Friday, April 10, 2009

Shall we Kiss?

There is a new film drawing comparisons to Woody Allen, so we thought to draw attention to it. The name of the film is Shall We Kiss?

(HT: Tim S.)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

On Woody Allen in NYC

Patricia Clarkson offers this perspective on the difference between shooting a Woody Allen film abroad vs. at home in NYC:
"It was so nice to be shooting with Woody Allen in New York. It was divine," said Clarkson, who introduced "Whatever Works" to the ShoWest crowd. "There were a couple of days I walked to work. It was beautiful.

"He was definitely on his own turf," Clarkson said. "When we were shooting in Barcelona, it was like shooting with Mick Jagger. I mean, the streets were lined wherever we went for Scarlett and for Woody. It was like they were rock stars. In New York, the crowds gather, but I think because it's Woody, they're actually respectful of him."

Friday, April 3, 2009

Whatever Works: Reaction and Teaser

Mali Elfman, third verse same as the first. She writes:

This is what Woody Allen is best at, writing and making movies about himself. Putting his words and thoughts into other peoples mouths. Every character in some way shape or form show us how Allen feels about the world. He may be a “genius” (which he references many times in the film) but he’s always best when he leaves it simple and funny.

I was laughing out loud at a number of the witty lines, which I can’t even re-write because they would never read as well as they sound. Although my favorite part was not the laughs but when the “ohhhhh’s” that people uttered at come of his more pointed jokes.

Overall, it was a fun ride! Can’t wait until I can review it!

And she leaves us with this grainy trailer:

Yes, Woody Watchers, I've noted the limp.

Whatever Works: Second Reaction

From Alex Billington:
It is his standard New York talky, but actually one of his best films in recent years...

Out of some of Allen's most recent films, including Vicky Cristina Barcelona, this has been my favorite, for reasons I can't really describe. Maybe it was just a pure fascination with Larry David's character, who is one of those kind of guys that you feel bad for, even though he is kind of an asshole, or at least overly rude and racist, most of the time. I also just enjoyed how self-aware the film was, with David talking to the audience multiple times, and the way it's a retrospective piece on life in this world and dysfunctional relationships, not a deep analysis on how perfect love can be (or how completely un-perfect it can be, sometimes).

Even if you're not the biggest Woody Allen fan (or even if you are), Whatever Works is definitely worth seeing, whenever it comes to theaters. Writing a character for and casting Larry David was one of the best choices Allen has made in recent years. And with the right amount of positive buzz, this might end up becoming a bigger hit than his last few films. I will certainly say that it deserves to be one!

Whatever Works: First Reaction

Friends, consider this a SPOILER ALERT.

Now that that's out of the way, point your browser here for a very positive first review of Whatever Works. A little tease:
Patricia Clarkson storms into the movie after approximately 40 minutes, and plays a role in many ways comparable to Penélope Cruz's tempestuous Oscar-winning Maria Elena. While I was initially skeptical of Allen's treatment of Wood as a young Lolita, Clarkson actually plays the much more sexualized character. After showing up on Boris's doorstep in a hot pink ensemble (scrunchy included!) fit for the Southern pageant circuit, she is quickly awakened to the culture of New York. Naturally, this involves sex and art. In an interesting inversion of the much discussed relationship between ScarJo, Javier Bardem, and Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Clarkson moves in with two men without giving it a second thought. Her character transitions from praising Jesus to opening an exhibit of nude collages. Clarkson is dynamic and sexy and once again demonstrates her unbeatable range. I don't think it is any stretch to consider her worthy of this year's Oscar race.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lauren Wilcox Gets an 'A'

The Washington Post is running a must read feature entitled Stardust Memories, complete with photos. The piece looks at whether or not Woody Allen's NYC still exists, or ever existed in the first place.
Nothing of the previous era seemed to remain at all. This revelation was critical, I felt, to more than just this quarter-acre. It is practically the municipal pastime, mourning the disappearance of the "real" New York, but the question seemed fair: Did the "real" New York City, as Woody Allen saw it -- a place that for him always "existed in black and white, and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin," that "metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture," which he "romanticized all out of proportion" -- still exist? Had it ever existed at all?

A Serious Comedy

Well, not so much. But one rumor states:

A friend talked to someone attached to the upcoming, yet-to-be-shot Woody Allen film with Josh Brolin, Nicole Kidman, Anthony Hopkins, Freida Pinto, Naomi Watts and Antonio Banderas. And the "someone" says "it's a serious comedy. Like Husbands and Wives (if only) and Manhattan."

Monday, March 30, 2009

Those Who Openly Campaign

Woody Allen fans often speculate whom they'd like to see casted into upcoming projects. When we first heard of his forthcoming Paris project (tentatively scheduled for production in 2010) thoughts of Juliette Binoche, Irene Jacobs, Audrey Tautou and Julie Delphy immediately came to mind. And, of course, the sentimentalist in our head ran toward Jean-Pierre Leaud, but we're not sure if he speaks English. Oh, and please let Slawomir Idziak direct photography. Please, please.

But then the devil on the other shoulder says "no, no, no." "Woody Allen needs a new ensemble. To hell with all this turnover." The devil quiets the fanboy. But those thoughts are just the impulses of a film lover. They pass quickly and give rise to saner moments.

Nevertheless, it would be fun to put together a list of actors whom have openly campaigned to be cast into an Allen film, but, for whatever reason, have yet to appear. A few months ago, for example, Kevin Spacey said in an interview that he was waiting by the phone in hopes of a call from Woody Allen. It was said in jest, but seemed sincere. Today's New York Post--gasp and snarl, we know--quotes a young French actress named Nora Arnezeder saying it's her dream to appear in a Woody Allen film.

Woody Allen is in the winter years of life, and maybe the increasing terrors of death will take his prodigious productivity to new levels. But that's unlikely. Production will probably diminish between now and dying. Time and all of its sickening crimes seems set against him, and just when everyone is beginning to love him like they used to. Life is cruel. Still we'd rather he burn out in an inferno of production--a late life victory lap of collaboration--than slowly fade from view. There are lots of indicators that he'll have his pick of the best of cast and crew from this point forward.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

And now Nicole Kidman...

If Whatever Works fares even reasonably well at the box office and with critics, Woody Allen's 2010 release--which now includes Nicole Kidman--will soar. That is, it ought to receive a crazy amount of promotion, becoming one of the more highly anticipated films of its year. For those who aren't keeping track, the cast features Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman, Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Brolin, and Freida Pinto. It appears that Vicky Cristina Barcelona rescued Allen from ever again having to cast a Saved By the Bell castaway into a role. Color me happy.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ed Howard on Hollywood Ending

In our estimation, Woody Allen has made two poor films: Hollywood Ending and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. Ed Howard, whose film by film Allen reviews are the best of class, has recently posted a piece on Hollywood Ending. It's worth your time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Conversations on Pinto's Salary

Last week, we linked to a report that Freida Pinto was rumored to receive an astonishing 3 million for the upcoming Woody Allen project. It was a hard number to swallow. One smart whip picked up that post and started a great conversation on an IMDB board. A variant of that same conversation is on going at the always lively Criterion board. I encourage all the readers of this blog to click the aforementioned links. The conversations are informative, to say the least.

For those readers who don't know, and whom were uncertain why Good Small Films felt it necessary to post about Pinto's reported salary, one long standing precedent of appearing in an Allen film is the agreement of cast members to work for scale. 3 million is well beyond scale--more than 2.5 million steps beyond scale.

At this point, it's impossible to know if the rumors are true. There could be many other explanations, or the Indian press report could simply be a lie. We don't know. As we find out more, we'll be sure to update our posts.