Blind Spot Series: Chicago (2002)

chicago-movie-review-poster-2002Director: Rob Marshall

Genre: Musical, Drama, Crime

Runtime: 113 Minutes

Main Cast: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, Christine Baranski, John C. Reilly, Taye Diggs, Colm Feore, Chita Rivera

Plot: Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly find themselves on death row after committing murder. Roxie is the newcomer and desperately tries to get into Velma’s good books, until she finds herself in the spotlight of attorney Billy Flynn.

My Thoughts: YES. So much yes for this movie! When I watched La La Land I was hooked from that opening song and the same thing happened to me with Chicago. Why have I avoided musicals for so long when I grew up on the Disney classics? I guess sometimes it can be a little cringy to just suddenly burst into song during a serious moment, but the musical numbers in Chicago don’t work that way, instead, they’re stand-alone performances that tie in with whatever is currently happening, which is super effective.

Renée Zellweger is fantastic in this, starting out as a meek young girl dreaming of fame and naive to her surroundings, to quickly rising to fame and knowing how to make a stand for herself. Catherine Zeta-Jones is equally as stunning to watch, and Queen Latifah has her own raunchy number which I loved. Literally, I am struggling to form actual sentences here, because I enjoyed it so much. I guess in a way, none of these characters are likable, but they’re so much fun to watch.

I guess the only thing that stops me from giving Chicago full marks is that a lot of the songs, whilst fun at the time, aren’t catchy enough to stick in my memory. I can sing (badly) perhaps 5 to you from memory but there were so many more! Who knows, maybe a few plays of the soundtrack on my way to work will fix that for me.

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Best Bit: Cell Block Tango. It was the only song I’d actually heard of before watching it and oh boy it did not disappoint. Even my husband at one point turned around from his computer screen to sing ‘HE HAD IT COMING’. Song wise, that was my favourite, but We Both Reached For The Gun was visually the best, with the way that Roxie was a puppet and the media were all on strings. It was so clever.

Worst Bit: I’m equal parts gutted for and annoyed by Roxie’s husband. On one part, I just feel desperately sorry for him, he loved Roxie with every ounce of his being and she couldn’t care less. On the other hand, how bloody naive could he be? I wanted to shake him, and then hug him.

Fun Trivia: In the beginning of the scene introducing Mama Morton to the new inmates, Roxie Hart had a brief conversation with a woman smoking a cigarette. That character was played by long-time Broadway actress Chita Rivera who portrayed Velma Kelly in the original 1975 production of “Chicago”.

My Rating: 4 and a half tap dancing shoes which took Richard Gere 3 months to master the use of, according to IMDB!

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blind-spot-series-2019-banner-v2The Blind Spot Series was created a few years ago by Ryan at The Matinee, and is now hosted by Sofia at Returning Videotapes. As part of the Series, bloggers choose 1 movie to watch and review each month that is deemed a ‘classic’ or ‘must-watch’. To see the rest of my picks for the year, check out my announcement post here.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

mamma-mia-here-we-go-again-movie-posterDirector: Ol Parker

Genre: Comedy, Musical

Runtime: 114 Minutes

Main Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Andy Garcia, Lily James, Alexa Davies, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Dominic Cooper, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski, Hugh Skinner, Pierce Brosnan, Josh Dylan, Jeremy Irvine, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Cher, Meryl Streep

Plot: Taking place 5 years after the original movie, Sophie is planning a grand opening party for the Bella Donna hotel. As her plans come crashing down, she learns more about her mother and how she met Sophie’s 3 fathers.

My Thoughts: I don’t even know how I found myself watching this at the cinema last night. I’m not an ABBA fan and would struggle to name 10 of their hits, but I watched the original movie about 2 years ago when it was picked for a family movie night, and despite finding it completely cheesy, it had a certain charm to it that made it hard to not like it.

Here We Go Again brings much of the same charm, if not more. If you can look beyond the cheese and the subpar acting (no one was really trying their best here) then there’s a lot of joy to be found. The cast is huge, there was no way I could cut it down for the post without doing someone a disservice, and if seeing Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård doing the Titanic pose doesn’t warm your heart and turn your frown upside down then nothing will!

What I thought was so clever though was how well the ‘young’ actors and actresses did. I mean Lily James is just stunning no matter what she does, and the boys had the characteristics down to a T! It was Jessica Keenan Wynn who stole the show for me though as a younger Christine Baranski. It was almost scary how similar she was.

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Best Bit: The Greek Passport Control guy was hilarious when he judged everyone’s photos. The bit never got old, in fact, it got funnier every single time.

Worst Bit: Not being an ABBA fan I only knew a handful of the songs, so I felt pretty left out when the people either side of me in the cinema were bopping along and hoping no one noticed them singing.

Fun Trivia: Meryl Streep and Lily James, the two actresses portraying Donna, are distant relatives – ninth cousins, three times removed to be precise.

My Rating: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was a 3.5 out of 5 up until now, when writing this post made me realise I enjoyed it more than I thought. A solid 4 out of 5 crazy outfits it is!

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