(Guest Review by Russ)
Q: What’s the movie about?
A: Set in 1965 Italy, a famous director (Daniel Day-Lewis) conjures up musical fantasies about the various women in his life to deal with the debilitating creative crisis preventing him from writing the script for his next epic film.
Q: Who’s in the movie?
A: Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Sophia Loren, Stacy ‘Fergie’ Ferguson
Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?
A: Proceed with Caution. I’m being generous with this rating (‘tis the season and all) because I’m aware there are a lot of people out there who love musicals and are big fans of the parade of Academy Award winning actresses who star in Nine. But unless high fashion and artful lighting can hold your interest for two hours, this movie is a total snoozer.
Q: Will this movie make me laugh?
A: There are some laughs – most provided by Judi Dench when giving Daniel Day-Lewis life-advice, or telling him how easy directing a film is. She shrewdly points out all he has to do is answer “yes” or “no” when asked a question and she’s pretty much right.
Q: Will this movie make me cry?
A: Maybe if you well up when watching daytime soaps because that’s the sort of melodrama this movie eventually devolves into.
Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?
A: Outside of costume and art direction? I hope not.
Q: How is the Acting?
A: There’s not much story here and the characters fare even worse when it comes to any kind of arc, so every actor must rely on their own star wattage, singing voice and the song they’ve been given to sing. (Each actress gets one number, except for Marion Cotillard who gets two because she’s the wife, I guess.) With these criteria in hand, I can safely say that the lone non-professional actress in the cast, Stacy Ferguson (better known as pop star “Fergie”) comes out on top. She gets the best song (‘Be Italian’), is the best singer and her screen presence can’t be denied. Here’s hoping we see her in better movies in the future. Kate Hudson has the best overall number thanks to the upbeat song and staging that both revels in and satirizes the 1960s high-fashion period. After that, each actress is very good, but to no discernible point when it comes to advancing a story. And as the lead, Daniel Day-Lewis is a man who hates women underneath the veneer of loving them. In other words, he’s not a guy you’re going to care about all that much.
Q: How is the Directing?
A: Rob Marshall sure knows his way around a stage, choreography, lighting and costumes. But in comparison to his brilliant achievement with Chicago, Nine is a complete misfire. He’s saddled with film actors who can sing, but none who can dance so that completely restricts the choreography and edits. Next, he has no story to work with and lame songs, so I guess there’s only so much he could do. To his credit however, the movie looks stunning and if nothing else, it made me want to climb into a time machine and be transported back to 1965 Rome so I could drink wine and eat pasta with Sophia Loren, Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard.
Q: How is the story/script?
A: So this is a movie about a famous director who can’t figure out the story for his next film but is preparing to shoot it anyway. How bad of a premise is that for a film? It’s horrible in case you’re not keeping up; unless you’re Federico Fellini, and you’re not. And the actual film we’re watching has no plot and is about as boring as reading a script with no words on the page. So maybe I’ve got it all wrong, maybe Nine is a brilliant meta-type exercise in reflecting back a creation of someone who can’t create and therefore leaves us watching something that is, like, non-existent as an actual movie. I think I’m working too hard now to justify this mess. The script is bad.
Q: Where can I see the trailer?
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