Friday, May 7, 2010


Rob Marshall, 2009 (7.7*)
Like a Fellini film, this musical tribute to his classic is a bit surreal and disjointed, but is still entertaining to watch. The cast, featuring no less than seven Oscar®-winning actors, is very good throughout, even though many are here just to perform one musical number each. In particular, Kate Hudson and Penelope Cruz are surprisingly good singers, and Fergie, Nicole Kidman, and Judi Dench are also better than expected. We already knew that the superb Marion Cotillard, understated here, could not only sing but act.

Perhaps the biggest waste is that Daniel Day Lewis doesn't get to display his skills much, and the ageless Sophia Loren is relegated to a minor role as his mother, though she does deliver her song quite well - who knew she could also sing? Lewis plays filmmaker Guido Contini, who has no script but some exciting ideas in his head, which become this film, individually exciting but no cohesion, just like his life.

The best parts of this film are the art direction, the music, and the cinematography, which is partially done in b&w to simulate the look of Fellini films. There's also a touching scene with Lewis and Dench at the waterfront of a small coastal town. Fans of musicals won't be disappointed at all, as this is at the level of a Bob Fosse production. Though shunned by most critics, it received ten nominations from the broadcast film critics, but only four Oscar® nominations, including Cruz for supporting actress.

Find the video for Hudson's "Cinema Italiano" number, which took six weeks of rehearsal, and is terrific - she's even dressed like her mother, Goldie Hawn, a go-go dancer in the 60's, and who only wished she could sing like her daughter.


elgringo May 12, 2010 at 10:05 AM  

Hey Jose,
I’m hosting the My Best Post blog-a-thon. It goes from May 21st-23rd.
Want to know the best part? You’ve already written your entry.
Just send me a link to your best/favorite/underrated blog post! Thanks!

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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