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by KEES BOER

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If you’re looking for pure entertainment with plenty of razzle-dazzle, look no further than Chicago. It is no surprise that leading actress Renée Zellweger ended up winning the Alachua County Today’s Best Musical performance award a couple of weeks ago. Not only did this newspaper give it an award, but the Academy also gave it six awards — including best picture.

The film, released on DVD August 19, is based on the true story of two celebrity murderesses in the 1920’s in Chicago. Renée Zellweger plays Roxie Hart, a young lady in Chicago during the “Roaring Twenties,” who absolutely yearns to become a Broadway singer/dancer. The only problem is that it is just plain difficult to break into show business. Her hero, Velma Kelley (Catherine Zeta-Jones), is exactly where she wants to be.

Roxie’s wish soon came true, but most assuredly, not in the way she had envisioned it. Within a short time both of them are arrested for murder and thrown into the same jail, where Matron Mama Morton (Queen Latifah) rules. If convicted, Roxie and Velma will be executed for murder.

There is only one lawyer who can help them — Billy Flynn, played by Richard Gere. Flynn is the stereotypical smooth talking lawyer, using the media and public opinion to make the suspects look like innocent victims.

The film looks at the situation through Roxie’s eyes. The DVD contains a deleted scene where both Kelley and Mama are singing. The song ended up being cut from the film — because the sequence didn’t look at the situation through Roxie’s perspective.

Viewers watching the film from an entertainment perspective will love it and will not be disappointed. It is pure escapist fun. However, the film is quite dark, when considering the message, and contains profanity, numerous scenes of scantily dressed women and an abundance of sexual imagery.

It is these types of scenes, which make me hesitate in giving it my full endorsement, although, I’m impressed with how much work went into the making of the film. It was a huge production, and the DVD has a nice featurette about the making of the film, highlighting the colossal amount of work involved. The director and scriptwriter also offer a commentary that can be heard while watching the film.

To order your copy of this DVD from Amazon click here

 

* Graphic Copyright Miramax Pictures All Rights Reserved. Story ©Alachua County Today. All Rights Reserved.