Fading Gigolo (2013)

Fading Gigolo
Director: John Turturro
Writer: John Turturro
Cast: John Turturro, Woody AllenVanessa ParadisLiev Schreiber, Tonya Pinkins, Sharon Stone, Sofía Vergara
Part of: Vienna Jewish Film Festival

Murray (Woody Allen) has to close his bookshop and is now looking at other forms of income. When his doctor (Sharon Stone) tells him about her sexual fantasies, Murray has the idea to pimp out his friend Fioravante (John Turturro), a quiet part-time florist. After initial hesitation, Fioravante agrees to the plan. But when Murray brings him the Jewish-orthdox, recently widowed Avigal (Vanessa Paradis) as a customer, sex is not what is required of Fioravante and soon, love is at stake.

Fading Gigolo wasn’t a bad film, though there was way too much smartmouthing Woody Allen for my taste, but it was definitely a film made for the guys and personally I’m just very tired of those films.

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Blue Jasmine (2013)

Blue Jasmine
Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alden Ehrenreich, Louis C.K., Peter Sarsgaard, Andrew Dice Clay

Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) married rich when she was younger, but then her husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) was arrested and she lost everything. So she turns to her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) for shelter, despite their strained relationship and even though Ginger lives way beyond the standards Jasmine is used to. Jasmine tries to get back on her feet but she isn’t in the most stable state of minds to begin with.

Blue Jasmine mostly lives off Cate Blanchett’s incredible performance, but otherwise pretty much continues Woody Allen’s streak of lukewarm films (as far as I have seen them).


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Midnight in Paris (2011)

Midnight in Paris is the newest movie directed and written by Woody Allen, starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Tom Hiddleston, Alison Pill, Corey Stoll, Kathy Bates, Marion Cotillard and Adrien Brody.

Gil (Owen Wilson) is a screenwriter who is trying to write a novel. When he travels to Paris with his fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams), he feels inspired by his surroundings. Inez on the other hand seems to only want to spend time with the pretentious Paul (Michael Sheen). One night Gil goes for a walk on his own, gets picked up by a car and ends up in Paris in the 1920s , his favorite period where he meets F. Scott (Tom Hiddleston) and Zelda Fitzgerald (Alison Pill), Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), Salvador Dalí (Adrien Brody) and many others. But then he meets Adriana (Marion Cotillard) and they really hit it off.

After the last few Woody Allen movies I saw and really didn’t enjoy, I was unsure whether to watch Midnight in Paris at all. But the cast drew me in and thankfully I did enjoy it more than I feared I would.

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Purple Rose of Cairo

Purple Rose of Cairo [German] is a play based on the film by Woody Allen currently at the Volkstheater [German] in Vienna. It was directed by Gil Mehmert and stars Heike Kretschmer and Till Firit.

Cecilia (Heike Kretschmer) is stuck in a crappy job and an abusive relationship. To escape for a little while, she goes to the cinema. After she has seen the movie “Purple Rose of Cairo” for the fifth time, one character of the movie comes off the screen – Tom Baxter (Till Firit). Tom tells Cecilia he fell in love with her and that he plans to spend the rest of his life in reality with her.
Soon half of Hollywood is in uproar, including the actor who played Tom.

The movie is not Allen’s best work. But the play is pretty bad. The story is one good idea that isn’t actually able to support a whole plot. But were the movie had good actors and a good director, in the play the acting is so-so and the directing is really bad. What’s left is a production that falls completely flat.

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Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is Woody Allen‘s newest movie.

A slight disclaimer before I start: I’m a fan of his early work, but his latest movies sucked so much that I shouldn’t have bothered to watch them. Yet, somehow, I can’t leave it be. So, if you can’t stand bitter comments about Match Point or Cassandra’s Dream (my review here), better not read this.

Anyhoo, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is okay, I guess. It definitely isn’t as abysmal as the aforementioned movies. But it’s not very good, either.

Plot: Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) are best friends and decide to go to Barcelona together. Both girls are complete opposites – Vicky is the practical, calm, rational stereotype, whose life seems happy, but actually, she’s very unhappy because there’s no passion in it, while Cristina is the impulsive, fickle artist-stereotype, who goes from one relationship to the next, never actually being able to stay anywhere for long. When they meet the painter Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), who barely escapes the fate of being a complete stereotype himself, both fall for him. Which of course can’t end well, especially since Juan Antonio’s manic-depressive artist cliché ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz) is still very present in his life.

vicky_cristina_barcelonaIf I was Rebecca Hall, I would be very angry about this marketing – she’s more of a main character than Penelope Cruz.

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Scottish Guys In Good And Not So Good Movies

I finally made it to the movies to watch Nim’s Island, Cassandra’s Dream and Lars and the Real Girl.

Nim’s Island was really sweet and funny. It was a tad weird that deadra and me were the only people in the cinema, neither of us being the target audience, but who cares.
The story is how you imagine it to be, the acting is really good. I don’t think that I have seen Jodi Foster acting so joyfully in a long time. Abigail Breslin … what can I say? That girl is amazing. Maddison Joyce (Edmund) was a really great cast. And Gerard Butler… okay, honestly, I can’t say anything objective here. If it were only for his looks, no problem, I can handle that. But then he goes and speaks with an Scottish accent during the movie and I don’t know why, but anytime a guy speaks Scottish, I’m absolutely and hopelessly lost. Then it doesn’t matter anymore, what he talks about and if I understand it (and when they really speak Scottish, I don’t), I just melt away.
Anyhoo… back on track now.
I really loved the opening credits, the artwork was fantastic.
Altogether, great movie, one, I think adults can enjoy as well, if they kept a childish mind. :)

Plus: the coolest flying lizards.

The Flying Lizard

Cassandra’s Dream was a big disappointment. And that although I’m wary of the new Woody Allen movies.
His older ones are great (like Sleeper, Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex, Everyone Says I Love You, Zelig, …), but at some point around Anything Else, it all went downhill. Match Point was so bad, I didn’t even watch Scoop anymore [My sister told me it wasn’t so bad. Not so bad is not good enough for a Woody Allen movie].  
With Cassandra’s Dream he managed to lure me in again. I mean, I adore Ewan McGregor (I think I mentioned my obsession with Scottish. Unfortunately, he didn’t speak it in that movie) and Colin Farrell can be really talented when he wants to. And both are very fine eye candy. And of course, Tom Wilkinson is a big plus.
And it’s all ruined. Ruined by a film which feels like it’s eight hours long (and eye candy or not, I can’t watch anybody that long… except possibly Christian Bale, if he puts on a good Scottish accent). Ruined by a story as tedious as it’s unrealistic and predictable. Ruined by it’s absolute pointlessness.
I can’t understand it. There you have a writer/director who should know what he’s doing, a really good cast [and really, they played very well, saving the film from getting zero points in my list] and a story that could be engaging (if it wasn’t so boring) and you get a really, really bad movie.

Lars and the Real Girl on the other hand was a perfect little movie.
Ryan Gosling and Emily Mortimer are great, the story is really sweet and it all unfolds in such a calm and unintrusive manner, it’s a real pleasure to watch. And it’s funny.
What more could you wish for in a movie? [Possibly for a Scottish guy, but they can’t be everywhere, now, can they?]

There will be another Craig Gillespie/Ryan Gosling movie – The Dallas Buyer’s Club, which sounds really good. Written by Chase Palmer, who also wrote and directs the upcoming Number 13, which sounds really good and features Ewan McGregor and Emily Mortimer. [I love it, when there are circles like that.] And Ben Kingsley as an extra.