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|Index||111 reviews in total|
After directing the critically and commercially successful "Vicky Cristina Bracelona" and the wickedly funny "Whatever Works", Woody Allen comes back with his usual annual picture. This one is not as successful as his previous two, a mixed bag of superstition, unhappy (and generally uninteresting) characters, and broken relationships. It does not have the romantic pleasure of "Vicky" or the acid wit of Larry David to keep it afloat and though it is full of talented faces and some witty plot lines, Brolin's character is the only one who holds our interest. Unfortunately the story does not revolve completely about him, but with his wife and her parents, who I found particularly dull. It has the flavor and composition of a Woody Allen picture, but none of the charms of his previous films.
Woody Allen's hilarious, inspired new romantic comedy is probably the
funniest film to come out in many a month. The film's structure,
however, plays out more like a Shakespearian tragedy. The nameless,
bodiless narrator even quotes Macbeth to sum up the events of movie.
The characters that are on a one way course to destruction, however, is
classic Allen, and he creates awkward and hilarious plot-lines that all
lead to a free fall of fantastic comedy.
The Grand Hotel-esque plot follows different stories of an extended family living in England. An aging, arguing couple, the wife's recently divorced parents, and all the people they end upyou guessed ithaving affairs with. Some of these "affairs" stay in the character's mind, while others break up weddings, but everyone is constantly in love with someone else.
The all star cast works wonders with Woody Allen's tight, smart script which may be the best so far this year. Josh Brolin and Naomi Watts are a couple who are having increasing marital troubles. Brolin has a PhD in medicine, but gave up working so he could become a writerexcept his past three books have sucked. Watts gave up her career as an artist and works at an art gallery to support her husband until he (hopefully) makes it big. Watt's mother who is having a lot of trouble adjusting to the divorce is played fantastically by Grema Jones. Her only consolation is going to a fortune teller who continuously says things are going to get better. Anthony Hopkins is arguably the best part of the film, playing an old man who is trying to relive his glory days of being a hip young manbut it's not going so well. Antonio Banderas, Lucy Punch, and Freida Pinto are all fantastic as outside love interests, making for a marvelously ridiculous movie.
This comedy touches on a lot of subjects, particularly aging and how life can seem like it's slipping away from you one moment, then completely collapsing on top of you the next. All the characters are panicking one way or another because they feel that they are getting too old for life. These parts of the movie will fly over younger viewers' heads (such as this reviewer), but nearly everyone knows how it feels to see the cracks starting to spread in one's life. By the time Hopkins' character realizes his bimbo new wife has taken all of his money and he still loves his ex, she has moved on. Also, according to her fortune teller, she has lived many times before. When Brolin has a grand idea to publish a book, the dead almost literally come back to haunt him.
Woody Allen creates a smart, deep comedy that encompasses a lot of uncertainties of life. Maybe the fortune teller is a fraud, but that doesn't stop her from being right for most of the film. The movie pokes fun at the idea of reincarnation, but at the same time, it just as easily supports the concept. As with all Allen movies, the actions of moral-less people in a moral-less world come back to bite them by some moral thing, whatever you choose to think that is.
The characters are upper class, like in many of Woody Allen's movies. They are well off and have good jobs and obviously a decent supply of money, and should really have nothing to complain about. The couple would be able to pay rent if they didn't live in such a huge apartment. Regardless, they manage to screw everything up as thoroughly as the rest of us, and it is hilarious every step of the way. The film ends more of a mess than it began, and what a glorious mess it is.
Woody Allen frequently seems to take his cues from music in molding a
story. This time, in YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER he admixes
frustrated relationships with lust and a dollop of 'ppychic readings'
and comes up with a fun if uneven little film. As usual he surrounds
himself with a fine cast of actors who are able to make the most out of
Allen's outline for a microscopic examination of human behavior.
Helena Shebritch (Gemma Jones) is consulting 'clairvoyant' Cristal (Pauline Collins) regarding the request for divorce from her gadabout husband Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) who is courting a hooker named Charmaine (Lucy Punch). Helena and Alfie's daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) is disgusted with both her parents and is in the midst of coping with her MD educated turned writer's block novelist husband Roy (Josh Brolin). Fed up with their static life Sally seeks and gains employment with art gallerist Greg (Antonio Banderas), and in her need for attention falls in lust with him, despite the fact that he is married and seemingly unavailable until she discovers Greg is having an affair with gallery artist Iris (Anna Friel). Roy spends his days gazing at guitarist Dia (Freida Pinto) who lives across the way in the next apartment. Roy serendipitously comes on a novel (by a comatosed friend) he can 'sell' and with his self worth strengthened he courts Dia who is in an arranged marriage contract. Inappropriate Cristal is the one who oversees all of the derring-do with miscalculated predictions - except for Helena who meets widower Jonathan (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) in a séance oriented lifestyle. By story's end it seems that perhaps Helena will be the only one successful in her 'wish upon a star'.
This may not be one of Woody Allen's best films but it does pose many questions about relationships today and as usual, he has a fine cast to entertain us. If you like Woody Allen, you'll likely enjoy this outing.
But not so uncommon. Woody Allen's movies are full of intelligence, psychological realism and good humour. He analyzes human relations mainly in what concerns love with all its illusions and disenchantments with great authenticity and a reasonable amount of depth despite the fact that the good humour he also puts in his analysis sometimes makes it seem superficial. This time the place is London. In this movie we have the married couple who lives in disharmony because the husband is a failure as a novelist and lives at the expense of his wife who works at an art gallery and has an uncorresponded crush on her boss while he (the husband) himself has a crush on a young neighbour girl he sees through her window sometimes playing the guitar sometimes undressing herself. We have also the wife's mother who believes in everything a fortune-teller woman tells her and whose husband has divorced her because he felt she was getting older and then married a young girl who was a half-whore and kept sleeping with others. All these people interact creating situations sometimes funny sometimes not so funny but told very cleverly in images and witty dialogues. It's one of the best Woody Allen's movies in my opinion.
The new comedy from Woody Allen. Story about a family who is falling
apart...Husband (Hopkins) leaves his wife of 40 years...and that's just
the beginning. The subject matter doesn't seem funny, but it works as a
comedy, Woody Allen has a way of doing that. Husband leaves his wife,
who is seeing a psychic, for a woman half his age, daughter has crush
on her boss, her husband has crush on the neighbor. I've never been a
Woody Allen fan, I have only really liked a few of his movies. This one
was not that bad. It was very entertaining and enjoyable, but not one
of my favorites. If you like Woody Allen I'm sure you will really enjoy
this. If you are like me and are not a huge fan, this is still very
watchable and a pretty good time. The cast is excellent and it's worth
watching for that. I give it a B.
Would I watch again? - Most likely not.
"Well, as Sally told Roy, sometimes the illusions work better than the
As far as Woody Allen films go, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger isn't out of the ordinary. The story is the usual mixture of completely unpredictable good and bad events, that seem to happen to his characters regardless of whether they deserve them or not. Much like life. Unintended consequences, fate, and the meaninglessness of it all is once again the underlying message, all presented through the lives of the wealthy and discontent. There's less humor than some of his movies, a little more than others, and I think that most fans of Allen's work will find it agreeable, if much less neurotic than something like Annie Hall.
What does set this apart from some of the director's other work is the cast. Sure, Allen has a history of working with some excellent actors. This is the best cast he's had, in my opinion, primarily because I'm such a fan of Naomi Watts. To see her joined by Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Frieda Pinto, Lucy Punch, Antonio Banderas, Gemma Jones, and others...well, that's quite an ensemble.
Overall, I was satisfied with You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. Allen doesn't stretch himself much with this one, but the cast makes it memorable.
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)
Simply put, not Woody Allen's best. But it has lots of the trademarks of Allen's films, especially from this late period, and sometimes this one seems about to shine, either in humor or in pathos.
It's not quite a roaring comedy, nor a farce, nor a true straight drama. A number of major characters are in relationships that are falling apart or beginning again, often (of course) with infidelity. So Anthony Hopkins plays a wealthy old man who refuses to be old, so he begins working out, popping performance pills, and sleeping with a prostitute (though he apparently thinks she's just a nice actress). And so he leaves his wife. Then there's his wife and her need to start over. There's the prostitute who naturally isn't satisfied with sex with an elderly chap (everything is very British--it's set in London).
And that's just one group. An important second group of characters include a couple of writers (their manuscripts become an important small subplot) and their loves. Including the scintillating young woman across the courtyard who practices cello in her window. You might think this is a parody of a dream (I laughed out loud when it first happened because I was sure he was making a joke), but it's taken seriously. In fact, the guy watching her (one of the writers) is a true jerk, and seems to succeed as a jerk. No joke there, either.
Etc. It could easily have been a delicious interplay of contemporary characters facing romantic crossed-wires. But the timing is a hair off, the dialog sometimes obvious or sometimes too familiar (like we've seen it before not just in life, but in a Woody Allen movie). There are some touching scenes, and the best parts of the movie are probably the serious ones, but you can't extract those beautiful five minute segments from the more contrived and strained whole.
A final clue to Allen's intentions comes from the bland (downright boring) voice-over at the start and end. It means to suggest a lighthearted look at these people (caught in the sound and the fury). And the music in the background shifts the mood in almost silly ways, announcing that the movie is almost an oversized trifle. Or truffle.
Too bad. Allen is his brilliant best when he mixes up humor and tragedy, and he's great at both. I'm glad he tried. If you love Allen, you should see this and give it a chance. If you don't know his movies or know you don't like them, give some of the great ones another chance. The list is long.
After reading several unfavorable reviews of "You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger," from various media critics, one can only feel pity for these humorless, dyspeptic, dunderheads who also panned "Vicky Christina...," and "Match-point," both of which were brilliantly entertaining and dramatically absorbing. 'Stranger' offered a wonderful cast, as always, at the top of their form in a frothy romp with certain, sardonic overtones, all of which made this Woody Allen entertainment exceptionally enjoyable. In an era when film comedy has been reduced to numskull offerings for adolescents and adolescent men, Allen has come up with (gasp!) sophisticated comedies and dramas since he began shooting in Europe.
Woody Allen does a great job of making fascinating characters from
ordinary people. He has really made some great movies recently and has
applied his original magic to London once again. This is my favorite
London movie since Match Point.
The casting is perfect. There are really good performances from Josh Brolin who looks suitably disheveled; Naomi Watts who is perfectly believable in her unrequited love and who has such great lines with her mother at the end; and Lucy Punch who is hilarious as the tart and steals all the scenes from Anthony Hopkins.
The humor arises from the situations. The plot line with Josh Brolin at the hospital bed near the end is just priceless. It is a total delight to watch from start to finish.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Can't say I've ever been a real fan of Allen, so it would be improper
to say I was disappointed. Well, I recall liking Cassandra's Dream, and
Vicky Barcelona was entertaining, but I don't remember their endings,
and this movie kinda gives me an idea why.
Feels as though Allen is more concerned with sending us the message that we should appreciate the lives we're leading and not waste ourselves on greater dreams or ambitions or we will end up like the people displayed in this movie, than he is with entertaining us.
And this approach leads to a rather superficial movie with rather superficial people who we aren't supposed to really like that much (doesn't seem Allen likes them very much). And although there is this sense of build-up that in the end perhaps they will find their balance after all, and somehow the mess they bring about turns into some sort of harmony, but that never happens. The mess just gets worse and that's it. By the time you're watching the subtitles, you feel like all those folks you've been watching just got punished for wanting more out of life. And thats it. For me, not what I watch movies for. I like to be touched, moved, brought to some insight, see the world different perhaps. And preferably in a positive way. But all this movie left me with was a sense of 'ugh, what stupid people'. Sorry Allen, but put a little love in it next time.
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