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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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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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on 4 September 2006
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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on 5 March 2012
Wow! All singing, all dancing AND Richard Geer! What more could a girl want on a rainy day. Tune up before the video starts because you'll be singing along before you know it. Catherine and Renee are slinky and sexy, Queen Latifah absolutely brilliant as Mamma Morton and Richard improves every shot he's in. In most musicals, you get a few really good tunes and forget the others. Not in this musical - every song is catchy and memorable. The pace is so fast you'll lose at least 2lb in weight just keeping up with it. Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 April 2007
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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on 26 February 2016
VIDEO:

The Diamond Edition of Chicago arrives on blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 1.85:1 encode. The new master was prepared in Dolby Vision, a relatively recent proprietary technique that is said to significantly boost detail and contrast. There are indeed noticeable differences between the previous blu ray and this one. Detail is noticeably improved. Part of this is due to the increased contrast, which is most noticeable in the darker scenes. Image is wonderfully textured. The original grain structure was preserved, with cleaner and crisper details. There is a greater sense of depth. Director Rob Marshall manipulates colour like a master. The final result is a film with severe colour changes, dark scenes, stark contrast, and razzle dazzle look. (4.5/5)

AUDIO:

The previous blu ray edition has a reference quality 5.1 PCM uncompressed audio transfer. This Diamond Edition has an audio upgrade to Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless track. Robust and powerful, yet still marvelously nuanced, this highly active, impeccably modulated track brings Chicago to brilliant life, immersing us in all of the film's varied settings and creating a seamless aural atmosphere. The surround channels are all well utilized. The musical numbers, of course, shine, with nicely prioritized vocals. The orchestrations envelop with ease, pouring out of all the speakers with fantastic fidelity and a purity of tone that exhilarates the senses. This is a fantastic and immersive soundtrack, that is totally enjoyable. (5/5)

TRIVIA:

Chicago has an estimated budget of $42 million, but has a wonderful worldwide gross of $306 million.

AWARDS:

Chicago won 6 Oscars in 2003, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Editing and Best Sound. In addition, it was nominated in 6 other categories.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Chicago intoxicates the senses with its effervescent blend of searing story and exhilarating song and dance. It is further distinguished by an inventive and riveting presentation and packed with breathtaking numbers, kinetic energy, and bite and cynicism galore. Zellweger had no formal dance or vocal training before she joined the Chicago cast, but her fierce dedication to the part and fearless execution of the demanding routines erase any indication she's a novice. If Zellweger is a surprise, however, Zeta-Jones is a revelation, with a well-deserved Oscar for her performance.

This Diamond Edition from Lionsgate brings this modern classic to life like never before, thanks to spectacular remastered video with enhanced clarity and vivacity, a 7.1 lossless audio track that's every bit as nuanced as it is bold, and a brand-new retrospective documentary that explores every nook and cranny of the production. Even if you have the previous blu ray edition, this Diamond Edition is definitely worth the upgrade or double dipping. Of course this set is highly recommended. When you make the purchase, make sure you choose the Diamond Edition, otherwise you end up with the earlier release.
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on 4 January 2012
Surely one of the most intelligent satires written of post First World War America. This 'Musical' - which category seems to trivialise it - portrays Chicago as a town so used to violence that murder is seen as entertainment by the murderers, the lawyers, the prison warders, the press and its avid readers. The lyrics are sharp and witty; the music captures the era and is both ear-catching and memorable; the sets are strikingly imaginative and, as for the actors,they show a talent for singing and dancing one would never have suspected of them. All captured in picture-perfect surround sound.
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on 23 March 2005
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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on 16 April 2016
Has spawned meme on the Internet for good reasons. Instead of wondering why your friend mentions someone running into something x amount of times and that they had it coming, watch this and understand!
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on 19 August 2014
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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on 24 January 2014
I ordered this as a belated Christmas present for myself and my daughter but we haven't got around to watching it yet! I have seen the film before and I loved it. Hence 5 stars. The delivery was within the time predicted. Great casting and songs. Hopefully will get a group of friends together to watch it for a girls night in (if I can get rid of hubby and son for an evening!). It's down to personal taste I suppose, so other musicals I like range from oldies like Singing in the Rain, High Society, Top Hat and Calamity Jane through to Grease, Dirty Dancing and Evita!
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