Posts Tagged ‘Woody Allen’

Actor and film director Roman Polański.

Roman Polanski

Two nights, two movies back to back !

It was HYSTERICAL – CARNAGE  (spoiler alert)

With the title CARNAGE, you don’t exactly expect to howl throughout the movie.  However, that’s what happened as the audience roared, laughed, snickered and giggled all the way through to the credits.  Roman Polanski‘s latest film is a not- quite-dark adaptation of a darkly humorous play.  Actually, instead of the black farce is was meant to be, I found it to be more light gray.

Fifteen minutes into the movie, I thought I was watching a comedic version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe? .   I’m not sure it was meant to be quite that funny but it was. I wondered if it was hysterical because the characters were more like caricatures?  Maybe, but for that matter, Martha and George caricatures.  No one laughed out loud watching Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton turn a social evening into a knock-down, drag-out verbal battle waged throughout the night.

Shot in the style of a Woody Allen film, four people are figuratively locked in the Brooklyn living room of Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael (John C. Reilly) Longstreet, the parents of Ethan.   Presumably an amiable meeting is to take place between Nancy and Alan, the parents of Zachary who attacked  Ethan and disfigured him by knocking out some teeth.   These graphic descriptive accusations are  sharp retorts from the horrified Penelope.  She is just so shocked by the parenting skills or lack thereof of Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan (Christoph Waltz).  Nancy and Alan just want  to avoid a lawsuit and get the hell out of there! NOT an easy task ! Although they make it out the door a couple of times and even get as far as the elevator, they cannot leave. They are repeatedly pulled back into the web of guilt woven relentlessly by Penelope.

Jodie Foster was well-cast as the uptight, self-righteous, know-it-all Bohemian mother hen.  She is so brittle, you’re sure she will crack and crumble the next time she tightly wraps her arms around herself.  She was believable as Penelope up to a point.  However, by the end of the movie, Jodie is shrieking like a banshee with her face contorted like an appopletic lunatic.  I blame Mr. Polanski for this over-the-top performance.  A shame, because prior to this melt-down, Penelope and her shoulds were amusing.

Kate Wynslet delivered a superb performance as the resigned wife of a rude, self-involved attorney a la Betty Draper (Mad Men), right up to the blonde French twist hair-do.  The audience roared when the  prim and properly groomed Nancy tosses her cookies onto the coffee table and all over Penny’s precious Oskar Kokoschka book – OH the horror of it all!!

The films best lines were all Alan’s, with his omnipresent cell phone. After the 15th annoying ring, I lost count.  A rude, crude misogynist, bored with his wife, his life and certainly this ridiculous charade of meeting.  The cobbler doesn’t do much to assuage his ennui, but the single malt scotch is right on.

Michael morphs from Mr. Nice Guy into a blustering insensitive boor who openly admits to freeing or murdering (depends on who’s speaking) his daughter’s hamster.  I felt the transition was not clear or obvious, again this is the work of the director.

And the hamster lived happily ever after!

I was going to comment on It was HistoricalA Dangerous Method but this post is already long and it’s after midnight, so check back in a day or two!

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Cover of "Annie Hall"

Cover of Annie Hall

It’s Thursday’s Top Ten and then some.  A couple of days ago I watched Annie Hall (again!), one of,  if not the best of Woody Allen‘s movies.   Pure genius!  I was so taken with the dialogue that I started to jot some of what I thought were spectacular lines and thought these quotes would make a great Thursday’s Top Ten blog.

  1. “Im comparatively normal for a guy raised in Brooklyn.” – Alvie
  2. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype.” – Annie
  3. ” You speak shellfish” – Alvie
  4. ” …If anyone had ever told me I would be taking out a girl who used the phrase, ‘La di dah’ …”. – Alvie
  5. ” The country makes me nervous, you get crickets and the screens with dead moths behind them…” – Alvie
  6. ” The rest of the country thinks of  New Yorkers as a bunch of left -wing Communist Jewish homosexuals;  personally I think of us that way sometimes.” – Alvie
  7. ” …my mother locked herself in the bathroom and overdosed on Mah Jongg tiles”. -Alvie
  8. ” Don’t knock masturbation, it’s having sex with someone I love”. – Alvie
  9. “…my feet haven’t touched pavement since I landed in L.A.” – Alivie
  10. “…penis envy? I’m one of the few men who suffer from it”. – Alivie
  11. “…the only cultural advantage is right turn on red”. – Alvie
  12. ” I forgot my montra” – ?
  13. “… it’s like living in munchkin land”. – Alvie

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Temple de Dendur, Metropolitan Museum of Art, ...

Image via Wikipedia

New York City has been called many things; The Big Apple, The Capitol of the World and is described in the most eloquent of terms, AND I call it a Cultural Cafeteria – a phrase that came to me a couple of weeks ago after we saw two movies that hadn’t been released yet and went to a Judy Collins Concert held in the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art all in one week. And that’s only an itsy-bitsy smidgen of what goes on every night in Manhattan.  It is really mind-boggling!

Here’s a random sampling:  The opera, Das Rheingold opened at The Metropolitan Opera.  The play, Brief Encounters, a British-born production played at Studio 54, The Joyce Theater featured the Batsheva Dance Company, The New York City Ballet Company performed Barber Violin Concerto and Opus 19/The Dreamer.

Angels in America, first American revival of Tony Kushner‘s masterpiece is in previews at The Signature Theater, the Film Forum is showing The Bridge Over the River Kwai and it doesn’t end there.  Well anyway, you get the picture!

First we saw You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, the latest Woody Allen film – it was good, I liked it and I haven’t cared for some of his more recent movies.  I think it was good that he wasn’t in it and it was very different from his earlier movies which were all about Jewish angst and Manhattan.

Then the next night we saw Jack Goes Boating and this WAS shot in real-time, I swear.  Very very slow.  It had its poignant moments and I always like to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman although this character was particularly sloppy, fat and very unkempt.  I wish he would lose some weight.

The next night it was Judy Collins in Concert – the venue was the Temple of Dendur in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. What a place! What a voice! What a body! Judy is a wonder, she is 71 years old!!! Her range of octaves is phenomenal, her figure slim and her voice beautiful.  We were crying when she sang Both Sides Now– the nostalgia swept thru the mostly baby boomer-semi-hippie crowd.  We all had memories associated with that lush love song.  Her show was full of glorious praise for her now-hometown, New York City and peppered with quips, anecdotes and self-deprecating remarks-she was really funny.  She ended her show (which ran over in time) with a heart-wrenching rendition of Bring in the Clowns which brought the 200+ audience to its feet clapping and clapping and clapping.

Special for me was the fact that I, an adopted New Yorker,  was sitting in the Temple of Dendur attending an evening concert.  So many nights as Peter and I drove through the Central Park transverse we would see crowds in the Temple and wonder what was going on there after hours and how come we never knew!

What a night! What a week! I LOVE NEW YORK!

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Woody Allen Cannes

Image via Wikipedia

A while ago I wrote a blog about 10 Yiddish words every Goy should know so they could:  a) to survive in New York City b) to get the jokes and humor in a Woody Allen movie and c) to take part in the conversation at a Rosh Hashanah dinner.

Today we are talking about moving in a whole other circle.  This is more Carnegie Hill than Lower East Side.  Oh you’ve seen the movies and probably read the books where the characters purposefully drop French words and phrases into their everyday conversations with such sang froid. We all know those prep school grads, Ivy League alumni and trust fund babies who know exactly what perfect or in this case pluperfect phrase to casually interject in any conversation.

Foreign phrases trip and slip off their tongues with such savoir-faire.  They rendez -vous at aprés ski parties, clad in  de riguer haute couture and they actually ski too!  Full of joie de vivre , success an expected fait accompli, rarely making a faux pas. Usually given carte blanche, this crème de la crème sometimes turns into l’enfant terrible, n’est-ce pas? There’s a pervasive  laissez faire attitude bordering on women going au naturel.

I wish I could put my finger on this….their innate je ne sais quoi!

Don’t despair if you really didn’t get all of the fancy French above and wonder how you would work it into your everyday conversation – there’s a lot more French words and phrases we can drop and probably do!

We live on cul-de-sacs, eat hors d’oeuvres, order pie à la mode, even if you have to do so à la carte. You can own a pied-à-terre, be ever so avant garde and even furnish it with chaise lounges. The rooms may be en suite and walking through them causes you to stop and feel déjà vu.

I’m running out of French words and phrase…c’est la vie and so I guess this is au revoir but not adieu!

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