Allen, Assonitis, Korda, Stromberg, Tetzlaff

Maleficent (Robert Stromberg, 2014). This piece of fairy tale revisionism might be more affecting if it didn’t arrive on the heels of the same studio’s Frozen, which pulled off basically the same switcheroo (including the subversion of the “true love’s kiss” trope) with more spirit. Judging from what’s onscreen, not much thought went into this project after the dream casting of Angelina Jolie was secured. The certainty that her presence as one of the most iconic villains in the annals of Disney Animated Classics would be enough to make the film compelling comes tantalizing close to becoming a proven truth. … Continue reading Allen, Assonitis, Korda, Stromberg, Tetzlaff

Top Ten Movies of 2013 — Number Nine

The kismet of cinematic artistry is elusive, which unfortunately alleviate the unfair sense of disappointment when the most creative individuals struggle through dry spells. By now it’s understood that Woody Allen is too prolific (and too unconcerned with anything other than simply getting down to work on the next project, whatever it may be) to deliver anything other than an unpredictable sine wave of quality. But when he lands in the right place, assembles the right cast, draws on the right well of inspiration, the results offer a reminder than he’s one of the truly great American filmmakers. Blue Jasmine … Continue reading Top Ten Movies of 2013 — Number Nine

Allen, Coppola, Cukor, Gunn, Mills, Scorsese, Winterbottom

New York Stories (Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen, 1989). I remember reading Roger Ebert’s review of this anthology film and thinking he cheated by giving individual star ratings to each of its three segments. After all, no one going to movie theater had the option of just paying for a third of a ticket to see the one part of the film he recommended. Now that I’ve seen it, however, I completely get why he chose to take that approach: one part of the film is significantly better than the others. Woody Allen’s segment is amusing but … Continue reading Allen, Coppola, Cukor, Gunn, Mills, Scorsese, Winterbottom

Top Fifty Films of the 80s — Number Fourteen

#14 — The Purple Rose of Cairo (Woody Allen, 1985) I noted at the start of this traipse through a decade of movies that these are the films that were arguably most formative for me. These were the films that I grew up with, evolving from a fidgety kid who found bawdy comedies to be the height of the form to a slightly less fidgety young adult who was beginning to see the deeper artistry that could be achieved when the right personnel was positioned on both sides of the camera. Given that, it should be no surprise that an … Continue reading Top Fifty Films of the 80s — Number Fourteen