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Far less erratic than the quality of his recent films is Woody Allen's preoccupation with sex, one that seems to have seeped into his family life, as suggested in a recent, harrowing Vanity Fair article. Though much of the heat is suggestively felt in his latest, "Blue Jasmine," you don't have to look far to find an Allen film that tosses the phrase "make love" around like it's nobody's business. The folks over at Official Comedy have fashioned a supercut of Allen, his stand-ins, and objects of affection uttering any variation on "make love" throughout his oeuvre. From "What's New Pussycat" (1965) to "To Rome With Love" (2012), there's plenty of sex talk to be had. Watch "Woody Allen Making Love: A Supercut," below. »
- Sarah Salovaara
Handsome star of spaghetti westerns including A Pistol for Ringo
When the spaghetti western was born in the early 1960s, some of the Italian lead actors disguised their names under American-sounding ones (though nobody was fooled). Among those competing successfully with bona fide Yanks such as Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef were Terence Hill (born Mario Girotti), Bud Spencer (Carlo Pedersoli) and Montgomery Wood, a temporary pseudonym taken by Giuliano Gemma, who has died in a car accident aged 75.
The strikingly handsome Gemma was one of the brightest stars of the once deprecated, now revered, genre. After five years in sword-and-sandal epics (also known as peplum films), usually supporting muscle men, Gemma made a name for himself (even if, initially, it wasn't his own) in two westerns directed by Duccio Tessari: A Pistol for Ringo (1965) and The Return of Ringo (1965). Their big box-office success granted Gemma stardom and »
- Ronald Bergan
The Italian government has approved a decree renewing the country’s film production incentives, including a 25% tax credit for foreign productions. The crucial vote follows the recent loss of millions of dollars in foreign spend in Italy for fear that these perks would instead be pulled amid the country’s weak economy and political volatility.
The incentives — which give local producers a 20% tax break, outside investors a 40% tax shelter, and foreign productions a 25% tax credit — have been in place since 2009, and had been previously approved through 2013. But in recent months foreign producers started seeing them as a risky proposition because the country’s cash-strapped government initially indicated the tax breaks would be frozen and also not renewed again. This fear has caused an estimated thirty million dollars in lost business over the past few months. Bowing to an Italo industry uproar, the decree called Valore Cultura (Culture Value) has now »
- Nick Vivarelli
• Read the archive of Charles Gant's UK box office reports
Late September, rarely a robust time for UK cinemagoing, continues the seasonally becalmed pattern. Overall, the 27-29 September session represented the third worst weekend for box office in the past year. Given that the previous frame delivered the second worst, it's clear just how sluggish the market is right now.
The only film delivering a weekend gross in excess of £1m was Prisoners, starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. Aside from the previous weekend, when Rush held on to the top spot with £1.34m, Prisoners' £1.37m tally is the lowest for a No 1 film since Dredd landed »
- Charles Gant
Woody Allen can certainly be an acquired taste, especially his earlier work. More recently, the writer and director has been pushing movies into cinemas that are a bit more accessible for average cinema going audiences. He started this with Match Point in 2005, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Midnight in Paris and To Rome with Love have keep that trend rolling over the last few years. And now, the latest Allen project, Blue Jasmine has arrived in cinemas. As per usual Woody Allen assembles a rock solid cast here with the likes of Alec Baldwin, Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay, Sally Hawkins and Cate Blanchett all on board. It’s Blanchett that takes the lead role here as a one time, super wealthy New York socialite who arrives in San Francisco broke and shacks up with her far less well off adopted sister. In the usual non linear narrative that we are used to from Allen, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Vic Barry)
Review Paul Martinovic 27 Sep 2013 - 12:48
What are we to make of Woody Allen in 2013? Since at least the mid-70s the poster-boy for neurotic cinema has been steadily ploughing his own cinematic furrow, releasing films that aren’t comfortable with generic labels or even commercial ones, now that serious mainstream movies for adults have gone the same way as Walkmans and mobile phones that only have the ability to make phone calls.
It doesn’t help that he’s wildly, famously inconsistent: since the excellent early to mid 90s run that included Husbands and Wives, Bullets Over Broadway and Mighty Aphrodite, even the most fervent fan would be hard pushed to argue that his recent filmography has been defined by a long periods of mediocrity. It seems that, like the »
Feature Ivan Radford 30 Sep 2013 - 07:03
You can tell immediately when you're watching a Woody Allen movie. Not just from the opening credits (Windsor Light Condensed on black title cards) but from the music. Woody loves the stuff - he'd rather play clarinet with his band than go to the Oscars. He loves it so much that he joins the list of directors such as Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese who are known for using popular, pre-existing music in their soundtracks. The man has directed an astonishing 43 films in his career. Just seven of those have original scores.
★★★★★ The best Woody Allen films of the past decade have invariably been minor frivolities. As wonderful as his 2011 effort Midnight in Paris was, it is undeniably frothy and lightweight when held up against some of his masterpieces. His new endeavour, Blue Jasmine (2013), sees Allen channelling Tennessee Williams to bring real intellectual and creative heft back to his work. Recalling the pessimism of Deconstructing Harry (1997) and the tragic fatality of Crimes & Misdemeanors (1989), Allen's latest has an urgency and vitality that many Woody detractors thought had been lost somewhere in the hinterland of the early nineties.
Blue Jasmine is uncompromisingly raw, using Cate Blanchett's titular heroine as an angry, unstable personification of the post-recession blues of the fallen rich. The film sees bitter socialite Jasmine moving in with her poorer sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco after her financier husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) is jailed for fraud. Desperate but in denial, »
- CineVue UK
Blue Jasmine, 2013.
Written and Directed by Woody Allen.
A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn't bringing money, peace, or love.
Blue Jasmine is not only a brilliant return to form for Woody Allen after the disastrous To Rome with Love and several other sub-par efforts over the past decade (Scoop, Cassandra’s Dream, Whatever Works) but it is perhaps his most accomplished screenplay of multiple characters since Husbands And Wives. Certainly Midnight in Paris is a superb and magical film, but Blue Jasmine is Allen back in adult territory with several well-rounded characters and his writing is very strong once again.
Perhaps it is the distinct lack of the ‘Woody Allen character’ in »
- Gary Collinson
In contrast to the majority of Woody Allen’s films over the last decade or so, his latest offering, Blue Jasmine, has gained vast praise from the critics prior to its September 27th UK release date. The film currently holds an impressive 90% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on over one hundred and forty reviews and also has a score of 77 on Metacritic.
Blue Jasmine is Woody Allen’s first film to be set on his home soil since 2009′s Whatever Works, which starred Larry David and was set in New York, although the film was sandwiched in between foreign destinations. This European tour which Allen has recently embarked upon has seen him taking in the great cities of London, Barcelona, Paris and Rome. While a portion of his audience holds mixed feelings over the films that this period has produced, 2011′s mega hit – by Woody standard’s, anyway – was Midnight in Paris, »
- Luke Simmons
The kudo will be presented to Allen at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 12 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
“There is no one more worthy of this award than Woody Allen,” said Theo Kingma, president of the HFPA. “His contributions to filmmaking have been phenomenal and he truly is an international treasure.”
The New York-based Allen usually shuns Hollywood events although he did attend last year’s world premiere of his comedy “To Rome with Love” at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
- Dave McNary
Warner Bros is heading the revival of the '60s television show, which follows the adventures of two agents from the United Network Command for Law Enforcement.
Robert Vaughan and David McCallum originally played Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, who used their gadgets and wits to combat the evil operatives of the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity (T.H.R.U.S.H.).
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. began filming in the UK, Rome and Naples on September 9. »
The actor will play Alexander, an affluent Italian shipping heir who smuggled Nazi gold at the tail end of World War II, and is now responsible for the sale of nuclear weapons. He joins a cast that includes Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant, Elizabeth Debicki and Jared Harris.
Guy Ritchie is directing from a screenplay by Scott Z. Burns, with Lionel Wigram, John Davis and Steve Clark-Hall prodcuing. The story is set in the early 1960s at the height of the Cold War, centering on CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and Kgb agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), who team up on a mission to stop an evil organization from disrupting the balance of world power through the use of nuclear weapons. Production started earlier this week.
Epic, erotic, intimate and politically engaged, this movie – based on the graphic novel by Julie Maroh and winner of the 2013 Palme d'Or at Cannes – is a must-see. Relating the story of a passionate love affair between two young women, it is directed with intelligence and calm by the Franco-Tunisian film-maker Abdellatif Kechiche, and features lead performances of outstanding honesty and power. Adèle Exarchopoulos and newcomer Léa Seydoux play a teenager and an art student who have an intense relationship, discovering that their love has to exist both in and out of the closet. It triggers a personal and political revolution for both. The film is controversial; Maroh has called it a heterosexual fantasy of gay experience, »
- Peter Bradshaw
• Oscar predictions 2014: the full series
• First look review: Blue Jasmine
• Watch the trailer
This year's …
Midnight in Paris (duh). Allen's breakout blockbuster, after more than 40 years of trying, got him two Oscar nominations, of which he won one, best screenplay – his first since Hannah and Her Sisters in 1987.
But perhaps we should be looking for comparison at sophisticated American character dramas of recent vintage: The Sessions, say, or The Descendants.
What's it all about?
After her marriage to a sleazy investment banker-type (Alec Baldwin) melts down, a snooty trophy wife-type (Blanchett) heads to San Francisco to find houseroom with her considerably more down-to-earth sister (Hawkins). Cue much downing of antidepressants, china hitting the walls, and unnerving confrontations with hunky plumber types.
How did it happen? »
- Andrew Pulver
Several Woody Allen's ago we began a very short lived series called "Familiar Faces" in which I surveyed repeat usages of the same actors in a director's ouevre. The series was short lived because my god do you know how long each post took? Nevertheless, I'd love to revive it if I've ever afforded the budget or time and I thought with Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen's 43rd complete directorial feature, rocking it at the box office the time was ripe to revisit and republish with a few minor adjustments. If you see a half point trust that it's from Play It Again Sam which Woody wrote and starred in but did not direct or New York Stories which he directed only one segment of. One of the key factors in why I don't think Woody Allen films are as strong as they used to be is his weird »
- NATHANIEL R
When you think back on the great Woody Allen films, they have so many different dimensions. They are dramatic (Crimes and Misdemeanors), they are hilarious (Bananas), they are touching (The Purple Rose of Cairo), they are dramatic and hilarious and touching (Manhattan), they are sublimely bittersweet romantic (Annie Hall), they are drop-dead clever (Zelig), they are darkly sexy and thrilling (Match Point), they are even cheerfully up front about their own lack of consequence (Broadway Danny Rose). But a word that virtually never springs to mind in connection with a Woody Allen film is ”topical.” On rare occasions, he has tried to be topical, »
- Owen Gleiberman
This weekend's winner could come from any one of three titles, but I'm going to go with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones as the likely conquerer, even though it's been very poorly received. My logic is relatively simple: the film is rated PG-13, it has the most theaters of any new release, and there's some precedent for a non-sequel tween film to make this sort of money. I leaned heavily upon I am Number Four as a comparable, because it was supposed to be the start of a series, and yet it wasn't quite Twilight, The Hunger Games, or Harry Potter in terms of book buzz. I am Number Four opened at $19.5 million back in February of 2011, I'm factoring in a $2 million dollar disparity because The Mortal Instruments is terrible, whereas I am Number Four was good, and the first place I heard a song from the (then) new Adele album. »
- Laremy Legel
The Casting Society of America‘s 29th annual Artios Awards for outstanding achievement in casting will be awarded November 18 at simultaneous ceremonies at the Beverly Hilton and at the Xl Nightclub, Cabaret & Lounge in New York. The 22 categories repping film, TV and theater recognize Csa members who use the criteria of originality, creativity and contribution of casting to the overall quality of a project. Here are the 2013 nominees announced today: 2013 Artios Award Nominations for Outstanding Achievement in Casting Big Budget Feature – Comedy “Oz the Great and Powerful,” John Papsidera “Pain & Gain,” Denise Chamian, Lori Wyman (Location Casting), Ania Kamieniecki-O’Hare (Associate) “Silver Linings Playbook,” Mary Vernieu, Lindsay Graham, Diane Heery (Location Casting) “Ted,” Sheila Jaffe, Angela Peri (Location Casting) “The Watch,” Alyssa Weisberg, Shay Bentley Griffin (Location Casting), Yesi Ramirez (Associate), Karina Walters (Associate) Big Budget Feature – Drama “Argo,” Lora Kennedy “Les Misérables,” Nina Gold “Life of Pi,” Avy Kaufman “Lincoln, »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
The mayor of Rio de Janeiro is wooing Woody Allen to shoot his next film in the South American city, including offering to fund 100% of production costs
• First look review: Blue Jasmine
• All our content on Midnight in Paris
• All our content on To Rome with Love
Rio de Janeiro's mayor says he'll pay "whatever it takes" to get Woody Allen to set one of his films in the seaside city.
The enterprising Eduardo Paes is eager for the perceived tourist uplift that follows a Woody Allen production. Allen is currently shooting in the south of France with Colin Firth and Emma Stone; Blue Jasmine, currently on release in the Us, was filmed partly in San Francisco and partly in Allen's native New York.
Recent films have not just shot in European capitals but also taken their names in their titles. Midnight in Paris was Allen's most successful film yet »
- Catherine Shoard
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