Woody Allen: A Documentary (2012)

WoodyAllenADocumentaryApart from a very short period of time (something like less than a year) I am a big Woody Allen fan. I’ve seen almost all his films. So, when the documentary was released in a film festival, I thought: “but I know the guy inside-out, watching it should be a waste of time!”. Big mistake! This is an excellent film worthy of its subject.

It is very interesting to see how Woody Allen started, as a person that was extremely uncomfortable with a live audience and became the director he is now. How things in his childhood affected his obsessions, ideas, beliefs. The way people who worked with him speak about their collaboration. The way he sees his work, life, love and of course death!

It is such a pleasure to see a man at his age to have such clarity, soberness and maturity about all aspects of his life and work.

He is really amazing as is this film that shows the man behind the work done. If you like his movies do not miss it. If you don’t, well, you may learn something in another level 🙂

My rating: 09/10 (Ok, I said I am a fan!!!)

To Rome with Love (2012)

To Rome with Love” is the film of Woody Allen I liked the least so far.

There are four stories in that film which could be shown one after the other but are mingled instead. Does this make the film more interesting? Yes, it would be more boring otherwise.

  • A young couple coming from a village to Rome – Good intentions between people but hypocrisy and lies prevail. A lot of (justified) irony for the rules of the upper class. This is probably the first time Woody Allen displays such a resentment and bitterness for the other sex.
  • The young architect his girlfriend and the actress – When unreasonable passion may ruin one’s life. The stupidity of the male highlighted.
  • The retired opera director and the talent that can only sing like Caruso only in the shower – How one may reject retirement, that being a step before death without being ridiculed?
  • The typical Italian employee who attracts Media attention for no reason – This is probably the strongest story of the four, highlighting in the most caustic way the illogical and enervating news the Media is feeding the public. Just brilliant!

My rating: 06/10

Midnight in Paris (2011)

 Before reviewing the film, there are some feelings that I must share with you. Feelings that may have affected my point of view for this movie.

A couple of weeks ago I had a discussion with a close friend of mine about Woody Allen. That friend of mine pointed out that the director’s physique is mainly responsible for his neurosis. A neurosis that he cleverly uses in most of his films, out of which he makes a lot of money. Films that present the same topics, i.e. love and death. A neurosis that he is sarcastic about, but the spectator cannot tolerate to see again and again.

There was a strong point that really got me thinking. It was so strong that for the first time, I could not enjoy one of his films that I had not seen for a long time. How much truth was in what was said? What makes a real artist? If there an artist that created a masterpiece, while he (or she) had a peace of mind and everything solved? For sure we are not talking about masterpieces here, but the concept remains: we create because we need to transform the pain we feel in life. Whether we like or not the work of an artist is subjective for sure and everybody is entitled of his own opinion. Somehow however I feel that we should not be criticizing the conditions that led to the creation.

Even if I did rationalize, the effect remained. It is said that a dress hides a body’s defects. The memory however of a body with defects does not vanish when the body is dressed up again. Midnight in Paris was out in the theaters for two weeks and I was not in the mood to see it! Until tonight!

The film is not one of his best. There are some neat things about it though. A look of Paris from a person that is in love with the city, excellent photography, the idealization we make for another era (or situation) because we are disappointed from what we currently have, the need to fall in love (yes, again!), the fear of death (yes, I know!), a smart script plus others…We do not want spoilers, now, do we?

My rating: 06/10

PS. The post has changed since its original publication. Needless to say there are no grudges against the friend mentioned above for ‘removing the dress’. We must be in touch with Reality after all. It is just that sometimes, we cherish our small illusions and feel sad when we are deprived of them :). This post was the trigger to have a look in Friendship is a two-way street which I really liked and you might want to have a look at.

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” is a bitter, ironic, realistic, not so funny, but with a profound understanding of the human soul and human relationships as ever, Woody Allen film. One might fall into the trap and say that everything has been said before in many and different ways. Yes, the style is the same but … there is something more.

“if you wish upon a star, doesn’t matter who you are…your dream will come through”, says the little song from the old days, when the film begins, but this is just an irony about the things that the people wish for. Because, let us face it: most of the times, we humans do not know what our wishes really mean, not even for ourselves. And when we do realize that, it is too late.

The movie is also a comment on the things that Woody Allen deals with, in almost all his movies, in one or another way, i.e. death and the way people react when they face the reality. Sometimes, illusions work better than drugs as he says 🙂

Excellent cast and performances, not one of his best movies, but a worth seeing one.

My rating: 06/10

Whatever works (2009)

Woody Allen made it again :). Ok, I am a fan, I admit it. How does this guy, seventy four years old, manage to have such clarity in mind, to create such a play, to present the same old eternal questions in such wonderful and refreshing ways? Woody Allen never created a funny movie without embedding serious consideration about the meaning of life, love, human relationships, especially with the opposite sex and of course … death!
So, in the first five minutes of the film, he makes through Larry David a rundown of his idea about … well everything! Ok, the important things! A mere beauty to listen to the film’s main character’s spit out his ideas – or should I say its guts! – for the human race, why it is doomed for extinction, how love never lasts for ever, etc.
Pessimism and optimism spread in different characters, with the pessimism of the main character prevailing BUT also with unhappy people managing to finally find happiness in life, by putting away all the cliches in their way of living…
Oh, for sure he did not expect a good reaction from his audience when he was filming that movie. He says that through his main character at the end. Truth injected with irony is the worst medicine for those who cannot stand it. But he never made a film to be likable, just films to express himself.

So, Woody,  I’d like to dedicate to you that song that was heard in the “Front” to the end of the movie, which I believe expresses your whole being (as well as mine):

And if you, will arrive, to one hundred and five ,
and your heart is still young,
you will find, how hard is to be narrow in mind,
when your heart is still young…

Happy birthday Woody (December 1st is very close anyway!)

Almost forgot: My rating: 8/10