“I hadn’t expected to go so long without a post. I’d decided against squeezing in an AFI before leaving for Texas cause I didnt want it to feel too rushed. Then I didnt really have sufficient time while I was there to get one in or run to the theater. Opted to spend my free time watching Bones and Big Bang Theory. Then work murdered me this week, and the need to pass out trumped the desire to watch movies I’d hafta pay attention to. So here we are.

First post of 2010. I’ll work on my 2009 movie wrap up sometime this weekend.

Before I get started on Nine, I had one comment I wanted to throw in about the previous entry, Cabaret. I was talking to a friend of mine at a Christmakwanzikahsolstice holiday party and Cabaret came up in conversation. (Someone asked if anyone there was Jewish, and when no one replied, I mentioned I’d seen Cabaret that day and asked if that counted). He told me that the storyline(s) in the movie was(were) purposely different from the stage version. Its based on a book called Berlin Stories which is a collection of short stories about living in Berlin in 1931. According to my buddy, they purposely decided to use different stories for the movie than they did for the play. So I guess I halfway take back my previous complaint about the story differences.

With that, we’ll transition into another musical–Nine. First impression, very unimpressed. I very much love musicals and musical theater. I figured between the Academy Award superstars in the cast and the high production value that this was gonna be great. Instead I sadly found it rather boring.

I couldnt quite grasp what was going on. Yes I gathered that Guido was gonna be filming a movie in a few days and hadnt even written a script yet. But I couldnt follow exactly how all the other events (and women) fit into that flow. Also, the musical numbers seemed too forced. With Chicago, director Rob Marshall’s previous musical, the dream sequence-y songs fit right in. I think that was from how the character would appear to start bursting into song and likewise come out of that state at the end. The transitions were too choppy in Nine. And the whole dream sequence flashback with a dream sequence dance in between that happened a few times was just weird. Im sure the stage version must have worked much much better, and I would be interested to see it someday. Another nitpick, yes I know that musical numbers almost always have to be lip synched. Im okay with that. However, Im not okay with them putting in no effort to hide that fact. Not sure if it was the sound balance, the staging, or the acting, but I was rarely able to “”believe”” they were really singing.

There were a few musical numbers I really did like, as stand alone scenes. I loved the dancing in “”Be Italian”” (Im guessing at song titles). The sand and the tambourines looked so great. Going into it, I did not expect Fergie’s number to have been my favorite. I also enjoyed Kate Hudson’s number, even if she wasnt quite the best singer. Although I didnt find her as nails-on-chalkboard-ish as my more musically inclined friends had warned me she’d be. But while those were my favorite numbers, their characters were the ones that felt most out of place to me. I really did not understand how they really fit into the rest of the story.

The all star cast was pretty good, I’ll give it that. Lets just go down the list of who’s left, shall we?
-Daniel Day-Lewis is a really great actor (LOVED him in There Will Be Blood, and was quite happy about that Oscar win) even if I didnt really like Guido’s character that much.
-Marion Cotillard is so cute (Im thinking about her presenting at last year’s Oscars), but this time she was vulnerable with a tough side. Her attitude and bombshell-ness in her second song caught me completely off guard and it was fan-\m/-tastic. Im just intrigued by the way her career has gone. If you think of most of the recent Academy Award winners, their careers have kinda built as they got more well know, then they won their award as kind of a nice pretty bow on top of all their acheivements. (Im looking at you Kate Winslet, prime example). Marion Cotillard, on the other hand, was this little nobody of an actress who managed an Academy Award nod, then a surprising win. And now she’s building her career off that win. Totally backwards, but it works, and I’ve been happy to see her.
-Penelope Cruz has been moving her way up my list of fave actresses. Its a rare combination to have such a sultry character who just oozes sex but also has a depth behind that. You usually only get one or the other, but Cruz pulled it off beautifully.
-Didnt care much for Nicole Kidman. She didnt really do a lot, and her accent was just strange.
-Judi Dench’s character was prolly my favorite, even if I didnt care much for her song. I have a tendancy to gravitate towards the most grounded character when the rest of them are a bit off the wall.

Yeeeeah, so overall bit of a disappointment. I’ll still end up buying the DVD, but you’re prolly just best off You-Tubing the main numbers

Nine – \m/ \m/

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