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 20/11/2003 | Mattroberts
Member since : 13/08/2002
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"I Wanna Be (In)Famous!"

The beginning of this film, in my opinion, is the best opening to any film ever. The music, the rush, the atmosphere, it immediately makes you love the film, and see what it is. Because Chicago isn’t a film with some elements that are good, and others that are weak. Chicago is a film anyone, of any age, can enjoy. There’s something there for everyone, and whether you like musicals or not, you’ll really enjoy it. In fact, you probably won’t just enjoy it; you’ll love it!

Chicago was a stage musical for many years. In the last couple of years, female’s stars have battled it out to play either Roxie or Velma – the two main stars – and put on these stockings and killer heels. You haven’t made it in the business, these days, unless you’ve starred in the musical, and kicked those legs up in the air. Chicago is the musical to star in to prove that you have the talent, and many actresses/singers have gone on from doing the musical to very big things.

So, when it was made into a film, there was talk about who would get the main parts. Would it be Madonna? Britney? No, thankfully, the casting directors went with people who could sing a note or two, and it worked really well. The three main were, to be, Catherine Zeta- Jones (C-Z-J), Renee Zellweger, and Richard Gere. When I first heard who was to play them all, I was a tad confused, as I didn’t know whether any of them had any musical background. I later found that most of them had been at a music school, and starred in musicals in the past.

So, what is Chicago all about? Well, it isn’t only make-up, costumes, and legs, you know? There is actually a plot to it, and a good, and confusing one, at that. Velma Kelly is a singer. Her, and her sister, are the famous Kelly Sisters who play at a jazz club every night. Roxie is a wannabe star. She loves everything about Velma, and wants to be just like her. She craves to be a star. Roxie isn’t so innocent herself, though; she’s deceitful to her husband Amus, by having a lover on the side. Her lover promises her that she’ll “become a star”. But after a couple of months, after her lover breaks his promises, Roxie gets angry. So angry, she shoots him; and kills him.

In prison, she bumps into Velma, who’s been put down for murder; just like her. Velma, on the night when Roxie was watching her, had killed her sister and husband, after she saw them at it. Velma and Roxie are the two most famous murderesses in Chicago at the time, but the question is, who will hold the limelight when they both come out of prison? Who will stay the Star of Chicago, and who will remain the unwanted enemy? Chicago is a film full of lies, deceit, arch-rivalry, hatred and murder. Not one to share an intimate night in with lover boy/girl, that’s for sure!

That’s a brief summary of the plot, there, and don’t worry if you’re confused, because it isn’t the easiest of films to grasp on to! And like that it doesn’t sound like the most perfect of films, but I don’t love it because of the plot, but because of the characters. You get to know them so well, and some are just so interesting you are absolutely fascinated by them. Velma, for example, she’s made out as a total bitch, but there’s something deeper there. Something much more emotional than what you just see by looking at her.

Richard Gere was surprisingly good at singing and dancing. He also brought another spark to the film that would have been lacking if he weren’t in it. He didn’t come into the film, until about a quarter way through, as the lawyer who helps both Roxie and Velma out. He’s never lost a case, and they are both pretty certain they’ll get off for it. The film was rather comical in my eyes. It was set out, and known, as a musical. But to me, it was so much more. It was a thriller, drama, black comedy and a musical. There were so many things that were just so pleasing and exciting to watch, that you couldn’t take your eyes off the screen for a second.

For me, C-Z-J was way better as Velma than Zellweger was as Roxie. Both were excellent, but Zellweger lacked something. She played Roxie a bit too dramatic, in my eyes, and even though she was brilliant at the dancing, the singing, and the acting, bitchy Velma still out shined her. C-Z-J, totally and utterly deserved her Oscar that she won in the 2003 Academy Awards, and totally changed the movie from being a boring musical to a star-studded, remarkable film. She was the icing on the cake, most definitely. Top marks for her American accent (even though, she’s got half of one already, anyway!)

The music in the film was pretty outstanding too. Many of the main actors sang, and John C Reilly who played Roxie’s poor husband was very good at performing one song “Mr Cellophane”. His voice was surprisingly good, and he acted out the song extremely well. Zellweger, C-Z-J and Gere were all marvellous at performing their songs, but of course C-Z-J took the prize for “All That Jazz”, she worked that song wonderfully, and I don’t think any other star could have done it as well as that, certainly not better.

Some people think that Chicago was as popular as it was, because it was made from one of the most popular stage musicals. Yes, that was a starter, but it WAS one of the best films, because of the acting, singing and the music. Not only was it entertaining, but also for me it was somewhat educational in the way that I judged all the characters at the beginning, and ended up wrong at the end. It really is a must see for anyone, no matter what kind of film you like, because it has it all

You can buy the DVD from Amazon. You can also buy an album with all of the Chicago numbers on it, for a mere £8.99 at CDWOW! Don’t miss any opportunity to see it!

© Matt Roberts 2003.

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Comments on this review

  • drewboy published 05/06/2004
    i loved this film, its in my top 10 muiscals!!! drew
  • funphobic2 published 18/12/2003
    Excellent review! Well done! x
  • pleaseratemyreview published 12/12/2003
    I enjoyed pretty much all the musical bits, and all that jazz. Excellent op, ¬¬¬JiM¬¬¬
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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


Author: Bob Fosse, Fred Ebb

Director of Photography: Dion Beebe

Screenwriter: Bill Condon

Producer: Martin Richards

Composer: Danny Elfman, Fred Ebb


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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