A director is forced to work with his ex-wife, who left him for the boss of the studio bankrolling his new film. But the night before the first day of shooting, he develops a case of psychosomatic blindness.
Lee Simon, unsuccessful journalist and wanna-be novelist, tries to get a foot into the door with celebrities. After divorcing his wife Robin, Lee gets to meet a lot folks of the rich and / or beautiful, partly through journalism, partly because he has a script to offer. But life among those from out-of-this-world is hard, and his putative success always results in defeat. Meanwhile Robin meets a very desirable TV-producer and takes the first steps in the world of celebrities herself. Written by
Julian Reischl <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As Woody Allen is too old for the lead, Kenneth Branagh literally steps into his shoes and does such an effective job at playing Woody that he must have watched every Allen movie at least six times. The film is hilarious but deep--like his best films. It explores our obsession with celebrities and the media's obsession with them, and I wonder how much "acting" Leonardo DiCaprio did for this film. But the more I thought about it afterwards, the more I realized how sad the movie is at its core--the word "help" being written in the sky may be what Allen is thinking--is this what we have become? So obsessed with fortune and fame that we literally prostitute ourselves and become someone we aren't (i.e. Judy Davis' character)?
The movie seems more timely now than in 1998. Americans seem to be more interested in what Paris Hilton does on TV, or what J-Lo and Affleck are up to, than what's going on in the world. "Celebrity" nails it, and like Deconstructing Harry, does it in a rather vulgar manner. But you have to wonder how much of this is based on real events (again, I cite Di Caprio). This was the second movie (after 2 Days in the Valley) that made me aware of the statuesque beauty of Charlize Theron. I didn't think she could act worth a hoot (that opinion recently changed), but she sure looked like a rich runway model to me. This movie is one of my favorite Woody films of the '90s, and one of his most underrated. It's also visually beautiful, in black & white that recalls the photography of Manhattan.
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