Everyone loves a legend, but in Chicago, there's only room
for one. Velma Kelley (Zeta-Jones) burns in the spotlight
as a nightclub sensation. When she shoots her philandering
husband, she lands on Chicago's fames murderess row, retains
Chicago's slickest lawyer, Billy Flynn (Gere), and is the
center of the town's most notorious murder case, only increasing
her celebrity. Roxie Hart (Zellweger), seduced the the city's
promise of style and adventure, dreams of singing and dancing
her way to stardom. When Roxie's abusive lover tries to walk
out on her, she too ends up in prison. Billy recognizes a
made-for-tabloids story, and postpones Velma's court date
to take on Roxie's case. Infamy is Roxie's ticket to stardom.
Billy turns her crime of passion into celebrity headlines,
and in this town, where murder is a form of entertainment,
she becomes a bona fide star - much to Velma's chagrin. As
Roxie fashions herself as America's sweetheart, Velma has
more than a few surprises in store, and the two women stop
at nothing to outdo each other in their obsessive pursuit
of fame and celebrity.
The 1975 Broadway production "Chicago," directed
and choreographed by Bob Fosse, is brought to life on the
big screen by director Rob Bowman and writer Bill Condon in
an incredible-looking and highly entertaining film. The adaptation
is filled with spectacular songs and dance numbers that make
the 100-minute duration fly by before you know it.
Bowman is himself a choreographer which enabled him to add
that extra spark to the dances. During the film, the songs
are used to show what the characters are thinking and what
they are really wanting to say. The cinematography of the
songs and dancing was impressive as well. A lot of the scenes
start out normal and develop into songs while the sets are
changing, at other times the song takes place somewhere else
completely and you are taken back and forth between the song
and the scene. It's something that works quite well and makes
the movie feel a lot like the play, which is a good thing
here. The performances couldn't have turned out the way they
did, however, without the talent involved.
The story is mostly about Roxie Hart, played by Renée
who is willing to do anything to become a star. Zellweger
performs her own songs very naturally, but she is topped in
the vocal department by Catherine
Zeta-Jones. Nevertheless, they both sound great and it was
a pleasure hearing their renditions of the "Chicago"
could very well be expecting an Academy Award nomination for
her work in this musical, she did a great job showing Roxie's
need for attention and playing opposite Zeta-Jones and Gere.
Zeta-Jones definitely had the best voice out of the topliners
and it was fitting for the already 'famous' Velma Kelly. I
was also impressed with Richard Gere's performance who puts
on a show to make the jury believe whatever he wants them
to. John C. Reilly plays the sympathetic Amos well and Queen
Latifah's 'Mama' is definitely one of the more entertaining
characters in the film. I didn't care much for Christine Baranski
as reporter Mary Sunshine, but it was nice to see Taye Diggs
as the band leader.
The songs I enjoyed the most were Zeta-Jones' "All That
Jazz" and two of Richard Gere's tracks (both with Zellweger),
"We Both Reached For The Gun" and "Razzle Dazzle".
John C. Reilly singing "Mr. Cellophane" was pretty
much a low point in the movie - it could have been done differently.
If you love the play, or if you've never seen it, this is
an outstanding and entertaining adaptation that I would highly
recommend seeing in theaters.
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