Action / Comedy / Crime / Musical

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 86%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 83%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 184630


Uploaded By: OTTO
Downloaded 67,288 times
August 12, 2011 at 10:10 PM



Renée Zellweger as Roxie Hart
Lucy Liu as Kitty Baxter
Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly
Dominic West as Fred Casely
695.61 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 53 min
P/S 4 / 38

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by nycritic 10 / 10

Wicked & Saucy ..... & Oh So Very Naughty......

Unless you've been exiled to the Patagonia for the past twenty years, then maybe you might not know the premise of Rob Marshall's perfect rendition of Bob Fosse's CHICAGO which depicts the lurid events surrounding a pair of murderesses, their shady lawyer, and the media circus which ensues.

Kept on hold for years and going through a revolving door of directors and actors slated to play the leads and supporting players, and benefiting from the smash success of Baz Luhrmann's MOULIN ROUGE!, CHICAGO manages to virtually re-invent and resuscitate the musical to its fullest. Featuring dazzling visuals and musical numbers which segue seamlessly from scene to scene as it delves into Roxie Hart's vivid inner dialogue (with some exceptions, such as Velma Kelly's rendition of "I Can't Do it Alone" or Mama Morton's "When You're Good to Mama"), Rob Marshall breaks down the walls which in other way would have made the story less mobile.

CHICAGO tells the story of Roxie Hart, a vague young thing married to a colorless man, Amos Hart (John C. Reilly), but carrying on with a low-life Fred Caseley (Dominic West) who's made more promises than he can keep. She shoots him dead, and is thrown in jail where she meets Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a vaudeville star who's also in for the murder of her sister and lover, whom she found in bed together. The rousing musical number, "Cell Block Tango" is the show-stopper here, where Velma and five other inmates tell their story of how they arrived in jail. It is visually stunning, with each of the women using blood-red scarves which they use to describe their murders, and the dancers are in top form, sexy, ferocious, and dangerous -- pure Fosse material.

Into the story comes Matron 'Mama' Morton (Queen Latifah) who hooks Velma up with Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), the hot lawyer who takes on her case. Roxie, seeing she is down on her luck, has Amos hire Flynn, and he turns her story into the thing of tabloid fodder: soon everyone is following Roxie's move down to her hairstyle, and this of course causes Velma to go into a fit of jealousy since the spotlight has been taken away from her.

When seeing CHICAGO, it's not hard to compare it with the real-life circus shows that the trials of Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson have become. The climactic court scene in which Billy Flynn literally tap-dances his audience into exonerating Roxie despite the obvious evidence as showgirls pirouette over the bumbling witnesses is one that blurs the lines of reality with fiction, and the rapid editing sparkles in sheer brilliance. People don't want to hear the true story even though they may say so; to see Roxie as the innocent waif and Velma as the glamorous star is all they want as expressed by the movie's conclusion. Killers become media darlings and use up their fifteen minutes of fame -- that is, until then next lurid murder.

Fantastic performances are all over this film. Catherine Zeta-Jones brings forth the energy of a very young Joan Crawford who made a number of dance-oriented films early in her career. Richard Gere, ignored at Oscar time, stands out in his smarmy part and proves his capacity for dance and song, especially in his "We Both Reached For the Gun" number with Christine Baranski playing Mary Sunshine. Renee Zellweger reveals a vulnerable persona as Roxie Hart and comes across a little Marilyn Monroe, a little Ginger Rogers, and totally breathless, as in her two beautiful numbers "Funny Honey" and "Roxie". We don't expect her to sing well -- she's a wannabe star. Queen Latifah smolders as 'Mama,' so much that I wanted more of her. She reminded me of Sophie Tucker (whom the film mentions), all brass, tough, and sexy, and a less self-conscious Mae West. Her "When You're Good to Mama' is a more subtle take from Mary McCarty's growling number which made every line a symbol of double entendre. John C. Reilly plays the sap affectionately, and what a number he has! "Mr. Cellophane" is the saddest song ever, which he performs as the clown he has become. All in all, Rob Marshall has created a powerful, lurid film, made darker due to much of its subject matter but treated as if it were SINGING IN THE RAIN, full of instant classic sequences, and ending in a full applause.

Reviewed by peary1973 10 / 10

Jailhouse Tango--Take Me Away!

I've been a tap & jazz dancer most of my life. Chicago "razzle-dazzled" me into a state of great stage memories & utter delight in the revival of a dynamite musical. Bring them on! Don't know about you, but I need real entertainment... considering I live in the US during it's most politically corrupt decade. I need a dance, singing & music that is equal in intensity to my blues symptoms. "Chicago" is one of my 'cures'.

My favorite production is "The Jailhouse Tango." It made me reach way back to Elvis's "Jailhouse Rock." However, the stage of this era is much more well equipped to do such a gigantic show-stopping, lengthy, hysterically funny & ever so well danced & sung routine. I can watch that 1 number time & again & find something new I love about it. I also have to agree with the other commentators who couldn't find a single 'bad' number in the entire show.

Yes, Richard Gere can certainly dance & sing in a musical. I found the editing of the trial & Gere's tap dance utterly fascinating. You know, when a dancer is being filmed doing a routine we never know who or what will be in the final cuts. For instance, in "Staying Alive." I knew those dance routines & a few of the dancers. They were truly peeved at the nasty chop job that was done to great dance routines. Not so in "Chicago." Credit has to go also to terrific camera work which did the best job I've ever seen to avoid losing any parts of the stage or the all of dancers' movements.

Most outstanding is "Mr. Cellophane." Shirley Maclaine once did a TV version of "One" using her gorgeous figure & a simple hat, plus a series of ever so subtle dance moves that expressed pure classiness of pure Shirley the marvelous dancer. Reilly uses his costume & hat with those very few subtle moves to express the whole character he plays. It's easy to write he is quite emotionally moving & sings very well.

The contrast between the big production number of The Jailhouse Tango & Mr. Cellophane couldn't be greater. Tango is way high energy, lots of lovely female dancers & singers, with the exception of a very few males: Mr. Cellophane is nearly done in one man's singular slow motion. The choreography had to have been the dancers' delight! Yum.

Zellwenger & Zeta Jones make for a very similar contrast in both their dancing & singing styles. I was nearly shocked that Zeta-Jones could belt out a song Ethel Merman style! At times she brought Merman back to life. Zellwenger belongs in musicals she's so sizzling hot in dance costumes that accentuate a dancer's body & she can really sing while she's performing the piece quite exotically. I can see why prudish folks detest the show. It's sensuous with lots of sexy body work going on. Puritanicals Beware! Nevertheless, the way The Jailhouse Tango started off quite cleverly with such a simple sound as the drip, drip of a jail cell faucet to pace the rhythmic beat at the beginning of the production number was unique & brilliant. So that's one reason why I write that number is the one that stands out most to me. But just as I write that I recall the big number of the live human 'puppets'. How clever was that. Zellwenger & Gere pulled that one off masterfully together with much of the cast as their backup chorus.

I can't possibly understand anyone who writes that it was a flop or they didn't like it. But I do respect your opinions. 10 of 10, undoubtedly. (Chicago makes "Moulin Rouge" look like gooey overly-romantic, made for teenagers, face sucking >blek<. I'm too old to appreciate that nonsense. Give me the all out flaming musical for adults ::winking::).

PS--If you love song & dance musicals, or want to, see "Cats." (Or perhaps fast forward to Grizabella's scene singing & acting out Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic rendition of "Memories"). Musicals can take us away from the heaviness of today to another realm to view the insides of another character through their movements & songs. Thank you for reading me~

Reviewed by sw-12 10 / 10

Murder, music, media, and all that jazz

I thoroughly enjoyed the current Broadway stage revival of Chicago -- the Kander and Ebb original, with Bob Fosse choreography, opened in 1975, starring Gwen Verdon (Roxie), Chita Rivera (Velma) and Jerry Orbach (Billy), all proven musical theatre talents. I saw the revival fairly early in its current run, starring Ann Reinking (Roxie), Bebe Neuwirth (Velma) and James Naughton (Billy), who are all proven in musical theatre as well.

The casting of this new film adaptation had me wondering -- Renee Zellwegger (Roxie), Catherine Zeta Jones (Velma) and Richard Gere (Billy)? Sure, they can act, but can they sing and dance?

Big time. The strength of their performances alone is almost enough to carry the film. Whether the stars come by these moves and voices easily, or were rehearsed within an inch of their lives, it's clear they come by them naturally -- they each perform their own songs, and the dance moves are both fluid and stylistically true to the Fosse choreography. Attention to choreographic integrity in this film is to be expected: director Rob Marshall is a choreographer by trade. The sizzling staging of Velma's and Roxie's "Finale" is practically a Fosse quotation from beginning to end, and is razzle-dazzling beyond the stage version, via the cinematography and editing techniques that only the film medium provides.

I was prepared for a watered-down Hollywood take on the wildly popular, 6 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival, but sans the stage talents that got it there. But I actually liked the film BETTER. The film's screenplay adaptation, by Bill Condon, fleshes out the narrative to allow an emotional connection to the characters in a way that I didn't experience in the theater. The film integrates the songs to the story by cutting between an electrifying staged rendition and the 1920's Chicago world of the narrative. This technique gives the characters space for an inner emotional life thus letting the audience better connect with them.

I did have a few quibbles. The song "Class", a personal favorite, was cut, likely to keep the momentum up as we rush toward Roxie's sensational jury trial, which delivers several musical treats of its own, and is the dramatic apogee of the story. And, while I found John C. Reilly a most pathetic but sympathetic Amos, I felt that Joel Grey evoked those qualities much more effectively in his Broadway rendition of "Mr. Cellophane."

The story, while providing an opportunity for some juicy songs and sharply funny characters, is more than just eye candy. Its portrayal of cynical manipulation of the criminal justice system by creating a celebrity-hungry media circus (the raison d'etre of Richard Gere's Billy Flynn) is more than apt today. But if there's any moralizing going on here, it's with a wink and a flash of leg. Chicago is a treat.

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