Saturday, January 7, 2017

1017. Chicago

Directed by Rob Marshall

Happy New Year!  I decided to kick 2017 off with a sinus infection.  I also decided to get ready for Oscar season by catching up on all the Best Picture winners in the 1001 list.  Not that I am actually planning to watch anything hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, but you know how much I love my themes.

To that end, let's talk about Chicago.  Velma Kelly is a beautiful vaudeville performer who murdered her sister and husband after seeing number 17.  She hires the sleaziest/most effective lawyer in town, Billy Flynn, to defend her.  Enter Roxie Hart, who dreams of becoming Velma someday.  She has an affair with Fred Casely, who claims to have connections that will help Roxie achieve stardom.  Once she realizes that he lied to get her into bed, she shoots him dead.  She initially gets her hapless husband Amos to take the blame, but Amos recants his confession when it is revealed that Roxie is, in fact, the worst.  Roxie then engages Velma's lawyer for her trial, and the two women compete for the media's attention.

I like musicals, but this has never been a favorite of mine.  None of the songs were particularly catchy, excepting perhaps "All That Jazz."  Actually a few of the songs were straight up obnoxious, like "We Both Reached for the Gun" and "Razzle Dazzle."  On the other hand, I did think the choreography was brilliant, particularly in "Cell Block Tango," where the red handkerchiefs represented the blood.  Busby Berkley would be proud.

It was interesting to view this film as a comment on the American press and the glamorization of murderers.  Was it good enough to warrant a Best Picture win?  Um, no.  I think The Pianist should have won.  I am pretty sure I could have lived without seeing Richard Gere tap dance.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

John C. Reilly is a clown enthusiast and insisted on designing his own clown make up for the "Mister Cellophane" number.

Renee Zellweger had no dancing or singing experience prior to making this film.


  1. Ah, how I love traditions.. A musical you are not all that keen on .. Guess what, I quite enjoyed it. OK, I wouldn't bother watching it again, but I distinctly remember enjoying it when I went to see it.

  2. "When you're good to Mama, Mama's good to you!"

    Can you imagine how obnoxious I was once with that song? Now that it is stuck in my head again, my friends are going to be really thankful to you :D

    Jokes aside, I enjoy this film a lot every time I watch it. Yes, probably the Pianist was more deserving but it was nice to see a musical win for a change instead of your usual 3-hour-long tearjerker. Who knows? Maybe this happens again this year?

  3. Haha I liked that song Alex. Haven't seen La La Land yet. Have you? And of course you did Ray.

  4. I am a massive fan of the stage's one of my all time favourites. The film is definitely not one of my favourites but I still like it a lot.

    The positives are Catherine Zeta Jones with her fantastic performance...she really does the role justice and I love her in it. It's really well made and really true to the musical and just how I imagined it would be if a film should be made of it. I like Renee Zelwegger a lot and I thought she was really good in it but maybe not perfect for the role in the same way Zeta Jones was. My problem with the film is my deep seated loathing of Richard Gere's acting. I hate him so much in the film he ruins it for me. He's just completely wrong for it. But the rest of it is spot on to me anyway. I've never seen The Pianist so I don't know how deserving it is.

    Have you seen Nine also directed by Rob Marshall? Everyone seemed to hate that film but it's one of my absolute favourites. Now I'm getting deja vu thinking maybe I already mentioned Nine before so just ignore me if I did.

    1. ah, I love Nine too! I know the songs by heart!

      "But don't you see that in the end
      There will be NOTHING - left - of - me!"

      "Help me Mamma!
      Help me someone!
      Here's a place where I have never been"

      (sorry for the disgression, here is the only place I can "sing" without destroying other people's ears)

    2. Hahaha!! Me too- believe me I have watched it a ridiculous amount of times. So underrated! It impressively got my into both Fellini and Fergie in one fell swoop. That is no mean feat :D

  5. I thought all of these comments were from Ashley and was wondering why she was having a conversation with herself. Completely agreed on the Richard Gere disdain. I have seen Nine. I don't remember hating it but I wasn't blown away and none of the songs really stuck.

    1. Haha well I could have finally lost the plot :D

      Saw La La Land last night- thought it was amazing! Maybe musicals will become a bit more commonplace again, here's hoping :D

    2. Okay I will definitely check it out. I was waiting for someone to recommend it!

    3. Amanda, even I have the feeling I should go and see La la land..

    4. Well by law one of us will love it and the other will hate it.