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 them...um...doing 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.
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.