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|Index||235 reviews in total|
i would have never considered her capable of learning accents so well.
and definitely not an equal to Daniel Day-Lewis. he is fabulous, as
i enjoyed appearance of Sophia Lauren, as movie aficionados can confirm.
i could not believe how good Nicole Kidman's performance was.
not to bypass Judi Dench's excellent performance. i do prefer her in James Bond series though, even if the main character is played by Daniel Craig (how about getting a single hairdresser on the set?).
overall the movie deserves recognition.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is just a terrible film no matter how you look at it.
To make a musical version of the bizarre Federico Fellini film "8 1/2" was a silly idea to start with because that particular film was totally incomprehensible, over-rated rubbish that the critics all seemed to go bonkers over back in 1963.
The Academy Awards even gave it an Oscar as Best Foreign Langage Film! Most Incomprehensible Film would have a more deserving award.
But where do you start with a film like this? The songs are all tuneless and forgettable; no-one (and I mean no-one)in the cast can sing; and the choreography is both tedious and crude.
Sadly, virtually everyone in the cast is wasted and to indicate the obvious lack of morale, they all seem to turn in rather underwhelming performances.
Daniel Day-Lewis seems as lost as his character Guido. His film character is suffering from "writer's block" and Daniel seems to be suffering from actor's block? Is there such a thing? Penelope Cruz got a Best Supporting Actress nomination for one vulgar dance routine and three brief scenes where she gets to smile, look sad and cry. Nicole Kidman didn't enter the picture for 75 minutes. Dame Judi Dench gives probably her dullest performance ever. And Kate Hudson's character is just plain vulgar.
The director, Rob Marshall (who must take all the blame) is a one trick pony: his enjoyable film version of the Broadway musical, CHICAGO was a happy accident, but NINE is just an accident waiting to happen. Rob, please...never make another musical.
NINE is horrifying: and I thought that MAMMA MIA was bad!
Nine has all of the components that should make for a great film. The
cast list is a who's who of award winners, it is from the director of
Chicago Rob Marshall and co-written by Anthony Minghella; what could
possibly go wrong? The film plays like a lost child, wandering around
hoping to find its mommy while being distracted by every shiny thing
along the way. Despite its pedigree, Nine misses the mark.
Nine follows Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis), a successful Italian director, as he attempts to create his latest film. Contini is going though a midlife crisis, which is causing a creative block. If this stress isn't enough, he is also dealing with the multiple women that populate his life. And...That's pretty much the whole film, just Contini dealing with writer's block and too many ladies.
Let's first lay out the film's entire back-story. Nine is based on the musical of the same name, which is in turn based on the classic Federico Fellini film 8 1/2. I know, it's a mouthful, but this isn't a new idea, the same happened with The Producers and Hairspray. Nevertheless, the problem is in the source. 8 1/2 is not Hairspray. The original film was a semi-autobiographical film done by one of the greatest directors of all time. The story was obviously very close to the director, so the fact that there was little to it didn't really matter. The director was able to flesh out this rather simple idea into a complex and intriguing film. I have not seen the musical Nine but I have to believe that something has been lost in its translation to the screen. A quick search will reveal plenty of songs that were cut, and new songs that have been created for the film. The idea of cutting songs to shorten a musical isn't something new, but it seems odd when you notice some of the songs that were cut. The one that really grabbed my attention is the song Nine. I can't help but think that the song that shares its name with the title has to have some importance. Moreover, there is the fact that Kate Hudson's character has been added for the film. She plays an American fashion journalist and the only reason I can imagine that she is there is that the producers thought that an American audience would want to see at least one American character. It all seems unnecessary. Translating 8 1/2 to the stage was successful, but in the process of trimming down the show for a film, something was lost.
Marshall successfully adapted Chicago to the big screen. The method in which he adapted, by taking the songs out of the film itself and placing them into cabaret sections that were then intermingled with the rest of the film, worked for Chicago. Unfortunately, Marshall tries to employ the same method for Nine and it just doesn't work. The cuts to large dance numbers are distracting and at times feel almost unnecessary. Nine isn't catered to this style and is being forced to do things that are unnatural. Musicals live in their own world. We know that in the real world, people do not spontaneously break out into song, but in the world of musicals, we suspend this belief. Marshall should recognize that a musical does not have to be so rooted in the real. He refuses to allow the song and dance to coexist with the spoken word, and in the case of Nine this is a mistake.
Despite its many flaws Nine is beautifully acted. Every actor turns in a great performance. The standouts are Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard. Although they are given very little screen time, they are able to do so much with their characters. I found myself really enjoying Cotillard's performance as Contini's wife Luisa. While her role could be viewed as milquetoast, the standard jilted wife, every move she makes is honest and captivating. A scene in which Luisa realizes that a moment she believed to be special in her marriage is nothing more than a standard screen test is heartbreaking. In addition to the acting, the film is exquisitely shot. While I do not agree with Marshall's format, he does know how to craft a beautiful film.
Nine has a lot to live up to and slips up before it reaches the finish line. Marshall tries to shove the film into the same hole that Chicago fit so nicely. The format causes the film to feel scatterbrained. While it may falter in its format, the acting is exceptional. Every actor is catered perfectly to his role. In addition, the film is a feast for the eyes. Put together with the best of intentions, Nine is messy and falls short of its predecessors.
I rated this movie a 2 and that rating may be considered generous. This film is an absolute mess from the first minute until the 40th minute when I finally ripped the DVD out of the machine. I wish that I could see what other movies people enjoy since the world has different tastes, but to like this movie you have to be a fan of mindless musicals since this film has a very limited story and a weak script. I also believe half the positive reviews written on trash like Nine are from employees of the distribution company to further a lousy film. I was hoping that a film with Daniel Day-Lewis would be worth renting, but alas it was not so. Had I actually read that the most untalented actress alive (Nicole Kidman) was in this film I probably would have avoided it and saved time and effort. Not a recommended film. Pitiful in every aspect. Daniel Day-Lewis' singing is awful.
Where do I begin? I must praise NINE for its brilliant visual and musical style, not to mention the magnificent ensemble cast, but, unfortunately, that is where my commendation ends. The film is centered on Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis), the morally corrupt director who exploits all the women he loves and lusts for in his life. It has the potential to provide strong character development, but falls flat in delivery and obviously as the story's center plot. With the exception of Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard, all of the women in NINE seem to be interchangeable in depth, since the script never provides the characters enough time for the audience to truly connect with them. In conclusion, it lacks all of the appeal found in Rob Marshall's CHICAGO. Alas, I cannot recommend NINE.
I felt it was most misleading. I have long come to detest the cliché of the suffering artist. Can't a man's creativity detach itself from his personal life? There are a couple of good songs in there, but for me this film ends there. An overwhelming handful of clichés, and whether or not Nicole jumped in the fountain or not is irrelevant. Potentially the worst high budget, BIG cast film I have ever seen. How annoyingly self absorbed the guy is. And since when do Italians speak English amongst themselves? The ending is terrible, when that kid, representing Contini as a child jumps on his lap, that's terrible, big fat zero for originality right there. If you must see a good film that steals Fellini's Otto E Mezzo, then watch Woody Allen's Stardust Memories. I can carry on crushing this film, but I think my point has been made. And even his coat and his cigarettes....terrible.
How does this much acting talent end up in such a rotten movie? How is it possible that the appearance of so many beautiful women couldn't even save it? How could the same man who directed "Chicago" be responsible for this mindless crap? "Chicago" was just about the most fun I have ever had in a movie. Memorable songs, award worthy acting, and perfectly edited. Nine was totally disconnected, meandering all over the place, and with no sympathetic characters, with the possible exception of Guido's wife. I gave it a three only because I have a sentimental fondness for Sophia Loren, it truly was a minus nine. The entire Italian nation should be offended.
Daniel Day-Lewis plays Italian director Guido Contini who is ten days away from filming of his latest movie, "Italia". Guido has lost his creative vision and that this production will go the way of his last films: be a flop. The first part of that statement is indeed true as Guido not only does not yet have a script, but he has no idea for the movie at all. Guido escapes to a seaside resort to get away from all the pressures of this production, this convalescence only to moderate success as he thinks about the women who have shaped his life. the eponymous women in his life are Sophia Loren who makes a beautiful addition to the other talent, Penelope Cruz who just oozes sexiness, Lewis's wife Marion Cotillard, Kate Hudson, Fergie (Stacy Ferguson) Nicole Kidman, Dame Judi Dench. With a great supporting cast 'Nine certainly looked good from the usual generated publicity hype machine but sadly it soars like a balloon then deflates leaving one wait in eager anticipation to the next song and dance number which sadly aren't memorable in the slightest at all. Perhaps the production had a dark shadow cast over it due to the untimely death of Director Producer Anthony Mingella.
Fellini's 8½ is a great movie. It has inspired the efforts of other
great filmmakers, from François Truffaut's La nuit américaine (Day for
Night) to Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Warnung vor einer heiligen Nutte
(Beware of a Holy Whore), and from Woody Allen's Stardust Memories to
Bob Fosse's All That Jazz, among other, albeit less significant, films.
One of 8½'s influences is manifest in Arthur Kopit, Mario Fratti and
Maury Yeston's Broadway musical, Nine.
Recently, I watched Rob Marshall's film adaptation of Nine, the Broadway musical. I was extremely excited, for I knew that Rob Marshall was a promising director. His film adaptation of Chicago, the musical, was great. It had a clear vision, smooth editing and beautiful cinema. His Memoirs of a Geisha, was a disappointment to me, because of its orientalist esthetics, silly plot and ill-suited cast. I somehow felt that I'd rather he stuck to directing musicals, but maybe I was wrong. When I saw Nine, I found it to be a total flop. What was he thinking?
The movie parades a dizzying full cast of stars of the first magnitude: Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson, Sophia Loren and Fergie. The cast alone could have promised a great movie, had it not been for, well, everything else...
8½ is a masterpiece of the cinematic art: a movie that excels in using, in a beautiful and experimental manner, and to the full extent, the tools available to the makers of cinema: photography, lighting, color (in this case, black and white), camera movement, music, plot, performance, editing, you name it. It uses all these elements to express cinematically the beautiful confusion (the working title of 8½ was La bella confusione) of a filmmaker suffering from director's block, mixing life and art, reality and fantasy with utmost sincerity and very few, if any, moral precautions. 8½, as it is, is a complete, simple, beautiful and much appreciated work of art.
The Broadway musical, like many other musicals adapting material from other sources, is based on using the tools available to musical theatre, including music, song, dialogue, dance, costumes, lighting, etc. By these criteria, Nine, the Broadway musical, was a successful play. It even won five Tony awards. It attempted to express, using these tools, that same beautiful confusion, albeit in a more theatrical, less cinematic manner.
The problem, then, is in Nine the movie. The movie does not attempt to seize the musical and apply a cinematic vision to it. It simply tries to shoot a good Broadway musical. The musical numbers end up feeling redundant, because we, as movie watchers, get the idea or the emotion without having to listen to it 'explained' in song. The rhythm ends up being extremely boring, because we're more interested in following the plot than in listening to what we already know, simply put in song (and not very good songs, for that matter). I find most of the lyrics and tunes of the musical numbers quite mediocre and easily forgettable. Besides, the musical numbers are not smoothly integrated into the script. You feel them coming at you like an uncalled-for statement. One other major turnoff was the language: why in the world would the actors have to speak English with an Italian accent, that turns simply wrong in many cases? Marion Cotillard and Nicole Kidman spoke with unidentifiable accents. Penélope Cruz spoke with a heavy Spanish accent (while her character was Italian). Judi Dench spoke with some hybrid British accent (while her character was supposedly French)... Why didn't they just speak plain English without accents? We'd imagine they were speaking Italian.
As for the performances, they vary pretty much: Daniel-Day Lewis, one of the finest actors of all time, is struggling with the role and screaming "Get me out of here! I don't belong in a musical". Penélope Cruz's role was beautifully performed, but was too abruptly chopped off. Nicole Kidman felt like she was there against her will. Her performance was pale and her presence was spiritless. Dame Judi Dench was classy and fun (yes, she sang!). You feel that she's probably the one who most enjoyed her role, but was in a way limited by the script. Sophia Loren's very short appearances were nicely executed. Kate Hudson did what she could, which is not to say much, in the unchallenging small role of the American fashion journalist. Fergie was enjoyable in her number 'Be Italian' which is, in my opinion, the best musical number in the movie (all while I think that its lyrics are silly), even though 'Cinema Italiano', performed by Kate Hudson, was the one nominated for the Golden Globe for best song. Marion Cotillard was, hands down, the best in the movie. She always makes me feel, though, that she is not a genius artist (I don't know yet of a way a person can be a brilliant artist, while believing that moon landing and 9/11 are lies). She somehow makes me feel that she exemplifies that type of empty-headed actors who just have that god-given talent of acting and expressiveness. They're like good clay that a director can mold. You tell them what to do, and they just do it, wholly and brainlessly. She amazes me.
All in all, Nine is a movie that I so wanted to love, tried to, but failed. It is a movie that asks not to be done, at least not like this.
Rob Marshall's 'Nine' is a stunning adaptation of the play. He
successfully captures the gloss and glamour of the 60s European cinema.
The mise en scene is interesting and the execution is superb thanks to
the amazing cinematography, editing, sound effects and lighting.
The sets and locations are also a breathtaking sight and the songs are suitably energetic. Marshall has done nothing short of a great job as director. He doesn't shy away from showing Fellini's influence as you'll see many references to his great works like 'La Dolce Vita' and 'Amarcord'. He also cleverly shoots some of the sequences switching from colour to black and white. I only wish that some of the characters were further developed, especially Nicole Kidman's Claudia Jenssen and Sophia Loren's Mama.
'Nine' features some of the finest actresses in the history of Hollywood cinema: There's the evergreen Sophia Loren, the Judi Dench, the ravishing Nicole Kidman, the sexy Penelope Cruz, the dazzling Marion Cotillard, the seductive Kate Hudson. And, they can all sing wonderfully, especially Cotillard and Dench. Cotillard, Cruz and Dench have the meatiest roles and they do full justice to their parts. A wild Sarah Ferguson has a brilliant raunchy number and needless to say, she, along with Cruz and Cotillard, look incredibly sexy in their songs. In addition, the choreography is excellent.
Then of course there's Daniel Day-Lewis who is remarkable as Guido Contini. Contini is complex and a bit of an enigma. The character isn't very likable but with his performance, Day-Lewis manages to earn the viewer's sympathy. Moreover, his chemistry with his female co-stars could easily set the stage on fire.
Overall, 'Nine' is a visual treat for the eyes and ears. There may be a few writing flaws, especially where character development is concerned, but the movie remains entertaining, energetic and involving. It also does remind one of some of Fellini's unforgettable works. Quite a tribute!
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