14 April 2003 - Bangkok

OK, I'll admit it: I've been a bad boy. I was walking around Siam Square and I was a tempted by a poster in front of a cinema. I didn't want to, it was the devil, I say, and her name was Renee Zellweger!

Anyway, as a result I have now watched a movie in Thailand. It's not that much different from watching a movie in Malaysia except that the subtitles are in Thai, and the ads are in Thai, and some of the credits in the trailer are in Thai. You also have to stand up for the national anthem before the film begins. That was a novelty for me, and I'm not sure I might have done it so confidently in an emptier cinema. Anyway, it seems to be an honest gesture of respect towards king and country, and I'm not knocking it.

Chicago is the story of two girls who have fallen on the wrong side of the law and are using their notierity to their own advantage. They both happen to have hired the same top-notch lawyer to save them. Well, he's never lost a case for a female client, ever, so he's probably worth the five thousand dollars he's asking for.

It's based heavily on the musical of the same name, and it's basically many song and dance routines around a plot and some talking in between to pad it out. As I said, a musical.

I have to say first that whoever says that there are no good parts for women in movies must be hiding under a rock or something. Both Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta Jones drive this movie, and Richard Gere is just the window dressing to make the plot make sense. There's non-stop singing and dancing, and it's all very, very good - makes you want to applaude out loud sometimes.

Renee's acting is absolutely first class. She's really very, very good, and she pulls off Roxie with ease. The only problem is that Roxie the character and Roxie the singer/showgirl seem to be two different types. One is selfish and conniving and the other is winsome and appealing. Well, I liked both of them, anyway, and I prefer to think of Renee as the latter and not the former. I thought she was very good in the under-rated Nurse Betty, and it's good to see her win proper accolades this time around.

Catherine Zeta Jones is pretty good too, and boy - can she dance! Well, I'm sure some of you out there will be quick to point out flaws, but I thought she was amazing.

In all this, Richard Gere needs to be outstanding to hold his role, but he just manages to be adequate.

All in all, a very worthy movie. Great songs, great dancing, excellent acting by the two ladies. It does need to be seen in a cinema for full effect. Richard Gere comes off second best, but that shouldn't detract what is an immensely enjoyable film.

Does it deserve the Oscar? To be honest, I haven't seen all the nominated movies, but in my opinion, the Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers was better. But then, that doesn't have Renee in it.


posted on Saturday, April 19, 2003 - permalink
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