Jump to content



Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo
DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Chicago - Razzle Dazzle 2-disc SE, DAZZLINGLY RECOMMENDED



This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
64 replies to this topic

#1 of 65 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

DaViD Boulet

    Lead Actor



  • 8,805 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 24 1999

Posted December 18 2005 - 02:40 PM

Posted Image

CHICAGO

THE RAZZLE-DAZZLE EDITION

Studio:MIRAMAX
Year:2002
RunTime:113 minutes
Rating:PG-13
Aspect Ratio:16 x 9 encoded 1.85:1 (OAR)
Audio:5.1 DD &amp 5.1 DTS English (DD French & Spanish)
Subtitles:English (Hearing Impaired), Spanish
SpecialFeatures:Feature Commentary, Deleted Musical numbers, Extended Musical Numbers, Making-of Documentaries, more…
ReleaseDate:December 20, 2005






On DVD…Again...





When Chicago first came to DVD a few years ago, the lack of a full-blown 2-disc SE presentation was sorely missed. Allow me the pleasure of telling you that this latest Razzle-Dazzle edition rectifies any Chicago-SE deficit you have been forced to endure. Enjoy…







The Movie...



It’s sexy. It’s sultry. It’s gritty. It’s infused with energy. It’s confident. It’s Dazzling.

Rob Marshall took the challenge of adapting Bob Fosse’s broadway musical “Chicago” for the screen. In doing so he achieved something even greater than his goal. Rather than just “adapt” or “interpret” Fosse’s stage production for a cinematic medium, Marshall got down inside the musical’s soul and expressed it through film. This distinction may sound semantic, but the results are profound. Rather than “retrofitting” the theater show into a movie format (the usual approach of other movie-musicals), this “expressing” makes Chicago a movie-musical that looks and feels authentically like a it was written from the ground up to be seen just the way it appears here on film. Marshall’s Chicago is one of the few “movie-musical adaptations” that feels better than the original stage production…as though the stage production was a dress rehearsal of sorts and the film is the fully-developed work. None of this suggests that there is anything lacking in Fosse’s original theatrical direction…I only mean to point to Marshall’s genius at being able to “live out” Fosse’s true vision for the musical on the big screen in a way that takes it further…like an instrument that’s been more finely tuned so that all the resonances now vibrate together in perfect pitch.

Chicago is a masterpiece of film-making. Comprising the talents and labors of hundreds of gifted individuals, no one would deny that Bob Marshall’s vision and direction are Chicago’s key ingredients to success. The bonus material on this Special Edition is full of information that helps to illuminate the particulars that came together so splendidly in the making of this film. But Aside from the usual criteria that every film depends on like good writing, directing, and excellent casting and acting, Chicago was well served by Marshall’s genius at how to handle “the songs”. You see, most traditional musicals (whether on stage or on film) integrate the musical numbers by “pulling them into” to real-world situations the characters live in. Example…One nun asks where Maria is. Another nun answers by singing a song set to accompanying music that appears out of thin air. While it’s not very realistic, the effect is still charming as this is what we know and love to be the traditional musical genre. It’s worth mentioning here that Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge” is a “traditional” musical by this definition.

However, Marshall wanted something different for Chicago. He didn’t want to jar modern audiences with the discomfort of musical numbers intruding (something that Baz Luhrmann avoided by making Moulin Rouge very surreal in cinematic style). I suspect that Marshall got a bit of inspiration by Fosse's direction of the movie-musical Cabaret where Fosse created a believable context for each musical number by putting the songs “on stage” within the film…not once did he let a song escape this rule to “break the reality” of context within the film (Fosse even cut a few songs that couldn’t be easily adapted to a “stage” performance). But this wouldn’t work so easily for Marshall's filming of Chicago, because while some songs could easily take place on stage to avoid breaking the film’s real-world context (like the opening and closing numbers “All That Jazz” and “Nowadays”), most of the songs were too bound to story events to make the leap. Marshall’s brilliance was to express these other musical numbers in a context of fantasy…leaving the “real world” of the film’s story completely untouched. The result is nothing short of genius. The film flows effortlessly as the two worlds…fantasy and reality…interpose and weave together in a dance of perfect balance. Cell Block Tango, We Both Reached For The Gun, and Razzle Dazzle are three of the best song/dance-performances I’ve ever seen on film.







Picture...




Comparison to the original single-disc DVD edition:

I know what all of you are wondering. Does this new DVD edition look better? Worse? The same as the single-disc version you already bought? I’ve spent quite a bit of time switching back and forth trying to A/B compare the two to determine just that. It’s not easy…have to use the same DVD player because at 106 inches (diagonal) differences between DVD players (or input calibrations) can introduce visible differences that could lead to false conclusions. So after hours of disc loading/unloading...having other people load the discs so I’m not biased as to what to expect…my final conclusion is that the new disc may be slightly better compressed…with perhaps cleaner backgrounds and a hair less noise…but as soon as I’d find myself saying “oh yeah, that scene definitely looks better on the new disc” I’d pop in the old disc and find myself struggling to tell the two apart. Personally, I think that overall this is good news. My impression of the video is quite favorable, and I’m thrilled to see that the inclusion of all the goodies on this new set, at the very least, haven’t had a negative impact on the image presentation.


Impression of the Video…

Beautiful. Chicago is one of Miramax’s “better” live-action DVD presentations, and manages to keep free from the usual blight of high-frequency filtering and excessive edge enhancement that mars so many other magnificent films in their DVD library. My viewing equipment has improved a great deal since reviewing the original DVD release, and I’m thrilled to see just how much “better” this DVD (both the new and the original) look merely as a consequence of my improved playback system. Aside from my 720P DLP projector (BenQ 8700+), which bests my friend’s old Sony 10HT (used for the last review), my new Oppo DVD player brings an HTPC-level of image purity and resolution to DVDs that has to be seen to be appreciated. On this new system I’m delighted to discover that the “edge enhancement” that I noticed a few too many times during my last review has diminished greatly, and is now only marginally evident in one or two scenes (like the halo above Richard Gere’s Top Hat in “We Both Reached For The Gun”) and is hardly cause for alarm (though it does lead one to wonder how much better the image could have looked with a tad more detail and a tad less electronic boosting).

Additionally, the level of natural image detail coming through this DVD is breathtakingly satisfying. Fine-object detail is strong and mid and far-ground faces maintain a reasonable level of definition helping to keep this DVD’s image bordering on “film like”. Contrast and Black level are without fault, and shadow detail is outstanding which well-serves this movie given its many dimly-lit numbers. Compression noise is minimal for the most part and I’m astonished at how smooth many of the more challenging scenes (like Cell Block Tango) come through. At times I did notice what looked to be a slight bit of “noise” in dark blue backgrounds, an I did see some color banding in a few scenes where the light-beam from a stage spot-light wasn’t able to maintain a smooth gradation from light to dark from its brightest center to the foggy edge. But again I want to stress how minimal these instances of artifacting appeared to my eyes…minimal both in terms of frequency and severity.

If I haven’t managed to convince you yet, let me assure you that having viewed this film at about a 1.5 screen-width distance in the theater during its original theatrical run, I can assure you that this is one of those rare cases where the image quality of the projected DVD far-exceeds the experience of watching the projected 35mm film print (The Lord of the Rings movies were another rare example where I found this to be the case as well). The theatrical prints were very “flat” in appearance, color was dull, and contrast/dynamic range felt disappointingly shy. Also, the level of course film-grain was much greater than what I would have expected the director would have wanted me to see. By contrast, this DVD has much more intense colors, wider contrast range, and much finer film-grain structure than what I saw projected theatrically. The result is that the DVD is much better able to communicate the invigorating visual power of this movie, and I can’t wait for the 1080P Blu-ray version…

Note: There are one or two instances during the DVD where you seen excessive grain structure. Relax…this is in the film-print, and isn’t the fault of shoddy DVD production.



Picture Quality: 4.75 / 5

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image


Rating Rationale...

In the past I think I've been too ambiguous with my scoring or at least haven't applied it consistently from title to title, so I've endeavored to define my rating system more clearly to help make the scoring more meaningful (for all titles reviewed December 2004 and later):

Rating Key:

SCORE Description
1-2 An absolute abomination. Hurts to watch. Think "Outland" (scan-line aliasing, chroma noise, dotcrawl)-- truly horrid.
2-3 Has some serious problems, but one can at least watch it without getting a headache despite all the problems though you might try to talk your guests into picking a different movie to watch if you have a large projection screen. Think Cold Mountain.
3-4 Good or at least "acceptable" on a big-screen, but not winning any awards and definitely room for improvement if you view the image wide-angle (though smaller-screen viewers may be quite content). Think the first extended cut of Fellowship of the Ring...decent picture but still some HF filtering and some edge-halos.
4-5 A reference picture that really makes the most of the DVD medium and shows extraordinary transparency to the film-source elements. Non-videophile observers can't help but remark "WOW". Think The Empire Strikes Back or the Fifth Element Superbit (full “5” would be sans EE) or the new Toy Story 10th Anniversary Edition.




Viewing Equipment:
Currently running DVDs on my OPPO DVD player (Faroudja deinterlacing) which scales to 720P, feeding my BenQ 8700+ PJ via DVI, projecting onto a 106” diagonal 16x9 Dalite HiPower screen, viewed from approximately 1.6 screen-widths distance. Well mastered DVDs produce a stunningly film-like image in this scenario, and lesser-mastered material quickly shows its flaws.






Sound...



Comparison to the original Single Disc DVD:

100% identical (both the DD and DTS English tracks…new disc to old disc). If you already know how Chicago sounds on DVD you may want to skip to the special features to save time.


Audio Quality…


Outstanding.

Dialogue and Foley effects are well recording and sound natural with good tonal balance and frequency response. But what really matters with this film is the recording quality of the musical numbers…and their presentation on this DVD is outstanding. Musical numbers are full-bodied and lush. A wide dynamic range is preserved and frequency response is extended (on both ends). Bass in controlled and highs sound airy and don’t get congested or brittle even during complex musical numbers with lots of choral voices. Surround use tends towards “ambient fill” in the sense that gun shots don’t fly past you and helicopters don’t explode form behind your head, but the use of the 5.1 palette feels appropriate in this mix and compliments, rather than distracts from, the “action” up front. The surround use becomes more involved during musical numbers, many of which seem to envelop the listener (still weighted towards the front) without the gimmicky use of pin-point musical sources emanating from the rear to pull the listener out of the experience.

Allow me to respond a little further on this point to address what I've heard as criticism from some other sources: The mix on this disc sounds stable and solid right-up-front like a stage-musical ought to sound...with plenty of ambient fill to help pull the sound into the room without falling prey to more modern (tasteless) 5.1 mixing styles where instruments are placed around the listener in an unrealistic manner. If you need trumpets blaring at you from behind to be happy when your "5.1" logo lights up on your receiver...you might find that Chicago won't give you everything you're looking for. The rest of you ought to be well pleased. Posted Image


DTS…

Chicago is one of those DVDs that really showcases the value of DTS for those with systems able to reveal the differences. Both mixes/codecs sound marvelous on this DVD…have no fear. However the DTS mix sounds a little richer, a little more dynamic, and smoothes out vocals with that last degree of finesse that really gives it the “refined” audiophile touch. Three-dimensional front/back depth is also noticeably improved on the DTS presentation which paints an aural picture with much more depth and clearly defined imaging. Voices and instruments also have a tad more tonal realism on the DTS track making it sound more “real” to my ears. One thing I did note is that sometimes dialoge and vocals sound a bit more recessed in the DTS mix than on the DD…and my guess is that this is a classic case of “identical mixes” being used for both codecs (I believe this was confirmed when I reviewed that last DVD…I’ll have to double check) with the Dolby Digital mix employing dialogue normalization which, IMO, is a “feature” that never should have been invented.

It’s the subtle—but meaningful—differences, like those heard between these two audio presentations, that really have me excited to hear what may be in store with high-resolution/lossless audio options on our future high-def media.


Sound Quality: 5 / 5

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image




Special Features...



Folks. The pay-off is big-time with the bonus material on this new Razzle Dazzle Special Edition. It’s rare that I get as excited by watching the bonus material on a DVD as I do by watching the feature film. In the case of this new Chicago 2-disc SE…I *could not stop* watching the bonus material. It was a very, very late night!

The only item “missing” from the original DVD is the behind-the-scenes featurette. However, the same content from that featurette (plus much more) appears throughout the many new items on this 2-disc SE and in much better form, so in the end nothing has been lost—rest easy.


Disc 1:

    [*]Feature Commentary by Director Rob Marshall and Screenwriter Bill Condon:This is the same outstanding screen-specific commentary found on the original DVD. Marshal and Condon go into depth and dig out fascinating details about decision on how to adapt the story for the screen, casting, staging, dance numbers, everything a fan would hope to find is here. And these gentlemen aren’t shy with words, so you’re treated to a wealth of information that barely manages to fit into the space provided; the way they continue commenting long into the credits is a testament to how earnest their desire is to talk about their wonderful film. Posted Image Posted Image
    [*]Deleted Musical Number “Class”:Also featured on the original DVD, this bonus item introduces us to a deleted musical number with optional commentary by Director Bob Marshall. The presentation is 4x3 letterbox and the audio is 2.0 Dolby Digital…both sad technical facts for an otherwise worthy “deleted scene”. Personally, I’m glad this scene was cut from the final film as it tends to drag a bit and lacks the “razzle dazzle” of the other musical numbers without substituting another compelling emotion in its place.
    [*]From Stage to Screen: The History of Chicago (27 mins):This outstanding documentary is the first “new” item you may encounter on this 2-disc SE that really sets the stage for what’s been added. All the key players (director, writer, producer, and more) contribute to this well edited feature that really adds to the viewer’s understanding and appreciation of this film. They also help illustrate how challenges that seem unassailable by some are often the very grounds for artistic success for others.
    [/list]
    Disc 2:

      [*]An Intimate Look at Director Rob Marshall (19 mins):Marshall is a gentleman with class. His artistic and professional success have not resulted in an attitude of arrogance and it’s a delight to hear those who work closely with him (from both above and below) offer such gracious praise of his vision, talent, and kind-hearted ability to work respectfully and collaboratively with others. This combination of ability and graciousness is the very model for good leadership and it’s assuring to see someone so deserving get the praise that they are due.
      [*]Extended Musical Performances:This is a feature not to be missed. Every musical number (so it seems) from the film is presented here in explicated form. Finished scenes from the feature film are inter-cut with on-set video recordings of cast rehearsals and various film-takes and angles. The marketing text touts “multi angle” and what this really means is “picture in picture”…or rather 3 small image areas on the screen each showing a particular angle of the shot (this effect is only employed on occasion, most of the musical numbers are single-shot and fill the frame). This feature is absolutely outstanding, and my only real criticism is that the video is 4x3 encoded and the audio is only 2.0. I’d much rather have had 16x9 encoded video and allowed the widescreen feature-film content to fill the 16x9 frame with the video-recorded cast rehearsals then narrow down to a pillar-boxed presentation (rather than the other way around…4x3 full-frame video content with then even smaller letterboxed feature-film content).

      [*]When Liza Minnelli Became Roxie Hart (13 mins):You’ll discover (if you didn’t know already…I didn’t) that during the musical’s original stage-run, Gwen Verdon took ill and was unable to perform Roxie Hart for several weeks and the understudy was unable to take her place. Bob Fosse feared that this mishap would guarantee the failure of the show as it had been receiving mixed reviews and losing his lead might destine the show to be taken off circuit. When Liza heard this (Fosse had helped to make her a success by giving her star performances in his previous productions) she offered to fill in temporarily for Roxie’s role and without accepting any official credit for the work (each night a verbal announcement was made immediately prior to the performance that Liza would be substituting for the role…no printed material every made mention). Liza had only five days to completely learn her part, and she did it. In doing this, Liza Minnelli rescued the show from dropping off the charts as word began to spread of her performing Roxie’s part, and when she finally turned the role back to the scripted lead, Chicago had been forever put on the map.
      [*]Chita Rivera’s Encore (5 mins):The actress who played Velma in the original stage production returns to the set for a brief cameo in the Bob Marshall film. Short but sweet.
      [*][b]VH1 Behind the Movie (35 mins):This “promotional” documentary resembles the behind-the-scenes featurette from the original DVD but has a more classy feel. More great material here, though much of this feature is also repeated in other bonus items (there is a degree of overlap between the various featurettes, but they still manage to hold interest).
      [*][b]Costume Designer Colleen Atwood (7 mins):It’s nice to see creative talent that don’t normally get featured on “bonus material” getting a chance to step into the spot light and talk about what they do. Colleen is responsible for the OUTSTANDING costume design seen in the film, and it’s a privilege to spend a few minutes with her here.
      [*][b]Production Designer John Myhre (6 mins):As with Colleen Atwood, this is a great opportunity for another “invisible” artist to come out from the shadows of movie-making and talk about what he does. Myhre is responsible for designing the reproduction jazz club/performance theater, among his other many production accomplishments in this film. His work is truly gifted…so much so that many of the “sets” he produced looked and felt so authentic in the film that I was convinced that filming had taken place on-location in historic venues.

      [/list]
      [b]All Together...

      The Chicago Special Edition you’ve been waiting for is here. Audio and video quality appears to me to match the same level of excellence of the previous single-disc edition, and bonus material is extensive, comprehensive, engaging, and has real re-watch potential. Despite the fact that we can all agree that this SE edition is the DVD that "should have been" for sale initially way-back-when, I can honestly say to fans of this film that the double-dip is worth it. If you haven’t yet purchased the original DVD (either haven’t seen the film or were holding out for a future 2-disc SE) then the recommendation is even easier.

      Without reservation…


      [b]DAZZLINGLY RECOMMENDED









Be an Original Aspect Ratio Advocate

Supporter of 1080p24 video and lossless 24 bit audio.

#2 of 65 OFFLINE   JoshB

JoshB

    Supporting Actor



  • 901 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 25 2001

Posted December 18 2005 - 03:10 PM

So besides the first disc, which appears to be identical to the previous one (except for the 30 minute doc), the 2nd disc holds about 90 minutes worth of material, and 30 minutes of that is a VH1 doc, which usually are about as interesting as the ones that are on HBO. (which are just to full of fluff and very full of themselves).

You seem to really give high marks o the video and audio, but didn't people say that both were underwhelming in the inital release. The video, many pointed out, suffered from the digital filtering that has plagued many Miramax titles, and that the DTS was not as great as it could have been. If its the same as the last release, even less of a reason to buy it all over again.

I can't see myself re-watching interviews with the director or technical crew, or a VH1 behind the scenes feature.

Besides that, the only other two featurettes that appear to be interesting are the ones with Colleen Atwood and John Myhre.

I never really did care for this film. It lacked the spectacle and appeal of other musicals, and I think Hollywood only gave it an Oscar because they thought musicals and adaptations of Broadway plays or other plays would become all the rage, which they clearly haven't. Its only a few years after this has come out, and people seem to dislike it more now than they did before. I don;t hea many talk about it now, and coming out with a DVD of it again may remind the movie going public what they really saw in the film to make it the hit it should not have been.

Why this did as good as it did is beyond me, but then again the Weinsteins did rob Saving Private Ryan of its Best Picture Oscar, which is all Miramax really was good at was pulling off really good Oscar campaigns to make there less than spectacular films appear better than they really are.

To wait this long just to get identical A/V and a few other extras was not worth it. It was suppose to be a 3-disc set with a CD soundtrack, and that may have had some value had it been kept.

The only reason why this was held off for so long was to promote Marshall's "Memoirs of a Geisha" which was suppose to be Best Picture material, but based on its critical response I doubt many will see it like this one.

To me this is no different of the many other double dips of past years, and its nothing more than studios trying to cash in on the director or actors newest project.
"To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men."

Operation Iraqi Freedom Campaign Veteran, 06-08.
Operation Iraqi Freedom Campaign Veteran, 09-10.

Operation Enduring Freedom Campaign Veteran, 12-13.
 


#3 of 65 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

DaViD Boulet

    Lead Actor



  • 8,805 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 24 1999

Posted December 18 2005 - 03:21 PM

Quote:
I never really did care for this film.

That's probably not the right place to start.

Posted Image

Trust me, as a fan of the film, the new bonus content makes this purchase easily worth the while.

The "extended musical numbers", short about Liza, and in-depth documentaries into Bob Marshall and the making of the film are not mere "promo" material. The VH1 short comes closest to that category...but that's the only feature that even borders on it.

Some folks really didn't like the video quality. All I can say is having seen this projected theatrically, the DVD looks much, much better. It has room for improvement, but it's still one of Miramax's better live-action DVD jobs.

As for the audio, I think that many folks criticized the audio for being "front heavy". That's almost as typical to my mind as folks who criticize 1930's audio for "audible hiss".

Yaawwwnn. Posted Image

The mix on this disc sounds stable and solid right-up-front ***like a stage-musical ought to sound***...with plenty of ambient fill to help pull the sound into the room without falling prey to more modern (tasteless) 5.1 mixing styles where instruments are placed around the listener in an unrealistic manner.
Be an Original Aspect Ratio Advocate

Supporter of 1080p24 video and lossless 24 bit audio.

#4 of 65 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

Mike Frezon

    Studio Mogul



  • 29,766 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 09 2001
  • LocationRensselaer, NY

Posted December 18 2005 - 03:24 PM

Quote:
I never really did care for this film. It lacked the spectacle and appeal of other musicals, and I think Hollywood only gave it an Oscar because they thought musicals and adaptations of Broadway plays or other plays would become all the rage, which they clearly haven't. Its only a few years after this has come out, and people seem to dislike it more now than they did before. I don;t hea many talk about it now, and coming out with a DVD of it again may remind the movie going public what they really saw in the film to make it the hit it should not have been.

Josh: If you didn't care for the film, why would you have even comtemplated picking up this SE for the bonus material?

For those of us who have seen the stage production on Broadway and enjoyed the film, I'll agree with David that these features sound terrific--especially the extended production numbers!

Quote:
You seem to really give high marks o the video and audio, but didn't people say that both were underwhelming in the inital release. The video, many pointed out, suffered from the digital filtering that has plagued many Miramax titles, and that the DTS was not as great as it could have been. If its the same as the last release, even less of a reason to buy it all over again.

Again...if you don't like the film, why even consider an upgrade for better audio/video? I thought the audio (especially the DTS) was incredible in the initial release. I'm VERY glad they carried the DTS over to the SE. I'm less of an expert on the video end of the release, but the first DVD looked pretty darn good on my small HD CRT.

I can agree that this should have been the initial release (I abhor the concept of strategic studio double-dips), but nevertheless I will be picking up this release.

Thanks for the review, David! Posted Image

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#5 of 65 OFFLINE   JoshB

JoshB

    Supporting Actor



  • 901 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 25 2001

Posted December 18 2005 - 04:29 PM

Quote:
Josh: If you didn't care for the film, why would you have even comtemplated picking up this SE for the bonus material?



Mike, your comments make it seem that I am considering picking this up, which I am not going to do at all. My comments clearly state that I don't like the film, and I think this double dip is unwarranted. They also reflect that this SE does not stand up against other re-releases since it lacks contribution from key players, and it ports over features from the last release and doesn't add new ones that I would look for in picking up a new release.

Where are the actual stars discussing this film? I mean, it was nominated in all acting actegories short of Best Actor, so where is Cahterine Zeta, Renee, Queen Latifah, John C. Reilly, or Richard Gere? There should at least be interviews with them.

Also, Mike's comments seem to be a little too biased towards the film, and they reflect that in each description of the extras. He makes seach one seem to be the "best" or "outstanding" feature there is, and he just seems to be a little overzealous. I am not making a personal attack, but he clearly favors the film and has padded his review to make it look like the best SE this year, when there have been so many better ones. I would leave my love of the film at the door, and save my comments about the DVD extras to reflect quality regardless of my like/dislike of the film.

You even state that people who didn't like the audio complain about it being front heavy, yet you gave it a "5" anyway. Well, it is front heavy and not deserving of the highest marks for audio (or video for that matter). That's just my opinion, but I would still find faults in a film's presentation even if I did love it so much, and I would not over favor the quality of the DVD just because I am a huge fan of the film.

He calls the film a masterpiece for God's sake, and it is only a few years old. I think a film should have a few more years behind it to earn that title. If Rob Marshall really is a gneious and the film is that great, he would have won Best DOrector. don;t you think? Or was that Miramax who fell short inthe marketing of the film and didn't get enough Oscars "this time" around? It wasn;'t deserving of the 6 it won then, and it sure doesn't seem to have the lasting legacy that goes with a "masterpiece". In 10 years, most will have forgotten this one and chalk it up to another overhyped film.

I could go on and on about what is really wrong with the film, but I will leave the thread to discusss the DVD itself.

These special features could have and should have been on the last release, and Miramax is only releasing it now to try and gather support for Marshall's newest film. If not, why was it delayed until now when Memoirs of Geisha was coming out? Perhaps I could be wrong there, but you can't deny that is what it looks like. It's studio marketing that is getting rather predictable.

Anyone could have guessed that the skimping of the extras on the first release could only mean a new one was coming, and it just took so long to get it out that what is included on this new release falls short in my opinion.

I stand by my comments, and if you want to pick this one up by all means do so. I just feel that this is just the studio trying to make more money off of people and the release comes about 2 years too late.
"To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men."

Operation Iraqi Freedom Campaign Veteran, 06-08.
Operation Iraqi Freedom Campaign Veteran, 09-10.

Operation Enduring Freedom Campaign Veteran, 12-13.
 


#6 of 65 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

Patrick Sun

    Studio Mogul



  • 37,831 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 30 1999

Posted December 18 2005 - 05:02 PM

Thanks for the review!

How does the video hold up during the last number between Velma and Roxy when they are doing that bit of fast dancing near the end credits? I remember the original DVD's video compression of those scenes as being not too good (the shimmy of all that reflective light off the dresses and background just got lost into smeary-looking video).
"Jee-sus, it's like Iwo Jima out there" - Roger Sterling on "Mad Men"
Patcave | 2006 Films | 2007 Films | Flickr | Comic-Con 2012 | Dragon*Con 2012

#7 of 65 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

Mike Frezon

    Studio Mogul



  • 29,766 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 09 2001
  • LocationRensselaer, NY

Posted December 18 2005 - 05:39 PM

Quote:
Mike, your comments make it seem that I am considering picking this up, which I am not going to do at all. My comments clearly state that I don't like the film, and I think this double dip is unwarranted.


Okay, Josh. I guess I figured if you were posting in the official review thread of the Chicago SE DVD, you at least liked the film...even if you were disappointed in the DVD release itself. So, if you didn't like the film and have no interest in the release of the disc....why all the angst, dude?! Posted Image Wouldn't it make more sense for fans of the film to figure out if the release is any good or "worth it"?

BTW, I think you mean "David" sted "Mike" in the third paragraph of your last post.

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#8 of 65 OFFLINE   RafaelB

RafaelB

    Second Unit



  • 448 posts
  • Join Date: May 10 2001

Posted December 19 2005 - 12:48 AM

Great review, Dave! Posted Image

Once I read the list of the extra features, I knew I had to double-dip on this one, most especially to see the clips of Liza as well as the extended musical sequences. "Chicago" is a brilliant piece of musical theatre and the film was a wonderful adaptation of it.

Rafael.

#9 of 65 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

Mike Frezon

    Studio Mogul



  • 29,766 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 09 2001
  • LocationRensselaer, NY

Posted December 19 2005 - 01:24 AM

Quote:
I knew I had to double-dip on this one, most especially to see the clips of Liza as well as the extended musical sequences.


David: Are there clips showing any of Liza's performance?! I gathered from the way you worded that section of your review that it was just a discussion of the event... The same with Chita Rivera: I figured the feature simply focused on her connection to the film version and probably didn't include much from her time with the Broadway version of Chicago.

Amy bonus materials highlighting performances recorded from Broadway performances/stars would be HUGE! Posted Image

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#10 of 65 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

DaViD Boulet

    Lead Actor



  • 8,805 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 24 1999

Posted December 19 2005 - 01:44 AM

Quote:
You even state that people who didn't like the audio complain about it being front heavy, yet you gave it a "5" anyway. Well, it is front heavy and not deserving of the highest marks for audio (or video for that matter). That's just my opinion, but I would still find faults in a film's presentation even if I did love it so much, and I would not over favor the quality of the DVD just because I am a huge fan of the film.

Josh,

I CLEARLY stated that there was NOTHING WRONG with the "front heavy" character of the mix...that this was entirely appropriate for a "stage musical" and that the film presents the 5.1 mix exactly in my mind as it should.

While I'm all for open discussion, your comments are bordering on thread-farting. We realize that you didn't like the film, and that without having seen the special features yourself (and not having liked the film) you're prepared to tell us that you don't think they are worth the double dip. Thanks for sharing...let's move on!

BTW, the actors *do* have the spot-light in many of the bonus documentaries on the disc. There isn't any single special feature dedicated to just one actor, but their comments are interspersed quite a bit througout them all.


Mike,

Sadly, no film/video record of Liza's performance in that role exists to this day (grrr)...However...there *is* a very special moment on this DVD where we see Lisa sing her song for a television audience...and it ends up being a duet with the original performer. Very touching. A gem on the disc!

Patrick,

to my eyes that closing number *did* look a bit better on the new disc. I know what you mean about the old disc (BTW, that number looked pretty "stuttery" on film as well). I'll give that scene another close a/b and post back the details...
Be an Original Aspect Ratio Advocate

Supporter of 1080p24 video and lossless 24 bit audio.

#11 of 65 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

Patrick Sun

    Studio Mogul



  • 37,831 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 30 1999

Posted December 19 2005 - 02:15 AM

Just to be fair, that scene is a torture test for MPEG-2 compression.
"Jee-sus, it's like Iwo Jima out there" - Roger Sterling on "Mad Men"
Patcave | 2006 Films | 2007 Films | Flickr | Comic-Con 2012 | Dragon*Con 2012

#12 of 65 OFFLINE   Will_B

Will_B

    Producer



  • 4,733 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 06 2001

Posted December 19 2005 - 04:46 AM

Liza, fine, but Bebe Newirth was the star of the revival, which led to this film. It would have been nice if they'd included a recording of the Bebe version of the stage musical.
"Scientists are saying the future is going to be far more futuristic than they originally predicted." -Krysta Now

#13 of 65 OFFLINE   RafaelB

RafaelB

    Second Unit



  • 448 posts
  • Join Date: May 10 2001

Posted December 19 2005 - 06:58 AM

Bebe played Velma Kelly and not Roxie Hart, who this story focuses on, both onstage and film, and the revival cast recording is available already.

The great bit about Liza is that her peformance in Chicago was it wasn't advertised and there were no recordings made from it, except for this one bti from a talk show.

I, for one, don't think it was only Ms. Neuwirth that made this revival a hit. It was timely, had great writing/music and choreography, and is just a damn good show. Why do you think it's quickly approaching it's 10th year on Broadway without anyone of the original cast?

Rafael.

#14 of 65 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

Cees Alons

    Executive Producer



  • 18,651 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 31 1997
  • Real Name:Cees Alons

Posted December 19 2005 - 08:19 AM

Great review, David. Thanks.
Anyone who's genuinely interested in this movie and/or the musical will have been wondering, like I did, if it was worth the double-dip. I think your review decides it for me at least: I'm going to pick this one up (and I'm not even interested in the DTS track Posted Image ).


Cees

#15 of 65 OFFLINE   DeeF

DeeF

    Screenwriter



  • 1,676 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 19 2002

Posted December 19 2005 - 08:29 AM

I like Chicago OK, but I was disappointed in a lot of it, particularly Richard Gere's so-called "tap" dance, which is shot from the back and cropped and edited to the point of... you can't really tell whether it's him or not.

One of the great pleasures in a musical is seeing the performers really doing it, really dancing or singing or performing with style and skill. Just watch Ginger Rogers dancing in "Pick Yourself Up" from Swing Time, and you'll know what I mean.

My biggest gripe with this disk (which I've already bought) is the lack of certain kinds of features, like commentary from the actors. And there is a big hole in the documentary, which doesn't mention the revival of the show, the most successful revival in Broadway history (directed by Ann Reinking). It was the revival which sparked interest in a movie, but the revival goes unmentioned in the documentary.

All in all, save for the very short footage of Liza (the story told about her is also pretty much fabricated -- why not have John Kander tell us the real truth?) I wouldn't rush out to buy this disk -- it's just not that much better than the original disk, itself nothing to write home about.

Sorry, David, and all of you who are big fans.

#16 of 65 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

DaViD Boulet

    Lead Actor



  • 8,805 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 24 1999

Posted December 19 2005 - 02:37 PM

Quote:
One of the great pleasures in a musical is seeing the performers really doing it, really dancing or singing or performing with style and skill. Just watch Ginger Rogers dancing in "Pick Yourself Up" from Swing Time, and you'll know what I mean.

Well...Gere *did* perform that tap-dance number...100% him. The fact that the art direction decided to stylize the look by shadowing his sillouette and covering his face slightly with a hat really ruins the movie *that* much for you?

If you enjoy seeing song and dance numbers performed by artists really doing it, Chicago has a bounty of such talent. Catherine Zeta-Jones' performance of Velma is one of the very best I've ever seen...on stage or in film. Her power, her strength, her incredible energy is almost frightening and her skill at capturing the essence of her character in perfect movement and voice is tops.

I guess if diming the lights and shooting him from behind while Richard Gere does his very own tap-dance routine is the worst you can come up with then that's not too bad...

Posted Image
Be an Original Aspect Ratio Advocate

Supporter of 1080p24 video and lossless 24 bit audio.

#17 of 65 OFFLINE   LarryH

LarryH

    Supporting Actor



  • 552 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 05 2000

Posted December 19 2005 - 02:56 PM

If the supplementary material had been 16x9 enhanced, I would have purchased this without hesitation. As it is now, I'll just have to see how good a deal I can get on it and how much money I have left in the budget after getting this week's other releases.

#18 of 65 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

Mike Frezon

    Studio Mogul



  • 29,766 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 09 2001
  • LocationRensselaer, NY

Posted December 19 2005 - 03:03 PM

David: Even I'm not going to say Richard Gere can dance. I really don't think he can. At least not enough to dance in a major motion picture. I believe the routine was edited in a way to atone for his many shortcomings in this regard.

His was bad casting on my part...but not enough to ruin the film for me.

Quote:
One of the great pleasures in a musical is seeing the performers really doing it, really dancing or singing or performing with style and skill. Just watch Ginger Rogers dancing in "Pick Yourself Up" from Swing Time, and you'll know what I mean.


I usually think of Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire dancing to Begin the Beguine from Broadway Melody of 1940! Posted Image

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#19 of 65 OFFLINE   DeeF

DeeF

    Screenwriter



  • 1,676 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 19 2002

Posted December 20 2005 - 12:44 AM

I agree about Catherine Zeta-Jones, a good performer (starred in musicals in the West End). But... and it's a big but... this movie doesn't show her off to advantage at all. All the performers are edited to death, and it makes me angry and a little bit bored.

The reason I chose the example of Ginger Rogers, is that she *isn't* Fred Astaire, somebody known purely for her dancing (she wasn't a patch on Eleanor Powell, for instance). And yet, there she is, without a single cut, singing and dancing as well as anybody, better.

Richard Gere's tapdance in Chicago is reprehensible and should be removed. What's really funny, in the documentary he mentions that he couldn't tap dance, why did they cast him for this tapdancing part? Huh? Jerry Orbach isn't a tap dancer either, the part doesn't require dancing (usually).

Speaking of performers really surprising you with their talent, watch Christopher Walken's sleazy striptease in Pennies from Heaven, a stupendous achievement that makes Richard's number look little more than high school.

#20 of 65 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

DaViD Boulet

    Lead Actor



  • 8,805 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 24 1999

Posted December 20 2005 - 02:01 AM

Agreed that Gere's dancing talents aren't the world's most refined (and that the stylized dance number was probably a way to visually atone for it...you know...razzle dazzle and they'll never catch wise)...but other than that I thought Gere was a great choice for his role.


p.s. yes...Disney has GOT to learn to do 16x9 encoded bonus material. And with HD (blu-ray) right around the corner...you'd think it would be a natural progression (given that they've been talking about how they can't wait to do HD bonus material on Blu-ray).
Be an Original Aspect Ratio Advocate

Supporter of 1080p24 video and lossless 24 bit audio.