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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IT WILL RAZZLE-DAZZLE YOU...
This is a fantastic musical. From the beautifully designed sets, to the period costumes, to the show-stopping song and dance numbers, it will simply razzle-dazzle the viewer. The director and his singing and dancing troupe of stars simply pull out all the stops in this brilliantly executed musical.

The film, which provides a cynical and satirical look at fame...
Published on 28 Sep 2003 by Lawyeraau

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95 of 116 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shoot the Disc Compiler
I saw this version of 'Chicago' on television about a year ago and thought it was sensational, as a film I would give it a hundred stars if I could. My 'one star' rating is a reflection of how enraged I was at the way this DVD has been produced. The box says "Dual Layer Format. Layer transition may trigger a slight pause." Well, nice of them to warn us but what an...
Published on 4 Sep 2006 by J. Modlin


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IT WILL RAZZLE-DAZZLE YOU..., 28 Sep 2003
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chicago [VHS] [2003] (VHS Tape)
This is a fantastic musical. From the beautifully designed sets, to the period costumes, to the show-stopping song and dance numbers, it will simply razzle-dazzle the viewer. The director and his singing and dancing troupe of stars simply pull out all the stops in this brilliantly executed musical.

The film, which provides a cynical and satirical look at fame and fortune, centers in nineteen twenties Chicago around two murderesses, Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger). Velma, who together with her sister, was a dance hall success, killed her husband and her sister when she caught them together en flagrante delicto. True to the maxim, however, that the show must go on, she goes on stage immediately after dispatching the two lovers, where she is promptly arrested.
Roxie Hart, an admirer of Velma Kelly, is married to Amos Hart (John C. Reilly), a good-hearted, regular Joe, but she longs for tabloid fame and fortune. She begins to have an affair with a man who promises that he could get her a stage gig only to find that he lied just to get her in bed. So, she ends up killing him. Her long suffering husband stands by his little woman as she is trundled off to jail to await trial. There she meets her idol, Velma Kelly, who finds her hero-worship annoying.
In the jail, Matron "Mama" Morton (Queen Latifah) reigns supreme over the inmates, accepting bribes for favors. Velma Kelly, represented by star defense attorney Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), is in tabloid heaven. Roxie Hart, longing to be in tabloid heaven as well, gets her husband to retain Billy Flynn on her behalf. Before she knows it, she, too, is in tabloid heaven, playing the media like a violin.
The legal profession also gets a cynical slap in the guise of the slimy, fast talking Billy Flynn, who looks for the best selling point rather than for the truth. He understands the thirst of the media for the perfect sound-bite and he gives it to them. Guilty or not guilty, it doesn't matter. What matters to him, as a hired mouthpiece, is the media mileage he can get for his client, as well as for himself. To that end, he is the ventriloquist, and his client is no more than his dummy.
The razzle-dazzle musical numbers move the story along. Catherine Zeta-Jones is terrific, looking impossibly beautiful and showing off her musical theatre background to great advantage with "All That Jazz" and "Cell Block Tango". Queen Latifah is outstanding as the sly and voracious Mama Morton, who goes whichever way the wind is blowing. She also has a show-stopping musical number, "When You're Good To Mama" that is simply memorable. Renee Zellweger, though not a professional singer or dancer, shows that she can sing and dance with the best of them.
The men also shine in this musical. John C. Reilly, as Roxie's long-suffering husband, also has a terrific number, "Mister Cellophane", that is truly heart rending and poignant, as well as metaphoric. Richard Gere gamely rises to the occasion in his first musical, making the slick Billy Flynn character an integral part of the film with his "Razzle Dazzle" number and his tap dancing.
I love this top notch, clever film, finding it hugely entertaining. It deserves every one of its six Academy Awards, including that for "Best Picture". Director Rob Marshall deserves kudos for this brilliantly directed, seamlessly edited, musical masterpiece. While it is a fairly faithful screen adaptation of Bob Fosse's Broadway musical, it has Rob Marshall's contemporary imprimatur on it. It is a film of which he can be justly proud. Bravo!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Hey, what do you mean hanging?", 23 Mar 2005
By 
Sebastian Fernandez (Tampa, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chicago [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I have never been a big fan of musicals, and there is only a couple that I consider great movies, like "All That Jazz" and "Cabaret". I have to say that even though "Chicago" is not at the exact same level as these two movies, it is good enough to leave a lasting impression. The music is very good and entertaining, the performances of Catherine Zetta-Jones and Renee Zellweger are inspiring, and the story is interesting.
The film starts by jumping right into the action, with amazing music - what a great song is "All that Jazz" - and with Velma Kelly (Zetta-Jones) walking into her dressing room, hiding a gun and washing the blood from her hands. That same night, Roxie Hart (Zellweger) is among the audience watching Velma and dreaming of being like her. She even witnesses when the police comes to take Velma away for the murder of her cheating husband and her sister, who was the object of his affection.
Meanwhile, Roxie is acting on her dreams, and to get there she is sleeping with a man she believes has connections in the show business world and can help her become a star. When she finds out that he was lying, and his "connections" were just a scam to get into her pants, she kills him by shooting him point blank. The husband tries to save her, but is not successful in his attempt, and does not try hard after he figures out what was going on between the deceased and his wife; thus, Roxie ends up in the same prison as Velma.
Enters Billy Flynn (Gere), the slick lawyer that has a reputation for being able to get anyone off the hook, no matter how gruesome the crime or how abundant the evidence. He is Roxie's last chance, so she has to engage in a competition with Velma to see which case he handles first. The corrupt environment also includes Mama (Queen Latifah), the prison guard who really believes in tit for tat and is always on the prowl for fresh meat.
I was surprised when I learned that both Zellweger and Zetta-Jones actually sing themselves in all the music pieces, since the quality of their singing is superb and it appears to be done by professional singers. Both of them do an outstanding job in their acting, and are supported in their roles by the quality performances of Richard Gere and Queen Latifah. Congratulations to Rob Marshall and his team for a remarkable final product.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High-quality product of excellent musical, 28 Sep 2009
By 
Olli Pitkanen - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chicago [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I like this musical and movie very much, and the blue-ray version is of extremely high quality.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very, very good ; but not inspired, 28 April 2007
By 
Mr. Ian A. Macfarlane "almac1975" (Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed this set, with the substantial extra material, a lot of which is very interesting, particularly the extended version of particular numbers, in which you get some ides of how they were prepared and rehearsed. It's an excellent show anyway, with a lovely, quick paced seedy atmosphere, and it is very, very professionally done. Why not 5 stars? Well, I enjoy the work of Renee Zelwegger, Catherine Zeta Jones and Richard Gere - they are all very skilled, very professional and very, very good, and their performances give a lot of pleasure, but I never feel that any one of them is a died-in-the-wool vaudeville performer, a true music hall artiste. At its worst (and this impression is only very occasional) it just seems a little too much like hard work. It is a very carping criticism, but whereas, say, Liza Minelli in 'Cabaret' seemed born to the role, these three are more like fine professionals who won it at audition and have done a fine, conscientious job. But no-one should hesitate from buying the set. It does pretty good justice to a very good show and is very good value for money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A true diamond indeed., 19 Aug 2014
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The description and even the box say Region A, but it played fine on my Region B player. The picture and sound quality of the Blu-ray are top notch, and is a new remaster compared to the Region B disc.

The new extras are pretty extensive, and interesting if you're into musical theatre, but made me smile all the way through thanks to director Rob Marshall's ill-advised fake tan that makes him look like he's escaped from Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

The only thing that's a shame is that the older extras (including the deleted song "Class") are on the included DVD rather than the Blu-ray, and some people might have a little trouble playing the Region 1 DVD. Even then, I'd suggest that purists watch it rather than the Region 2 DVD, because the PAL transfer process involves speeding up the audio which is sacrilege for a musical.

All in all, a very impressive definitive edition of my all-time favourite movie musical, which is only slightly marred by minor problems. I got it at a really good price (cheaper than the slightly inferior UK Blu-ray) and was delighted with it.
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95 of 116 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shoot the Disc Compiler, 4 Sep 2006
By 
J. Modlin - See all my reviews
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I saw this version of 'Chicago' on television about a year ago and thought it was sensational, as a film I would give it a hundred stars if I could. My 'one star' rating is a reflection of how enraged I was at the way this DVD has been produced. The box says "Dual Layer Format. Layer transition may trigger a slight pause." Well, nice of them to warn us but what an understatement that turned out to be. The first 50 minutes or so were fine but after that the picture continually 'froze' for a few seconds before resuming. This was disruptive enough during 'conversational' scenes but when musical numbers (including my favourite song, 'Razle Dazzle' which I had been waiting for) were interrupted like this I found it impossible to watch. I know nothing about 'layer transition' and the rest of the technicalities but I think it is unforgivable to put such a flawed product on the market and to ruin a wonderful film such as this in this dreadful way. I urge you not to buy this edition. Don't even think about it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertainment with an edge, 26 Feb 2005
By 
Dennis Littrell (SoCal/NorCal/Maui) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chicago [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This is a musical in the tradition of musicals that are entertaining and easy to digest, and yet some hours later leave one with some apprehension. Is it really the intent of the story to celebrate getting away with murder? Or is this movie a statement about how murder by women in emotionally trying circumstances can be justified? Or perhaps is this an indictment of the criminal justice system? Or is this just a spicy entertainment?
I'll opt for the latter; however I can tell you that women will find this more agreeable than their spouses. There is a kind of historically revisionist feeling to the sentiments expressed. I seriously doubt that this production, in which murder from jealousy is seemingly justified, would have been produced as a musical comedy before the modern era.
But never mind. What makes Bob Fosse's Chicago a hit (and the Academy's Best Picture of 2002) are the beautifully staged and choreographed song and dance numbers, the spiffy direction and neat editing, a lot of leggy flesh along with some fine performances by Queen Latifah, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger.
In particular I liked Queen Latifah's performance. When she comes on singing "When You're Good to Momma" she just about brings the house down. I also liked her portrayal of the savvy and corrupt Boss Lady on Murderess Row. Zeta-Jones got the Oscar for best Supporting Actress, and she was good, but I think Latifah, who was also nominated, was just as impressive if not more so.
Zellweger, looking almost anorectic compared to the last time I saw her in Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)--released only the year before--gives a solid performance in a very demanding role, although to be honest, it appeared that she was doing a lot of lipsyncing. Still one is amazed at how good she and Zeta-Jones were at the old song and dance, not having been previous known for being twinkled-toed.
You might want to see this to compare how it stands up to a long line of filmland musicals, such as Oklahoma, South Pacific, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Phantom of the Opera, etc. Chicago certainly is well within the confines of that venerable traditional, although it is my feeling, that despite the Academy's favor, this is just a notch below the best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good entertainment, 19 July 2013
This review is from: Chicago [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I played this again last night. Sophisticated, pacey, how good it is to find a film which gives the lead actors a chance to use many of their talents. Acting, singing, dancing, all to a very high standard. Catherine Zeta Jones: Renee Zellweger: Richard Gere and then John C. Reilly sings 'Mr. Cellophane' absolutely beautifully. The musicians, the dancers. The whole production has great vitality. I love it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Value Film, 11 Jan 2010
By 
L. M. Horne (Worcestershire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chicago [DVD] (DVD)
This film kept me enthralled for the duration & does good justice to the stage show, which I have seen a couple of times. DVD & stage versions both highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of razzle... Less dazzle..., 9 May 2009
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This review is from: Chicago [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Winner of 2003's Best Picture Oscar, Chicago is one of a slew of musicals to make it to the big screen in the last several years. This one came with a big name cast and high hopes.

It seems that in 1920s Chicago everyone wanted to be a star, and one of the ways to ensure stardom was to be a foxy chick who killed someone. We open with Catherine Zeta-Jones' Velma Kelly performing her usually sibling double act on her own, we find out when the police arrive to arrest her that she's murdered her sister. In the audience is Roxy Hart, a wannabe star who won't take long to join her in jail. The prison they are cooped up in is full of hard nosed, but curiously beautiful women, who all had the same dreams and all have similar excuses for their crimes. The attractiveness of the girls may have something to do with the prison warden Mama Morton who picks the best looking out from any new intake and segregates them, she also introduces Roxy to Billy Flynn, an unscrupulous lawyer who specialises in hopeless cases (at a price, of course).

The interplay between Hart and Kelly, and their attempts to one-up each other form much of the bulk of the movie, while Roxy's trial comprises most of the rest. Since it's a musical, anytime there's a stretch of dialogue someone inexplicably breaks out into song. When this happens the visuals take on a very stage-like appearance with sets being replaced by darkness, spotlights, and props. It's a nice little idea that takes the movie back to its theatrical roots, but it's not half as clever as the director seems to think. The songs vary from the excellent to the mundane, which makes entire scenes lose the attention needlessly. Both of Zeta-Jones' big song and dance numbers are spectacular and, despite the fact that I am not a fan of hers, she bats it right out of the park. The ensemble "He Had It Coming" is brilliant, as are Mama Morton's introduction, and the ballad "Mister Cellophane".

In terms of performances, the supporting cast keep it all going. Queen Latifah is spot on as the amoral and lascivious Mama Morton and is one of the more accomplished all-round performers in the cast. Richard Gere brings all of his considerable charm to Billy Flynn, although he's not the greatest of singers (he's not the worst either). Catherine Zeta-Jones is fantastic where Velma Kelly is meant to be sassy or seductive, but doesn't manage to maintain the quality in the few scenes where she's meant to display vulnerability. I can see why she won Best Supporting Actress for the parts of the movie she aced, but feel it undeserved overall because of a lack of depth. John C Riley as Roxy Hart's cuckolded husband is the only truly sympathetic character in the film and he engages the audience winningly. Big let down though is the supposed star, Renee Zellwegger as Roxy Hart. She's always been cute as a button and that's no different here but you don't get any sense of steel from her. It doesn't help as an actor when you're the marquee name and feature in almost every scene, and yet almost every scene gets stolen from you by another cast member.

Give them the old razzle dazzle, sings (or more kind of speaks to a tune) Richard Gere's Billy Flynn, and never has the marketing plan for a movie been so thoroughly spelled out in its dialogue. The characters are meant to be unsympathetic so in a sense the fact that they are is a success, but we need someone to root for and that's a problem here. There's a lot to be said for Chicago but there's a lot to criticise as well. It's a good effort, but more than a little overrated.
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