Friday, March 25, 2016

Woody Allen

Time Out magazine, the arts and entertainment magazine in NYC ranked Wood Allen's films.  That would be a hard challenge.  I can't do that as I haven't seen them all.  I can name off the ones I really enjoy or what I might recommend to someone that was interested in seeing something he made to find out if they'd like to watch more.  But that's about it.  For me I'd say:  Manhattan, that might be my #1 film to recommend, others might say Annie Hall, and I can't quibble too much with that, but Manhattan is really a nice ode to a classic city.  It's also a story of romance.  I've always been fond of Radio Days too, which has sort of a quasi-autobiographical feel to it.  Plus I like the era in which it is told.

I've always enjoy Stardust Memories too about a director that wants to shift the tone and style of his films and make something more series in nature, and the quandary that goes thru his mind thinking about that.   If fantasy is more your bag (sans unicorns, hobbits, and elves), Purple Rose of Cairo is a nice celebration of the cinema and the escapism it provides to us the audience.  If Sci-Fi is your thing, check out Sleeper.

His earlier films are a little more slapstick and vaudevillian, and his later films more mature and subtle though many still contain comedic elements.  So it's just a matter of what you might be in the mood for.   One they don't list because he didn't write or direct it, although Allen is one of the main stars in it, is The Front.  It's an excellent film about the blacklisting (Communist witch hunts) of the writers in Hollywood.  They also don't mention, Play It Again, Sam, which I've always liked a lot as well.  Allen did write it, and starred in it, but it was directed by Herbert Ross.  Here's the list if you want to see how they ranked them. 


At 1:42 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

A writer/director as prolific as Allen is bound to have mixed results, but even his average films are, to my mind, pretty good. I like all the ones you mention including "The Front," particularly because it gets what many comments on the era miss. The red-hunters were not seeing communists where they weren't (as is often implied): the 1930s spawned extensive radicalism on the left and the right, and many people who were prominent by the 1950s did in fact have former (or current) Marxist associations. The point, as "The Front" indicates, is that this shouldn't matter: certainly not when it comes to TV and Hollywood. It was then and is now perfectly legal to be a communist, and HUAC had no business fussing about the views of screenwriters in private production companies.

I'd score "Mighty Aphrodite" up high (it helps to have some familiarity with Greek tropes): also "Match Point," "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," and "Blue Jasmine" for very different reasons from each other.

At 8:25 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

I agree, even his lessor admired, mixed films are worth a watch, and generally above or equal to the top rank and file of Hollywood movies (gosh I said it). They are in a class all their own, not pandering to the taste of the moment, and generally, more closer to say foreign films. They deal with relationships and life (well, the older films do). The earlier comedies too though ask larger questions on life (and death), and many other topics that rises above the average of what passes as comedy today. His movies have generally been shot well too.

I've seen the ones you've mentioned except for Vicky Barcelona, which I need to remedy. Many of his older films, I should re-watch, but before that I need to watch those I have not seen: Scoop, Anything Else, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, Melinda & Melinda, and a couple others.


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