All That Jazz - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

All That Jazz Reviews

Page 1 of 38
August 8, 2016
Roy Scheider plays a womanizing, pill-popping, and egotistical theater director who is a (very thinly) disguised version of co-writer/director Bob Fosse. All That Jazz follows this director as he battles to stage an elaborate musical while his declining health and atrophied relationships crumble around him. All That Jazz is often compared to Fellini's 8 1/2 since it features a self-destructive auteur wading through hallucinatory sequences as his doomed production steadily fails. It's not even remotely fair to compare All That Jazz to such a universally beloved classic, but it still comes out looking good thanks to its beautifully staged dance routines, daring story structure, and some impressive acting from a cast personally affected by Fosse's proclivities both on the stage and off.
½ June 23, 2016
So unlike most Musical films All that Jazz serves as an absolute standout in that genre of film. It involves more dialogue and the musical numbers don't happen the way most of these films do. They actually serve more of a purpose here and are so well choregraphed. For Roy Scheider I must say this is a serious departure from French Connection and even Jaws this is some remarkable work here. This Semi-biographical film portrays aspects of director/dancer/choregrapher Bob Fosse who also is the director of this film.
Like Fosse the movies main character Joe Gideon is also a director Choregrapher and former dancer. Gideon is looking to direct a worthwhile broadway musical but he is also working on editing a Hollywood film. At the same time he is a heavy drinker and smoker. Gideon experiences many stressful days both in his professional life and personal life. It gets to the point where it where you wonder if he may actually die as he has continuous visions of the angel of death whom he confesses his secrets too.
The film as expected has a very jazzy 70's swagger to it. its probably the least musical esque film u'll ever see as it's more a character driven film. It does have the presumed musical numbers but it focuses more on how a director carries on life while dealing with the stress of making a musical production. It also takes time to delve right into the idea of death and kinda brings to life the idea of working one self to death.
Not to point out the obvious but it seems like every movement and every scene is choreographed like its done in a way like a rehearsal for a play. It's less a movie about being in the moment and more a film about getting each scene right which is quite a different way to direct. The mother daughter musical routine was really cute and shows how the movie also was really fun for the cast. To be honest all the numbers were dope. Overall bob fosse directs in a manner that resembles a stage play director and it really makes him stand out. The editing was excellent and so was the cinematography
Roy scheider delivers one of the most fascinating performances of his career here. he commands presence in each scene and brings a lot of ego and intrigue to this role of joe Gideon. Gideon is a a guy who is at the top of his game but deep down he struggles with trying to hold everything together. I like how this character study wasn't done overly dramatic but it still got that idea across.
I think this maybe my favorite musical along with Chicago. Go check this out especially if you love musicals.
May 20, 2016
'Nothing wrong with me (that) a rewrite of the show wouldn't cure.'
½ April 22, 2016
Outsprung from a chaotic depressed mind. Artistical visions are sent out like radiowaves from dancing bodies. Death will come, though not easy. Too long, too messy.
Super Reviewer
April 12, 2016
Good, but not as good as it thinks it is.
½ March 14, 2016
The numbers are fantastic but the rest falls pretty flat for me.
October 2, 2015
September 5, 2015
Felt like a dying man's last apology... depressing but well done, and fantastically acted.
Update: Rewatched this recently and I'm upping it a full star. Powerful, depressing and beautifully sardonic. Probably one of the most honest and truthfully representational biopics ever made.
August 21, 2015
WOW, incredible movie about death and regrets !
½ August 5, 2015
Bob Fosse hired Giuseppe Rotunno's to serve as his cinematographer. It is clear that the idea her is to apply some Fellini-like style to his bold and brave 1979 film. Filled with some truly thrilling moments -- the opening sequence is awe inspiring. But the really interesting aspect of this near masterpiece is the fact that the film doesn't even attempt to hide that it is inspired the filmmaker own life of art, sex and excess. By the time this angry movie reaches its abrupt and grim ending, you're left exhausted and amazed. An innovative, Fellini-esque and magical dance into the void. Brilliant, iconic and a Cinematic Masterwork.
Super Reviewer
July 26, 2015
Bob Fosse's dazzling, marvelously surrealistic film which is loosely based on his own life. Joe Gideon is a womanizing, chain-smoking, pill-popping director-choreographer, played brilliantly by the late great Roy Scheider, in a sensational Oscar nominated performance, which is the finest of his career. Gideon's life is a frantic mess, he is directing a big Broadway musical while trying to edit his over-budgeted motion picture about a "Lenny" like-stand up comic, as well as trying to deal with his girlfriend, ex-wife and daughter, while bearing his troubles to an angel in white, wonderfully played by Jessica Lange, who could really be death in disguised. Gideon is literally burning himself out and is inevitably heading down the path towards his own death. Terrific Oscar nominated direction by Bob Fosse, with stunning dance sequences choreographed by him, and expert supporting performances by Leland Palmer, Ann Reinking, Cliff Gorman, Ben Vereen and Erzsebet Foldi. This memorable motion picture earned 9 Academy Awards nominations including Best Picture, Best Director: Bob Fosse, and Best Actor: Roy Scheider. Highly Recommended.
July 5, 2015
I remember looking at the title image for this film and even though it's bright and dazzling, I always felt like there was a hint of despair and sadness behind it, just from the angle of it and that fact that it's surrounded by nothing but darkness, showing the hollow and cruel other side to the business. Coupled with the way the trailer was shot and what the film is actually about, I feel like what I've said about the title fits perfectly, and the fact that it is semi-autobiographical makes it all the more compelling and shocking. Honestly, the only part I feel that makes it 'semi-autobiographical' are the last few seconds. 'All That Jazz' is such a fantastic experience.

This is a very brave film and it's such a brilliant achievement, it's so unique and once more, Fosse makes something hugely influential, his direction in this film was perfect, he was a man who knew his craft well. It had an awesome introduction and it was so fast, the film feels fully alive and, much like our main character, it just kept going. Like other Fosse works, the film is funny but in a very dark and cynical sense, the characters are very well written and the acting is perfect, Roy Scheider is perfect in the film and fully jumps into character, you truly believe the way his character ends up as the film goes on. Unbelievable to think that he wasn't nominated for an Oscar more times than he was, it's a shame. It is also smartly filmed and excellently edited, even though in just one or two scenes it seemed like it cut so quick that I couldn't understand what a character said or it seemed like they were cut off. Perhaps it was only done these few times on purpose as these were the only times I noticed and the editing did win an Oscar; although, it's funny, when films that have won an Oscar for editing I always seem to find an issue with it somewhere.

Joe mentions Kubrick at one time but this film did have a very Kubrick-esqe feel to it, the use of music playing in the background throughout an entire scene but having it compliment it as opposed to being a song used for a particular moment felt like something from a Kubrick film. There were a couple points in the film where it was a simple lullaby-sounding song and given what Joe was going through at that time, made it extra saddening. We see him editing 'Lenny' throughout the film but I thought it'd be funny if it was Dustin Hoffman we saw in that footage, but it was the original actor who played Lenny in the show but not in the film, but at least everything worked out, sort of. Although, Hoffman didn't mention Roy in his speech, when he was mentioning all the other nominees, oddly; but perhaps he forgot. It felt a little bit forced that the film deals with the death-obsessed character and he just so happened to be editing something where a character kept talking about death and it kept playing whenever something was going wrong. There isn't much you can do about that given the circumstances and what he was editing so it can't be called a coincidence.

I was a little confused at first as one of the 'fake' performances happens at the start for a little bit but nothing like that happened again, but that is until the excellent ending. I'm honestly quite surprised by what happened after an hour in this film, I had no idea what would happen next, the film was already dark but the way this film concludes it's like it was laughing into the abyss, whilst also being hugely sad. Fosse's films usually end rather suddenly but each film seems to end more suddenly than the last, this film slaps you in the fast so fast and then just ends that you are just in total shock by what just happened.

Once more, Bob Fosse makes a hugely entertaining, deep, funny, cynical and influential film, it's such a shame he only managed to make a handful of films but as this film shows, he was always busy but he did pretty well for himself with his films. This film probably should have won more Oscars, but as should many more films of 1979. 'All That Jazz' is a perfect film, with excellent performances, a perfect tone, excellent musical numbers and just embraces itself so much.
May 27, 2015
It's a biographical movie of Bob Fosse, a Broadway choreographer and director, who joined scripting and directed the movie by his own. He takes a look back and musicalize his foreseen death. It's not negative nor decadent but entertaining for everyone probably because it's something like homage to musicals Bob Fosse loved. The title comes from the song 'All That Jazz' in the musical 'Chicago' which he scripted and choreographed. Bob Fosse suffered from heart attacks which killed him 8 years after the release of All That Jazz' when he was 60.
May 2, 2015
Don't usually like musicals, but I enjoyed how the musical numbers in this film occupy the space in the main character's mind, within the alter-universe that stores creativity and death.
March 4, 2015
It's not at all fair for a movie this egotistical to be this good. But unlike other cinematic ego trips (here's lookin' at you, Branagh and Wiseau), "All That Jazz" is beautifully crafted in just about every other way. From Roy Scheider's riveting performance as Joe Gideon (a thinly veiled, or rather barely veiled, version of director Bob Fosse) to the dancing, from the editing to the lighting, this movie is so well-constructed and tongue-in-cheek that its excessive, self-indulgent side can be overlooked. Structurally, it weaves cleverly in and out of a real world more believable than anything in the last thirty years of screen musicals, and a dream world in which Jessica Lange, as a white-clad symbol of death (a role that, for some reason, she nails, eerily foreshadowing her turn as Tamora in "Titus"), asks Joe questions about his life and gradually tries to ferry him across the river of death. But you'd better believe he's not going without... an escalating succession of sequin-infused musical numbers! Ben Vereen stops by for some fun, and, in one of cinema's more memorable moments, there's a scantily-dressed, impeccably choreographed pansexual frolic--Fosse style! It's a movie that, once you seen, you will never believe, a kind of 70s, postmodern, autobiographical twist on "Carousel" that just pops like crazy.
Super Reviewer
February 21, 2015
One of the best films I ever watched in my life.
February 6, 2015
Joe Gideon drinks too much, cheats too much, smokes too much. He's also a genius choreographer workaholic. While working an a surefire hit, he suffers life-altering heartache, triggering hallucinatory stream-of-consciousness musical numbers as he comes to terms with his own mortality.
And that ending....oh gods, that ending number is so fabulously amazing. I think this might be the greatest musical I've ever seen.
January 28, 2015
It's simultaneously exuberant, exciting and the most utterly pretentious film every made.
½ December 6, 2014
I wasn't clear what kind of film "All That Jazz" would be before I sat through it. Would it have the same attitude of a vehicle that features Liza Minnelli throatily singing about how much she loves New York, wrapped in a scarlet feather boa and draped in jewels? Or if it would be the kind of thing "The Band Wagon" was, only covered in pills and booze? "All That Jazz" is thankfully neither. Directed by legendary choreographer and director Bob Fosse, "All That Jazz" is painfully autobiographical; we know it, and so does Fosse. What we receive is a film that is both robust but recklessly uneven, uncompromising in its vision.
Joe Gideon (Roy Schneider) is aging in his long and paramount career. As a man in love with the stage and never willing to invent a normal, strictly crowd-pleasing production, he has become exhausted; he works only with frenetic energy and is willing to stay up hours upon hours to perfect his goals. But all those years of light sleeping, pill-popping, alcohol consuming, womanizing, and smoking have finally caught up with him. Joe can barely handle it.
In "All That Jazz," Fosse's ideas are fearless, conveyed only in lightning speed. But only about half of them are thoroughly successful. His inhibitions are sometimes extremely dynamic, energetic, even touching, while others remain dynamic and energetic but lack that impassioned stinger.
Take the "Take Off with Us" sequence, for example. The scene sees Gideon previewing his planned dance numbers for his upcoming play to executives who are offensively conservative but scared of being, dare I say it, mean. The one that comes before "Take Off with Us" has all of that theatrical ambition of a "Fame" piece; the executives already have the feeling that they're witnessing moments from their newest blockbuster. But what follows turns the practice studio into a smoking orgy of choreography, dubbed "Airotica," leaving its dancers nearly nude, sweating profusely, and rumbling around in sexual energy. It's one of the best dance sequences I've ever seen in my life. It's the pinnacle of the film. Nothing truly follows it with that same brash excellence.
Fosse is a treasure in the world of Broadway and a sporadic genius in the movies. "All That Jazz" is his "8 1/2," both stylistically and in tone. In style, it's slightly Truffaut, unafraid to jump cut, use "natural" music, and combine the contempts of real life and the joys of fantasy. In tone, it's almost uncomfortable in its self-reflexiveness, as the film mirrors Fosse's life.
Yet in the end, "All That Jazz" is split down the middle between annoying self-indulgence and filmmaking brilliance. Fosse's boldness is easy to appreciate, but there are times when the film's in your face style leaves you with a headache rather than a new lease on life. But Schneider is terrific and so is Fosse's choreography; "All That Jazz" is the definition of a mixed bag, if there ever was one.
November 23, 2014
Review In A Nutshell:

It's common for filmmakers to find a piece of themselves in the characters they create, but very few capture the biographical sense as intensely and as personally as Bob Fosse's All That Jazz. Biographical films are usually created at a time when the subject or figure that is explored has already firmly established their place in the world and some have already left our world, and the pieces we are left with to remember him/her by is the product or influence that they have left behind. All That Jazz pushes the expectations of the genre by telling a then present recount of his own life; as he was making this, he was going through the same issues as his protagonist, making the film seem much direr than what it actually is.

A sense of risk is felt when watching this particular character, slowly disintegrating through his destructive vices; but the character's flaws are not present for plot purposes, instead it is Fosse's way of crying for help. Though aware of one's own self-destructing nature, he is also aware that he is trapped by his ego, constantly hungry for perfection in order to gain that praise that allows personal satisfaction; as anybody who appreciates fine art, it is difficult to want this man to stop himself from his habits as his drive allows him to create the most beautiful of products, and it would be a shame if the public would not get the chance to see it. The film's dread and melancholy is undercut by the layer of satire that lingers on its surface; it almost seems like Fosse wants us to laugh at him because he himself is also laughing with us. He balances both of these tones wonderfully, not allowing one to dominate the other; depicting its characters and its emotions with a sense of reality.

All That Jazz's perfection also could have only been possible with Roy Scheider as the leading man, demonstrating a sense of intimacy in the way the character displays emotions, hiding the truth of himself behind his perfectionist persona; but what is most important is that the character feels human, we are watching an individual who has problems and handles them in such a flawed way, which in my opinion is humanistic. Scheider's most impressive moment was at the film's ending, where he hugs his daughter, and he looks into the eyes of his sad ex-wife, displaying tenderness without changing the tone of the scene; it was a moment that happen for only a second, yet it possesses the heaviness of something much longer.

All That Jazz captures the perfectionism qualities of humans accurately and effectively, never reaching for the melodramatic elements in order to make a sympathetic film. It also acts as a great representation of the darkness that many are not aware of within show business.
Page 1 of 38