Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love

Woody Allen has some greats, but this is not one of them. Unfortunately, with this talented cast of characters including Roberto Benini, Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Paige, Jesse Eisenberg, Judy Davis, and Woody Allen – was not enough to make a good movie.  There were four different story lines – all of them loosely connected – but none of them related to each other in any worthwhile way.  In fact, the only story line remotely interesting was the Baldwin/Eisenberg/Paige story.  The others served as non sequitur tangents that filled the time and space with some trivial, less-than-interesting stories.  Each one started with curious promise, but were ultimately failures.


Allen successfully told the Baldwin/Eisenberg/Paige story in an inventive, exciting way. I would have like to have seen more of Baldwin act as a seen/unseen moral compass. Somehow, Allen seamlessly placed an entire walking and talking, yet imaginary, Alec Baldwin into the lives of these young Americans living in Rome. Loved it.

Another well-done feat was placing all the stories in different time lines.  One story, involving a newly married couple starting out in Rome, had a story that ran the course of a day.  At the same time, it parallels another story, the young Americans living in Rome, that covers several weeks. The transition from story to story, despite the time leaps, was flawless.

Those were refreshing techniques in story-telling, but the actual stories themselves lacked substance. Overall, the movie was barely charming, easy enough to watch, but pretty forgetful. Not that funny either. Allen uses quite a bit of slap-stick humor that I can’t say was successful. Given the number of movies that Allen churns out, they can’t all work. This one does not. I do not recommend you spend any money watching it in the theaters… $5

If you heart To Rome With Love

Recommendations from Yolkie:
Happenstance

Melinda and Melinda
Paris, Je T’aime

Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris

Nobody likes you Owen Wilson go away you’re stupid! You’re annoying, no one likes yr face. It is too surprised and Jewish. Too incredulous. You are Cameron Diaz but worse because there is a strong possibility you are hiding a penis. Cameron Diaz may be hiding a penis but that is only a slight possibility. It seems like if she did have a penis she would at least be funny. But now yr stupid-ass Cameron Diaz comparison is getting me off topic.

Midnight in Paris is the sort of film a director makes toward the end of his career when he wants to commune with all his heroes. In my opinion no one does this better or more lovingly than Woody Allen – a guy completely unashamed to share his most precious influences (i.e. where he has been stealing from). Ingmar Bergman for ex. Or in the case of Midnight – Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso . . . Allen is a director with balls enough to blatantly imitate and physically embody his idols as a form of praise. No one re-exhumes the dead like he can.

Allen has also be known to heap praise upon the cities he is shooting. Midnight makes an argument for Paris as utterly wonderful which I find admirable since I always envisioned Paris as having nothing but that rich food and heavy sauces, sidewalks littered with dog shit, and snooty people. Allen uses the landscape of Paris to his advantage, cramming the message that the city is chock-full with gorgeous art and architecture. Easy to forget having no geography, easy to forget to appreciate living in America – the most unabashedly generic nation on earth (esp. between the coasts).

Rachel McAdams is as startlingly beautiful as ever. She has undeniably become one of the great actresses of her generation. Michael Sheen superb as always. Owen Wilson forgettable and unnecessary – a missed opportunity for Allen not to have replaced him with a more interesting actor – I would have gone with James Franco. Younger, funnier and more literate. I’d say the performance of the film belonged to Corey Stoll who created a comical, commanding and charming interpretation of Hemingway.

Not the filet of Allen’s catalog. A little too magical and a little too little at stake. But he still continues to be one of the most ingenious and undeniably the most distinctive filmmaker today . . . $8

If you heart Midnight in Paris:

Recommendations by DJ Cheet
The Purple Rose of Cairo
Steven Shainberg’s Fur
Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People

Adrienne Shelly’s Waitress

For those who enjoy Woody Allen flicks for their fresh, often affirming view of infidelity – but don’t enjoy them because they think Woody himself is crusty and a lecher – Adrienne Shelly’s Waitress should be on your list. No film that I’ve seen recently has handled the issues of unhappy marriage and impending motherhood in a more fascinating or satisfying way. And few films are more devoid of Woody Allen. I’m pretty sure Woody has never even heard of Waitress. He has been pretty busy seducing far younger women, far fresher-faced women than exist in the Waitress world.

I know you’re thinking Felicity is looking pretty old and haggard these days and it pisses you off because it makes you realize how old and haggard you yourself are getting (unless you are a man, men age like wine, women age like fruit). But you know, the old gal has picked up some fairly impressive acting chops along her way. Which should cheer you up because it goes to show, you can teach an old dog new tricks. New tricks which include an authentic white-trash, Southern accent (authentic as far as I can tell, I don’t actually know as I never consort with white-trash unless I need to buy something from Walmart).

The most impressive thing about Waitress is not the actor from Firefly. He isn’t bad, but I couldn’t figure out if he wasn’t trying to inflect his performance with a mild form of retardation. Which makes sense because 1) they only make retards doctors if the only other people available are white-trash Southerners and 2) most doctors don’t fall in love with white-trash Southerners unless they are either Mormon or mentally handicapped in some profound way. Do you think you have this movie figured out? You don’t. You don’t have a fucking clue.

Waitress is most impressive because of its ability to surprise you in about a thousand delightful ways. You think you have these characters pinned just because they talk funny and their clothes look like they were bought at Kid Rock’s garage sale? Well you fucking don’t. Fewer than 1% of films being made today have less cliche characters than waitress. Just when you think this movie is going to go Leo and Shelly from Twin Peaks – you are pulled into a moment far more vulnerable, far more daring. For people of my generation The Princess Bride is the perfect film for its novelty, its quirkiness, and its nostalgia. I have a pretty good feeling the warmth and the sincerity of Waitress are going to win over a new generation of viewers . . . $8

If you heart Adrienne Shelly’s Waitress:

Recommendations by Quispy
The Good Girl
Whatever Works
8 Women


Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

O Scott Pilgrim! At the sound of the synapses firing from reading these words we should be dashing (even if you are a swift walker, still you should dash) to watch the ecstatic playground, the festival of lights, the melting pot of rock, the pinata of quirky mayhem that is your stomping ground.

Edgar Wright! It is no mystery why lesser directors such as Kevin Smith want to suck your cock. If talent behind a camera was cock Edgar, you would be . . . a python . . . that is eating another python. And Kevin Smith would be a vagina. And you would be blowing the steaming moneyshot of your genius all over Kevin Smith’s brow and eyebrows and probably a little bit in his beard too.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead! Who wouldn’t kill themselves to be with you in this one? Your beauty is not merely a novelty (even if they say well in Death Proof you did spend the entire flick running around in a cheerleading uniform – hot). I think it’s just that when asked, you fulfill the roles of caricatures superbly (i.e. it is very easy to project our fantasies on you). But you are beyond scream queen status. I’m looking forward to following you into more complex terrain.

Michael Cera! The greatest presence since Woody Allen who is making awkwardness cool and ostensibly appealing to the ladies. Though I have to say, Ellen Wong! You stole the show! The best dramatic and comedic performance of the flick belonged to you.

There is too much genius to list, but here is a list:

1) Nigel Godrich
2) For making emotional battles – literal
3) For making every guy in that movie theater want to play bass guitar in a garage band
4) For casting the cutest girls, even in minor roles (i.e. Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza)
5) Video games – the oldschool way
6) For making sure almost every cut of the film was so fresh and so clean
7) For not blowing it on about ten million references to pop culture – comics, music, film, refrigerator magnets; for getting them right or right enough
And 8 – Kieran Culkin – King of all Culkins

I.e. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World you are the coolest MFer on the planet at this moment . . . $12

If you heart Scott Pilgrim vs. the World:

Recommendations by Quispy:
Peter Care’s The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
Stephen Frears’s High Fidelity
Tarsem Singh’s The Fall

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