I've had some musical reviews lined up for the blog for months, waiting to do a Musical week, but I decided instead to feature one musical per week, since my film viewing habit has not been very active during these last few days. So, first in line, CHICAGO!
Chicago is one of my favourite musicals of all time and I am glad to have the chance to talk about it!
Directed by Rob Marshall, it tells the story of Roxie Hart, a young woman who shoots her lover and ends up in prison. She tries to get out by hiring Billy Flynn, a big shot lawyer who always wins (played by Richard Gere), but has a few "bumps" in the road (Velma Kelly- Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mama Morton-Queen Latifah and others).
Let's start from the beginning. Catherine Zeta Jones opens the show, with a great performance of All that jazz and mantains her fierce, sassy, sexy, strong act throughout the movie. She delivered in a big way and deserves her Oscar as supporting actress- she is fantastic in every shape or form, acting, dancing and singing wise!
Then we meet Roxie Hart- not as pretty, not as sassy, but with a certain charm. Renee Zellweger is good and correctly portrays her character, but it wasn't 100% for me. I do have to mention the shot of her from toe to head whilst singing, she does have some nice legs and gives her all during the dance numbers.
Queen Latifah is Mama Morton; I think the casting was spot on and I loved her in this movie. ("When you're good to mama, mama's good to you"). Other memorable mentions are Christine Baranski as the reporter and Taye Biggs as the announcer/pianist.
And then we go to my favourite scene of the movie, featuring one of the best songs, well musical songs, ever. It's called the Cell Block Tango and I love it.
Richard Gere is charming- I never thought I would be seeing him in underwear singing "All I care about is love", but he is surprisingly good and has a palpable chemisty with both Zellweger and Zeta-Jones. Same goes for John C.Reilly, who is a fantastic actor, but always underused, in supporting parts, as a silly, stupid character.
The direction is wonderful, the transitions between the action and the dream stage sequences are well done, the singing and dancing numbers are flawless, flashy, visually beautiful and lovely to see, the sets and costumes take you back to the 20s, the actors deliver in every scene and all in all, it is a memorable movie.
As I said, one of my personal favourites musicals. Hope you like it, too!