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Archive for August, 2008

No Country for Old Men (2007)

–If I don’t come back, tell mother I love her.

–Your mother’s dead, Llewelyn.

–Well then I’ll tell her myself.

 

Enjoyment of a film often depends upon our preconceptions and how well a film meets those expectations. Quite often, we hear so much buzz about how great a film is supposed to be that nothing can live up to our mental ideal. Conversely, a film that is supposed to be bad can often surprise us because our expectations are so low. Another way what we expect from a film can change our experience is if we misunderstand a filmmaker’s intentions. If you go to a fantasy film and don’t like it because things happen that couldn’t actually occur in real life…well, you’ve set yourself and the film up for disappointment. I’ve seen many people say that No Country for Old Men was a great film until the ending. I disagree, but I think I know why they feel that way. The movie contains great suspense and action sequences with one of the most memorable villains in recent memory. Because of this, many people expect the film to fit into the conventions of a thriller. It’s not a thriller – it’s actually a character driven piece.

Winner of this year’s Academy Award for Best Picture, No Country for Old Men was directed by Ethan and Joel Coen and was adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s critically acclaimed novel. Ethan and Joel Coen are the sons of college professors and have shown in their work a love of classic films. They’ve made a film noir (The Man Who Wasn’t There), a screwball comedy (The Hudsucker Proxy), a gangster film (Miller’s Crossing) and a road picture (Raising Arizona). No Country for Old Men has the trappings of a thriller, but it’s essentially the story of three men and how they deal the circumstances they find themselves in.

Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) finds himself running for his life after stumbling across the remains of a drug deal gone sour and a suitcase containing two million dollars. He is pursued by Anton Chigurh, played by Javier Bardem in an Oscar winning performance. Chigurh wants his money back and is willing to go however far it takes to attain that goal. The relentless killer does allow extraordinary acts of mercy. He often asks his victims to flip a coin to decide their fate, thereby releasing himself from the responsibility of his actions in his own mind. There is a breathtaking scene near the end when someone not only refuses to play his game but points out to him, “The coin don’t have no say. You do.” This shifts the guilt of his actions back to him, but he doesn’t want to accept it and he responds, “Well, I got here the same way the coin did.”

The third man in this tale is the sheriff, Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), who follows the carnage and tries to end it. He is struggling with the violence he sees on the job and ponders the dark side of human nature. At the beginning of the film, he tells us in voice-over about a young man who had wanted to kill someone for years and finally did. He showed no remorse and believed that when he was executed for his crime he would be going to hell. It doesn’t seem to bother him. Ed Tom is bothered by this and by all the other incomprehensible things he sees people do to each other. He is afraid that in order to deal with these kinds of criminals a person would have to live in the darkness with them. As he puts it, “I don’t want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don’t understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He’d have to say, ‘O.K., I’ll be part of this world.’”

To understand the ending that so many people complained about, I think it’s important to look at the movie’s tagline: “There are no clean getaways.” If you’re expecting a thriller, then this movie ends in an anti-climax. If you accept that this is a character study and remember the tagline, then you understand the fates of the characters and why the movie ends not with a bang but with a meditation.

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A Passage to India (1984)

My dear, life rarely gives us what we want at the moment we consider appropriate. Adventures do occur, but not punctually.

 

The great British director, David Lean, famous for his epics such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and Doctor Zhivago, made his last film in the 1980s. It was also the first film he had made since Ryan’s Daughter earned such negative reviews in 1970. I had seen A Passage to India on cable back in my college days, but with the new Blu-Ray release I feel like I have truly experienced it. Lean’s films are known for their sweeping panoramas, exotic locations, and absorbing feel. You don’t watch a David Lean film; you are immersed in another world. Younger movie lovers today might find him a little slow, but they will only be cheating themselves if they don’t adjust their expectations and relax into the journey this master is taking them on.

A Passage to India is based on the classic novel by E. M. Forster. Forster enjoyed a renaissance in the ‘80s, primarily because of the series of Merchant-Ivory films adapted from his novels. In this film, Judy Davis plays Adela Quested, a young English woman who goes to India to reunite with the man she is possibly going to marry. With her travels her intended’s mother, Mrs. Moore (Peggy Ashcroft) a warm, thoughtful woman who is not fond of pretense. Miss Quested and Mrs. Moore are disconcerted by the British attitude towards India and Indians in a time which would prove close to the end of the British Raj. They find that Ronny, Mrs. Moore’s son, is not immune to this attitude which at first causes Adela to reject him.

Each woman has an important encounter at a temple. Mrs. Moore ducks out of an overcrowded, boring musical production to find peace at a mosque. She meets Dr. Aziz (Victor Banerje), another gentle soul, and they have a lovely moment where they discover how much they have in common. They both have lost spouses and have two children, a boy and a girl. They came to the mosque seeking comfort and shelter and find friendship and moonlight on the Ganges. It’s a beautiful scene.

Adela Quested, on the other hand, has a disturbing adventure at a temple. The day after rejecting Ronny, she is traveling alone by bicycle when she discovers the ruins of an ancient temple. The remaining statues and high bas-relief sculptures are of a decidedly erotic nature. Adela is drawn to them but also distinctly skittish. This fear is heightened by a troop of highly aggressive monkeys living in the temple ruins. When Adela returns home she throws herself into the safety of Ronny’s arms and agrees to marry him. Still, the experience remains with her as she lies in bed that night looking out at the rich blooms on the tree outside.

Adela and Mrs. Moore are invited on an excursion to the Marabar Caves by Dr. Aziz. The plan was for the ladies to be joined by a couple of friends who are professors of the local college, Richard Fielding (James Fox) and Professor Godbole (Alec Guinness). Unfortunately, a delay keeps Fielding and Godbole from catching the train with the others leading to a situation where two English women are alone with Dr. Aziz and a number of servants. Mrs. Moore had earlier made a statement about India revealing one’s true self and how unnerving that can be. In the Marabar caves, both of the English ladies have frightening experiences that leave them changed. Adela dashes from a cave in such a hurry that she causes a small avalanche of rocks and scratches herself up terribly. When the rest of the party returns to Chandrapore, Dr. Aziz is arrested for attempting to rape Adela.

What happens in the cave is unclear, but Fielding and Mrs. Moore remain convinced of Aziz’s innocence. The arrest and subsequent trial ignite a powder keg of hostility between the English and the Indians. Major McBryde (Michael Culver) starts the trial by making this outrageous statement, “Before we begin, I’d like to state what I believe to be a universal truth: the darker races are attracted to the fairer, but not vice-versa.” This is immediately attacked by the lead counsel for the defense who counters with, “Even when the lady is less attractive than the gentleman?” I believe the truth of what happened at Marabar lies somewhere between these two assertions.

Much of the film is given to the friendship between Dr. Aziz and Richard Fielding, each of whom embodies many of the most admirable qualities of his people. Still, even the best often have difficulty understanding each other, and the barrier of cultural differences remains hard to get through. Roger Ebert, in his review of the film, sums this up beautifully: “…Indians and Englishman speak the same language [in this film] but do not understand each other…it doesn’t matter what you say in the famous Marabar caves, since all that comes back is a hollow, mocking, echo.”

I leave it up to you: what do you think happened to Adela Quested in the Marabar caves?

 

 

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The Sting (1973)

What was I supposed to do – call him for cheating better than me, in front of the others?

 

This is why I wanted a high definition television and high definition DVD player! Well, not this movie specifically but to see classics like this in the best possible home viewing. When a high definition transfer is top notch, it makes me feel like I’m seeing the film for the first time. 1080 lines of data translate into sharpness and depth that feel three dimensional. I’d swear I could reach into the television and touch the actors. The colors are deep and rich or dazzle the eye. I’m suddenly able to read even the smallest print on-screen. When you add that detail to a film that is already a classic, it makes for movie lover nirvana. While this movie is not yet available in Blu-Ray, I was lucky enough to see it in HD-DVD. It was beautiful.

The Sting is blessed with many qualities. It was directed by George Roy Hill, who also directed Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The World According to Garp. It’s perfectly cast with Robert Redford and Paul Newman teaming for the last time, and all of the supporting actors are superb. The script is a work of art, a thing of joy. It works just as well today as it did back in 1973 when the film debuted. I used the movie in my spring Introduction to Film class and my students loved it. It pulled them into an exciting world and managed to surprise them – not an easy task.

Part of what we love about The Sting is how we are made insiders in a secretive world – the world of the confidence man. We get a taste for their argot, watch as some clever cons are pulled off, and realize that we like these characters because they have their own code of honor. In the context of The Sting, it’s okay to steal from the rich (and particularly the corrupt), but not from the poor. When Redford’s character, Johnny Hooker, and his partners enjoy an exceptionally rich bounty from a job, they don’t realize at first that the money actually belongs to a violent gangster, Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). Lonnegan retaliates and Hooker’s mentor, Luther Coleman (Robert Earl Jones), is killed.

This murder spurs the loose association of con artists to work together to get their revenge the best way they know how: to steal a large amount of Lonnegan’s money. In fact, Coleman is so beloved and Lonnegan so despised that when Hooker asks if they can get enough people together to pull off this little caper, Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) replies, “After what happened to Luther, I don’t think I can get more than two, three hundred guys.” There’s also a hint of a darker motive as well. Lonnegan points out that if one of his associates “…ever finds out I can be beat by one lousy grifter, I’ll have to kill him and every other hood who wants to muscle in on my Chicago operation.”

Still, the con men would prefer it if they didn’t have to look over their shoulders for the rest of their lives. That objective is complicated by the dirty cop, Lt. Snyder (Charles Durning) looking for Hooker, as well as the FBI agents who want to turn Hooker against Gondorff, and an assassin who is out gunning for Hooker as well. There are many threads being woven together and one of the beauties of the movie is how they are all resolved.

The movie has been made with such skill and obvious affection by everyone involved that in the end when we discover that the film makers have been working sleight of hand on the audience, we don’t call them out for being cheaters…we smile widely at a game well played.

 

So, what is your favorite movie about con men?

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The Edge of the World (1937)

The slow shadow of death is falling on the outer isles of Scotland.

If you are unfamiliar with the great classic directors of British films beyond Alfred Hitchcock, there are four names you should know: Alexander Korda, Carol Reed, David Lean, and Michael Powell. Michael Powell is primarily known for his collaborations with Emeric Pressburger which include The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus, A Canterbury Tale, The 49th Parallel, and I Know Where I’m Going. Powell has been cited as an influence on such filmmakers as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and George A. Romero. The Edge of the World is pre-Pressburger; in fact, it is Powell’s first original work.

Powell was intrigued by the story of the evacuation of St. Kilda, one of the islands in the Scottish Hebrides. By 1930 its population had dwindled to the point that it asked to be relocated to the mainland. Powell wanted to film on St. Kilda, but was denied permission as authorities were afraid that the crews would disturb the birds as the island was now a bird sanctuary.  Instead, Powell went to the Shetlands and an island named Foula, called Hirta in the film.

The story is simple. The young residents of Hirta are being seduced by better jobs and modern conveniences on the mainland. This is represented by two families, the Mansons and the Grays. Peter Manson (John Laurie) is a traditionalist who stubbornly clings to the old ways. His son, Robbie (Eric Berry) wants to move away while his sister, Ruth (Belle Chrystall), is engaged to Andrew Gray (Niall MacGinnis) who like Peter wants to remain on Hirta. As a result of a tragedy, the two families become estranged and Andrew leaves the island. In his absence, events conspire to make the inhabitants of Hirta even more aware of the precariousness of their lives in such a bleak place.

This is not a long film, but it leaves a lasting impression. It’s shot in black and white with a mostly documentary feel. Powell does use some camera tricks to create mystical impressions of ghosts haunting the now deserted island, but what you will remember the most are the rocky slopes, the wind and the sea. Most of the extras in the film are actual residents of Foula and we observe the old ways of life: raising sheep, grinding corn, harvesting peat for fuel. Going to church on Sunday was serious business, but also the social event of the week. The birth of a child calls for a celebration by all and the illness of one affects the entire community.

This was not an easy shoot. It was difficult to get the equipment up the steep cliffs, and the crew was forced to build most of their shelters and they were stranded on the island for weeks at a time. The lead actor was injured which resulted in delays. There were no stunt people and so all of the characters that we see climbing and hanging from ropes are the actual actors…scary stuff.

In the end, this movie stands as a valuable record of a way of life long gone and a testament to those hardy men and women who persevered for so long against the odds. How heart-breaking it must have been for them to make the decision to move their entire community away from their home. I think that many communities who see their young people move away in pursuit of employment and opportunities can recognize and empathize with the pain of this story.

This film is also important as the first major step in such a distinguished career. Michael Powell would make many of Britain’s most beloved films until the 1960s when he directed Peeping Tom. The controversy created by that project would tarnish his name for many years, but he is now being rediscovered and recognized as one of the most important directors of the 20th Century.

It’s interesting to note that after the discovery of North Sea oil, the inhabitants of Foula are thriving much better than their counterparts in The Edge of the World. Still, that way of life has faded away into memory just as log cabins and covered wagons have in this country. While we enjoy the benefits of our modern lives, this movie reminds us to pay our respects to the pioneer spirit of the past.

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The Mummy — 1999

–Look, I…I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O’Connell, but I am proud of what I am.

— And what is that?

— I…am a librarian.

The Mummy Returns — 2001

–No harm ever came from opening a chest.

–Yeah, right, and no harm ever came from reading a book. You remember how that one went?

 

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor — 2008

–Mrs. O’Connell, is it true that the Scarlet O’ Kiefe character is based on you?

–No. I can honestly say she is a completely different person.

 

 

As Roger Ebert points out in his review of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, some movies are “just plain dumb fun.” He doesn’t mean this as an insult, and neither do I. In my review of The Dark Knight, I referred to my love of a good popcorn flick and in the 1999 version of The Mummy we have just that. While it doesn’t hold a candle to the 1932 Boris Karloff classic, Stephen Sommers’s version is quite entertaining.

 

Karloff brought a gravitas and dignity to the role that could never be copied. Arnold Vosloo does a fine job playing Imhotep, the mummy of the title, but he could never be Karloff. The 1999 version keeps Imhotep’s romanticism, but its true inspiration seems to be Raiders of the Lost Ark. This is an action-adventure-comedy, not a horror movie.

 

I am so glad that Brendan Fraser was cast in this film. Until it came out, he was forever in my head as Encino Man. Thankfully, he has had parts in other more dramatic films as well: Gods and Monsters, The Quiet American, and Crash. Although his Rick O’Connell is hardly the stuff of Shakespeare, it oddly allowed me to take him seriously for the first time. This was also my first glimpse at Rachel Weisz who constantly impresses me. She has been in some of my favorite movies of the past few years, such as About a Boy, The Constant Gardener, and The Fountain. Her Evelyn is a sheer delight. Her main characteristics are her stunning intelligence, and her exuberant giddiness about going into the field on an adventure. She and Fraser have an engaging chemistry that is rare and wonderful in this kind of film. One of the cutest moments of their courtship comes when he steals a set of tools from another archaeologist to give her. Despite the fact that he is the experienced man in the field, he defers to her knowledge and makes it clear that he is only there to back her up since she saved his life, not to take over the expedition.

 

While The Mummy was a funny, thrilling example of a summer movie done well, its sequel The Mummy Returns derails. I thought it was okay when I saw it in the theatre, but on each successive viewing I’ve found it less engaging. There are parts that I like, but overall it doesn’t hold together as a movie.

 

One of the first things that annoyed me was the changes to Evelyn’s character. Yes, I’m glad that she’s more self-confident after marriage and motherhood, but what happened to the woman who gleefully proclaimed how happy she was to be a librarian? Suddenly, she could fight like Trinity from The Matrix movies and had a mystical destiny. Now, don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoy watching a woman getting to have fun swashbuckling. This, however,  was excessive and out of character. It also goes to one of the fundamental problems with the entire picture: everyone has a mystical destiny. Rick, Evelyn, and their little boy Alex all have DESTINY practically flashing in neon colors from their foreheads.

 

Then, there is the fact that Imhotep, the mummy, is wasted in this picture. Come on, people, we go to see a picture called The Mummy to see the mummy. That’s not a difficult concept. Suddenly, his arc is co-opted by the addition of the whole Scorpion King storyline which is only necessary to provide a springboard for a spin-off film called, (you guessed it) The Scorpion King. (That movie is a whole other story. It makes the 1999 parent film look like Hamlet in comparison.)

 

I’m also bothered by how closely the O’Connell family resembles Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody mystery novel series. I wonder if she has ever watched this film. Alex resembles Peter’s character Ramses so much that it’s disturbing.

 

One thing I did like about the sequel was the paralleling between the human couple of Rick and Evelyn and the mystical couple of Imhotep and Anck Su Namun. Imhotep and Anck Su Namun were shown in the first film to have a love that lasted through centuries, but even after several millennia how well can we actually know someone? Especially, if both of you have been dead the majority of that time. There are still witty one-liners a plenty, and most of the special effects are spectacular. The exception is the Scorpion King who looks horrendously fake to me.

 

I could easily nit-pick the third in the franchise, this summer’s The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Alex has an English accent like his mother in The Mummy Returns, but in Dragon Emperor his accent is American like his father. Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello don’t look old enough to be Rick and Evelyn’s proper ages. I was initially distracted by the re-casting of Evelyn. Maria Bello is a terrific actress, but I adore Rachel Weisz. It took me about a third of the movie to get used to Bello, especially since she tries so hard to capture Weisz’s mannerisms from the first two movies.

 

Still, to nitpick the small details in such a movie is to miss most of the fun. I still like the first movie in the series the best, but this one is aided by the addition of Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li to the cast. Michelle Yeoh is fantastic as always. She is not only a gifted martial artist, but a talented actress as well. My only wish here is that she could have been one of the main stars of the movie, so that she could have been the only to finally take down Jet Li. The problem with casting Jet Li as the villain in a movie is that I usually don’t believe that the heroes could really have defeated him. I had the same problem with Lethal Weapon 4. The only way that Murtaugh and Riggs could have defeated Jet Li’s character in that film is the fact they were the heroes in a Hollywood blockbuster.

 

Fraser and Riggs have a nice chemistry together, especially in the Shangri-La scene, but it’s not as magical as that shared by Fraser and Weisz. Still, it’s worlds better than the nonexistent zing between the younger romantic couple, Alex and Lin. I cringed every time they had a love scene.

 

The franchise is feeling a little stale, but if this is the last one in the series it was entertaining. This was no Dark Knight, but it was traditional popcorn fare and an agreeable way to spend two hours on a Saturday afternoon.

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The Brothers Grimm (2005)

Magic beans don’t work! They don’t bring people back to life!

You may have noticed a number of my reviews have starred Heath Ledger. Oddly enough I didn’t realize this at first. When Ledger died back in January, I refused to watch any of his previous work for months. It hurt to think about someone so young being torn away from their family too soon, and for such a promising actor to be lost just as he was starting to fulfill his potential. The Dark Knight changed that. I was nervous going in about whether or not I’d be able to leave real life behind at the door, but it turned out to be easy. Between the heavy makeup, the different accent and the acute sociopathic behavior, I saw very little of Heath Ledger the person in that role. Somehow, that translated into a subconscious desire to revisit familiar territory and as I had recently purchased a Blu-Ray player I found some of my early purchases to be Heath Ledger films. Don’t worry. Now that I’m aware of this trend, I won’t be continuing it in this blog.

The Brothers Grimm is definitely a Terry Gilliam film, and a viewer’s reaction to it will depend very much upon their tolerance or affection for that director. Gilliam can be brilliant — Brazil and Twelve Monkeys come readily to mind – but he can also be strange and quirky. The Brothers Grimm falls squarely into both camps. There are moments that I thought were quite marvelous, but others when I wondered if all involved were smoking illegal substances.

The movie stars Matt Damon and Heath Ledger as the titular brothers with Damon playing the older Wilhelm and Ledger playing Jacob. They travel around the countryside offering their services as demon-exterminators…sort of nineteenth century Ghostbusters, complete with humorous quips. In reality, they’re frauds, who set up a haunting before “exterminating” it.  Suddenly, they are put in a situation where they are forced to deal with real supernatural forces which strangely resemble the old stories Jacob loves to collect and write down in his journals.

This plot has little to do with the historic figures of the Brothers Grimm and more to do with the tales they are famous for collecting. The more familiar a viewer is with those tales the more they will enjoy the story. Allusions are made to Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and other famous fairy tales. If you know the Grimm versions, you know that they can be…well…grim. These versions are scarier and bloodier, especially when compared to the Disney cartoons most kids are familiar with these days. We are reminded here that part of the purpose of the originals was to teach children life lessons, in part by scaring them to death.

This brings me to my biggest complaint about this film. It can never decide whether it wants to be dark and scary or downright silly. Don’t get me wrong. I love when scary and funny can be combined effectively: Buffy the Vampire Slayer did it regularly. Unfortunately, it does not work as well here. To me, the darker, more serious parts of the movie worked, but the comedic elements came off as intrusive and annoying most of the time.

The production design, lighting, and CGI deserve special mention. They combine to create an astounding world. The woods in particular are perfect: beautifully lit, creepy, and magical. This was easily one of the most breath-taking Blu-Rays that I have seen yet. The detail and the colors of the transfer are mesmerizing. It truly works to cast a spell over you – until someone tries to be funny.

 

What do you think? Does this movie work as a fairy tale? What’s your favorite Terry Gilliam movie? Or, Heath Ledger film?

 

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Chicago (2002)

This trial…the whole world…it’s all…show business.

The Hollywood Musical – for years it was one of the most lucrative genres for studios to make, but alas those days are no more. You can thank Rob Marshall’s Chicago for the fact that there has been an attempt to revive the old splendor.  The story of Roxie Hart has appeared in the media multiple times. There was a 1926 stage play, a 1927 Cecil B. DeMille silent movie, a 1942 talkie starring Ginger Rogers, the 1975 Bob Fosse musical and subsequent revivals followed by this most recent film version. Despite the 82 years between the original play and today, human behavior has not changed and the stinging indictments of our society hold just as much weight.

The original play was a fictionalized version of the crime of Beulah Annan, from Owensboro, Kentucky. She met her second husband, Albert Annan, in Louisville and after getting married they moved to Chicago. The facts of the actual case are pretty accurately reflected in the movie including the multiple motives given by Beulah/Roxie for shooting her lover in the back.

Rob Marshall, like Bob Fosse, is a choreographer and he stages numbers in an original, exciting way that still pays homage to Fosse’s. He uses a wonderful device to get audiences to accept the musical numbers. They are all shot as fantasies that the stage-struck Roxie uses to cope with her circumstances. Marshall skillfully weaves in and out of glamorous fantasy and shabbier reality. His staging of the first number “All That Jazz” easily ranks in the top musical moments of all time. We’re so bowled over by Catherine Zeta-Jones’s exuberance as she sings, “No, I’m no one ‘s wife, but I love my life and all that jazz,” that we nearly forget that she raced on to the stage after literally washing her sister’s blood off her hands.

It’s no fluke that Zeta-Jones won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Velma Kelly. She steals the movie in every scene in which she appears. Queen Latifah has a small, but memorable, part as Matron Mama Morton. John C. Reilly is fabulous as Roxie’s abused husband, Amos. He rips the audience’s guts out with his rendition of “Mr. Cellophane,” but he does it without being overly-sentimental. Richard Gere plays the smooth talking lawyer, Billy Flynn. He does a fine job, but his voice is not as strong as the previously mentioned actors. Still, he throws himself into the part with enthusiasm and really triumphs in the courtroom scenes. Renee Zellweger plays Roxie Hart, the lead. Her Roxie is pouty and manipulative but that works for the character. It’s not easy to be the lead in a musical, and while I was never as dazzled by her performance as I was by Zeta-Jones she did manage to hold her own.

Chicago is a story that dares to entertain us while sneering at us at the same time. It puts on spectacle after spectacle while pointing out the dangers of living in a world where people enjoy “the old razzle dazzle” more than they do the honest truth. In a world where boring is considered an unpardonable sin, Chicago points out the emptiness behind entertainment. It’s an interesting dichotomy. We enjoy Roxie and company, but we walk away feeling a bit hollow and cheated like Amos.

I recently re-watched this film in Blu-ray, and while parts of it looked as magnificent as you’d think…not all of it did. There were scenes that looked a little flat and even a couple that seemed just a touch blurry. Still, the highlights outweigh the nit-picks. If you’re a fan of the film, it’s worth watching in high definition.

 

So, what is your opinion on musicals? Love them, hate them? What’s your opinion of the follow-ups to Chicago, like Rent, Phantom of the Opera, Hairspray, and the recent Mama Mia?

 

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