Hi Jeremy. I just saw the DGA screening of Rob Marshall's latest movie, NINE tonight and stayed for the Q & A after, so I thought I'd write in to share my thoughts. First, let me just get the HUGE scoop out of the way: when asked about his next project (by Nora Ephron, who hosted the Q&A), he replied 'y'know, it's something that I was offered and never in the world thought I would do but then I was like 'why not?'... I'm doing 'Pirates of the Caribbean....''' That's right-- Rob Marshall is directing the next installment of the 'Pirates' franchise. The only additional thing he mentioned about it was that he had a wonderful meeting with Johnny a little while ago and that they're both excited to work together. Getting that out of the way, let me move on to NINE. First, let me mention that I actually work in the musical theater industry in NY, so I may have somewhat of a semi-biased-fan-boy approach to the film, having known the source material... having said that, let me say that NINE is a nice next move for Marshall, heavy with drama, conflict, madness, confusion and passion. Whereas CHICAGO relied more on the tongue-and-cheek satirical way of story telling, NINE is a lot more...grown up, complicated and darker. Don't get me wrong, you still have the very CHICAGO-y scantily clad ladies in black, slinking down poles, opening their legs, dancing up a storm and all, but it's all done in a very different way. A perfect example of things to come is how the film opens: with Daniel Day-Lewis as Guido Contini at a press conference, explaining some of his philosophies on film making. It then cuts to his character entering the empty dark studio that we've all seen in the preview. Nicole Kidman appears looking gorgeous, leans in and kisses him. All of a sudden the set becomes alive with tons of beautiful women, each one representing a sexual or emotional conquest for Contini from his past. As they sing the overture, they take him around the set, essentially 'introducing' to the audience the most important women of his life: his wife, Louisa (Marion Cotillard), his mistress, Carla (Penelope Cruz), his muse, Claudia (Kidman) his mother (Sophia Lauren), his costume designer/confidant, Lilli (Judi Dench), the whore who taught him about sex, Saraghina (Sarah Ferguson- 'Fergie') and his soon-to-be conquest, Vogue reporter, Stephanie (Kate Hudson). The film follows the action surrounding Contini's latest film, entitled 'Italia,' for which costumes are being made, sets are being built, and it's all supposed to shoot in 10 days. The problem is that Contini has yet to produce a script. He's constantly hounded by everyone from his producer to the press, asking him questions about the script and what the film is about. Much of what happens in the film traces Guido's life and connections with the women from his past and some from the present. We see the strained relationship with his wife Louisa: once a promising actress, though after marrying Guido, she gives up her dreams and never works again. His mistress Carla, who is herself married, though she loves Guido and wants nothing more than to not hide their relationship or her feelings for him. We see his affectionate relationship with his mother, who has been dead for a while, but he still keeps her alive in his mind-- having conversations with her, and turning to her when times are the hardest. We see the camaraderie between him and Lilli, his costume designer; somewhat of a mother figure, who keeps him in line and picks him up when no one else will. We learn about his complicated relationship with his muse- Claudia Janssen, the internationally renowned star that he created. And we learn about the prostitute he used to visit when he was nine years old, who taught him everything he knows. Since that's the basic plot, I'm going to move on to the performances: Day-Lewis is incomparable once again. Displaying a rather powerful singing voice, clear, distinct, commanding, he unfortunately doesn't have a whole lot to sing in the movie as compared to the stage show (he only sings twice in the film) but both songs are masterful. He embodies Contini from head-to-toe, as one would only expect him to. Always with a cigarette in his hand, a twinge of chaos in his eye and looking like he should: like he crawled out of bed and his people kind of 'put him together'- combed his hair, made his tie, shaved him so that he would not go out and embarass himself. The complexities he finds in the character run very deep, making it easy to fall in love with him and forgive his madness. Marion Cotilard is deserving of another Oscar Nomination for this role. What she manages to with Louisa, is nothing short of spectacular. I was a little skeptical about her casting at first. In the stage show, Louisa and Guido have been married for 20 years, and by casting her so young, it lead me to believe that you would lose some of that history between these characters. Boy was I wrong. Marion's performance is a quiet, controlled bit of brilliance. You can see all of the pain she's ever felt as this character with just one simple look. She looks like an angel and sings like one too. Her two songs couldn't be more contrasting. The quiet but dark 'My Husband Makes Movies' expresses what life is like with Guido and reveals some past regrets she's had in giving up her career in place of his. Her later song, 'Take It All' is anything but quiet-- performing somewhat of a striptease for an audience full of men, to make Guido see that she can go far too--screaming that she's had it with him and ending with her finally leaving him. For me, Marion's performance is the best in the film. Judi Dench's scenes with Daniel Day-Lewis are just a pleasure to watch. It's not hard to sit back and just enjoy these two remarkable actors do what they do best together. You can see that they hold each other in extremely high regard as well-- not only as Lilly and Guido, but as Judi and Daniel. My only wish was to have seen more of Judi. Whilst in the stage play, the character of 'Lilli' is really 'Liliane La Fleur-' the producer of Guido's film and a former vedette of the Follies Bergeres (Marshall explained that because of the period that the film is set-- 1965, having a female producer would have been unheard of, so they changed 'Liliane the producer' to 'Lili the Costume Designer'). In doing so, I feel like Dench's number, 'Follies Bergeres' loses some of its purpose and ends up being a momentary distraction from the plot instead of actually moving it along. Though Dench sells the number like a pro and sounds pretty great. Penelope Cruz, who I'm getting increasingly impressed with, does a fantastic job as Carla. Delivering her hilarious number 'A Call From the Vatican' while oozing sexuality, swinging and playing with ropes and twisting her body in ways I didn't think were possible. I had been expecting her to keep her Spanish accent unchanged, but was pleasantly surprised to hear her modify her vowels and speech patterns and shift her accent into more of an Italian one. She provides much of the laughs of the film in her scenes with Day-Lewis and they play off of each other incredibly well. Sophia Lauren looks great in the film and performs wonderfully, though I feel like there wasn't a whole lot of time spent on examining her relationship with Guido and she hence becomes somewhat of a passing character. The new song, written for her, 'Guarda La Luna,' is a pretty, lullaby-ish tune, but like, Follies Bergeres, just doesn't quite really move the plot along. The best musical number of the film for me, would have to be Fergie performing 'Be Italian.' I'm sure we're all familiar with the song, having watched the trailer, but once you hear (and see) the full number, it will really rocks your socks off. Fergie gained 17 lbs to play Saraghina, the whore that taught Guido the art of love-making. She looks exactly like she should- smoldering eyes, a low, direct gaze, scraggly hair, boobs pushed up- she is the epitome of sexuality. The song inter-cuts between two scenes in Guido's mind-- his black & white memory of visiting Saraghina when he was nine and paying her to dance for him and the full colored fantasy Saraghina dancing and singing with the other women in his life. Fergie does a great job...selling sex. Not a whole lot of dialogue, but it's all in her gaze and you just believe her. And of course, she sounds fantastic. One of the best surprises of the film is Kate Hudson, as Stephanie- a Vogue reporter who tries to seduce Contini. She sings a new number called "Cinema Italiano" in which the aim is to remind the audience about this age of film making of the 60's-- the height of Italian art films, which introduced us to the skinny ties, sunglasses, coffee houses, etc. The bad news is that the song is pretty bad and the character seemed completely unnecessary; the song even more so. If you would have cut the entire character from the film, it literally would not have affected anything one single bit. The good news, though, is that Kate Hudson sings and dances the SHIT out of it and discovering that she can could sound THIS good was worth it all for me. The biggest disappointment for me was Nicole Kidman. I'm a fan of Nicole's but I honestly think she was completely miscast in this film. She's not in it for very long at all, but the bits she was in just didn't work for me. Her accent was muddled between Australian/English and Italian; some words were accented in Italian, some words sounded completely English. It wasn't hard to imagine why her character, Claudia, is a huge star and Contini's muse- she looks incredible, of course. But her delivery of arguably the best song in the film and stage show, 'Unusual Way,' was nothing less then a disappointment. Her singing may have worked in 'Moulin Rouge' where the whole film was such a fucking madhouse, it didn't really matter whether or not she sounded good... but NINE is no 'Moulin Rouge' and, to me, she was unconvincing in both her song and her scenes. I would've been curious to see what Catherine Zeta-Jones would have done with it (Kidman replaced her). She certainly would have sounded better, to say the least. All in all, the movie is somewhat of a curious delight. During the Q & A, the incredibly gracious and approachable Rob Marshall expressed how crazy that casting process was and mentioned that HUGE female stars came out of the woodwork to audition for the film, thinking 'well if Renee can do it, so can I.' He didn't name names but kind of hinted that a lot of them just didn't have the chops. He said Marion was one of the first actors cast; she originally sang for 'Lili' and then 'Claudia' before Marshall realized she was 'Louisa' all along. He mentioned that Judi Dench is one of the most amazingly sweet human beings he's ever worked with. He said that he had to keep pinching himself when he was shooting a scene with Sophia and Daniel in the middle of a 1960's Rome. He praised Francine Maisler, his casting director as well as Colleen Atwood, his Oscar winning costume designer (who also did Chicago and Geisha with him). He mentioned that there was one song from the film that was recorded and shot but ultimately cut out of the final print. The song, 'With You,' was sung by Guido, Louisa, Carla and Claudia, and expressed how each woman had a piece of Guido, but no one, including himself, had all of him. Marshall was heartbroken to cut the song, but said that there are moments where things just don't fit and he felt that was one, as he felt cutting 'Class' from Chicago was the correct choice as well. He mentioned that he's pushing for it to be on the DVD. After revealing that 'Pirates 4' would be his next project, he mentioned that he would like to come back to Broadway to direct something and that he misses it. He mentioned that he finished the final cut of NINE this past Thursday at 4 am, and he's officially exhausted. So that's that. If you decide to post this review, call me Tobby.
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:19 p.m. CST
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:22 p.m. CST
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:22 p.m. CST
and it's nice to hear that DDL can sing as well. I had no doubts about his performance other than his singing, but I guess he can do that too!!
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:22 p.m. CST
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:24 p.m. CST
Daniel Day-Lewis will get my ass in the seat anyway, but this just looks amazing.
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:25 p.m. CST
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:26 p.m. CST
There's no other actor who will consistently get my ass in a seat for every film he makes.
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:27 p.m. CST
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:27 p.m. CST
...so I guess I'll have to see this. The Broadway production was kind of forgettable, but whatever...
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:27 p.m. CST
ha. if only this post were that exciting! zzzzzzzzzz......
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:33 p.m. CST
I mean, I love my Stanley but DDL in TWBB was more unhinged than DDL in GONY!!!!
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:36 p.m. CST
IMHO AICN DDL is an ET.
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:38 p.m. CST
I'll go see it but I'm not hopeful. Hated Chicago. And since that review is suspect (too glowy sorry) it does nothing for me.</p> <p>btw, what the hell is MASKHEAD? I'm all over the oscar race websites and I've never heard of it. </p>
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:39 p.m. CST
by The Reluctant Austinite
Methinks Beaks pulled a funny.
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:48 p.m. CST
by Bungion Boy
I'm such a fan of this play. Seeing the revival in New York a few years ago blew me away. One of my biggest fears when I heard about the film adaptation and the notion of new songs being added, was the fear that some of the already excellent songs would be cut. I really hope this film works.
Nov. 16, 2009, 1:19 p.m. CST
The Quest for more Pocket Booty.
Nov. 16, 2009, 1:20 p.m. CST
Nov. 16, 2009, 1:39 p.m. CST
See the best, not the tepid remake/homage.
Nov. 16, 2009, 1:45 p.m. CST
the Brit royal?
Nov. 16, 2009, 1:52 p.m. CST
Especially after Shutter Island got pushed back, this and the Road are the only two movies of the season that I'm REALLY excited about. Sorry Avatar. Invictus will probably be good, but Clint's movies never really excite me even though I can appreciate that they're well-made. And it's hard to look forward to Precious knowing how gut-wrenching it will be to watch, even if it is a great film.
Nov. 16, 2009, 1:56 p.m. CST
He ruined Chicago and Geisha. And, the last sort of musical I want to watch is one about an arrogant, tortured Italian filmmaker and his many dumb women. Count me out.
Nov. 16, 2009, 1:57 p.m. CST
Audio only, that is: <p> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s39UmA56kpo <p> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMIt8dhh4pg<p> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Scm2dlDg-g<p> I love "Be Italian" and "Take It All" but "Cinema Italiano" sounds like it's from a completely different musical. Hudson sings it well, though.
Nov. 16, 2009, 2:14 p.m. CST
Nov. 16, 2009, 2:26 p.m. CST
I had to check to see for sure then. Fucking hell, thats a bit shit.
Nov. 16, 2009, 2:26 p.m. CST
It was a Tim Burton movie, no?
Nov. 16, 2009, 2:31 p.m. CST
No. It was a Shane Acker movie.
Nov. 16, 2009, 2:41 p.m. CST
if you even watch this movie regardless of its quality, you are gay.
Nov. 16, 2009, 2:43 p.m. CST
maybe.i am sorry for her,that she managed to destroy her career so quickly because of her vanity.
Nov. 16, 2009, 2:50 p.m. CST
We are given 9, Nine, and District nine. Okay.
Nov. 16, 2009, 2:59 p.m. CST
Kidman's career died out a long time ago.
Nov. 16, 2009, 3:03 p.m. CST
Sounds like some torture porn movie.
Nov. 16, 2009, 3:11 p.m. CST
... there's nothing to see here, right?
Nov. 16, 2009, 3:36 p.m. CST
but I'm not really against this film at all.
Nov. 16, 2009, 4 p.m. CST
sticky and musty.. Highly unpleasant :\ Plus she pisses herself on stage and makes garbage music.
Nov. 16, 2009, 4:16 p.m. CST
Either you can't read or you're making teh funny. If the latter, you've failed. Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, not wassername from Black Eyed Peas.
Nov. 16, 2009, 4:27 p.m. CST
didn't we learn this is Moriarty's buddy(or some shit)? This is suspect.
Nov. 16, 2009, 4:30 p.m. CST
The review says Sarah Ferguson, the IMDB says Stacy Ferguson. The latter made sense, but I was hoping for the former.
Nov. 16, 2009, 4:34 p.m. CST
this looks like another fuckin pretentious froofy actor showcase. and the women are past their prime. stop the sexy act I don't buy it.
Nov. 16, 2009, 4:41 p.m. CST
if i remember correctly the plot is: A porn casting couch turns snuff film. Sounds "great".
Nov. 16, 2009, 4:48 p.m. CST
Seriously. If you're too lazy to type out the name of a movie, just save whatever thought you think you have until such time as you can muster the energy to actually express yourself in real words. You know what I DON'T have time for? I don't have time to read your post if I'm going to be required to play Boggle in the middle of it or cross reference IMDb just to decode what the fuck you're talking about. "TTO:ASO sure is a great SK movie. Also, I think I want to watch SS's CMIYC again after reading the book. I watched LTROI again the other night and was blown away all over again." Fuck! Terrible.
Nov. 16, 2009, 5:05 p.m. CST
There's definitely still "something to see here."
Nov. 16, 2009, 5:15 p.m. CST
But i loved Cabaret.
Nov. 16, 2009, 5:23 p.m. CST
Ummm I would still bone the likes of Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz any day.
Nov. 16, 2009, 5:24 p.m. CST
by Ronald Raygun
Glad to know there are others on the internet that aren't lazy, semi-literate, text message pseudo-typing shitheads. Although, I do believe you meant to say "...or cross reference Internet Movie Database just to decode what the fuck you're talking about."
Nov. 16, 2009, 5:29 p.m. CST
Well played, sir.
Nov. 16, 2009, 5:31 p.m. CST
Nov. 16, 2009, 6:14 p.m. CST
by Dr Lizardo
Jeebus Bucking Crisco! There's misspelling and then there's pure bucking ignorance.
Nov. 16, 2009, 6:18 p.m. CST
by frank cotton
Nov. 16, 2009, 6:56 p.m. CST
taking your kid to see a sci-fi animated film, and getting this instead.
Nov. 16, 2009, 7:03 p.m. CST
This may be worth seeing, but the stage-show was so-so, and the odds that the film Nine's better than either 81/2 or All That Jazz are pretty slender. Btw, a pure plant wouldn't have slammed Kidman like that... so I trust this review at least to some extent.
Nov. 16, 2009, 7:09 p.m. CST
. . . his talents were wasted in "There Will Be Blood" on a rudderless script that lacked a convincing conclusion. Yes, I said it. Let the gnashings of geek-teeth and the rending of geek-garments commence.
Nov. 16, 2009, 7:15 p.m. CST
My geek-garments remain unrent, and my geek-teeth ungnashed. I'm with you. That particular emperor has no clothes.
Nov. 16, 2009, 7:53 p.m. CST
make me gay? I want to see this too, but I don't want anyone to think that. Are you still gay if you like music?
Nov. 16, 2009, 8:38 p.m. CST
Can't wait for some dumb parent to get the wrong DVD for their kid!
Nov. 16, 2009, 8:56 p.m. CST
Lewis barely held that snoozefest together. I don't care how many times people tell me Anderson is good. I'm not drinking that kool-aid.
Nov. 16, 2009, 9:09 p.m. CST
I don't care if it's Radiohead! I don't like that flavor of kool-aid either. Pretentious director and bad.
Nov. 16, 2009, 9:23 p.m. CST
Nov. 16, 2009, 9:24 p.m. CST
Josh Brolin/Jimmy Hayward/Mastadon. Yup Jonah Hex. Haven't even tasted that flavor yet and I know it will be better than There will be Watered down Lemon-Lime. I imagine it will taste like Rock-a-Dile Red or Megan Fox's pussy juice. One of the two. Kool-Aid, Ijust gave you a new flavor so put that check in the mail.
Nov. 16, 2009, 9:27 p.m. CST
Pretentious director and BAND not BAD. Although both work.
Nov. 16, 2009, 9:45 p.m. CST
Little shop is my all-time favorite.<BR><BR> Jesus Christ Super Star, and Fiddler on the Roof are good as well.<BR><BR> Sound of Music, Music Man, and The King , I adore as well, but mostly for the nostalgia I suppose. <BR><BR> Damn I bet a lot of these would look freaking amazing in BluRay. Sound of Music was shot on 65mm even.
Nov. 16, 2009, 10:02 p.m. CST
by 1st and only
i always get confused between rob and neil marshall. At first i thought, 'wow, the director of the descent is doing POTC?!' sweet! But alas no, its the other one again.
Nov. 16, 2009, 10:58 p.m. CST
...that she's playing a prostitute in this film, considering she used to be British royalty and all. Try STACY Ferguson, guy. I guess complimenting all the women in a skeevy manner is much more important than getting Ferguson's and Loren's names right.
Nov. 16, 2009, 11:13 p.m. CST
There, I said it.
Nov. 16, 2009, 11:30 p.m. CST
I mean seriously, 3 films all with the number 9 in the title? What are the odds of that shit?
Nov. 16, 2009, 11:32 p.m. CST
999.999 to 9.
Nov. 16, 2009, 11:50 p.m. CST
No Gore = none of my money
Nov. 17, 2009, 12:25 a.m. CST
Seriously, how can one read this review by such a fucking amateur? I give little credence to a person's opinion that cannot get such a basic phrase down for the purposes of a basic review. Go back to film school.. go back to ANY school that provides your illiterate ass some education in evaluating any work of art. Fuck... so little brains thrown at a movie, no less. I'm doing the dutch, I'm done...
Nov. 17, 2009, 2:59 a.m. CST
Brando was and always will be the king. He was the greatest actor ever captured on film, and maybe ever (Eleanor Duse was supposedly superb).
Nov. 17, 2009, 3:52 a.m. CST
Is this how it's done now? Glowing review of everything with a small caveat thrown in at the end (Kidman is a 'disappointment') to make it sound authentic? Chicago was a bunch of up-it's-own-ass buffoonery, and Nine looks to follow in the same footsteps. Oscar Winner's anonymous smugly floating around the screen in a vain attempt to add some more awards to the mantle. It worked for Chicago, but fool me twice...
Nov. 17, 2009, 5:34 a.m. CST
This is Spinal Tap.
Nov. 17, 2009, 6:22 a.m. CST
Nov. 17, 2009, 7:03 a.m. CST
3:05 Swinging on a Star
Nov. 17, 2009, 1:07 p.m. CST
Fuck Yes! Thank you for bringing up Hudson Hawk in the unlikeliest of places! <P>Same to you, MurderMostFowl, for bringing Little Shop of Horrors into the discussion. Two of my favorite musicals, to be sure. <P> If only they'd kept the original downer ending to Little Shop, it'd be one of my favorite movies period.
Nov. 17, 2009, 5:14 p.m. CST
Nov. 17, 2009, 5:45 p.m. CST
jesus christ superstar was the best show I ever saw. and rory bremners reworking of the song as his tribute to campbell and blair was utter sublime. the opening hook of that show made the hairs stand up on the back of neck.
Nov. 17, 2009, 6 p.m. CST
on there will be blood. i was bludgoened over the head by the hype that said day lewis gave a masterclass and to me nothing could have been further from truth. it was a long winded movie, with central performance that sucked the entire life out of the movie. there was noting remotely likeable about plainview at all. day lewis was in over mode in that movie. contrasts this with easily the best performance daly lewis ever gave. Gangs of new york. the scene where he is sitting in the rocking chair with the blood flag draped around him was masterclass performance. day lewis in that film was a masterclass. there is no contest as to who is a better actor in that movie really none at all. Plainview was a horrible human being from the off. if he had been redeemed in the end, that would have been different.
Nov. 17, 2009, 6:58 p.m. CST
Emeraldboy - go back and watch there will be blood again. don't let the funny voice and the "villainy" of Plainview distract you - the real accomplishment in Day-Lewis's performance is the complexity that lies beneath the surface. Watch as his real feelings come out when he talks about how he abandoned his boy. There's real emotion, real depth there.
Nov. 17, 2009, 6:59 p.m. CST
you say that "if plainview had been redeemed in the end, that would have been different" - blame the screenwriter, not the actor. it's not the actor's role to make somebody likeable. complex and human? you betcha, and plainview is both those things.
Nov. 17, 2009, 7:59 p.m. CST
by Rev. Slappy
I had to turn off Australia because she was so bad in it. And they've Botoxed her face to such a degree that it no longer conveys any emotion.
Nov. 18, 2009, 1:29 a.m. CST
its why i call her Ice cold kidmnan
Nov. 18, 2009, 1:34 a.m. CST
came out, was also the year no country came out. they were very serious films. so maybe, by the time I saw blood, I had had my fill.
Nov. 18, 2009, 10:54 a.m. CST
We need 9 movies with 9 in the title. And then the planets will align and puppies and kittens will live forever.
Nov. 18, 2009, 1:19 p.m. CST
by Lou C.
She has a hideous face, but is it weird the peeing thing gets me kind of excited?
Nov. 18, 2009, 6:08 p.m. CST
Still blows me away how mean people can be on the net. And most of the time it's ignorance yelling at ignorance. You can check a song list on Wikipedia. The musical itself is great--and the original prodn beat Dreamgirls for a Tony. I'm most interested that they cut a few songs that make the piece make sense. I imagine he gave it a Chicago feel, but that's him. Still great, and a tribute to Fellini that people are still interested in his stories. Great, great musical, aside from whatever the film will be. Have to agree--that Cinema Italiano seems needless.
Feb. 15, 2010, 4:38 a.m. CST
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Feb. 15, 2010, 4:38 a.m. CST
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