Weronika lives in Poland. Véronique lives in Paris. They don't know each other. Weronika gets a place in a music school, works hard, but collapses and dies on her first performance. At this... See full summary »
This sprawling, surrealist musical serves as an allegory for the pitfalls of capitalism, as it follows the adventures of a young coffee salesman in Europe. Many actors play multiple roles, ... See full summary »
Chas, a violent and psychotic East London gangster needs a place to lie low after a hit that should never have been carried out. He finds the perfect cover in the form of guest house run by... See full summary »
Shortly after the Second World War, Max, a transplanted American, visits an English pawn shop to sell his trumpet. The shopkeeper recognizes the tune Max plays as one on a wax master of an ... See full summary »
Unmistakably Fosse With Strokes Both Self-Indulgent and Brilliant
With the kinetic edits capturing fully the energy of a Broadway cattle call and punctuated perfectly by George Benson's jazzy version of "On Broadway", the opening sequence of Bob Fosse's 1979 autobiographical musical extravaganza is so dazzling that the rest of the movie feels like a series of climaxes awaiting the big finish...literally. Fosse, who also co-wrote the script with Robert Alan Arthur, encapsulates his own hectic life into a patently self-indulgent movie with unmistakable style and verve and isolated moments of sheer brilliance. His doppelganger is Joe Gideon, who is juggling a major Hollywood film about a stand-up comic (like "Lenny") and a major Broadway production starring his ex-wife (like "Chicago"), while simultaneously dealing with his failing heart and a splintered domestic life. A demanding perfectionist, Gideon drives himself with unbounded energy, a heavy smoking habit and an excess of medications. This leads him to the hospital where he faces a personal abyss monitored by the Angel of Death, here a diaphanous woman named Angelique. Gideon's pending mortality starts to take on the stamp of his own productions until reality and fantasy become indistinguishable.
As anyone who has seen "8 1/2" knows, Fosse's film has a Felliniesque aura about it, but the dancer/director/choreographer brings his own unmistakable brand to the film with his rhythmic pacing, unique choreography and show biz savvy. It's a blend that sometimes works quite well, for example, in the erotically charged "Take Off With Us" number and the sweet pas de deux between Ann Reinking and Erzsebet Foldi on Peter Allen's "Everything Old Is New Again". Yet, at other times, Fosse comes across as narcissistic and self-serving, especially during the extensive death sequence set to the Everly Brothers' "Bye Bye Love". Luckily, Fosse cast Roy Scheider as Gideon, a smart move given the actor's innate lack of vanity makes the character's self-absorption more tolerable. It's a smart performance well turned and not overly excessive given the opportunity. The rest of the cast is serviceable though little more - Broadway veteran Leland Palmer as Gideon's ex-wife Audrey, obviously modeled after the legendary Gwen Verdon; Reinking playing a variation of herself as girlfriend Kate; and Jessica Lange, just after the "King Kong" fiasco, most alluring as Angelique. The 2003 DVD is fairly modest on extras - scene-specific commentary from Scheider, brief interview snippets with Scheider, and very brief vintage footage of Fosse directing the cattle call sequence.
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