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.

Mini Reviews: Movies Watched in April

I’ve barely been on the blog for the last week. I was so desperate to avoid spoilers for Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones that I had a bit of a technology shut down! As a result, I haven’t done as many full reviews as I normally would, so here’s a quick rundown of what I watched in April and what I thought:

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Unicorn Store (2017)

I’ve wanted to see Unicorn Store ever since another blogger wrote about it after it’s festival premiere 2 years ago, so I was giddy when I found out it dropped onto Netflix without any warning in April! It lived up to all my expectations, it was cute, it was weird, it was colourful, and Brie Larson and Samuel L Jackson have the most amazing friendship! Definitely not a movie for everyone but I honestly feel like I was the target audience for it.

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Baby Mama (2008)

Straight after watching Unicorn Store I spotted the poster for Baby Mama on Netflix. A movie starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler about motherhood that I hadn’t seen yet or even heard of?! Sign me up! It wasn’t the greatest comedy out there by a long shot but you can always count on these leading ladies to make you laugh. I’m still kind of kicking myself for not seeing the obvious twists coming, though.

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Cam (2018)

You can put Cam straight onto a list of movies you should never watch on public transport! I’m so glad my husband was too engrossed in his game to pay much attention to what I was doing because he straight up would have thought I was watching porn. This movie was quite a surprise though. I wish there was a better explanation for it all at the end but if you’re a fan of Black Mirror this movie was made for you.

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Someone Great (2019)

This was one of those ‘Oh let’s see what’s new on Netflix, that looks like some trashy fun’ kind of movie picks. Jane the Virgin broke up with her boyfriend, she’s leaving town soon and her best buds get together for one last time. It was fun enough but everything about it screamed ‘Millennial’ and as one myself I couldn’t tell if it was trying to appeal to me or take the piss out of me.

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Step Brothers (2008)

So last month I ignored everyone and watched Holmes & Watson, and it was just as terrible as you all said. It brought up memories of Step Brothers though, a movie I haven’t seen in 10 years, and I couldn’t remember any of it. It wasn’t the legendary comedy I thought it was back in its day but it was a lot of fun and reminded me that Will Ferrel doesn’t always do awful movies.

Of course, I did still do a few full reviews in April, and if you missed any you can find them here:

Dumbo (2019)
Life Itself (2018)
Pet Sematary (2019)
Missing Link (2019)
Frank & Lola (2016)
I, Daniel Blake (2016)
Heat (1995)
Escape Room (2019)

Mini Reviews: Movies Watched in March

March has been one of my best movie watching months for a long time now! My home life in general is looking up again, I’ve been able to make it to the cinema a whopping 7 times and when I’ve stayed home I’ve felt awake enough to actually sit through a whole movie. That all sounds very normal I know, but I’ve had a rocky start to the year so it’s so nice to be feeling normal again!

Anyway, as per usual it’s too time-consuming to write a full review for everything that I watch, so here is a collection of mini reviews for the movies I watched in March but haven’t mentioned on the blog yet.

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Isn’t It Romantic (2019)

Will we ever get bored with the ‘head injury causes weird and magical things to happen’ genre? I don’t think I will, because this entry by Rebel Wilson was surprisingly good! It’s a rom-com that makes fun of rom-coms and although it starts to lose its charm towards the end it’s still a decent comedy. I’ll never be able to hear the word ‘beguiling’ without laughing though now.

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Holmes & Watson (2018)

I’m pretty sure everyone who watched this movie said it was the worst movie of 2018. So why did I watch it? I kind of love Will Ferrell, and comedy can be really subjective so I thought there was a chance I might enjoy it. No – you were all right, it was terrible. The worst part is that my husband actually kind of loved it and keeps quoting vulgar lines from it around the house.

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Happy Death Day (2017)

I avoided it for so long because I assumed it would be one of those fairly terrible horrors riddled with pointless jump scares. Thankfully, the bloggerverse correctly informed me it’s more of a comedy, and the sequel is kind of awesome, so I listened to you all and gave it a go. It started off a little scary but other than that it’s not bad at all. I actually liked the sequel even more!

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What Men Want (2019)

Taraji P. Henson is an absolute queen, but not even she could save this mess. It takes way too long before her character is able to hear the thoughts of all the men around her, and although it gets funnier from that point, it was a bit of a case of too little, too late. Tracy Morgan is basically playing Tracy Jordan and all I took home was the feeling that I wanted to rewatch 30 Rock.

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Fisherman’s Friends (2019)

Yes, I willingly went to the cinema to watch a bunch of old guys living in Cornwall sing sea shanties. It was a slow week for new releases, and I’ve spent a lot of time in Cornwall over the years on holiday so I gave it a chance. I was the youngest audience member by at least 30 years but do you know what? It wasn’t half bad. Your typical, charming little British movie.

In case you missed any, these are the movies I watched in March that actually got proper reviews:

Cold Pursuit (2019)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Magic in the Moonlight (2014)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Triple Frontier (2019)
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
Us (2019)

Mini Reviews: Movies Watched in January

Since I’ve started logging all of my reviews on my Letterboxd account, I can’t help but feel jittery about those movies logged in my film diary that I didn’t write anything for. I like things like that to be all uniform and neat (why I can’t apply this to my house I don’t know) and so I think a monthly round-up of the movies that forgotten about is a good idea. I get to write a little about everything I’ve seen, and my film diary will be satisfying to look at.

Of course, it’s already mid-February so I best catch up quick! There were 4 movies I saw in January that never got any love on the blog, so here they are now in brief…

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Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

I missed Bad Times at the cinema, they only showed it for about a week and always at weird times, so I was desperate to finally give it a watch. I thoroughly enjoyed the weirdness of it all and the performances all-round were stellar. Highlights were the scene with Cynthia Erivo singing and clapping to hide Jeff Bridges digging up the floorboards, and Chris Hemsworth in all his glory. Sign me up for his weird Fight Club!

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Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

Shamefully I’ve never seen the original Mary Poppins, so I think I enjoyed this sequel(?) more than the average blogger. The sets and costumes were gorgeous and the whole movie had a wonderful charm about it. It’s just a shame none of the songs were particularly memorable, although enjoyable at the time. Lin-Manuel Miranda is an absolute treasure and I demand he be more present on our screens!

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Stan & Ollie (2018)

I’m slightly too young to appreciate the comedic duo Laurel & Hardy so I was really looking forward to seeing Stan & Ollie, almost as an educational watch more than anything. The movie was interesting enough, the performances absolutely fine, but I’m baffled at how a movie about comedians turned out to be quite so dull. The only thing I really loved about it was Stan’s wife’s cold, deadpan humour. She was ace.

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Widows (2018)

How/why I missed Widows at the cinema is beyond me. I was so excited to see it, and oh boy it did not disappoint. Viola Davis was absolutely terrifying, I would 100% not mess with her. The political side-plot got me confused for a while but I caught up eventually. Plus, isn’t it great when a movie pulls a sudden twist on you that you never saw coming? I can’t recommend this one enough – it would have been in my Top 10 of 2018 if I’d watched it earlier.

Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)

ralph-breaks-the-internet-movie-2018Director: Phil Johnston, Rich Moore

Genre: Family, Animation, Comedy

Runtime: 112 Minutes

Main Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill, Bill Hader

Plot: When Vanellope’s game is broken and at risk of being taken away for good, she and Ralph venture into the Internet in order to save it.

My Thoughts: I’m always cautious of sequels but I was so excited by the trailers for Ralph Breaks the Internet that I couldn’t help but get myself hyped up. There is so much to love about this movie, and the creativity behind bringing the Internet to life was brilliant. I’m one of the few that didn’t hate The Emoji Movie, but regardless, Disney have outdone themselves here. There are so many details it would be impossible to list them all, but highlights of mine include the Search Bar (including several autofill jokes), the eBay layout and the way some video game characters move.

Other things to love? The moment Ralph and Vanellope enter Oh My Disney. I wanted so much more of that. Of course we already knew the princesses would be making an appearance but it doesn’t get old. We even get Stormtroopers! And who else here is guilty of taking at least one ‘Which Dinsey princess are you?’ quiz?

I realise that the target audience here is children but where the movie fell flat for me was the moral message behind it all. Yes, there’s an interesting story here of how best friends move on, but I don’t think it was handled in the best way, and since when was Ralph quite so insecure?

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Best Bit: Vanellope gets her own musical number in this movie, and it could not be more glorious. Disney have been great in the last few years and poking fun at themselves, and that’s what makes ‘A Place Called Slaughter Race’ so amazing. Is it available on Spotify? I had to check, I couldn’t wait to find out the answer…IT IS. Apologies to any passenger I happen to have in my car over the next 2 weeks – this is going to be on repeat.

Worst Bit: The big ‘virus’ scene at the end just went on a bit too long, and you know what? It was so creepy! I honestly felt worried for the small kids in our screen, it really was the stuff of nightmares. Plus, we were told how the virus could be destroyed, but that’s not how it ended up happening? Nit-picking I know, but still…

Fun Trivia: When an Internet advertisement tells Ralph “Sassy housewives want to meet you,” the woman on the image is Aunt Cass from Big Hero 6 (2014).

My Rating: 4 out of 5 glass slippers, which Cinderella isn’t afraid to smash in order to shank you!

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