Director: Rob Marshall
Year Released: 2002
Makes me appreciate how good Moulin Rouge! really was - at least Luhrmann (and, before him, the great Bob Fosse) knew that amidst the cacophony and high-gloss sleaze of the dance numbers you need some characters to identify with or find captivating in some way (even if you didn't believe Ewan and Nicole had chemistry together, you had to find something to like in their doomed narrative(s)). Marshall and Gods and Monsters director Bill Condon hadn't thought of that, making women vengeful and bitter and men scum (or in the case of the ubiquitous John C. Reilly, pathetic). Could have used the aforementioned Fosse at the helm - I consider his Cabaret one of the best musicals ever made - or maybe someone with Jonathan Demme's sit-the-camera-down-and-wait aesthetic, because all the rapid cutting here is quite distracting. Gere is given a few zingers, and Zeta-Jones looks like Louise Brooks Resurrected (a good thing, I can assure you), but Renee Zellweger has never convinced me she can lead, her twitchy face and puffed out cheeks rank her in the Loveable Plaything category, not as a Wanton Sex Goddess (oh, wait...). Even the message - fame is fleeting - is pretty damn thin.