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2 items from 2017

Review: Woody Allen's "A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy" (1982), Twilight Time Blu-ray Edition

23 January 2017 6:37 AM, PST | | See recent CinemaRetro news »

“Smiles Of A Chekhovian Night”

By Raymond Benson

Most cinephiles know that Woody Allen is a huge fan of Ingmar Bergman. Allen has paid homage to the Swedish master several times, and his 1982 work, A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, is an example. It draws upon one of Bergman’s very few comedies, Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), which is also the basis of the Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical and later film, A Little Night Music.

Smiles takes place at the turn of the last century (1800s to 1900s) in a rural village in Sweden, and the story follows the bawdy escapades of several couples. Likewise, Allen’s Midsummer takes place in the same time period, although the story is transplanted to “the country” somewhere in New York state, and concerns an ensemble of six characters—three couples—who also embark on bawdy escapades.

Bergman’s original film, in turn, »

- (Cinema Retro)

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‘Landline’ Charms Sundance With Winning Cast and ’90s Vibe

20 January 2017 7:47 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Landline” will not sell first or go for the highest price at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but the unflinchingly sentimental comedy from writer-director Gillian Robespierre warmed a world premiere audience at the Eccles Center Theater Friday afternoon and is likely to find a buyer by the time the next big snow passes through Park City.

Writer-director Gillian Robespierre’s second feature (after 2014’s “Obvious Child”)  brings just about everything an adult (and likely a younger) audience could want with this story about the durability of love and family that includes a large dose of 1990s nostalgia. Tested by indiscretions and emotional drift, the ties between two sisters and their well-intentioned parents are challenged time and again.

Critics too are likely to warm to the fresh story and the uniformly strong performances from Edie Falco, John Turturro, Jay Duplass, Finn Wittrock and, especially, Jenny Slate and Abby Quinn, as »

- James Rainey

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