Monday, November 22, 2010

7 Word Reviews: From Rapunzel to Woody

Until I find more time... 7 words must suffice.


Disney's animated Rapunzel musical (Skip the 3D, save money.)
7WR: Gorgeously rendered central image / conflict. Tonal slips.  B+
[More to come on this one soon. Sorry for wait.]

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

Woody Allen's annual comedy. This one focuses on a failed writer (Josh Brolin) whose new work just doesn't measure up to the old (hmmmm) and the women in his life.
7WR: Woody, lazily confessing, quotes Shakespeare "...signifying nothing."  D*

Inside Job

Oscar finalist documentary
 on the global economic crisis.

7WR: Dry, linear 'Recitation O' Horrors'. Beautifully shot. B

The Way Back
Peter Weir's true WWII era story of escapees from a Siberian work camp.
7WR: The walking dead; only haunts in stasis. B/B-

*That grade might be generous. It might be my second least favorite Woody Allen film. Nothing "tops" The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.


Anonymous said...

Tonal slips for Tangled? Interesting!

Ann McD said...

Not trying to add even more pressure, but I'm really curious to hear your take on why you loved I AM LOVE so much as you said you would write about.

BeRightBack said...

That's a much higher grade for the tentacle-porn tinged Tangled than I was expecting, actually. The trailer was misleading?

And re: Woody - worse than Whatever Works? Really?


@BeRightBack -- oops. i'd already forgotten about whatever works ;) and yes TANGLED's trailer is selling only its very brief flashes of obnoxious modernity. It's like they're selling only 2% of the movie. It's good.


Criticlasm said...

That Woody Allen film was so awful, cynical, and bad that it made me never want to see another one of his films - I had to remember at one time he was worth watching. I turned to the friends I was watching it with and said, "I wish I brought a book." I thought it should be called "awful people, badly written, making stupid decisions". Though Lucy Punch was good for what she had to do. The rest I don't want to get into. So, um, with you on that one.

I re-watched Manhattan, and it even made me rethink my initial love of that movie. Still love it, but much darker undertones.


criticlasm -- yeah, i desperately wish woody would take a couple of years off. given 'whatever works' and 'you will meet a tall dark stranger' I think he needs to really think about what legacy he wants to leave. he's really getting up there and years and why taint all the brilliant old stuff with these haphazard films. take some time and how about several drafts of a screenplay before filming? it's not unheard of ;)

i think long gone are the days where he'd chuck out a ton of footage and restart when he didn't think it was working (September)

The Pretentious Know it All said...

Woody Allen is in a position where he obviously has a lot of clout. His films are always guaranteed to be under a certain budget and since he's one of those directors with a built-in fanbase (there are, as many of you know, a lot of people who go and see ALL of his movies), his movies almost always make back their budget. As a result, he pretty much has a deal where the producers/financiers don't even have to see the script because they know they'll make their money back. So, in a way, it's not entirely his fault. But I totally agree that Allen needs to stop filming what are clearly knee jerk, first drafts of scripts clearly in need of editing. I'd put him and James Ivory in the category of directors getting on in years whose recent string of work makes me worried about the impression they'll leave behind.

Volvagia said...

Still, I want some studio to do the Living Painting thing. It sounded cool, so maybe it'll be used on Brave.

Lucky said...

I shouldn't have had so much faith in You will meet a tall dark stranger. I liked the cast and was hoping it would be good. Hm...

Iggy said...

I'm a Woody Allen fan, but I decided not to see You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. After seeing Whatever Works, and seeing the trailer + my disliking of Antonio Banderas, I was clearly too predisposed not to like it. I'll see it eventually on DVD or something. However I don't think his latest work jeopardizes the way his entire previous work is seen. He has some masterpieces in his CV and that won't change. I agree he should give himself some time to work and rework on his projects, but...

In the same way, there're some actors who insist on ending with their careers: DeNiro, Pacino, Harrison Ford... but we will always have their iconic characters to go back to: Travis Bickle, Han Solo/Indiana Jones, Michael Corleone, etc.
I was really amazed/shocked when I saw Harrison Ford's interview on Conan, was he high? It was one of the most awkward interviews I've seen. But he can afford it. I guess my point is, efter all this rambling, that there're some names who can do almost everything they want at the end of their careers because some of their previous work is so good that it will always be remembered. Had Jesse Eissenberg* in the same whow behaved like Ford, he might need to give some explanation, but Ford doesn't need it.

* BTW, I'm amusingly witnessing the reaction to the trashing of the Spanish show he was in, he did in Conan. I watched the show on youtube after what he said to see if he was right. Well, the show he refers to is ridiculous itself, with a sense of humour for toddlers (pee, poo, penises...) but on prime time and to the glory of the host, a self-centered prick who must always have the best punch lines, even if it's to laugh at the guests expense. But it's always like that, it's not particulary anti-American. They do the same kind of things with local celebrities. What I can't understand is why people not speaking Spanish go to a show like this, where the host doesn't speak English either (Will Smith has even repeated the experience!). The most remarkable thing of this particular episode was that Justin Timberlake was the star (Andrew Garfield and Eissenberg are completely unknown here) and maybe that was part of the problem. You get Oscar buzz, good reviews and you're on the top of the world at home, but then you travel abroad and nobody knows who you are.

As much as I don't like the show I found Eissenberg complaining about it a bit douche-like (if that word exists).

Sorry, that was too long.

dinasztie said...

How is Ed Harris in The Way Back? Does he have a chance at a win?

dbm said...

Where did this person see The Way Back ? I have only heard of two screenings so far ?
All I can say is if the movie is anything like the book ( The Long Walk ) then you are in for an intense experience.

Andrew R. said...

Tangled-Probably going to pass. Her hair's lack of continuity annoys me.

You Will Meet-Dear Mr Allen, MAKE A FUCKING MASTERPIECE AGAIN. Sincerely, Andrew.

Inside Job-Beautifully shot? Interesting.

The Way Back-Longer review please.

Volvagia said...

Screener disc. Y'know, the ones that get LEAKED.

Volvagia said...

Would Jade Scorpion be an F?

Iggy said...

Sorry to go off-topic again and for going back to the Jesse Eissenberg interview on Conan. Just one thing I forgot earlier.

If there's something annoying for a European is telling them "we saved you from Hitler, you'd be speaking German now if it wasn't for us" and all that. And specially if it's not true (believe or not, I had a visiting professor at college that told us that the very first day. Never went back to any of her classes.)I do realize the whole interview had a humourous tone, but just for any uninformed viewer of the Conan O'Brien show.

Mr. Eissenberg: Europe is not one country, it's many, and Americans did nothing at least in one of them, Spain. In fact, Spain by then was ruled by fascist dictator, and America and the rest of the world decided to look away. Many intellectuals at the time (I love what Doris Lessing says about that) saw in the Spanish Civil War a sign of what was going to happen to Europe, but still nobody did nothing. That dictatorship coming from the Civil War, with the European and American acquiescence only ended in the 1970s, after many people were killed and/or imprisoned for their political ideas, sexuality, etc. If only for a short time, as a toddler, I lived under that system, so it wasn't so long ago. That's the kind of ignorance that makes the sterotypical uneducated American cliché so widespread and easy to mock in any kind of show, or middle-school.

Sorry again, I'll shut up for a while. :) It's just that this issue touches a nerve.


dbm -- i went to a regular critics screening last week. so it is screening for critics. No screeners for awards voters yet.


dinasztie -- Harris is typically strong in The Way Back but that cinematic face, all emptied out, is doing most of the heavy lifting. It's one of those roles that wouldn't win on its own but to honor a whole career? entirely possible.

I wish i had liked THE WAY BACK more as a whole because i love Weir but it was extremely strange in pacing. I sense that the drama was supposed to be in the long trek but to me the drama only came alive when they were killing time in between the long journey.

/3rtfu11 said...

i desperately wish woody would take a couple of years off

The minute he follows the advice to take sometime off he’s a goner.

He’s already made the landmark films. Filmmakers according to Tarantino don’t get better with age the get worse. I love that Woody Allen is still here making movies, if they suck then stop watching them no matter who’s in them. Next year I will see Midnight in Paris for no other reason but to watch Kathy Bates in a movie that actually has some pedigree.

Volvagia said...

Ohhhh. One of THOSE ROLES. It's a shame the Academy even nominates them. A stoic face alone does not mean you've given a great perf.

Volvagia said...

Well, for me: Woody is a huge case of the issue. He hasn't slowed at all. Consider: Every director, even the fast ones, slows down at some point. Hitchcock and Bergman were probably two of the fastest directors ever. Yet, even then, they got slower after a certain point. Woody? No change to his clip for close to 40 years now.

Ruth said...

I need to go view that Peter Weir film - I still remember a young, naive high school student writing a 300 bio on him for media haha. His new film looks good, but I think Picnic at Hanging Rock will always be my favourite.

Jeff said...

Nat, I see that you have a letter grade for Rabbit Hole and it has my mouth watering, when can we hear more lol?!

Same for Black Swan.

Ryan said...

your generous B+ for TANGLED may get me to the theater instead of waiting for DVD. hell, what an AMAZING year for animation.

and THE WAY BACK was only B/B- worthy, huh. Ed Harris still in the running?