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Oscar-bound ‘Chicago’ is tops all around

Dink O’Neal of Burbank is an actor.

Hail the return of the Hollywood musical! “Chicago,” having taken

Broadway by storm in its revival and national tours, has hit the big

screen, and what a ride it is.

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After Tinsel Town’s unwarranted fawning last year over “Moulin

Rouge,” that mishmash of MTV-like images set to anachronistic tunes,

it’s evident that you get what you pay for when you hire the best.

And Rob Marshall, veteran New York director/choreographer, is at his

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zenith with Kander’s and Eb’s historically based tale of murder and

ego set to one of theater’s gutsiest scores.

Rather than each song occurring naturally within a scripted scene,

Marshall ingeniously provides a view into the characters’

psychological motivations by editing back and forth between the

number and reality. Surprising audiences with heretofore-unknown

talents are Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones (a London musical

stage veteran) and Richard Gere.

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Their nuanced leading performances, supported by a fantastic

ensemble, make “All That Jazz,” “Razzle Dazzle” and “He Had It

Coming” some of the best moments in cinematic musical history.

Meticulous sets, costumes, lighting and cinematography also

combine to create a must-see film and a sure bet for nominations if

not the outright winner on Oscar night this year.

“Chicago” is rated PG-13.

If you would like to become a Reel Critic and see a movie on the

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newspaper’s tab, call features editor JOYCE RUDOLPH at 637-3241 or

e-mail her at joyce.rudolph@latimes.com.


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