Category Archives: woody allen

Swingers

Swingers ~ Well over a decade before he revolutionized the superhero movie and created the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man, Jon Favreau wrote and co-produced this dramedy for guys in the spirit of Diner that almost definitely inspired all the fictional parts of HBO’s “Entourage.” Man, Swingers is the flick.

These adventures of a group of neurotic struggling actors are as much classic Woody Allen and prime “Seinfeld” as they are 1960s Rat Pack. And the dated ‘lounge-speak’ that every drunken player/loser spouted back in the 1990s until you wanted to punch them, when done right, by the originals, and in context, is mesmerizing.

Style and substance, great characters and dialogue, and a killer soundtrack – this movie is money, and it knows it. Recommended.

Advertisements

Marvin Hamlisch 1944-2012

Celebrated composer Marvin Hamlisch passed away yesterday after a brief but undisclosed illness. He was a star of stage and screen, and won multiple awards, among them – Grammys, Emmys, Oscars, a Tony and a Pulitzer. He was 68.

Hamlisch was perhaps one of the most famous American composers, having created scores for many movies, TV specials and Broadway shows. He was conductor of multiple orchestras across the nation.

His most famous works include A Chorus Line, The Goodbye Girl, The Sting, Take the Money and Run, The Spy Who Loved Me, Ice Castles, Sophie’s Choice, and The Way We Were.

My Oscar Picks for This Year

Okay, first off, yes, I have been lax this year with The Oscars. I am hesitant to admit this, but I really haven’t even taken a good look at the nominees until earlier this week. Nevertheless, I will take a shot a predicting the Academy Awards – both what will win, as well as what should win. And just to remind all you other latecomers, check out the nominees here.

Best original Screenplay – I want Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris which I thought was brilliant, but it will probably go to The Artist.

Best Original Song – Of the choices, it’s “Man or Muppet.” Only two songs nominated? Really?? And only one from The Muppets??? What about the songs in Captain America or Bunraku?

Best Animated Film – Nothing deserving was nominated, and the three I saw were abysmal. For the first time in quite a few years, I don’t care about this category.

Best Supporting Actor – Is it time for Nick Nolte to win this year? Plummer and von Sydow deserve it, but I think it’ll go to Nolte, just a hunch.

Best Supporting Actress – I looove Janet McTeer, and would love to see her get this, but I think one of the ladies from The Help will take this one.

Best Actor – I only saw Clooney and DuJardin, but I’m still going to say the latter.

Best Actress – Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady. It’s her turn again.

Best Director – If Martin Scorsese doesn’t get this for Hugo, it will be a crime. Not only will the Academy admit they know nothing about direction, they nothing about film either.

Best Picture – The Help and Midnight in Paris were my favorite movies of the year in this batch, The Artist and Hugo are wonderful love letters to film itself, but I’m going to say they give it to The Help.

Check back later and see how I did. What are your picks?

Bookmark and Share

Lucky Louie

This isn’t a review of HBO’s cancelled sitcom “Lucky Louie” that starred comedian Louis C.K., although I loved that show. This is a review of the new Louis C.K. sitcom “Louie” on FX, but it seems strange to me after the odd reception the first series got from critics that he would get another one so quick. Either way, I’m thankful he did.

That said, I had to wait more than a few episodes before I could decide if I really liked it or not. It has elements of the HBO show in it as well as some things borrowed from “Seinfeld,” mostly the comedy club bits. But it also has something else, and it took me a while to pinpoint it. It’s Woody Allen.

It was the loopy old jazz music that first brought this comparison to mind but then it became much clearer. When Woody Allen was in his Annie Hall phase, he was still funny, but there was also the hint that he was trying to say something about his world, our world. This is what Louis C.K. is doing. It’s sharp, subtle and clever.

There is of course the problem of its lead-in, “Rescue Me,” which in the last season became a sad parody of itself, and so far this season, two episodes in, it has become a humorless cartoon. I hope it doesn’t affect “Louie.” Hopefully he’ll be luckier with FX than he was with HBO. Check it out, well worth your time.

Bookmark and Share

Cold Souls

Cold Souls ~ In a daring move, actor Paul Giamatti plays himself in this slipstream dark fantasy.

In an attempt to become ‘unburdened’ Paul goes to a ‘soul storage’ company that removes his soul from his body so he can live a happier carefree life. When Paul begins acting inhuman, or shall we say, soulless, he becomes involved in a soul transplant program – and then into a soul smuggling plot.

That’s when the quest begins for Paul to get his soul back. Hilarity ensues, as one would expect, or hope. I just wish it was good hilarity. Like many Giamatti films, this is slow, talky and at times, painful. It wants very badly to be Being John Malkovich but tries too hard.

Cold Souls could have easily been a Woody Allen (oddly enough the film is based on a dream he had) comedy or a Paul Verhoeven scifi thriller – and I really wish it had been.

Bookmark and Share