Review: Fading Gigolo (2013)

Fading Gigolo

John Turturro’s fifth feature behind the camera is an amiable, if diluted, sex comedy that features Woody Allen in a rare starring role. When his friend’s business collapses, Floravante (Turturro) is talked into becoming a male prostitute, engaging in rendez-vous with sultry women. He questions his newfound profession, however, after forming a platonic bond with an Hasidic widow (Vanessa Paradis). Continue reading “Review: Fading Gigolo (2013)”

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Review: Blue Jasmine (2013)

Blue Jasmine

Woody Allen’s career over the past two decades has been a mixed bag at best. For every Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Midnight In Paris (both of which earned Academy Award recognition), there’s been an Anything Else or a Scoop. It would seem though, that with Blue Jasmine, Allen has crafted a sharp, perceptive and deeply honest drama with a realistic sprinkling of humour that represents the ageing filmmaker at his most inspired. Continue reading “Review: Blue Jasmine (2013)”

Sally Hawkins In Talks For Woody Allen’s Next Film

Sally Hawkins (Submarine) is in talks to star in Woody Allen’s next, as-yet-untitled film, Variety are reporting.

Hawkins, who picked up a Golden Globe nomination for her role in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky, will play one of the two female leads in Allen’s follow-up to this summer’s To Rome With Love.

Cate Blanchett (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Bradley Cooper Continue reading “Sally Hawkins In Talks For Woody Allen’s Next Film”

Penélope Cruz Circling Ridley Scott’s The Counselor

Penélope Cruz (Volver) is circling a role in The Counselor, a dramatic thriller penned by author-turned-screenwriter Cormac McCarthy, THR has revealed.

Cruz, who won an Academy Award for her role in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, will star opposite Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem and Angelina Jolie in what’s being described as “dialogue-heavy, violent and racy”.

The Counselor centers on an attorney (Fassbender) who finds himself caught up Continue reading “Penélope Cruz Circling Ridley Scott’s The Counselor”

Marilyn Monroe Takes Centre Stage On 65th Cannes Film Festival Poster

The Cannes Film Festival has unveiled their poster for this year’s instalment, featuring the one and only Marilyn Monroe.

In its 65th year, the Cannes Film Festival is the world’s most renowned film festival, and is scheduled to run from May 16 – 27, 2012.

Though no films have yet been announced, there’s rumours far and wide that the line-up could include new films by Terrence Malick, Woody Allen, Paul Thomas Continue reading “Marilyn Monroe Takes Centre Stage On 65th Cannes Film Festival Poster”

Review: Midnight In Paris (2011)

Woody Allen’s 41st film, Midnight In Paris is a light-hearted comedy set in the city of love: Paris, marks somewhat of a return to form for the exalted writer-director. Though not without its flaws, it’s a charmingly low-key affair that exudes a certain level of enjoyment that’s been missing since the critically-acclaimed Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

Gil (Owen Wilson), a successful Hollywood script writer experiencing a mid-life crisis, and his fiance, Inez (Rachel McAdams), travel to Paris with Inez’ wealthy, conservative parents. After realising how little in common he has with his prospective family, Gil heads off into Paris alone, where he not only Continue reading “Review: Midnight In Paris (2011)”

Trailer: Midnight In Paris

Director – Woody Allen

Starring – Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard and Kathy Bates

Review: You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, writer/director Woody Allen’s fortieth feature film, is tale of chicanery, infatuation and disappointment, and reunites one of the world’s best directors with the beautiful city of London.

The film follows a pair of married couples, Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) and Helena (Gemma Jones), and their daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) and husband Roy (Josh Brolin), as their passions, ambitions, and anxieties lead them into trouble and out of their minds.

After Alfie leaves Helena to pursue his lost youth and a free-spirited call girl named Charmaine (Lucy Punch), Helena abandons rationality and surrenders her life to the loopy advice of a charlatan fortune teller.

Unhappy in her marriage, Sally develops a crush on her handsome art gallery owner boss, Greg (Antonio Banderas), while Roy, a novelist nervously awaiting the response to his latest manuscript, becomes moonstruck over Dia (Freida Pinto), a mystery woman who catches his gaze through a nearby window.

Though not Allen’s strongest material, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger still has a solid story, blending the ups and downs of each relationship, and highlighting the hypocrisies of marriage. Allen clearly still has a way of letting his stories unfold in an eloquent and timely manner.

Through the unstable characters’ troubled relationships, Allen not only examines how people deal with mortality but also how we cope with life, love and existence in general.

The film, however many life-altering questions it brings up, ends just when complications set in, which not only makes you wonder how invested Allen really is with the characters’ lives, but also makes it harder to empathise with their troubled being.

The characters, from Jones’ Helena neurotic to Brolin’s anguished Roy, feel more like puppets rather than human beings with natural instincts, human emotions and comprehensible senses. They all come over as extremely egocentric and have little to offer in the way of benevolence to their counterparts.

Jones leads the cast perfectly with her portrayal of Helena. Watts, Brolin and Hopkins fail to break free of their limited dialogue and uncoloured characters, and, the shamefully wasted trio of Punch, Friel and Banderas who, despite having the most interesting on-screen personaes, are not given enough time to thrive amongst their equally underused counterparts.

While the acting isn’t up to the heights of Vicky Christina Barcelona, Annie Hall or even Match Point, it’s impressively low key enough to be a joy to watch.

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger is by no means Allen’s best film, but it’s also not his worst. It’s well-plotted, beautifully directed, contains some mildy humorous moments and isn’t short of talented actors.

It’s irritating, then, that it’s let down so wrongly by glorified scenery, under-developed characters and a script that seems to foolishly avoid dramatic impact.

Poster: Midnight In Paris

Director – Woody Allen

Starring – Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard and Tom Hiddleston