The Purple Rose of Cairo (Woody Allen) ***1/2 - A fictional character from a movie steps out into the "real world" to charm the pants off a woman with an unhappy marriage during the Great Depression. It is a wonderful, charming, funny film that's essentially about the magic of the movies. It's not Woody's funniest film but I had a smile plastered throughout a huge chunk of it. Jeff Daniels is terrific in a dual role and Woody Allen's muse, Mia Farrow, is also as strong as she's ever been. The final shot of the film is absolute perfection, IMO.
Manhattan (Woody Allen) **** -
It's one of the handful of canon films/all-time/top classics I haven't
seen and by God, why did I wait so long? This is an amazing film and
without a doubt it's one of Woody Allen's masterpieces. The script is
funny and nuanced. Although Woody's films are often not praised for
their visuals, this one contains some really jaw-dropping cinematography
courtesy of Gordon Willis. Despite clearly made and set in the 1970's,
it does not feel dated at all. It's a true classic, one of the greats.
Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen)
**** - The worst thing I can say about this film is that it isn't quite
as great as Woody Allen's masterpieces from the '70s and '80s. But it is
very much a highlight on his current contemporary European phase of his
films. It's a funny, joyful infectious romp about writer who longs for
the past and suddenly getting his wish come true at the stroke of
midnight. Owen Wilson manages to make the "Woody Allen"-type lead
character without doing an overt impression. I'm watching this right
after a marathon that consisted of The Purple Rose of Cairo and Manhattan and this film has plenty of elements that strongly reminds me of both films.
We Bought a Zoo (Cameron Crowe)
**1/2 - The highest praise I can give this film is that it's fine and it
could have been a hell of a lot worse. It's a highly unremarkable film
that somehow managed to entertain thanks to the charm of Matt Damon and
the cast. The script dials down the potential for silly sap and annoying
cute moments. It's an interesting enough story that could have been a
bit better as a TV pilot, I think. Still, it's just....fine.
Deconstructing Harry (Woody Allen) *** - It's 8 1/2 meets Wild Strawberries
with F-words, C-words and sex jokes. That's the best way I can describe
writer-director Woody Allen's probably most vulgar, explicit film.
There are some good laughs in it and the supporting cast is terrific
(Kirstie Alley especially). It's not quite as great as Allen's finest
works but it's overall, a solid, respectable and fascinating film. It's a
wilder, wackier Stardust Memories in a way, if I think about it.
J. Edgar (Clint Eastwood) ** - I
usually really like Clint Eastwood's films. This one is probably the
weakest I've seen from him in a long time. Granted his last few films
were far from masterpieces, I really struggled with this one. The film
is full of potential. Somewhere in there is a great film waiting to be
made especially since the subject of this film is such a fascinating,
complex character. It seemed to want to be so many things that it lost
me. Leonardo DiCaprio is a bit miscast though he has moments of
greatness, I can't help but feel a LOOK AT ME!!!! I'M AAAAACTINNNG!!!
vibe from him from time to time. Armie Hammer was really good but I
agree that his old age makeup was horrendous.