Uh, you're talking about the movie, right? More detail indeed! :POriginally Posted by Dave Perkins
Chicago is fantastic!
Let's hear what you thought about it. In more detail than I've provided.
Uh, you're talking about the movie, right? More detail indeed! :POriginally Posted by Dave Perkins
I'm talking about the city, but there isn't a City thread, so I flipped a coin and chose the Movies thread. :)Originally Posted by Alan Au
At first I thought it was just a rehash of Coppola's The Cotton Club, but now I found out that it's a musical. I might just check it out.[/i]
i'm not a musical guy at all, but i liked it.
please note that catherine zeta jones is lying about her age. she looks about 40 in this movie.
I'm not a musical guy, but went to this movie anyway since it made it on several critics "best of" lists and has some decent Oscar buzz.
Uh, I confirmied that I'm not a musical guy, and accordingly found it pretty hard to sit though, although I did think that the three leads (Catherine Zeta Jones, Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger) were all very good, especially Zeta Jones. Zellweger was more than game, and looked great, but she came across as the least natural. John C. Reilly is always a positive as well.
It really feels like a stage show adapted for a movie though -- I don't really understand why anyone thinks the film medium works well for that sort of production.
I thought she looked like she was going to faint from malnutrition. She looked emaciated to me.Originally Posted by Desslock
I loved the movie, but that might be because I've never seen the stage show. I don't think there's ever been a filmed musical better than the stage show. There's something about having to suspend disbelief that makes live theater a much better experience.
I thought Chicago was well written, beautifully staged, and damn if the scene "He had it coming" and the Press Conference weren't fucking amazing to watch. I'm finding that the movie is staying with me for a while though.
Better? Well that depends a lot on the production. But I think Guys and Dolls (with Sinatra and Brando) and Little Shop of Horrors (with Rick Morranis) are both great adaptations.I loved the movie, but that might be because I've never seen the stage show. I don't think there's ever been a filmed musical better than the stage show. There's something about having to suspend disbelief that makes live theater a much better experience.
But how do you feel about movie musicals turned into stage musicals? (Lion King, Hairspray, Grease).Originally Posted by Bub, Andrew
I think the film version of West Side Story is better than most stage presentations, even though I know that's not Natalie Wood singing. Same with "The King and I". I do love live theater, but I find suspension of disbelief easier on the screen. I grew up watching movie musicals, so they don't seem all that odd to me. In the theater I can see the actors, and they can see me, and they wait for my laughs and applause and tears. The interaction between stage actor and audience is great, but there is no illusion that this is any more than a performance.
Ok, I have never seen a stage production of this (or any other musical, for that matter!), so take these comments in that light.
I just got back from seeing this, and I'll agree with the general sentiment here that it was pretty great. Richard Gere- who knew the guy could sing and dance like that (he did all his own stuff!!)? He really stole the show. Zeta-Jones' hair was completely unflattering, but her performance and character were so much more interesting than Renee Zelwhatever's- I was actually dissapointed that it focused so much on Roxie. The dance numbers were inventive and fun (esp. the Marionette and Tapdance scenes), and I liked that they framed them all in the device of Roxie's inner monologue- it didn't pull you out of the story as much as most musicals do when everyone spontaniously breaks into song. Good stuff.
Renee Zelwiglet won a Golden Globe while Zeta-Jones looked on misty-eyed. :cry:
I'm for it. I saw Hairspray back in October on a NY trip. It was inventive, but fluff, but then again that's what it was supposed to be. The movie was better of course. I haven't seen the stage version of Lion King, but the costumes and sets look pretty damn good. Grease? That's a no-brainer. There's nothing they did in the movie you can't do just as well on stage. Anyway, I prefer "meaty" musicals. Fiddler on the Roof, Sweeny Todd, Cabaret, Evita, Les Miserables, etc.,Originally Posted by TSG
In most stage presentations you wouldn't get the dancers, singers, and actors you get in that film version. So, yeah, I agree with you here.Originally Posted by TSG
That's valid. I prefer that interaction though. I like the demands live theater places on you. In Phantom of the Opera a massive Chandalier falls toward the audience. It's on wires. It looks fake. In Les Miserables the town gently splits in two, turns over, and comes back together as the massive barricade and a character leaps to his doom from a bridge (cleverly the bridge falls upward while he pantomimes falling downward). In Hairspray the play opens with the Tracy Turnblatt laying vertically in bed. Meaning, the bed is vertical and the entire set is placed on a wall behind her. Night-table with clock, clothing strewn about (stapled to the wall) but it LOOKS like you're looking down on her. These things are easier to do on film, but because they're easier people don't notice them. Boom goes 100 explosive barrels in a James Bond flick. Yawn, replies audience. Boom goes one single powder charge in Les Mis and the audience gasps in unison: "They just fired a gun on stage!"Originally Posted by TSG
There's magic to that that's lost in film. It's kind of like the difference between a radio drama and TV, in theater, the audience required to play along.
Filmed musicals that work best, imo, are the one's that don't stray too far from the source. The one's that try to recreate the theater experience. I think West Side Story did this. Chicago does it with its quick editing (Moulin Rouge too) and because, as vast as it is, it still feels like a set. Little Shop? Same thing. It all looks like a soundstage. Evita was ok, but the actors voices weren't that good. This is important too. Chicago worked, imo, because the cast could have done all that on Broadway. They were that good. But, given a choice, I prefer the "without a net" experience of live theater.
I saw Les Miz in Toronto with Colm Wilkinson in the lead role. Great show. I never denied the magic of stage productions, and this one was a doozie. Beats the hell out of the mediocre "Guys and Dolls" I saw in Fredericton.Originally Posted by Bub, Andrew
You are certainly right that movie audiences are used to seeing amazing things on film and not on stage. Local theatre has become very bare bones, with minimalist sets and uninspired lighting. For all the complaints about mega-musicals and their corruption of the oeuvre, they have at least make for interesting stagework.
You're also 100% right if you're talking regional theater. Seeing a musical in London, New York, or LA is far better than what B-list cities like Milwaukee get. Even Chicago doesn't always get the creme-de-la-creme. Really, you can't beat Broadway though, if only for the intimate seating and the stages built to run the same show for years.
My mom tells me that, in Milwaukee, in the 60's, they'd actually show Broadway theater on the big screen. Live, single camera, wide shot, closed circuit kind of deal. She saw that famous "Death of a Salesman" and the Broadway "Fiddler" with Zero Mostel. Man, Broadway is too far and too expensive, I'd love to go see that at the cineplex. I'd even play $15-20 to see it. Plus, I bet you it would make more people go to Broadway to see a show, by creating new fans, than cutting into existing products (which is why you can't find even most defunct stage productions on DVD.
Broadway is like comic books, they're too expensive and they're doing nothing to win new fans. That's why the musical is "dying".
Washington DC gets a lot of the bigger shows in smaller productions, but also some pre-Broadway shows. Brian Stokes Mitchell played in Don Quixote here a couple of months ago. So I'm kind of lucky that I moved from the center of Canadian theatre to the near periphery of American theater.
Live theater is expensive though. With only my wife working at the moment, we have a hard time deciding on how to spend our modest entertainment budget as it is.
Most stage productions I see now are on PBS. Only fifty dollars a year.
I saw this last night, and damn if it wasn't excellent. I'm kind of middle-of-the-road on musicals, usually. But this is an excellent movie any way you slice it. Amazing that it's from a first-time director, because the direction is one of the best things about it (and pretty damn daring in concept for a first-timer, too). Outstanding job from the three leads, and from John C. Reilly (who knew that guy could sing like that? Same with Richard Gere, who I normally hate). Rene Zellwiger really couldn't dance, but they worked around it pretty well. All in all, these folks took a great base (looks to my untrained eye like they kept most of the Bob Fosse choreography, and of course the songs are all the same) and made a really good movie--not just a filmed version of the stage production, but something that actually benefits from being on film rather than on the stage. Big thumbs-up.
I generally agree, but I think Cabaret might be the exception that proves the rule. That's probably due to the way the songs are set. With the exception of the chilling Hitler Youth song, they're all sung on the club's stage as part of the "show." You don't have characters spontaneously breaking into song, which is a convention that I always found somehow easier to accept in the theater than in film. And even the "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" song is placed in a setting where you can at least accept that the kid might start singing.Originally Posted by Bub, Andrew
You're saying you like the movie better? I haven't seen the movie since I was a kid Jason, but my memory of it was that the "love" story drags in a distinctly 70's cinema way in the film. The film is more literal than the play. I saw the Joel Grey revival on Broadway however (1989) or so, and liked it a lot. My memory of the film isn't favorable, but that could be because I was 14 or so then.
I should see it again.
Yeah, I did like the movie better than the original stage play, but I saw the touring company and not the original Broadway cast, which could have made a difference. Like you I'm going on pretty distant memory here. Although, as I recall, the "love story" part was a lot bleaker than what you saw in movie musicals before then, and I was in college at the time, so maybe I tolerated that better than a 14-year-old. :) I understand the current revival is quite a bit darker than the original, which was pretty dark for the 70s.Originally Posted by Bub, Andrew
Verily, you are damned.Originally Posted by Rywill
I also dug Chicago a lot, and like Desslock, I'm not exactly a musical guy. I can't imagine any way they could have done it better-- the inner monologue presentation of the musical numbers, and their juxtaposition with the unfolding drama, was ideal. Great stuff!
My only criticism, and it's not even really a criticism, is that I couldn't decide if Catherine Zeta-Jones was old.. or just fat. Don't get me wrong, she's good looking, but something wasn't right about her in those slinky flapper outfits. It worked a lot better on Zellweger, which I never would have predicted based on the promos.
Disclaimer: I HATE musicals.
There are two that I actually like (all of) though-- Singing in the Rain and Chicago.
... I have to admit to some non-merit related fondness of the movie, though. At a Chicago signing, Queen Latifah was photographed wearing a hooded sweatshirt advertising the (non-nude) burlesque troupe I'm a part of ... >:D
What did you guys think of Moulin Rouge? I felt that Chicago was Moulin Rouge Lite... a Moulin Rouge for the masses made to capitalize on the fact that Moulin Rouge was up for an Oscar but didn't win because it was too "weird" for the general public.
Ok, Chicago isn't BAD. But it's definitely not great. And as much as I think Renee Zellweger is a minor deity, I think the acting was mediocre at best (I was shocked Zeta-Jones won the Oscar, although I knew Chicago would bag best picture... ick). Ironically, I was most impressed with Richard Gere's performance, since I expected absolutely nothing from him.
Moulin Rouge was a more colorful, vibrant, and adventurous film. It was better cinema. I admire Moulin Rouge, but I really didn't like it because I thought it was "musical lite" interestingly enough (given your post). The montage on the elephant really, and I can't put it more accurately than this, pissed me off. Ugh. I've seen it on HBO since and really, I think that scene is the lynch pin for me. I don't think it compares well to Chicago's score because that Press Conference, Courtroom, and the Cell Block Tango are really hard to beat. And Chicago has the advantage of already being a musical. And a Fosse musical at that. Now, compared to Moulin Rouge I'd agree with you that Chicago was "cinema-lite." (maybe that's what you meant?) Baz Luhrman is amazing.
What's wrong with Zeta-Jones getting the Oscar? She sang, danced, and acted well enough to do it on Broadway. I never expected that from her. Did you know Travolta turned down the Gere part? Man, he has having the worst career-luck lately.
I was with you Andrew. I was amazed at Gere. He hit every mark and was perfectly cast for the role as well. I thought Chicago has a lot of style going for it. It was not as out there as Moulin Rouge but the songs were better for the most part and certain scenes absolutely stuck with you.
Yeah, Gere was great, I was really bummed that the Academy snubbed him. A friend told me that he learned to tapdance just for the courtroom number. But his dancing was great, his singing was great, even his acting was right on (and I usually don't like him).
I also heard Travolta turned down that part, because he thought Chicago couldn't be made into a movie. What an idiot. That's got to be the dumbest career move since Tom Selleck turned down Indiana Jones.
That was probably part of the equation. Chicago has had a troubled road to Hollywood and maybe Travolta didn't want to get attached to something like that - a film that would never happen or would likely become a disaster. Again, love him or hate him, this is a Weinstein movie. I bet he also wants to avoid repeating the past. Meaning: Saturday Night Fever, Staying Alive, Urban Cowboy, and Grease. He doesn't want to get stuck in that musical trap.
Apparently he isn't as worried about the military pot-boiler trap. Everytime I see a commercial for Basic I think: "Oh, The General's Daughter* must be airing on the network soon."
So far as Gere goes. He was fine and I liked him in the movie. My wife bought the soundtrack and I've grown to hate that nasally "20's voice" thing he does even more than that awful modern-day rapper Cell Block Tango thing they put on there.
*which I haven't seen.
Being a relatively young whippersnapper (18), I enjoyed the modern twists of contemporary music in Moulin Rouge.
But yes, I did mean Chicago was Moulin Rouge lite cinematically. Chicago didn't try to do anything new or original with the movie. It's like they just filmed a broadway version. Stage and film are such radically different mediums. They should have done a better job adapting Chicago for a film world, instead of a thinly veiled musical with film-like interludes between the songs.
(And I thought the elephant medley was the best part of Moulin Rouge... must be my youthful inexperience :P)
For the record, I'm not 1 years old. I'm 18
Have to aggree with Flamingsheep, Chicago didn't try to do anything new or original, unlike Moulin Rouge. It reminded me of the old musicals I grew up with.
The funniest thing I heard about Chicago was that during the brainstorming session, the director had the most "original and brilliant idea" having all the musical and dance numbers be in Roxie's head.:roll:
Get Out! That's one of the oldest tricks in the movie handbook.