8:00 PM, 7th June, 2003
A flash of leg, the taste of gin, the smell of corruption, and things that go bump in the night. Anywhere else, it would be a crime, but this is Chicago. Roxie Hart (Zellweger) is a married chorus girl with hopes of being a headliner in Vaudeville. Velma Kelly (Zeta-Jones) is a former headliner. What do these two have in common? They both are murderesses. Roxie killed her lover when he walked out on her, and Velma killed her husband and sister, who were having an affair. Chicago's newspapers love the nitty-gritty and Velma is at the top of the headlines... until Roxie comes along. They find themselves competing for not only the press's attention but also that of their shared lawyer, the suave Billy Flynn (Gere). Add to the mix a sob sister; Roxie's hapless husband Amos; and a warm prison matron who watches out for her girls, and you have Chicago. Chicago received Golden Globe awards for Best Picture, Musical or Comedy; Best Actor (Gere); and Best Actress (Zellweger).
(UPDATE: Chicago has since picked up the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, Art Direction, Costume Design, Film Editing and Sound - ed.)
10:00 PM, 7th June, 2003
In early-1930s Berlin, aspiring writer Brian Roberts (York) meets the shambolic but fascinating Sally Bowles (Minelli), a performer in the sleazy Kit Kat Klub, presided over by the sinister M.C. (Grey). As Germany turns fascist, the performances at the club reflect more and more the disintegration of the country.
One of the great musicals, Cabaret is by turns cynical and heartfelt, cruelly witty and poignant. The film combines elements of the stage version with Christopher Isherwood's original Berlin stories, and keeps the songs 'realistic' (all songs are performed only in environments where there'd naturally be singing, either as part of the club performances or else as a gentle folk song in a beer garden turns nasty). Minelli reminds us that, despite all the drugs, drink, and freakshow marriages of recent years, she really was a powerhouse talent. And the songs, by Kander and Ebb (who also wrote the songs for Chicago) hold up brilliantly, sounding in-period without being merely pastiches (although the Civic Merry-Go-Round playing 'Two Ladies' may start to freak you out after you've seen this film).