Music Movies - Chicago

(58 votes, average 4.76 out of 5)
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Comments (82)
  • InkNinja  - First!
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    My uncle actually orchestrated this movie. This is the musical that actually got me to enjoy music movies and the like.
  • InkNinja  - Post review
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    After watching the review: Paw is completely right. I'm sad that Tae Diggs got such a small part in the movie since he was so great in Rent (a movie which I have no seen but a stage show that I have seen as well as a movie you should review). I think that Cell Block Tango was best for its great choreography and excellent humor that it fouls apply even with the subject matter. And yes, We Move On is kind of a dumb song that was only there because they had nothing to play during the credits (although it does have some good lyrics). Can't wait for the Little Shop of Horrors review!!!

    A great review Paw, keep up the great work!

    -The Ink Ninja
  • LadySierra117  - Finally ~
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    Dammit! so close T_T... I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS FOREVER!! Thank you Paw
  • Spiritkitten  - I don't mean to offend you!
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    Paw, although I do find you reviews to be very enlightening and entertaining (for the most part) I feel you are failing in what you original set out to do when you started this series. You said you would be analzing the songs in each movie and how they relate to the show itself. However, in your previous few reviews, I have noticed that you have basically given us history about the show itself as a whole, ripped apart the singers/actors (saying they are bad or give too much praise to your personal favorites and not enough to those who deserve a little. i.e, Renee Zelweiger sp? I'm not sure if you hate her, but you giving a very biased opinion.) You are briefly glancing over songs calling them boring or uninteresting, or skipping over songs completely, Seemingly only because they don't fit into the script of your video review. I believe a reviewer must be unbiased during at 90 percent of the review, giving us the viewers, a pure view of all aspects of the show, and letting us decide if we want to hate on it or love it. Now, I haven't seen Chicago but I do now want to, however, the only reason is to see the Cell Block Tango scene, because you put so much attention on that scene. (I know it's very popular but it seems you made all the other moments forgettable by comparison. I seriously thought you were going to pick that one as best (thank you for not doing so) I know I've heard it's the biggest show stopping number but it can't be the only reason the show is a big hit right?

    Think about the songs themselves and the lyrics to them before you do your next review. That's all I ask! though I must say good luck wih Little Shop of Horrors. I really don't know how any one can review that seriously.

    thank you.
  • mrrubino
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    *raises hand* I'll be offensive if need be. Compared to many of the best episodes, this video definitely seemed oddly shrill and rushed, and the sheer force of the ongoing vamping made me wonder if Paw hadn't himself gone well and truly into vaudeville mode, bouncing about from one subject to another, sliding through entire songs and scenes and right past others altogether.
    And did he outright forget to pick back up the thread about Fosse's collaborations with Kander and Ebb after saying he would get back to it, or did I miss the conclusion to that?
    After an hour on My Fair Lady, why touch a musical you clearly couldn't even speak about for 20 minutes?
    ...
    And now I feel better. Just wow.
  • JapanRider
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    I remember watching this for my film studies in high school
  • Pentagramm
    Yeaha, Little shop of horrors, I love that movie
  • littlelili
    CHICAGO!

    Oh man I know I'm gonna sound young saying this but this was the highlight of my middle school. I have a theory that all nerdy girls go through a musical phase between ages 12-15 where musicals rule their lives. And as a nerdy girl with nerdy girl friends this one came out right during that period for us, and unlike with a lot of other musicals we all agreed that it was absolutely amazing. I have nothing but found memories of memorizing the songs and clearing out living rooms to imitate the choreography.

    You know though, I have to disagree with you on your best... I HATE that damn song, in fact I would say i's my worst. It's just too much for me and just makes me think of Moulin Rouge (and oh god do I hate that movie). Otherwise great review!

    Also finally Little Shop of Horrors!
  • Furrama
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    :( I liked Renee. I really buy her character, and her voice is fine. Not the best singer in the world, but that's also fine, she's very character-y, not that classic omnipresent shmexy lady. She's got that ye olden naive middle American lady thing down. I don't think you're really being fair to her in this case.

    Mmmmm, Cell Block Tango. I wuvs it. Fun to blare in a car when there's a whole lot of girls that know it and only one guy who's never heard it before.
  • LordDico
    YES! Little Shop of Horrors!
  • Gethenian
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    Great review, though I'd have been interested to see (and hear) more about the history of the show at least in terms of previous/current stage productions. (I'm demanding like that.) I also thought a lot of the songs and most of the rest of the movie seemed kind of... glossed over. It felt like you were just jumping from song to song without going into anything that happened between them. In... y'know... the MOVIE part of the "music movies." ;)

    I know this is already a LOT to be throwing at the audience, and I know it's considered... less... good... to make a video over 20 minutes long... but I also think there are cases where that can be excused by having just that much content and presenting it well and thoroughly instead of sacrificing content for time. I think this could have been one of those cases. Chicago has so many great songs and musical numbers... I think you could have gone into all of them AND the bits in between with a little more detail and not sacrificed view counts to impatient people.

    That said, now for something completely different:

    I love this movie. I get cravings for this movie. I get it stuck in my head. Sometimes I just NEED to watch it. I actually think Roxy's casting is fitting for her character. She's not really SUPPOSED to be a naturally talented stage performer. She WANTS to be, and IMAGINES herself to be, but she isn't. She has no experience and no training, as far as the script ever establishes. She's just some hot chick who, for some reason, married some auto mechanic and accidentally got famous because her screwing around led to someone dying, not because she had any potential as a performer.

    But there's one thing that bugs me about it. Just one... perpetually visible.... impossible to ignore detail...

    It's the body types of the two actresses cast as Velma and Roxy.

    The movie shows us that it is not concerned with the issue of what body types are considered more "sexy" than others. That's demonstrated clear as crystal by Queen Latifah's AMAZING number, and by the fact that they let Richard Gere strip. So on one level it makes sense that they cast two actresses with such different body types to play Velma and Roxy, but at the same time, it's always bothered me because I felt like there's just something kind of WRONG with casting Catherine Zeta Jones, with all her athleticism and dancing skill, next to an actress who makes her look FAT by comparison when they're onscreen together.

    Renee is hot. Oh yes, she is. In her own way. But I don't like how she and Catherine create this weird aesthetic cacophony together. I don't think it does either actress any favors, and it's puzzling because we KNOW the people who made the movie knew how to show off the inherent sexiness of ANY female body type -- there's no problem with how they gave Queen Latifah a sexy number. So... in the end, I'm not sure whether th...
  • Gethenian
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    e casting was ultimately faulty because of that, or whether it was INTENTIONAL because of that.

    Either way, I still think it's uncomfortably weird to have an actress onscreen who makes Catherine Zeta Jones look fat by comparison when half or more of both their scenes are together.


    And finally: OH HELL YES LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS 8D
  • Fontinau
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    @Gethenian

    _"So on one level it makes sense that they cast two actresses with such different body types to play Velma and Roxy, but at the same time, it's always bothered me because I felt like there's just something kind of WRONG with casting Catherine Zeta Jones, with all her athleticism and dancing skill, next to an actress who makes her look FAT by comparison when they're onscreen together."_

    ^ ...the filmmakers aren't the ones with a problem here.
  • EpicFish
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    @Gethenian

    About the whole Renee makes Catherine look fat thing. First, it has always seemed to me that Renee can make anyone look fat when they're standing next to her. Renee has always been notorious for how extreme she gets when losing weight, and a lot of the time she looks skeletal and very sick.

    Second, the reason why Catherine looks so curvy or "fat" in this movie is because she was pregnant during filming, so alterations had to be done to her costumes and she had to be filmed at odd angles so her eventual baby bump wouldn't become noticeable.
  • Fontinau
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    @EpicFish

    That's all well and good. But perhaps more to the point - who gives a fuck? CZJ looks stunning in _Chicago_.

    (And leaving aside the fact that being fat isn't necessarily a bad thing anyway, if CZJ falls within your definition of the word - I don't care if she's standing next to Kate Moss' skeleton - you have issues.) (And by 'you', I mean Gethenian, not EpicFish.)
  • EpicFish
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    @Fontinau

    I was only pointing out the pregnancy thing to Gethenian as a reason why CZJ appears "fat" (by her definition) compared to Renee. Personally, I don't care either. I think Catherine looks gorgeous in the movie. :)
  • Swanpride
    The reason why CZJ looks a little bit fat in some of the scenes (especially whenever she wears coats) is because she was pregnant when the movie was made. It has nothing to do with RZ, if you pay attention you can see the in some of the scenes her proposions are slightly screwed up, because she has a little bit too much at the front, which doesn't seem to fit the lack of additional fat on her hips.
  • Bloodrealm  - Video Length vs. Content
    "... and I know it's considered... less... good... to make a video over 20 minutes long..."
    See, I've never understood that, myself. People complain about not having more content (i.e. UPDATE MOAR!!! YOU DON'T UPDATE AS MUCH AS YOU USED TO!!!), but also complain when a video goes over, say, 15 minutes. And THEN when they point out something they should have had in the video, and the contributor says "well, I was going to, but I had to cut it for time", they get disappointed!
    Anyway, with Music Movies, Paw usually manages to say everything he needs to about the plot, and about everything conveyed through the songs, but he doesn't get into many dialogue scenes or the history of the production or movie (or other misc. things of import), most likely because he feels he doesn't have time.
    I agree entirely that (in most cases) if you have something to address (especially in an entertaining way), you should. I understand that keeping the audience happy is important, but a good number of viewer demands are really stupid and/or contradictory.
  • richtv
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    I loved this movie, and I don't really like musicals. Kind of disagree with you about Renee but that's cool. Brilliant putting the songs in Roxie's head so the story can keep going. This movie was just so well done and its my favorite. The review was a little rushed but it was still good. I also agree with your best song, that was a very well put together number.
  • Catey
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    Yay! One of my fave shows/movies of all time! I kinda wish you went more into the history of the show and also talked about the director, who did SUCH an amazing job and even added to the show to make the movie the amazing thing it is, but that's cool :)

    I kinda disagree about Renee. No she is not stunning in her singing performances, but she gets her job done, which in the end, I think, epitomises Roxy. She isn't SUPPOSED to be talented!! But seriously, how amazing are the performances in this movie? Zeta-Jones became a MASSIVE girl-crush of mine after I saw this movie.

    Total agreement with your "best" pick, but :O :O :O to you meandering though awesomeness in what you consider was bad. Harumph to you dear sir!! :P Twas a good review Paw :)
  • Count Krory
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    One of my favorite musical films. My only complaint about it is that the movie screws up the joke at the end of "We both reached for the gun."

    Billy is supposed to hold the note on the final 'the' past the orchestra, as a way to show his ego. The glass of milk is drunk while he's holding the note, as part of the ventriloquist thing. I don't know if Gere just couldn't hold the note, but it always drives me nuts when I hear it.
  • 94MICK19
    Hey Paw if it's at all possible do you think you could add an obscurity called "The Return of Captain Invincible" to the Board? It's a Superhero, Musical, Comedy with Alan Arkin and Christopher Lee

    Movie here:
    http://www.youtube.com/ watch? v=vcEpxgHgv1A&feature
  • LadySierra117
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    that would be soo fun ^^, he could even do a cross over with Luuu~pa ~ Luu~pa ~ :3
  • EpicFish
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    I have to say my major disagreement is Richard Gere over Renee Zellweger. In my opinion, Gere is by far more terrible than Zellweger in this movie. His singing voice is just so horrid, I cringe when I hear it!

    I do agree I really like Mr. Cellophane. I think it's a terrific song and it makes me wish John C. Reilly would do more serious roles rather than crap like Walk Hard, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights or anything Tim and Eric throw him. He's a talented actor and it pains me to see him in movies like those!

    And oh Paw! How you tease with your signed TDC road poster! Knowing it will be available on the 23rd can only make me hope that you will give it a proper Music Movies review! Hail!
  • GameKeeper28
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    Yet another good review to a musical I've never seen.

    Looking forward to your Little Shop of Horrors review. I think it's the musical I've been most looking forward to see reviewed.
  • Hiroko  - What a coincidence.
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    My brother and I had recently decided to watch Little Shop of Horrors a week or two ago. It'll be fun to see your review of it. :3
  • Swanpride
    Why all the hate for RZ? Singing aside, this isn't an easy part to play, because Roxy more or less has to look halfway stupid most of the time, but nevertheless showing how her experiences changes her (and that with next to no text in most of the key scenes). And the puppet part - that's not easy to play at all, in fact, it might be the most difficult part of the movie, I doubt that there are many actresses who would have been able to pull it off.

    And about the singing itself: I think it fits! Roxy isn't supposed to be the big next star with a lot of talent, she is supposed to be the girl who thinks way too much about her own talents. She is just good enough that you can believe that people would go into a show with her if enough scandal is attached to it.

    My only complain about the movie is the start...the part until she is in prison is somewhat draggy for some reason.

    I agree about the worst, but for best, I actually would go for Cell Block Tango, because that's certainly the song which stuck in my head the most. It certainly speaks to a certain part of my angry female soul. And I really appreciate the symbolic touches they put in the choreography. BTW, another think I disagree with you about, I think the scenes is mostly funny, because the delivery is so distinctively not-funny. That those murderesses are totally serious is the reason I can laugh about the situation...if they would play murder for fun, I wouldn't be able to laugh about it anymore.
  • mochitsuki
    My best is also Both Reached for the Gun. The energy of that song is great and I kind of like Richard Gere's singing. However I do like the choreography of Cell Block Tango. Especially how most of the women are scantily clad in black while the Hungarian woman is in white. My worst is Roxie. It is the only song on the soundtrack that I skip. I have nothing against Rene Zellweger but it's such a boring I'm a special snowflake kind of song. Plus I really do not like Roxie as a character.

    Any chance you're going to do RENT the movie?
  • Zoltan  - More hungarian whining
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    Funny what you said about the whiny hungarian girl in the cellblovk tango scene, and how it is weird, that they couldn't find a translator for her in the 20's.
    Well, she's not hungarian. I mean she's supposed to be, but clearly she isn't. I am, on the other hand hungarian, so when I was sitting in the cinema and this part came when she started talking, I was surprised to hear some fragments of words which just sounded like it might have been hungarian. I turned out, she had her lines in hungarian, as she was supposed to play a hungarian prisoner. But she's a russian Actress. I really don't mind an accent, in fact i find it flattering if someone at tries to speak my language properly,
    but clearly that wasn't the case here. In 2002 hollywood they wasn't able to find a hungarian coach, tho teach this acress all three of her lines. Oh, how times dont seem to change :)
  • DarkBee
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    The only things that would've made this review even better are:

    a: more Mama (Queen Latifa looks stunning in her stage outfit)
    b: Team NChick dressed as cast members.
  • Darkbynight  - Wow...
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    So... I've never really watched any of your reviews because frankly I only have so many leisure hours in a day and there are a lot of shows on this site I like watching, but when I saw you were doing Chicago I had to watch it, since I love Chicago both as a stage play, and the movie, and I am now going to watch many more of your reviews.
    I love your reviewing style and I agree with many of your opinions, at least on Chicago. :)
    You also got quite a few chuckles out of me.

    They both reached for the gun is probably my favorite song in the movie, and Renee is surprisingly good at playing a puppet. ;)
    Actually I don't hate her movies or anything, I have watched some of them, but she certainly shouldn't be singing in my opinion.

    Anyway, thanks for making this review, I am off to watch some of your backlog. :)
  • trlkly
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    Did you know that the only songs cut were cut for artistic reasons? The idea of the movie version of Chicago is that all the musical numbers occur in Roxie's head. Well, save for the ones that are supposed to be actual performances in the plot.

    And, yeah, Zellweger sounds bad on that one note, but she's supposed to. She's fine, otherwise. Or are you one of those who thinks the singing in Moulin Rouge is bad? (A common belief by choral students)
  • Urka
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    I have to disagree on your best choice, Paw. I do love they both Reached for the Gun, but Mr. Cellophane is the one I sing all the time. The former is a lot of fun, but the latter is such an earworm in its simplicity.

    As for Gere as Billy Flynn...that's just what he does best. A lot of the lesser-known roles he's done have something to do with law and music, be it Primal Fear, Red Corner, or even Hachi (which was just music).
  • TheCrazyLoon
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    I've never seen the movie so this is new to me. Also I enjoyed your review like always
  • ladydiskette
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    I love this movie! I used to have a VHS copy of it at home and I would sing along to all of the songs my favorite is of course "Cell Block Tango" its freaking awesome! :D

    And Richard Gere's tap dancing I just love!


    *sighs* Now that I have a DVD player though I have to get a DVD version of it.


    Thanks for reviewing the movie Paw :)
  • _cG
    There are so many great songs in this movie, I find I wind up with a new favorite every time I listen to the soundtrack. Lately I've been really attached to "Hot Honey Rag."

    Have you ever heard of a book that came out recently called "The Girls of Murder City"? It's a very detailed account of the actual events that inspired the play, as well as a great character study of all the people involved. It's definitely worth a read, if you're interested.

    Oh man, Little Shop of Horrors. I had a feeling as soon as you stepped up to throw the dart it would be that. I am very excited.
  • samoht05
    I have been waiting for Little Shop of Horrors! It was the first musical I performed in high school and I really loved it!
  • The Movie Explorer
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    Speaking of movie musicals where people shouldn’t really be singing, will you be covering Camelot, Mame or Lost Horizon any time soon? (Not all at once, pace yourself or you may wish to stop doing this show altogether.)
  • Jack_Vision
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    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE !!!!!!!
    Little shop of horror is my number one fav Musical of all time :D
  • Jade_Ottsel
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    Glad to see someone else hated Zellweger's performance in this movie. xD Ugh.

    Also. YAY! IT'S ABOUT FREAKING TIME! Man, seriously Paw, I have been wanting you to do "Little Shop" ever since I first saw it appear on the dartboard. Eei, I can't wait! x3
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