Tag Archives: Cabaret

The Best Picture Project — Chicago (2002)

Chicagopostercast.jpgDirected by Rob Marshall

Screenplay by Bill Condon, based on ‘Chicago’ by Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb and ‘Chicago’ by Maurine Dallas Watkins

Starring Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, John C. Reilly, Queen Latifah, Taye Diggs, Christine Baranski, Dominic West, Lucy Liu and Deidre Goodwin

As with many of the films in this series – at least of the ones I’d seen before – I hadn’t laid eyes on Chicago in close to a decade before jotting down my take on it.  Sometimes, not having seen the film in years and forcing myself to revisit worked a detriment of the film, in that it made films I one enjoyed, seem a bit less than I thought they were – I’m looking at you A Beautiful Mind.  Sometimes, it only confirmed what I already knew – hello Gladiator.  So, in returning to it, Chicago faced the very real danger that while I once liked it a lot, I’d suddenly loathe it.  Fortunately – if you can call a middling response something of a fortune – I reacted to Chicago this time largely the same way I reacted to it last time.  Then, as now, I saw a film with parts I was fond of/blown away by, and parts I could have done without.  And perhaps in the most honest assessment a person can give, after having watched it again this time I suspect the DVD will do as it did before – it will go back into my collection and sit for another decade, if not more, collecting dust.

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The Best Picture Project — West Side Story (1961)

West Side Story poster.jpgDirected by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins

Screenplay by Ernest Lehman

Starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn

I never really noticed it before, but musicals can be pretty dark.  On the surface they seem all happy and shiny because they tend to be in the bright sunshine, have the singing and dancing, and a generally joyful sensibility.

Underneath, though, they can go to so real terrible places.

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The Best Picture Project – Tom Jones (1963)

Dir. Tony Richardson

Starring Albert Finney, Hugh Griffith, Susannah York, Edith Evans and David Warner

Screenplay by John Osborne, based on Henry Fielding’s novel of the same name

In the history of the academy awards, Tom Jones as Best Picture winner seems a major anomaly because it might be the most subversive of Best Pictures ever – bearing in mind that subversion and the Academy Awards are relative things.  Nevertheless, given some of its darker and lustier themes, and their presentation in a jaunty, shiny package, it’s still a subversive film, if not as much as it otherwise could have been. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – An American in Paris (1951)

Directed by Vincente Minnelli

Story and Screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner

Starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron

Movies, by their very nature, are artificial and could not possibly capture real life.  The closet we come is documentaries, but with the constant excising of the boring bits from the filming, creative editing and the like, even the truth is manipulated and artificial. Continue reading

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