|By Mira Harber
You know that saying "everything that's old is new again?"
Well, it's definitely true - the musical is back in a big way. Chicago
is an absolutely breathtaking, spectacular musical. The story takes place
in Chicago and is simple (we don't want all those fabulous songs distracted
by too much story!!)
Two women kill their faithless lovers. Renee Zellweger
plays Roxie Hart (she has got to be the sweetest acting/ sweetest face
in modern movies) kills her scumy lover and persuades her dimwit husband
(John C. Reilly) to pay for her defense. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Velma
Kelly who kills both her husband and sister when she finds them 'inappropriately
close' together. Richard Gere plays Billy Flynn a cynical, expensive lawyer
who claims that "If Jesus Christ had lived in Chicago and had $5,000 and
come to me, things would've turned out differently."
Chicago takes place in what looks like the roaring 20's
- newspapers scream lurid headlines and the police, the press and lawyers
all look like they have 'arrangements' with one another. It is fast paced,
glamorous, corrupt and very exciting.
Catherine Zeta-Jones is fantastic - she seems like she's
sprung from the musicals of old. This woman can really sing and dance -
she started out as a professional dancer in England, and her opening number
"All That Jazz" is worth the price of admission alone. Here is an example
of an actress who thinks she is really hot stuff, and guess what? She is!!!
Renee Zellwegger and Richard Gere are both very well cast
in their roles. Their singing and dancing are OK, but nothing when compared
to Zeta-Jones. (Both Zellwegger and Zeta-Jones have been nominated for
Oscars. I predict Zeta-Jones will win a best-supporting, but Zellwegger
will lose out to Nicole Kidmans nose in The Hours).
John C. Reilly as Amos Hart, Roxie's cuckolded husband
sings and dances a wonderfully sad, pathetic song "Mr. Cellophane". He
seems to be in every other movie this year, and has also been nominated
for Best Supporting Actor, which I believe he may win.
Queen Latifah rounds out the cast as prison matron Mama,
and her song "When You're Good to Mama" leaves you in no doubt about who
Mama is and what it takes to make her happy.
Chicago is big, glamorous and cynical. If you want a couple
hours of glitzy fun don't miss it.