Tuesday, January 19, 2016

My top Woody Allen films, so far

Hard to choose, but the first ones I ever saw were Match Point and Anything Else.  Anything Else was offbeat (Christina Ricci) while Match Point was both commercial and sophisticated at the same time.  Top Five, for sure.

I had a Woody Allen-watching binge in 2015, who knows I may have seen ten of his films in one year.  The most arthouse of them, reportedly modeled after Ingmar Bergman, is Interiors.  If you like capital F Film, you must watch this.  If you can't stand sad reality, then avoid.  Woody Allen has a few oft-repeated themes, one of them is what conservative people might tag marriage-bashing.  See Husbands and Wives to continue the education.  What's New Pussycat? to see Peter O'Toole join the fun.  It's a very old film and took me several tries to stop falling asleep.    Hollywood Ending if you want to see true love win in the end - no, you won't fall asleep.

Before the binge, I saw and loved Midnight in Paris.  Then the binge gave me two related experiences that I love just as much: Magic in the Moonlight + The Purple Rose of Cairo.  Mmua, all three of them. Mmua. 

My binge started with finally getting to the end of Vicky Cristina Barcelona.  It's an interesting film because, this guy knows how to romance places - Barcelona in this case, because he knows what to do with Scarlett Johansson (or ScarJo just plain always knows what to do; be good, bad, dangerous, imperfect, and alluring on film), because Javier Bardem looks the way he does, because Penelope Cruz sounds the way she does, and because it's generally not alright in real life to share romance in the way this movie depicts.  

I think I've seen Whatever Works in a theater, though I'm fuzzy on details like Anything Else.  They must have been alike, with a very good lead actor playing a very jaded or rebellious character that makes untraditional choices for their sexual relationship(s).  I almost forgot about Manhattan.  It must have been like Husbands and Wives, but with less drama.  A Russian student had his (Woody's) attention, I think.  Love and Death had more colour and more Russian and more explicit humour; a very theatrical experience, even if the story line evades me.   

To Rome With Love I think I saw without subtitles - oops.  I ditched Take The Money and Run because it seemed super-stupid; not my genre.  The critics always say Annie Hall is his greatest, guess I'll have to watch that again.  It seemed funny, quirky, and romance-y enough.

Next, I'm going to see Fading Gigolo (I hear it's boring, un sympathique petit film as someone called it - which is often my thing), and New York Stories (I hope he's in his element in his city.)  Then maybe Play It Again, Sam and Paris-Manhattan will be next?

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t said...

Several hours later: there's nothing petit about Fading Gigolo, a very fine and fun film. Top Ten, and a bit Vicky Cristina Americana. New York Stories is splendid. It's three short films - by Scorcese, Coppola, and Woody respectively. The Scorcese short is a fab short film, a fab piece of art and fab reflection on art. The Coppola short is a very young-at-heart collaboration that involves her papa and a young Sofia Coppola. You can see this work in mature form, nice and developed, in her recent movie "Bling Ring". In the final short, oh well, you have to watch it yourself. Neurosis, a la Monsieur Allen, but this time it's not women-as-lovers he's grappling with, it's Jewish mothers. Hehe. Great.

Erik Donald France said...

Good stuff ~ very exciting & fascinating responses. I dig it ~!

Some of the scripts are at the U of Texas in Austin. I flipped through Annie Hall and can see that film editing is a key element in final shaping. There is some satire about race relations in NYC that was dropped from the final form, mostly about fear of change and diversity.
And the nickname "Max" shifts from one character to another.

t said...

@Erik cooooool. Libraries, o libraries. I wouldn't know where to find records from Nollywood. Someday, I guess. Sometime.

Everybody will like Small Time Crooks. It's a riot. It's Take The Money And run but this time (~30 years later) it works.
I also just finished Sweet and Lowdown. It's very different, and you will like it, as will anybody that say loves musicianship and that culture. About "in the 1930s [USA] fictional jazz guitarist Emmet Ray".
Play It Again, Sam is really fun. For one thing I now understand Casablanca, I just get it now, I didn't get that film before - not the As Time Goes By song, not the Here's Looking At You Kid quote, nor We'll Always Have Paris. Now I get it. Play It Again is very fine work, very like Hollywood Ending, Husbands and Wives, and those other ones, and it just works.
All three are really funny and really entertaining, well done, and probably good for the brain.

I have an ex and friend who was so Woody. It's cool seeing where a lot of his culture came from. No wonder I didn't get him. Phew.

t said...

Paris-Manhattan is generally happy, which does not make for an exciting movie, but it's a pretty film, those vivid colours and texture-drenched shots, the joy of listening to a French-language film, and a gorgeous gorgeous closing scene, make it a fun film anyway. It's only about 1hr long. I like it. More like this and I'll believe in love.

t said...

Do believe the hype: Blue Jasmine is really really fun, good, intelligent, educative, everything you want in a movie.
In the past week or so, I also watched Celebrity and Deconstructing Harry, both fabulous.