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Entries in Woody Allen (68)

Friday
Jan302015

Random Bits & Open Thread

A Little Chaos with Kate Winslet, that I told you about at TIFF, has moved to Dec 31st. Worst release date evah. I will assume from now on that all Dec 31st releases are the Oscar contractual eligibility equivalent of the January dumping ground for mainstream movies

• ♪ This shit, that ice cold, Michelle Pfeiffer, that white gold ♫

• Speaking of January garbage, I find this poster for Wild Card wildly pornographic. (Like every image of Jason Statham. Shut up) 

• Is the Superbowl this weekend? Guess that means blockbuster movie trailers hit web Sun/Mon & we get backed up on YNMS

• Woody Allen's 2015 is called Irrational Man. The best (potential) news is that Parker Posey is in the cast. And since every other Woody movie is terrible and we just got through a dire one maybe this one will be good?

• I promise I'll go see Paddington this weekend. Need my Nic'

• Why haven't you voted on the Beauty vs. Beast: Hud edition yet. This one is a close match. 

WHAT'S ON YOUR (CINEMATIC) MIND? 

Monday
Jan122015

Beauty vs Beast: Bombing The Globes

JA from MNPP here again, keeping the Golden Globes afterglow going with this week's double-edition of our weekly "Beauty vs Beast" poll. Looking for a communal villain at an awards show can be rough - one person's beastly Matthew McConaughey or nightmarish Alejandro González Iñárritu will be inexplicably loved by others (quite deranged folks, I'm convinced). But then there are the "Ooof" moments, when something lands with a quite resounding thud, and those are the times that well, those are what we'll most likely remember one two and ten years from now. Here are two of last night's "Ooof" moments. Which side do you fall down on?

I have my own opinions (read this tweet) as to what's going on with Jeremy Renner, who was all kinds of messy from the moment he hit the stage, but anybody who can make a long avowed J-Loather like me feel a pang of sympathy for her is sure accomplishing... something. On the other hand... the globes, they were definitely golden? As a statement of fact it's not false, exactly. Okay I'm stretching.

 

Next up...

That picture will never not crack me up. Personally I was down with Margaret Cho's North Korean schtick; what pushed it over the edge for me was the banality of her offered opinions, like the category mis-placement of Orange is the New Black. But I gather not everyone took to it so kindly! Meryl Streep, for instance, seemed genuinely mortified being roped into the routine. That said I don't know if you've heard this but Meryl Streep is considered a fine actress -- her horror might've been a ruse. A terribly terribly convincing ruse. (Maybe she'll win an Emmy for the performance next year?)

 

You've got one week to make your opinions heard; hit the comments and draw your battle lines. And yes, one week from now we'll know the Oscar nominations and the Golden Globes will be but a foggy hangover feeling; tis the nature of the awards beast.

PREVIOUSLY Last week's poll tackled Annie Hall in honor of Diane Keaton's birthday, and she easily la-di-da'd her way to a triumph, taking over 80% of the vote! Poor Alvy, this is gonna keep him in therapy for... yeah he's never getting out of therapy. Said brookesboy:

"I think some people think Keaton is getting by on charm in this role, but it's so much more than that. The seeming effortlessness in this performance is what makes it so special and enduring."

Monday
Jan052015

Beauty vs Beast: The La-Di-Da Lady

JA from MNPP here, back from the holidays and welcoming everybody to the year 2015 with a brand new round of "Beauty vs Beast." This week we're tackling one of our most favorite actresses and her maybe probably most definitely most iconic role - yup it's Diane Keaton's 69th birthday today and so la-di-da la-la y'all...

 

So all of you left-wing Communist Jewish homosexual pornographers have got one week to make your voice heard - vote and then tell us in the comments which neurotic you wanna chase lobsters with. And happy birthday, Diane Keaton!

PREVIOUSLY I wasn't here last week and so Nathaniel took over and man, did he come up with a doozy - in The Battle of the Tildas, the winner was... Tilda! Snowpiercer Tilda, to be specific - the Minister Mason made like a good shoe and trounced over Wes Anderson's old-lady-drag competition. (For the record, Mason's my pick too.) Said commenter Marsha Mason:

"I think Tilda in Snowpiercer was the supporting performance of the year. Showy and even a little cartoonish maybe, but it meshed perfect with the art design and surreal feel and everything else about that movie. It was perfect for a fantasy world take on real sociological problems."

Monday
Dec082014

Beauty vs Beast: All The Cool Girls

Jason from MNPP here, saying tis the time for a round of "Beauty vs Beast" once more. This week we're finally tackling one of this year's biggest movies, David Fincher's Gone Girl - financially it's the biggest hit of its director's career, and critically, well a lot of people loved it and are hoping to see it figure prominently in the upcoming awards races. (I am not one of those people; I reviewed it at NYFF saying "a lot of what makes Amy into 'Amazing Amy,' what makes her particularly spectacular on the page, is the deeply darkly funny specificity of her voice, unpeeling like an onion, and that falls away from the movie just when I needed it most.") Anyway there's a good chance Rosamund Pike will be nominated for her performance as Amazing Amy, and it'll probably show up in some other categories as well. And if there's a bigger He Said She Said movie of 2014 I certainly missed it, so let's see who we side with!

 

I might have gone a little vague there in the Cons maybe...? The Pros were easy to be spoiler-free on, but listing these two's Cons without giving away too much of the game, that defeated me. If y'all have seen the movie you've certainly got your own laundry list of them, so tell us all about it in the comments.

PREVIOUSLY Last week we tackled the sisters of Blue Jasmine for Woody Allen's birthday, and even though Sally put up a helluva fight, as with the Oscars we couldn't help ourselves from lavishing our love on the showier gal. The Great Cate makes one more successful trek to the podium! Said Jakey:

"Jasmine, because when my life falls apart, I also wonder why I can't just get a Stoli with lemon."

Monday
Dec012014

Beauty vs Beast: Woody and His Sisters

Jason from MNPP here wishing a happy Monday afternoon to everybody -- tis the time for our weekly fix of "Beauty vs Beast." Today's the 79th birthday of Woody Allen so I figured we'd dive into his back-catalog of rich characters for today's face-off, but where should we head? Villains in his films aren't easy to come by - I considered ScarJo vs Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Match Point but I haven't seen that film in too long; I briefly wandered towards the marital-bloodbath of Husbands and Wives but, well, let's leave Woody versus Mia off the table for the time being. No, it's his most recent success (I don't think anybody can consider Magic in the Moonlight a success) that I think gives us a good cloudy bout of good versus not-so-good to tango with.

 

Both ladies were Oscar nominated but only one stormed away with the gold - you've got seven days to decide who gets your personal gold star.

PREVIOUSLY True story: After dinner this weekend my boyfriend wandered into a strange bar to grab a beer and it turned out to be a scary hole in the wall and we each got to trot out our "What a dump" impersonations; it was awesome. So it would seem that like the rest of you, our big drunken hearts belong to Team Martha. Said Rick:

"Oh, hell...Martha seems like she's having way more fun than anyone else!"

Wednesday
Nov052014

The Way Big Hero Looks in the Moonlight

As you read this I am en route to L.A. to join Anne Marie & Margaret at the AFI this week so expect coverage of A Most Violent Year and The Gambler premieres, a sneak peek at Selma, a Sophia Loren tribute, and more. But before that all start, and as I fly over some of you, brief thoughts on...

THREE SCREENINGS

THE WAY HE LOOKS 
Opens November 7th in limited release
Glenn has already smiled upon this Brazilian coming-of-age film in our ongoing Oscar foreign film race coverage but I wanted to offer my own thumbs way up, too. Like all niche audiences, LGBT people are sometimes too forgiving of bad movies so long as they meet their particular niche needs. But you can love The Way He Looks without any of the guilt that sometimes accompanies pleasure because it's very good.

This affecting high school drama is a love triangle of sorts that plays, smartly, more like a friendship triangle... since all three of its leads are still feeling their way toward their own futures, figuring themselves out. That's particularly true of Leonardo, who is blind and painfully aware that that limits his options. He still dreams of moving out of his parents house and really wants to do a foreign exchange program. His two best friends are Gabriel, a new boy in town who immediately puts him at ease, since he's unphased though sometimes a bit confused about the blindness, and Giovana his best girlfriend since childhood who walks him home every day from school and is so protective that she's become entirely codependent. Giovana resents Gabriel's growing place in Leo's life and nobody ever understands quite what anybody else if feeling. They're all immediately bruised by each other but still walking tightly arm in arm which makes for a hugely sympathetic totally relatable tale of first loves, young friendships and heartbreaks. It's endearing and, like Big Hero 6 (discussed next) it admires the good natures of its characters and their capacity for kindness and love. I don't mind sounding Pollyanna about this: I love seeing basically decent loving people dramatized on film.  That seems to be out of fashion in film and television characters so it's a special treat now when you see it, like a unicorn. B+

BIG HERO 6
Opens November 7th
Daring the long long shadow of The Incredibles, one of the best animated films and one of the best superhero films of all time, this initially very charming movie is about a genius robotics nerd named Hiro (voiced by Ryan Potter) whose older supremely good-natured brother Tadashi (voiced by Daniel Henney), also a tech wizard, convinces him to develop his skills at college instead of wasting them on robot fights. Take that Real Steel! Tadashi's best invention is that white inflatable marshmallow like A.I. you've seen in the trailers named Baymax. A fateful series of events, which I won't spoil though I'm betting the trailers I haven't watched already did, changes everything and suddenly Hiro is furiously reconfiguring Baymax with armor and jetpacks and taking him far from his original purpose as an inhome nurse. Hiro teams up with his new college friends (hence the plurality of the title) to fight off a supervillain in a kabuki mask. The second half of the movie is quite a deflation, sadly. You can feel the pandering for all demographics and senses of humor and like so many visual effects movies the climax is just a mess of OVERLONG NOISY ACTION SETPIECE without much character weight, steering this movie towards "fun but predictable/disposable action-comedy".

But, you know, the things it does well are awfully hard to shake. And boy does that initial brotherly bond stick in the heart. The movie is decidedly pro education (nice to see in a movie), the animation is beautiful, and it's nothing short of wonderful to see a blockbuster family movie led, unambiguously, by people of color. They even used Asian actors for the voices. Well done.  B


MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT
Coming to DVD/BluRay in December
I had remembered this getting relatively mild reviews, inspiring neither loving nor loathing, so it was a surprise to discover a quite emphatically bad movie dully staring back at me. I didn't buy one single moment of it from Emma Stone's strangely lackluster star turn, to Colin Firth's mannered fussiness to the various relationships and plot "twists". I amend: I didn't buy one single moment of it that didn't involve Eileen Atkins as "Aunt Vanessa" who is the film's sole bright light, totally charming and authentically aunt-like both emotionally involved and appropriately removed from whatever is ailing her incorrigible celebrity nephew's heart and soul. That's really too bad because the core idea of the movie is "fun" if you will and there's a whole slew of good actors standing around with nothing good to play with. What's more the real life magician its riffing on, an Englishman who was globally famous, not as himself but in yellowface as a Chinese illusionist named Wei Ling Soo, is also richly fertile ground for a screenplay. It's easy to imagine a pretty great movie emerging from that historical figure and obviously several pretty great movies have emerged in the romantic comedy genre by pitting competing agendas against each other in the form of a man and a woman for whom falling in love is a gigantic inconvenience. But it doesn't remotely work, the romance especially (Firth & Stone have zero chemistry) and the smothering atmosphere is one of laziness... like no one is trying at all (particularly Stone & Allen) or like they're trying too hard (Colin Firth, Hamish Linklater) sensing the inconsequential piffle around them or like they're standing around wishing someone would ask them to try at all (Marcia Gay Harden). D

Friday
May232014

Yes No Maybe So: "Magic in the Moonlight"

Another year, another Woody Allen. Same as it ever was. Coming off another professional high Blue Jasmine but a personal low, will people turn out? Woody films are always hard to predict, reception wise both critically and at the box office (I'm still so alarmed at how successful To Rome With Love was despite being so so terrible), from abject failures to Oscar nominees. But let's talk about Magic in the Moonlight ... or at least our futurist perception of it based on its new trailer. 

The Yes No Maybe So™ breakdown is after the jump...

Click to read more ...