Friday, August 22, 2008

Nick Woody Mediocrity

Woody Allen, for my money, has failed once again to "come back" in any meaningful way, but that doesn't mean that I can't take a stab at my own career resurgence. Remember when I used to write full reviews? Taste this and tell me if I'm ready.

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Blogger tim r said...

Well, I now have VCB to thank for something -- delish read as ever, and that's me convinced.

6:45 PM, August 22, 2008  
Blogger Sam Brooks said...

Great review!

But do you think Cruz is good enough to warrant that already buzzed Oscar nomination?

7:26 PM, August 22, 2008  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Tim: I feel much the same way. Not only is it the first review I've written in forever, but it's the first movie I've seen close enough to its release that anyone would still (hopefully) care what I had to say.

@Brooke: In short, no. She's very confident and she's funny, and I like her reactions at a key moment when she feels disappointed in Scarlett. A very proficient performance, serves the movie well... but there's not much to dig into here.

8:00 PM, August 22, 2008  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

awwww. i'm disappointed --Not in your writing which is always convincing but in your reaction.

nobody seems to be able to have any fun with Woody anymore. (sigh) it's vaguely like the Scorsese/Departed thing in that the naysayers always seem to be measuring up good work to previous masterpieces and of course they're going to come up short.

I liked it MUCH more than you though I'm fully aware it's slighter than it needed to be... and i'm disappointed that Scarlett has yet to figure out what she's there for in a movie. If she could she'd be unstoppable since she's got such a great movie face, body, voice. Now if only she would USE them.

12:11 PM, August 24, 2008  
Blogger Dan Callahan said...

Calling the dark room scene "an eleventh-grader's book report on The Unbearable Lightness of Being..." is brutally accurate, not to mention funnier than anything in the movie.

VCB isn't bad for late Woody, and there is some fine acting from Cruz, Clarkson and Hall. At this point, it's hard not to grade his new work on a sliding scale; you'd lose your mind if you didn't. But Johansson needs to get away from Allen...she's the new Kim Novak, not the new Diane Keaton or Dianne Wiest.

12:46 PM, August 25, 2008  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@N: Well, I hope it doesn't sound like I'm only comparing the film to earlier, better Allen. I tried to get that conversation out of the way early. By any standard, well outside the narrow range of Allen's own career, I just don't see how this is "good" work, or even that much fun, though it was hardly a chore.

@Dan: Thanks! And I agree with you (and Nathaniel) about Scarlett, though I really don't know where to push her at this point. She's not fatally uninteresting here as she was in Black Dahlia and The Prestige, but I think Someone needs to go live some more life that she can bring into her acting.

3:04 AM, August 27, 2008  
Blogger Colin Low said...

I wonder if this comment is too late to warrant any reply, but here goes: I respectfully disagree about Penelope Cruz, at least to the extent that she doesn't deserve an Oscar nom. For me, she cemented the deal in that "key moment when she feels disappointed in Scarlett" you mentioned. How many other actresses would have taken this simple dramatic beat (averting Scarlett's gaze) and layered it with a comic one (glancing around the kitchen countertop) -- especially one that only works in the context of the movie's unseen backstory? You know the context I mean.

10:08 AM, October 10, 2008  

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