Wednesday, March 10, 2010
ALMOST: (Rob Marshall) Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Fergie, Kate Hudson, Sophia Loren... just a handful of reasons not to ignore this musical. Unfortunately, I can't say much for it's credibility as a great movie, because it lacks the fluidity to be an impacting story. But, the performances are good enough to enjoy it simply as a musical mosaic and not worry with whether or not the story actually makes sense. That last part may be unfair - I do understand that its the story of a famous Italian director (Day-Lewis) who has fallen victim to the film making industry. He gave his all to his work and his leading women, (ignoring what his mother taught him) and left nothing for himself or his wife... in the end losing everything. Simple enough. But, I stress, this motif falls flat. It's not at all about "Guido's" struggle to make a film. For me, it was the tremendous effort on the part of this film's stars that made it something worth seeing. Kate Hudson (looking more and more like Goldie) is unlike you've ever seen her before. She rocks. And she sings, dances, seduces... Fergie does what she does best. She is the sexy, elusive man-eater, singing and dancing in what is my personal favorite scene ("Be Italian"). Penelope (what made her earn the only nomination?) strips down and spreads her legs rolling around in the curtains. She's slammin' (and from what I hear, now bruised) in this role, adding another hold-your-breath scene to the flick. Cotillard is most-memorable, showing us fire and ice in her acting repertoire--first as the innocent and overlooked wife, and second as the star her husband never let her become (a passionate striptease with high notes). Dench surprises us with a powerful voice and vamp personality. And, Kidman makes a short, but glamorous appearance as the industry's "it" gal. I'm starting to ramble, so I hope you're getting the picture. I was overly impressed with the abilities of these ladies, especially in a cinematic era almost completely depressed of raw, theatre talent (No, Jennifer Hudson - I haven't forgotten you!). They're phenomenal--memorable and deserving of ample recognition. Bravo to the composer and choreographer. The song and dance truly is magic on screen.