Tag Archives: Woody Allen

Midnight in Paris (2011) Film Review

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Watching this film makes me finally get Woody Allen. I’ve seen several of his films and have not understood why he is considered such a genius; often, I find them amusing and well made but they don’t grab me. And then, there is Midnight in Paris.

So, Gil (Own Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) are holidaying in Paris with her parents. He is a screenwriter who is working on a novel; she really likes spending money and putting him down. When he is wandering, drunk, at midnight one night, he gets picked up by an old car that takes him off to a glamorous twenties-style party – only it turns out that he has actually travelled back in time, and ends up partying with Zelda and F Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Ernest Hemmingway, Pablo Picasso – oh, and getting writing advice from Gertrude Stein. Gradually, he realises that he has little in common with his fiancé and is living a lie – but is the life he lives at night as much of a lie?

I love the absurdity of the twenties scenes, of seeing these wonderful representations of characters from the past. Owen Wilson didn’t quite work for me; I’ve gone from being a huge fan of his to really disliking him onscreen to being somewhere in the middle. But, at least it wasn’t Woody Allen himself- I really cannot stand that man onscreen.

I didn’t like that Inez and her parents were so obviously awful to Gil. I’m sure it is making a point, but I found it annoying and would have liked it if there were more subtlety to them.

Midnight in Paris won an Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Woody Allen) and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing (Woody Allen) and Best Achievement in Art Direction.

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To Rome With Love (2012) Film Review

To Rome With Love

 

Ovbiously, set in Rome, To Rome With Love follows several plot lines that flow over each other and could easily be separate films.

There’s the opera plot, with Woody Allen and Judy Davis playing parents to Hayley (Alison Pill), a visiting American student who falls in love and becomes engaged to a very handsome Italian. Allen’s character discovers a talent in Hayley’s soon-to-be father-in-law that, I recall, was a plot from the Brady Bunch back in the seventies. This plotline was ridiculous and drove me nuts, but luckily I felt the rest of the film made up for it.

There’s the mysterious character plot, which covers architect Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) having to entertain his girlfriend’s best friend Monica (Ellen Page) who is visiting. Jack’s girlfriend is studying and has exams, so leaves the two of them alone despite the number of men who have fallen in love with Monica over the years. Alec Baldwin plays the mysterious character of John, a highly successful architect who is hanging around like an imaginary friend to Jack, pointing out how pretentious Monica is, and how inevitable the story is. Despite the fact that I have no inclination to assess and interpret this character, I liked this plotline.

Then there’s the newlyweds who are planning to move to Rome for the husband to work for his family, but through a series of misunderstandings, he ends up taking a prostitute around with his sombre relatives and she ends up in the hotel room of a famous actor.

And finally, Roberto Benigni, ah, the wonderful Roberto Benigni, who plays an average office worked who suddenly has extreme fame thrust upon him for no reason. Too wonderful, and delightful, and fabulous.

I quite like short stories, and this film was just like a collection of little short stories. It’s not a big, important piece of work. It’s just delightful, and what a beautiful and amazing setting. I’ve not yet been to Rome. Now, I really, really want to.

 

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Blue Jasmine (2013) Film Review

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Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) has lived the life of a high-society woman in New York for years, married to financier Hal (Alec Baldwin). However, he was busted for running some schemes that lost a lot of people all their money.  Broke, Jasmine has gone to stay with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins) until she gets back on her feet. Despite her own situation and ruin, she constantly criticises Ginger for her choices in life and in men whilst struggling to maintain a semblance of sanity.

I’ve not seen a lot of Woody Allen films, but I think this is a pretty good one. The characters are believable in all their insanity and the emotional discomfort created is quite intense. Cate Blanchett is wonderful in the role of Jasmine, seemingly in control much of the time yet totally incompetent in so many ways.

Blue Jasmine won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama (Cate Blanchett) and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Sally Hawkins). It was also nominated for Oscars for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Cate Blanchett), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Sally Hawkins) and Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Woody Allen) and nominated for BAFTAs for Best Original Screenplay (Woody Allen), Best Leading Actress (Cate Blanchett) and Best Supporting Actress (Sally Hawkins)

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Match Point (2005) Film Review

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Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) was a professional tennis player, travelling the circuit but not getting through to the finals. He decides to retire to London, taking on a coaching role at an exclusive health club. There, he meets Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode), striking up a friendship and quickly becoming a part of his family. Chris dates Chloe (Emily Mortimer), Tom’s sister, with the blessing of her parents Alec (Brian Cox) and Eleanor (Penelope Wilton). However when he meets Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson), Tom’s American actress fiancé, an obsession develops. A very dangerous obsession.

I really don’t like Woody Allen onscreen. Luckily, he is not in Match Point, and there is no character like the typical Woody Allen character either. I didn’t mind the film, although it seemed a bit long and rambling. The really interesting stuff happens in the last forty minutes or so, and had there been more of this part, I think I’d have enjoyed it more. As it was, I didn’t mind it. Didn’t love it, but didn’t mind it.

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Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) Film Review

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Barcelona is beautiful, and I find it hard to believe that anything film there could not appear beautiful. Add in some romance, lust and some very attractive people and you have a film that is pleasant to look at.

Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina Scarlett Johansson) are friends who have gone to Barcelona for the summer. Vicky is engaged to a conservative, button-down man back in the states, and Cristina is wild and restless, looking for new and interesting experiences. They meet Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), a passionate artist who proposes weekend away where he hopes they will have a lot of fun and hopefully end up in bed together. Vicky is repulsed, but Cristina is intrigued, so they go. Over the summer, Vicky’s notion of her life as a wife and lover is challenged, whilst Cristina finds the new experiences she is hoping for, yet continues to search.

I enjoyed the film, but felt totally let down at the end. It was as though both had had experiences that changed their lives and minds, yet they barely appear changed. Although I suspect this is the pretty much the point of the film. I guess I just wanted more.

For me, the film is worth seeing just for Penelope Cruz as the overly dramatic and passionate ex-wife of Juan Antonio – marvelous, wild and exciting.

Penelope Cruz won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.

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