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Category:    Home > Reviews > Musical > Backstage > Filmmaking > Italy > Biography > Nine (2009/Sony DVD)

Nine (2009/Sony DVD)


Picture: C+†††† Sound: B-†††† Extras: C-†††† Film: C-



There is a reason the Musical died decades ago and that is because by the 1950s, Hollywood did just about everything to keep it alive and occasionally, a big hit had them rush out and make a dozen more that bombed.Music Videos killed the genre more, but the genre slowly returned.The only thing is, you must reinvent the whole thing every time you set out to do another one.Among the many mistakes Rob Marshall made with Nine (2009) is he recycled the style of his hit version of Chicago and that has absolutely nothing to do with Federico Fellini, Marcello Mastroianni, Italian Neo-Realism or Italy.


Then comes the casting, getting stars for commercial reasons when they needed to get more high profile stars that fit like Sophia Loren.Aside from her, if you can pronounce the actors name (unless you speak and read Italian well), their presence is questionable.Daniel Day-Lewis is a fine actor, but I never begun to buy him as either Fellini or Mastroianni, Marion Cotillard is not bad, but Nicole Kidman is too similar here to her work in the overrated Moulin Rouge to work, Judi Dench just fits, Kate Hudson tries with some results, Stacy Ferguson (aka Fergie) is out of her element, Penelope Cruz is too much in the Almodovar mode and combined do not create a big bang of musical chemistry that was needed.


Anthony Minghella passed away before he could see this script through, so that likely hurt, but he gets credit for it with Michael Tolkin, whose Changing Lanes script (2002) was not that bad despite a questionable ending.What may have seemed respectful reference to Fellini et al on stage needed to go deeper here, but does not and the film inadvertently demeans the life, loves and filmmaking of the man by making it shallow, flat and the spectacle here never equals any Fellini film when all it needed to do was look as good as one of them.


Marshall last took over Memoirs Of A Geisha (2005) from Spielberg and could not make that work either, but his difficulties here are much worse.Maybe he is running out of things to say, do or show, but he had better recover soon or Chicago will look like a singular fluke.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is a mix of color and black and white film that does not always mix well, especially since the commercial black and white does not even begin to try to look like Felliniís monochrome classics like La Dolce Vita (1960), referenced often here.Director of Photography Dion Beebe has been in a rut lately and for all his talent, seems bored here.This transfer does not help by being too soft with poor Video Black and detail, though the Blu-ray might look better, but cannot change problematic aesthetic decisions.The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is a little better, but also disappoints with some mixing issues and soundfield limits, though the singing is recorded well enough.Extras include eight featurettes, three Music Videos (if you can call them that) and a feature length audio commentary by Marshall and Producer John Deluca.



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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