winning numerous Oscars, and cementing Catherine Zeta Jones' and Renee Zellweger's places at the top of the A-list; and deservedly so, too! It's hugely entertaining and an absolute classic. I'm a big fan of Grease and this (also a musical) is even better.


THE STORYLINE
Set in 1920's America, Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) is a fame-hungry wannabe, who dreams of singing on stage in Chicago and divorcing her boring husband, Amos. She meets a man, Fred, who promises to make her a star, but after he unceremoniously dumps her and reveals he has no more connections to the business than desperate Roxie, she shoots him in a fit of rage.

In prison, awaiting trial, she meets the famous Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta Jones), a successful stage star who shot her husband and sister after finding them in a compromising situation. Initially, Roxie is in awe of the smoky-eyed, beautiful woman, but her aloof, stuck-up attitude soon grates.

After striking up a deal with Mama Morton (Queen Latifah), the prison's matron, Roxie finds her case being dealt with by Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), a slick lawyer who has never lost a case , who is also handling Velma's trial. She finds Billy's PR manipulation turns her into a huge star, capturing the hearts of the public. Velma soon becomes a nobody, having been pushed to the side by Roxie, the new tabloid darling.

Is Roxie's new-found fame going to lead to a glittering career? How about Velma; will she succeed without the notoriety of being a criminal? Will the pair put aside their differences? Watch it and see!


THE CAST
I think all three main characters; Renee Zellweger (Roxie), Catherine Zeta Jones (Velma) and Richard Gere (Billy Flynn) were cast perfectly. They all have solid reputations, and could not have fulfilled their roles any better! If I had been the casting director, I would not have chosen Renee Zellweger and Richard Gere, but they give their all in their roles, and it shows.

Although Renee as Roxie is the main character, I thought that Catherine was more entertaining. She is a stronger singer, and pulls off her solo scenes amazingly well. She has real star-quality and pulled the film together.

I expected Renee to be this painfully thin, self-conscious girl who would look uncomfortable in her role as Roxie - I needn't have worried! Her performance was flawless, but it has to be said; she looked weak compared to Catherine, who really shone in her role as the conniving temptress, Velma.

I have always had a little crush on Richard Gere (despite him being old enough to be my granddad!), and this just reaffirmed it - he plays the irresistably attractive, charismatic lawyer brilliantly, and is a surprisingly good singer, too.


VERDICT
I loved every minute of the film. You were truly sucked into this smoky world of glamour and jazz, and for an hour and 45 minutes, I was right there, in the midst of it all, which is no bad thing. It's glamorous, theatrical, and oh-so camp! Even if you're not a fan of jazz, you will be after watching this film. I'm going to buy the soundtrack as soon as I can!

In some films, the normal storyline stops dead to accomodate the musical scenes and drag on painfully, but the performances glide in seamlessly into the storyline, mostly from Roxie's imagination.

The musical numbers really are spectacular - I'm not sure whether they sang their songs themselves, but they really were great, and just added to the camp factor! I found myself singing along (you don't want to hear me sing!) and secretly wishing I could doll myself up and prance around on stage too (yes really)!

Before I saw it, I didn't think I'd enjoy it, but I loved every minute. It's glamorous, with beautiful clothes (though you could never get away with wearing them in real life!) and fantastic singing. The sheer magnitude and nerve of the film really shows through - it could have failed miserably, but was a resounding success, and rightly so, too.

Watch out for the cameo from Lucy Liu, a pineapple heiress who catches her husband in bed with two ladies, and promptly shoots them. Her feistiness and snobbery entertained me no end! Mya also makes an appearance, as does Christine Baranski (Mary Sunshine) who plays Maryann (the Patsy from Ab Fab-type woman!), in Cybill.

I finished watching this with a smile on my face, singing 'All That Jazz' and wanting to be able to get away with wearing fishnet tights - enough said? It's a feel-good film that I have seen five times and am still not tired of. Give it a go!

I don't know a single male who enjoyed this film! There were mumblings of 'It's a bit over-the-top' and 'S'alright, nowt special', but that was it! Chicago is one to watch with your girly mates, definitely. Also ideal if you have just been dumped; there is a very amusing piece near the start of the film which will be perfect for you if you want to 'Bobbit' your ex-boyfriend!

It is rated 12A, but my little sister who is eight, watched it and it was OK. It contained a little swearing and one tame sex scene. It is directed by Rob Marshall, and lasts for around 110 minutes.


OTHERS
I bought the DVD version for £12.99 on Amazon.co.uk, which I think is great seeing as the RRP is £16.99. The extras on the DVD are good too, and definitely makes just watching Chicago an 'experience'! Even if it doesn't sound like your kind of film, I'd really recommend it.

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Comments on this review

  • Barbsie published 05/02/2004
    I've not seen this one yet, but you make it sound excellent :o)
  • kris002263 published 10/12/2003
    Very helpful I was always embarased to admit to liking this film but your review remidns me how good it was, thanks - Kris
  • BabyGirl published 15/11/2003
    I don't know why but I still haven't seen this!! I must get it out some time! I used to have a crush on Richard Gere too, must have been pretty woman, he's so lovely in that film!! :D xx
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Product Information : Chicago (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

This Hollywood adaptation of the classic Broadway musical sparkles with glamour and reverberates with the energy of good, old-fashioned song and dance. As the film leaps into its first riveting act, Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones), one half of the famous number she performs with her sister, arrives at the night club late, dishevelled, and with blood on her hands. Nonetheless, she goes onstage unhindered and wows the crowd with her shimmying rendition of 'All That Jazz'. Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) a young blonde who dreams of someday being famous like Velma, watches from the audience with eyes full of envy. Later, as the cops pick up Velma for the murder of her sister, sending her fame to all-time heights as she becomes a tabloid sensation, Roxie also commits a crime of passion--shooting a lover who falsely promised to secure her cabaret debut. The girls wind up together in jail, where Mama Morton (Queen Latifah), a compassionate guard, is their only hope of redemption; and Billy Flynn (Richard Gere) is the lawyer who can get them out. There, through wonderfully familiar songs like 'Razzle Dazzle', 'Cell-Block Tango', and 'Cellophane Man' Roxie and Velma tell their story of competing for bad-girl celebrity. Director Rob Marshall presents a loveable CHICAGO that shares all the grit and grime of the Bob Fosse Broadway original with phenomenal performances by this grouping of Hollywood stars. The dizzying camerawork and dazzling sets make an easy transition from stage to film.

Release Details

DVD Region: DVD

Release date: 12/09/2005, 04/08/2003

No of Discs: 2, 1

Catalogue No: BUA 0013401, BED 888819

Barcode: 8717418056377, 5017188888196

Voice: Danny Elfman

Choreographer: Bob Fosse

Music: Fred Ebb

Studio(s): WALT DISNEY STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINM; TECHNICOLOR DISTRIBUTION SERVICES

Author: Bob Fosse, Fred Ebb

Director of Photography: Dion Beebe

Screenwriter: Bill Condon

Producer: Martin Richards

Composer: Danny Elfman, Fred Ebb

Languages

Main Language: English

Professional Reviews

Review: "...Fresh and daring....Queen Latifah and John C. Reilly are the surprise standouts..." (Box Office, p.59, 01/03/2003)<br><br>"...Zeta-Jones, all legs and growls, has found her calling card..." (Film Comment, p.73, 01/01/2003)<br><br>"...It's Zeta-Jones who keeps you watching from start to finish....She refuses to let you go....If musicals are dreams, she is their greatest dreamer..." (Los Angeles Times, p.C8, 27/12/2002)<br><br>"...[The actors] deliver sizzling performances....This tawdry, hard-as-nails carnival of ghouls generates plenty of fireworks..." (Movieline, p.62, 01/02/2003)<br><br>"...It's the raw expenditure of energy and the canniness of the staging that should pull audiences in and keep them rooted..." (New York Times, p.E1, 27/12/2002)<br><br>"...Zellweger wins our hearts. That's what makes her dangerous. Just like the movie....Dynamite..." (Rolling Stone, p.76, 23/01/2003)<br><br>"...[Jones] makes nightclub singer Velma a droll fishnet virtuoso..." (Sight and Sound, p.41-2, 01/02/2003)<br><br>"...CHICAGO shows how much the element of surprise is missing from today's movies....It's part of the basic Zeta-Jones bio that she can really sing, and, wow, can she..." (USA Today, p.7D, 27/12/2002)<br><br>

Technical Information

Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scene, Behind The Scenes Footage

Dubbing Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English<br>Dolby Digital 2.0 English

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0

Award Information

BAFTA: Best Supporting Actress 2002 (Catherine Zeta Jones)

OSCAR: Best Actress In A Supporting Role 2002 (Catherine Zeta Jones)

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