I'm surprised that I actually saw this movie. I thought this was a such a no-go for me as I am not a fan of musicals at all. I got thru 15 minutes of the Moulin Rouge rental before I had to shut it off and run to the bathroom to dry heave. Musicals and me have never gotten along. Something about the 'breaking into song' thing always broke the reality of whatever the hell goofy story it was. And they seem too cornball. Just not for me.
Last night I actually set out to see 25th Hour (couldn't do the 3 hours
Gangs) but made a left turn into
Chicago for a bunch of reasons:
1. I wanted to see something different. And 25th Hour didn't look all that different.
2. I've never seen Chicago before. Thought it would be a new experience of some sort.
3. I sort of have a crush on Renee "Zelly" Zellweger even though she annoys me alot and doesn't answer my letters.
4. I was in midtown and it was playing at the Ziegfeld and I like seeing movies there (even though you can't really drink in the Ziegfeld)
5. I want to be prepared for the Oscars.
Anyway the curtains part and after some horrible previews for trashcan Spring flicks, the movie starts up and the Miramax logo comes on the screen. And alot of people in the theater actually clapped for the Miramax logo. They applauded... the logo. I'm like... wait a sec.. these moviegoers did not just clap for the friggin Miramax logo! I thought maybe it was some dolby surroundsound egostroke thing that Miramax hooked up- but real people were really clapping. I worried about Manhattan and it made me want to run back to Brooklyn where people don't clap for logos of film studios.
Ok the movie opens with All That Jazz and by minute two I get the feeling I'm in deep trouble. I feel like I made a bad mistake. It's a musical. No doubt about it. On the big screen even worse. Like some giant music video. I remembered why I didn't like musicals. I wanted my 25th Hour back and was mad at myself. So I settled in to be tortured for a couple hours with the singing and dancing sparkley show show flashy zazz zazz razzmatazz bam! yellow lights on black backgrounds with puhpow pow music and all that.
But after 15 minutes I realized something. I wasn't bored at all. I actually was kind of entertained. The music was pretty good and they showed alot of thighs and butt shaking. That was kind of nice. That thigh flashing was good. With the leg kicks and all that. The storyline plays out and it's not feeling dated and all rotting like some old musicals that they schlep out and drag around then put away before people can smell the smell. Chicago is solid. It's got the Zelly and the Zeta Jones. Both hot. And the Richard Gere (who was probably a miscast even though real fans of the show can decide that.) Every time he came out I was like,' Look at the Gere. All dancing and shit. Funny. Stupid. Whatever.'
Anyway, this movie moves along with wicked good editing chops and some jokes and lots of thigh and some music and some buttery plot twists or whatever. People in the audience were absolutely nuts for this movie. Applauding like wild at the end of every number. I think it was for them like LOTR must have been for hardcore Tolkien fans. And halfway through the movie I realized I was actually liking it the effort behind the spectacle. I just sat back and let myself have a good time with it. I laughed at some stuff. And let go of some of the prejudices I have against corny overproduced musicals.
Three Good Things About This Movie
- Both the Zeta and the Zelly were like race horses trying to edge each other out
for who is hotter. (the Zeta by a nose.)
- The editing was cool. Throughout you'd catch glimpses of really solid shots. I especially like the 'Zeta giving her all' money shots.
- John C. Reilly was in it playing another dopey guy but he's so good at it.
Three Bad Things About This Movie
- Musicals always lack in reality for me and I can't ignore it. I didn't care
about the characters.
- The lipsync, although dead on for the most part, was still lipsync.
- They could have shown more boobs. It was pretty much all about thigh and butt.
Anyway, by the end I realized that I had been won over. Not that I have more interest in musicals than I did before- but as the stars names came up on the screen one by one in the closing credits- and the applause in the audience rose and fell depending on who they liked more or less- there was a side of me that wanted to applaud too. Because it was a great spectacle and a impressive effort. But I didn't applaud. I don't think I could ever bring myself to actually clap for a movie... but with this flick... I came pretty close*.
(*Actually not really. I wasn't really close to clapping. But whatever. I thought that would be a good way to wrap up this review.)