Chicago

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content and dialogue, violence and thematic elements
Starring: Catherine Zeta Jones,Renée Zellweger and Richard Gere
Directed By:Rob Marshall

Final Grade:

Note from Jason: Dear fellow readers,
I hope you take the time to read this review again, even though I still stand by my initial opinions on this film, I have learned the movie does get better after seeing it a second time. Therefore, I am raising the grade to a B. Hopefully everyone will ignore my ramblings below, and trust me when I say it’s a musical worth checking out..But still no Moulin Rouge!

Way back in the day, when I was just a wee little film critic (well actually this was before I was film critic) I once had a great singing voice. I have been told that I still do have this vocal talent. However, that vocal talent never really got me, well anywhere it seemed so I found myself trying to be a film critic. Well a year later, it sometimes seems that the film critic idea isn’t working out for me either… So sometimes I wonder, how exactly can I get my readers to love me? What if I do a little song and dance routine? Would they love me then? Nah Probably not. But people love song and Dance routines…wait I know what people love more…murders and court cases! I could plot to kill fellow critic Michael. Sure that will definitely boost my ratings, and I will have plenty of time to write film reviews in prison…

Chicago is the story of Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Roxie Hart (Renée Zellweger). Velma one night in fit of rage killed her husband and quickly fell from superstardom as a jazz singer and headed off to prison. Roxie on the other hand was never a superstar in the jazz world, but when she killed her boyfriend in a jealous rage, Roxie winds up in prison as well. Both of the girls learn that in Chicago fame is obtained in a lot of different ways, and that thy can use their “court cases” to keep their names in the headlines for “free-fame.” Roxie hires Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), a high priced lawyer who has never lost a case to get her off the hook for murder and back onto the stage. With Flynn signed on to Roxie’s case the media goes crazy and stories of Roxie are flying, forgetting about the once important Velma. In the end, it’s a fight for who can keep their names in the Chicago headlines and their bodies back onto the stage.

Directed by newcomer Rob Marshall, the film is a wonderful adaptation of its original Broadway play of the same name. The genre of musical is finally making its way back into the spotlight of film after many years and many-failed attempt in recent years (except maybe Cannibal the Musical which Is brilliant!). After the huge success of Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGreogor’s Moulin Rouge last year, Catherine Zeta Jones, Renee Zellweger, and Richard Gere step up to the plate and try to fill those musical shoes from a year ago.

Zellweger is an actress who is quickly making a name for herself, and with the success of Bridget Jones Diary (yes they are Making Bridget Jones 2) and a slur of recent box office mini-successes, Zellweger is on the way to the top. Expect to see more and more of her in the years to come. Zellweger’s performance in Chicago was wonderfully done, and she proved to the world that she has a hidden singing talent, which complements her acting ability. However I must say stacked against the likes of Nicole Kidman (even though Chicago is much different than Moulin Rouge) I just didn’t feel for Zellweger’ character as much. It seemed to be lacking something.

Gere is typical Richard Gere, need I say more. He’s a talented actor, but he just doesn’t do anything for me on the screen. He fits his character as well, but it lacks depth. As for Catherine Zeta-Jones, I have never been a fan. Her Character, Velma Kelly, seemed nothing more to me than an outstretch of some of Catherine’s previous characters, the snobby obnoxious, attention hungry woman that everyone loves because of her stunning looks.

The main problem with Chicago is that it really didn’t do anything for me. The story was shallow, yet you can expect that from a musical. The dialogue cheesy, yet once again that can work in a musical. But what it didn’t have was something that stood up and grabbed my attention. I can name off a thousand different scenes in Musicals that I have seen over the years, but I can’t find something like that in Chicago. It’s well just missing that. The visuals are great, don’t get me wrong, and it’s a great film but it doesn’t leave a long lasting impression on you.

As for the film as a whole is it worth the cash to go and see it? Sure it’s worth the dough because to truly experience a musical, it’s always best to see it on the stage or silver screen. There is something about it that adds to the “excitement” of it all. But in all honesty aside from the visuals and a decent soundtrack, Chicago doesn’t give you a lot to offer, which is sad for something that tried so hard to be something great.

As for me, I don’t really know if I will ever get my day in the spotlight, and well I learned a valuable lesson from Chicago. Sure you may get your name in the papers, and get your 15 minutes of fame but in the end it’s just 15 minutes. By the time I am recognized as a great critic the next ISU loser who can write HTML and movie reviews will come along and I will be ancient history. And the more I thought about my other idea of becoming famous (you know the killing fellow writer Michael one) well you know although many of you may want me to, I don’t think I should go through with it. Sure it will get my name in the papers, and maybe my reviews…but wait, I can’t write reviews in prison because well prisoners don’t head to the box offices very often…

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