Wednesday, January 13, 2010

NINE / **½

Distributor: Weinstein Company
Release Date: December 18, 2009
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 110 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Before it came out, “Nine” was highly touted as a big contender this awards season. After all, it was directed by Rob Marshall, who helmed the Oscar-winning “Chicago.” It stars Oscar winners Daniel Day-Lewis (“There Will Be Blood”), Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”), Nicole Kidman (“The Hours”), Judi Dench (“Shakespeare in Love”), Penelope Cruz (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), and Oscar nominee Kate Hudson (“Almost Famous”). Oh yeah, and Fergie.

Then it actually came out, and landed with a loud thud with critics and audiences alike. Now having seen the film it’s not hard to understand why. While it features a couple of fun songs, and good performances from Cotillard and Cruz, “Nine” is largely flat and emotionally distant. Even the great Day-Lewis is uncharacteristically dull.

Day-Lewis stars as Guido Contini, a film director whose early films were great, but is coming off a couple of flops. He’s trying to get back into the public’s good graces with his next film, “Italia,” starring the popular Claudia (Kidman). The only problem is that there is no script, and Guido has no real idea for what he wants to do.

Guido is a man defined by his relationships with the women that surround him. There’s his wife Luisa (Cotillard), his mistress Carla (Cruz), his costume designer Lilli (Dench), his star Claudia, his Mamma (Sophia Loren), the seductress Saraghina (Fergie), and Vogue writer Stephanie (Hudson). All of these characters are infinitely more interesting than Guido, yet they all orbit around his sun.

As was the case with Marshall’s previous two films, “Chicago” and “Memoirs of a Geisha,” the costumes and set design is top notch. Most of the musical numbers, especially Hudson’s “Cinema Italiano,” Cotillard’s “Take It All,” and Fergie’s “Be Italian” are really well done; it’s just the in between times that aren’t nearly as compelling.

The film is based on a play that itself was based on Federico Fellini’s seminal “8½.” It’s great source material, but it seems that something got lost in the translation.

Theater: RDM Westroads 14, Omaha, NE
Time: 525 pm
Date: January 13, 2010

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