To Rome With Love: Woody Allen Remembers His Roman Holiday

by Ethan Alter June 20, 2012 11:35 am
<i>To Rome With Love</i>: Woody Allen Remembers His Roman Holiday

If you ever want to see a group of jaded movie journalists get truly starstruck, stick them in a room with a filmmaking legend like New York's own Woody Allen. The writer/director/actor/nerd icon was front and center at a recent press conference for his latest film To Rome With Love, and despite being flanked by some of the movie's big-name stars (among them Alec Baldwin, Penélope Cruz and Ellen Page) all of our eyes -- and most of our questions -- were directed at him. Here's what Allen had to say about working in Italy's lovely capital, acting on camera and why he rarely makes movies in his native city anymore:

To Rome With Love: Ciao, Woody!

by Ethan Alter June 22, 2012 6:09 am
<i>To Rome With Love</i>: Ciao, Woody!

What do you do when you've just directed the film that became the biggest hit of your career and scored you another Oscar? Well, if you're Woody Allen, you take your act on the road once more, trading the rain-soaked streets of Paris after midnight for sun-dappled Rome. The iconic writer/director's forty-second film (stop and take that in for a moment... that's 42 films in almost as many years; respect man, respect) is To Rome, With Love, a quartet of fancifully comic -- and, as the title suggests, romantic -- stories set against the backdrop of Italy's historic, absurdly picturesque capital city.

Blue Jasmine: When Cate Met Peter, Dice and Louis

by Ethan Alter July 23, 2013 9:38 am
<i>Blue Jasmine</i>: When Cate Met Peter, Dice and Louis

After spending midnight in Paris and sending a mash note to Rome, with love, Woody Allen is back on U.S. soil for his latest film, Blue Jasmine, which divides its time between New York and San Francisco. The drama, which bears the obvious influence of both the Bernie Madoff affair as well as Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, stars Cate Blanchett as Jasmine, a former member of the Big Apple's upper crust brought low by the financial crimes perpetrated by her husband (Alec Baldwin). Decamping for the Bay Area, she moves in with her working class sister, Ginger, (Sally Hawkins) and the move takes its toll on her already fragile state of mind. Given her track record, it's no surprise that Blanchett's performance is already attracting Oscar buzz, but what is a surprise are the dramatic turns delivered by two guys better known for making people laugh: Andrew Dice Clay, who plays Ginger's uncouth ex-husband, and Louis C.K., who plays her new beau. Blanchett, Clay, Louis C.K. and Peter Sarsgaard (who has a small role as Jasmine's love interest) held court at a New York press conference for the film and discussed working with Woody Allen (as Louis C.K. told it, his first meeting with Woody could be its own Louie episode) and the movie's depiction of America's ongoing class divide.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 15, 2013

by Ethan Alter January 15, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Liam Neeson is taking it to the limit one more time.

Indie Snapshot: Josh Radnor Takes a Crash Course in the <i>Liberal Arts</i>

The How I Met Your Mother star tries to sweet-talk his Liberal Arts leading lady, Elizabeth Olsen, into playing his love interest this season. Also, our reviews of Arbitrage, Solomon Kane and two documentaries.

Movie Predictions For 2009: Not As Crazy As They Sound

by Tippi Blevins December 30, 2008 11:31 am
Movie Predictions For 2009: Not As Crazy As They Sound If we look carefully at the movie trends of 2008, it's not hard to make a few predictions for the year ahead. Sure, some of these may seem kind of crazy, or maybe they sound flat-out impossible. But just remember these seven words: Steven Soderbergh to direct Cleopatra rock musical. Anything can happen, so get in on the ground floor of these predictions while you can!

Poltergeist Remake Builds on Ancient Screenplay Ground

by Odie Henderson August 20, 2008 4:04 pm
<i>Poltergeist</i> Remake Builds on Ancient Screenplay Ground They're herrrrrre!And they're being remaaaaaaaade!!! The Poltergeist remake has found two screenwriters willing to build their story on ancient (circa. 1982) screenplay burial ground. Juliet Snowden and Stiles White will be taking the Freelings through their latest encounter with ghosts who pull little girls into the TV. The original is a classic that still scares me (I hate clowns...) and I'm disgusted that this is even being considered. Especially since, according to an episode of True Hollywood Story, the Poltergeist series is cursed. Since I can't stop them from making it, I can at least hope CNN's kidnap-happy Nancy Grace has a cameo.

Dark Knight Felled By Thunder

by Odie Henderson August 18, 2008 10:37 am
<i>Dark Knight</i> Felled By <i>Thunder</i> Pineapple Express underachieved on its opening weekend, causing the Watchmen-addicted Zach to incorrectly predict it would unseat The Dark Knight. I challenged him, stating that Tropic Thunder would be Batman's nemesis. He said I was crazy, and I was -- like a fox! Let's look at this logically: On one hand, you have a stoner movie. They're having a resurgence thanks to Judd Apatow and company. On the other hand, you have a movie that, in the name of satire, makes fun of Blacks, Asians, and the mentally challenged. It also has a Scientologist using more Jewish stereotypes in his performance than a Mel Brooks movie on crack. And let's not forget the gory war violence and farts! How could anybody predict that Middle America would resist this movie?! You don't need to be Miss Cleo to get this one. While I wrestle Zach for the one measly dollar I've won, which he refuses to pony up, here are this weekend's box office numbers.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Ménage à Blah

by Lauren Gitlin August 12, 2008 12:18 pm
<i>Vicky Cristina Barcelona</I>: Ménage à Blah

As I walked out of a screening for Woody Allen's new film Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a friend cracked that Allen only gives us a decent film every 10 years, and implied that VCB had successfully staked its claim as the decade's quota. Me, I'm not so sure. Certainly Allen's prior two films, Match Point and Scoop, weren't anything to write home about. But it's tough to say if VCB is the triumph we've all been waiting for.

Blue Jasmine: Oh, Streetcar!

by Ethan Alter July 26, 2013 5:50 am
<i>Blue Jasmine</i>: Oh, Streetcar!

If you want to see what capital-A Acting looks like, take a gander at Cate Blanchett in Woody Allen's latest feature, Blue Jasmine. As the title character, an absurdly wealthy New York socialite forced to drastically downsize her life after her swindling husband (Alec Baldwin) is unmasked as a Madoff-like fraud, Blanchett is a whirlwind of nervous tics and harried mannerisms, having clearly embraced the "more is more" -- as opposed to "less is more" -- school of film performance. In that respect at least, she's carrying on the tradition of the broadly neurotic hero that Allen used to portray in movie after movie. But where Allen's persona was generally of sound mind despite his occasionally questionable behavior, Jasmine's general flibbertigibbet-ness comes from her increasingly shaky hold on reality in the wake of her fall from societal grace. As the movie continues and Blanchett's performance grows more manic than comic, the dark secret of her character is laid bare: we're not watching Jasmine… this is Blanche freakin' DuBois!

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