Exploring Woody Allen in OLRs – Part 2

“Annie Hall” seems to me to be the grandfather of most romantic comedies, even the true womb from whence “When Harry Met Sally” came.  It’s fast and acid-talking, it’s hilarious, and it’s wry in its commentary about actors, relationships, and society. Alvy’s running commentary about LA is priceless. Again, none of the striking photography of …

“The Last Temptation of Christ”

This is an engrossing, jarring, and deeply thought-provoking classic by Martin Scorcese. I had heard a lot about this film as I was growing up and I’ve only watched it now. I think this was a wise choice, having gone through some Christian theological studies and looked the other way when the Da Vinci Code…

Exploring Woody Allen in OLR’s – Part 1

“Manhattan” is hilarious, well-written, wryly acted, and beautifully shot. Inspirational to watch and learn from. “Hollywood Ending” is big on witty dialogue, but lacks the striking yet simple photography of earlier Allen films. Funny nonetheless. Tea Leoni and Treat Williams kind of dissolve int the frenetic acid of Allen’s neuroses.

OLR – “The Girl Who Played With Fire”

This film is no way as striking and powerful as the previous, neither in acting nor in photography nor overall direction; it actually retards back into arthouse mediocrity, barring the one beautiful shot of the burning warehouse. The faceoff between Zala and Lisbeth is weak and forgettable; not even revealing the identity of the blonde…

OLR – “Cadillac Records”

“Cadillac Records” is “Ray”, but multiplied in acting prowess and deft direction by a first-rate ensemble cast. Intense, quirky, precise characterization of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, my two great heros of the howl. Watch out for Gabrielle Union and Beyonce bring real performances to the screen. Excellent film. Hoochie coochie seed, baby.

OLR – “Green Zone”

“Green Zone” is another film about Iraq. It’s given a voice though to the Iraqi people, no longer just wailing women in black or caricatures of brown people. They got the accents right apart from the one Egyptian (I think) guy trying to be Iraqi. Nod to the guy from the Channel 4 series, who…

OLR – “Sex, Lies, and Videotape”

“Sex, Lies, and Videotape” is a dark, dark affair. A real classic. Really great performances by all involved. James Spade is raw, just almost effeminate. What we create, especially involving other people, almost becomes progeny, a child, having traces of us, but can longer be called solely your own. Agree/disagree? Actor’s note: nice to see…

OLR – “Confessions of a Gambler”

“Confessions of a Gambler” is let down supremely by weak, wooden performances all round. It’s sad because it’s a very good and strong story, with a great soundtrack. Some choice shots though; look out for: 1) ceiling-looking-down picking out the main character dressed differently in a sea of worshipping women in a mosque 2) the…

OLR – “The Kids Are Alright”

I haven’t laughed this hard and this deeply in a very long time at the cinema. A funny, well-written, gritty film with an ensemble cast, all giving excellent performances. It’s “American Beauty” the sequel, interestingly with Annette Benning being in both. Sure to offend the Republican sensibilities of the US, it’s still a very real…

OLRs – from Another Delta Flight

“The Hurt Locker”. Starts off strong but ends like a limp handshake. The slower arthouse version of “Jarhead”. Not Oscar material in any way. The insight into disillusioned soldiers is overdone. The ending borrows from “Home of the Brave”. Did I say borrows? You could safely say, steals unabashedly. “Crazy Heart”. Good film. Strong performances…