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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is, easily, one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Really...
what's with all this great cast to a plot that doesn't exist? The movie
deals with the drama of a filmmaker who ran out of ideas for his next
movie. Well, I think "Nine" is this film. There's no story, no script,
no ideas. It's a silly and presumptuous musical that makes you leave
the movie theater feeling ashamed. Why did Kate Hudson say "yes" to
this part? She's totally out of context here, she doesn't even know
what she's doing. Her musical performance is pitiful and I almost
prayed it ended as quick as it could. As for the songs... all awful.
"Cinema Italiano" makes you feel you're being stabbed in the ears. In
general, all songs are bad, except for the one that's sung by Luisa.
Penelope Cruz and Sophia Loren make good appearances, but they're both
too good to be here. This movie does not deserve them. Or Judi Dench.
Or Nicole Kidman (by the way, what happened to her lips???).
I left the movies feeling like an idiot. This movie is an offense.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Anyone who complains that this movie has no plot either hasn't seen or
must feel the same way about Fellini's classic "8 1/2" since "Nine" has
basically the same plot. And yes, there is one.
Guido Contini is a filmmaker facing an existential crisis of sorts as the deadline for shooting his next film is approaching and he hasn't even written a script, as he's constantly distracted/battling with the women in his life - past, present, and possibly future. No, it's not a complex plot, but some of the best movies have simple plots - look at Best Picture "No Country for Old Men": A guy finds a bag of money and gets chased by a psycho for a couple of hours. Simple plot, GREAT movie. Same goes for "Nine." What makes movies with simple plots work are the characters, themes, and performances. "Nine" has those in spades. Daniel Day-Lewis shines yet again as this man with an insatiable appetite for life, love, everything - yet no matter how much of it he devours, he remains empty. He wonders if he's capable of real love, or even if he knows what it means. Of course Day-Lewis excels at conveying these internal struggles, but the most pleasant surprise here is that he can SING them as well.
Marion Cotillard may be the shining star of the film, as Guido's long-suffering wife. The best part of her performance is that she doesn't play it as a victim - she seems to be the one in command during all of her scenes with Day-Lewis. Guido needs her, and she knows it. And when Guido's transgressions (which you can tell deep down, she's known about for years) become apparent, she seems just as angry with herself for allowing them as she is with him. It's a masterful performance, as are her two musical numbers in the film. The first song she sings conveys the sadness she refuses to show in public, and the second is the polar opposite: a raw, angry, cathartic release from a woman who refuses to be a doormat. It will be a crime if she's not recognized come Oscar time for this performance.
Aside from Day-Lewis and Cotillard, Penelope Cruz is the other stand-out of the film. As Contini's mistress, she's very funny in her early scenes, but when you start to see how much she loves Guido and wishes they could have their own life together, she plays the heartbreak just as perfectly as the comedy. And yes, her musical number is quite the show-stopper.
The film also features solid supporting performances from Judi Dench, Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman, and even Fergie. Though if I had to pick a weak link, surprisingly, it would be Kidman. She's not bad by any means, but she was using some kind of unidentifiable and inconsistent accent that I found a bit distracting, which is a shame because I usually enjoy her work. She just seemed miscast here.
Finally, the film looks great. Rob Marshall, while using the same "imaginary musical sequences" technique he did on "Chicago," seems to have really found the perfect way to use that technique in this film. Since the story it's based on was really about what goes on inside the director's head, that style seems better suited for this story than it did "Chicago" (though I did enjoy that film as well). And his work with cinematographer Dion Beebe has created some beautiful and classic imagery that celebrates the movies and why we love 'em. It certainly made me want to hop on the next flight to Rome.
Overall, I found "Nine" to be fantastic-yet-slightly-flawed musical masterpiece. I honestly don't know how anyone could give this movie 1 star.
I have to declare that Fellini 8 1/2 is first on my list of favorite
films so it is rather obvious that, as far as I'm concerned, any one
that tries to mess with it will be received with a huge amount of
resistance. On the other hand I have been perversely attracted to the
musical version from its initial opening on Broadway years ago. Nine,
both on Broadway and unfortunately of the new film, clearly show that
today's culture has exhausted its own creativity and simply lost any
shame in accepting the lack of an original idea.
From My Fair Lady to West Side Story or even A Little Night Music, many great musicals are based not on an original idea but on famous classics stories, books or films. Nothing wrong with that when the musical version adds a new layer, a twist to the vision of the original and the music brings a new vocabulary to tell the story.
The film of Nine doesn't feel so much as inspired on 8 1/2 but a real misappropriation of someone else's personal ideas. Whilst the change from screen to stage might have been challenging and innovative, the fact that we are now back to the same medium than the original makes more obvious the inadequacies of the concept as well as the poor talent of the Rob Marshall and his MTV School of film direction style. The use of memorable imagery in black and white in a scene such as the Saragena and the boys on the beach seems not a homage to the genius of Fellini but simply a blatant robbery that should have been protected by copyrights or at least by Marshall's self censorship.
The misconception was there from the start. The film as a musical simply does not work in any way. The music itself seems extremely banal and you know you are in shaky territory when you can tell exactly the next musical phrase or words in a song. Further more the introduction of the songs, the sudden jump from action to singing feels totally forced.
How on earth a talented a actor such as Daniel Day Lewis could ever have got involved in this mess of styles and accent with dubious content escape me. Did he really think he could pass as a reincarnation of Mastroianni or even as an Italian? It might sound odd but in the film not even Sofia Loren sounds convincing as an Italian!
Interesting that at the core of the original 81/2,there is actually the conflict of the creative process and the fear of not being able to say anything new or of value. What's could then be a better idea that cannibalizing Fellini's masterpiece and bringing its level to a lower common denominator in order to try to capture the interest of today's general audiences.
Okay, I'm an elitist. I am not surprised if really good movies score an
average in the 6's and I'm not convinced that "high scoring" movies are
worth the price of the popcorn.
Let me say this, if you are going to evaluate "Nine" then don't compare it to "8 1/2". Evaluate it on its on merits and not if it is "faithful" to a movie it is based upon.
Secondly, if you don't like musicals, (especially stage musicals) or stunningly beautiful and sexy women, then maybe this will not be your cup of tea, and neither will your review be very helpful.
That said, this movie was VERY stylishly filmed and edited, the music was GREAT, a la "broadway cabaret" (NOT "berlin" syle), the acting was dramatic and believable (from Daniel Day-Lewis and Dame Judy Dench, I expect no less) the women were awesome, the dancing and choreography was top notch.
The only short-coming (if you want a nice little "story") is that the plot really was fairly non-existent. But just consider it as the vehicle for the music and the dancing and the OH SO BEAUTIFUL women.
SIX women, representing SIX countries: Italy, France, Spain, England, America, Australia (Loren, Cotillard, Cruz, Dench, Hudson, Kidman). This movie is definitely worth a "nine" but I gave it ten to compensate for the "majority".
When I first heard the announcements for Golden Globe nominations, they
announced a film called "Nine". I thought to myself, 'wow, Tim Burton's
has done it again...', then they announced the cast, 'Daniel Day Lewis,
Nicole Kidman, Fergie...' and I thought..."They were not in that movie,
nor did the do the voices for it". LOL Little to my attention were
their 2 movies this year with the title 9. lol.
Anyway on with the review...
We have Guido, who has lost his inspiration and desire to produce a movie. He cant sleep, cant eat, and can't rest in peace. Everybody loves him and his work, except for his last 2 films which were considered flops, and he doesn't understand why everyone thinks he is so special. So he searches for a source of inspiration from his dead mother , played wonderfully by the never aging and always beautiful Sophia Loren. He looks for inspiration in loving and dedicated his wife Marion Cotillard. He also talks to his mistress, played wonderfully and seductively by Penelope Cruz. The only person who seems to keep him leveled is his wardrobe designer, played stunning and remarkably by Dame Judi Dench. His movie has a press conference, poster and is being promoted, even has a release date...However he doesn't even have a cast, the main actress, Nicole Kidman, nor has he even wrote a script yet.
The lights and camera angles and color schemes were all brilliant just like Chicago. however the filming wasn't as crisp. it looked smokey and grimy, like a bar scene..but maybe that is how Rob Marshall wanted it to look. The best scenes in the movie for me were the Dame Judi Dench (I didn't know she could sing, and with an accent as well. lol) and the Fergie sequences. (that was Fergie?!?!) she looked incredible. Not like a teeny hip-hop, wanna-be girl, but a sexy, sultry, mature lady you want to lead you down many roads of temptations. The only down side is Nicole Kidman, who looked flat and out of place in this film.
I would definitely see this movie again, and I hope there are many extended extras on the DVD when it comes out.
Today, I went to see Rob Marshall's new musical, Nine, obviously based
upon the Broadway musical of the same name, that based off Fellini's 8
1/2. It should be mentioned that the movie contains not quite as many
songs as the stage performance does, but, each actress in the wonderful
cast having one song, and the way the songs are presented, it certainly
Daniel Day-Lewis leads the cast, playing Italian filmmaker Guido Contini, who is about fifty, and going through something of a midlife crisis. Lewis brings a lot of panache to the role, belting out his lyrics with such assurance that this part has been well-practiced and a certain amount of passion has been brought into it, playing the character perfectly.
His long-suffering wife Luisa, splendidly re-imagined, not played by Marion Cotillard, is the one gem in the cast that outshines all of its other members. You feel emotion for her character that you don't feel for the others, you can tell that her character has been through a lot, and you're happy to see her come out on top at the end.
Penelope Cruz also adds a lot to the film, playing Contini's mistress, Carla, a role that 30 Rock's Jane Krakowski played on Broadway, Cruz also brings a lot of emotion and sass, often simultaneously, to her role. You really understand Contini's predicament, and sympathize with the character, for not being able to break her heart, or that of his wife. Her musical number brings a lot of excitement, and her enthusiasm, and her roaring Soprano is unlike anything we ever thought we'd see from this actress. I see her winning awards a-many for her performance in this.
Dame Judi Dench, always worthwhile, plays Lilli, Contini's wisecracking costume designer and confidante. Dench brings comic relief, having more scenes than any other of the actresses in the film, but also brings depth, playing a kind of a psychiatrist to the lead character, and also bringing a fantastic voice, for her musical number, which contains many chorus girls in feather boas, you think you're watching The Rockettes or something out of A Chorus Line, but for the song, it certainly works.
Fergie plays Saraghina, a figure from Contini's youth who taught him about love, and how to attract a woman. Fergie only has one scene in the movie, basically. She shows up in the overture, and finale, but, her only big scene is her show-stopping musical number Be Italian, which generated applause in my theatre. It makes me wonder if they used Fergie less, because maybe her acting talents were not up to par. I guess we'll never know, but her singing voice is something we didn't even expect from her, as she belts the lyrics with such undeniable passion and exuberance, you're glad this minor role was played by her.
Nicole Kidman plays Contini's muse, actress Claudia Jensen, who is mentioned in the film's beginning, then disappears until close to the movie's end. I kind of feel like Kidman's obvious musical talent, displayed previously in Moulin Rouge, come off as a bit underused, because she has one of the best singing voice among the cast and she only has one song. That's one of the few things that bugged me about this wonderful movie.
Kate Hudson plays American magazine journalist, Stephanie, who isn't in very much of the movie either, but Kate Hudson's big musical number, Cinema Italiano, written specifically for the movie, is amazing. I hate to use the word "amazing", because I think it's overused and it's lost its affect, but it's the only way to describe this scene, the way that director Rob Marshall cut the number, switching from sequences in black and white, then color, then black and white again, it's a truly unique experience that you really need to see to completely understand. And here's a surprise, Kate Hudson can sing. I thought she was only cut out for mid-level rom-coms, but I'm glad to say I was wrong, she definitely fits in with the musically talented cast of this movie.
Sophia Loren plays Contini's mother, who is tragically underused, but brought in at the right times in the movie. She, again, only has one song, but it feels like enough, for this actress, who's still looking great, at age 75, bringing drama to her role, and she gives more than she needs to, but it's certainly good to see her on screen again.
The direction of the movie is just as much one of the stars of the show. Rob Marshall, having directed Chicago and Memoirs of a Geisha knows a thing or two about grand-scale production musical numbers and high-octane drama, and he brings it all to this film, although some of the songs are cut in a way that feels chaotic and rushed, but I think it doesn't hurt the movie at all. It's a movie built on high caliber acting, beautiful music, and gorgeous imagery, and it's something you have to see for yourself. It's that good.
This is one of the finest jewels in Hollywood crap crown! So much famous names, so much budget to shoot a stinker like this, it's amazing! There's absolutely no story as it's about a lousy director seeking inspiration! The music, songs are just horrible! The musical is poor as they kept using this dark roman arena and the dancing is just at the level of music videos now: lascivious girls jiggling. And for the cast, they found the exquisite idea to have them speak English but with a loud Italian accent, just to tell the movie happens in Italy ! Day-Lewis must be very shameful of his participation as he looks his feet, bent behind shades all the time. Fortunately, Penélope is here and brings the only good moments: she is truly the only one to show that's she's a fine dancer and a true actress...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Daniel Day-Lewis, Judi Dench, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Sophia
Loren, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson and Stacy Ferguson (better known as
"Fergie") sing their hearts out and give it their all in this
electrifying musical sensation.
Skilfully directed by Rob Marshall, it is a magnificent depiction of the most difficult years of the life of famous Italian filmmaker Guido Contini (Day-Lewis). Guido is under unimaginable pressure to come up with a script for his latest project, which begins filming in just ten days. He is a man lost in a sea of bright lights, pushy press interviewers, eager producers, and attention-seeking women.
As seen in the opening, there are eight females inhabiting his consciousness, each one a fascinating character. After an initial glimpse of the lot of them together, they are each introduced properly one by one, with a scene with Guido and an intimate or elaborate solo musical number. Evidently juggling several relationships at once is proving to be quite harrowing and ultimately impossible, as one by one they also seem to slip through his fingers.
The production is suitably theatrical, and makes clever use of the black and white medium.
The songs are well-integrated, and also absolutely fabulous.
As for the incredible all-star cast, the characters they create are so wonderful that considering their sheer brilliance they each seem to get so little screen time. Day-Lewis is extraordinary as the man at the centre of it all. The leading ladies Dench, Cotillard and Cruz deliver pitch perfect performances. The characters of Hudson and Ferguson don't come into the story very much, though theirs are the two most memorable of songs. Loren and Kidman aren't given very much to do, but they do it well and their presence is very welcoming.
This is truly the most infectious, enthralling, uplifting, complex, dramatic, compelling and downright spectacular musical in years.
I'd like to express my gratitude to Rob Marshall for finding a way to
cinematize at least two classic Broadway musicals. I find myself hoping
that the seemingly arbitrary dismissals by some critics and users of
both Chicago and Nine (not to mention poor box office returns and
perhaps low DVD sales and rentals) will not discourage Marshall from
reaching for yet another musical. How about Sondheim's Follies? Please.
What is to dislike about the film Nine? I suppose it depends upon the viewer's expectations--a peculiarity of the dramatic arts, perhaps especially cinema. My expectations were at least 95% fulfilled. I had only a casting problem. As talented and as beautiful as Nicole Kidman may be, she does not evoke the haunting, angelic perfection of the original Claudia: Claudia Cardinale. Her beauty is, if one may say so, tough Australian, rather than ethereal Italian. But Nicole did well, as did everyone else in the film. (Is there any character Daniel Day-Lewis can't play to perfection?)
Nine says essentially the same thing 8 1/2 did: making movies based on personal, biographical visions and mistakes can absorb one artistically at the cost of "real life" relationships. It's something great directors such as Fellini, Bergman, and Scorsese just have to deal with. Thanks to Arthur Kopit, Mario Fratti, and composer-lyricist Maury Yeston, the story, the point, the dialogue expressed the theme absorbingly and intelligently.
But most of all, it was a joy to hear and see the musical numbers so faithfully presented, worked into the story, executed. As with every film adaptation of a Broadway musical, I missed some numbers that were in the show, most notably "Only With You" and "Simple". However, it was nice to hear a few new Maury Yeston songs, especially "Cinema Italiano". So, if you're expecting a musically and dramatically satisfying film version of a hit show, see Nine.
The movie is amazing - beautiful, exciting, stunning, sexy!!!! the best
one for me for 2009.
It reminds me a little bit of All that Jazz. But only in positive sense. I have been missing such type of musical, and at last .Nine is here. I am still so excited from the movie. Great actors, great songs, great dancing, great dialogue.
I was surprised of Furgie' face. I do not know this red big curly hair is not her style. Penelope is the bet actress for me; she doesn't disappoint me at all, never. Daniel Day-Lewis is such a nice guy, he enters the character completely, very convincing.
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