View Full Version : The Moose Hole - 'Chicago' Revives Old Musical

01-26-2003, 12:07 AM
Released December 25th, 2002

Starring: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, John C. Reilly, Christine Baranski, Dominic West, Mya, Queen Latifah

Director: Rob Marshall

Premise: 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, 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.

Storyline Entertainment has had huge success reviving old musicals. Such projects included Cinderella and Annie on ABC a few years ago and the upcoming Music Man starring Matthew Broderick of The Producer's fame. And now they try their chances with Chicago for Miramax films. But a revival of this musical was attempted on Broadway a year and since then the musical was shut down mostly due to the effects of September 11th. Will the film version of Chicago be another great success for Storyline Entertainment or will it be the first failure for the musical team?

The story of Chicago focuses on the lovely Roxie Hary who is willing to do anything to get the fame that a star like Velma Kelly has including cheating on her husband with a guy that claims to have connections in the business. When she finds out that this man is playing her, she takes a gun and shoots him and then shoots again. Roxie falls into a new world of deception and lies where she is competing with Velma Kelly for the famous lawyer Billy Flinn, who has never lost a case with a woman client. But who will come out on top in Chicago? The story of Chicago is fabulous done. The musicals sequences do not come off as tacky thanks to the idea of letting these numbers be from the imagination of Roxie Hart instead of the usual one liner that sets up the song.

The one thing to note about this movie version of Chicago is that all the actors did their own singing. The biggest surprise of the bunch was Richard Gere who played lawyer Billy Flinn. Who knew this guy could sing that well? The favorite numbers such as Razzle Dazzle and All I Care About came from him Cathrine-Zeta Jones is actually a Broadway veteran and shows off her stuff is great style. Renee Zellweger is good as Roxie Hart but there could have been someone just a little better to play this role. The look was there but the dancing and the singing for her role was just slightly disappointing. John C. Reilly does a great job in the Mister Cellophane number as well as Queen Latifah as Mama Morton.

Overall, Chicago was as good and better then all the buzz suggested for this musical. The songs were the best that had been heard in a film for a long time. The best included Razzle Dazzle, Mister Cellophane, and the Cell Block Tango. The story didn't come off as tacky and the musical numbers were fabulously well done. The cast was great except for two members. Renee Zellweger was good but was not a great choice for the role of Roxie Hart. Another bad character was Lucy Liu, who seemed kind of pointlessly added in the story though it helped play out rest of the story. They could have done more with her character. The comeback of the movie musical was started by Moulin Rouge but Chicago continues the surge with full force. Chicago is one of the best musicals seen in years and quite possibly one of the best of the year. Make it your high priority to see this wonderful film.

My Rating: ****1/2 out of 5