woody allen

Midnight In Paris (2011) Review | Jamie Daily

Midnight in Paris (2011)
84th Academy Awards 2012
2/5 Stars
Nominated for 4 awards, of which it won 1.
Nominated for Best Picture (Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum), Art Direction (Anne Seibel, Héléne Dubreuil), and Directing (Woody Allen).
Won Writing–Original (Woody Allen).
Watched September 21, 2012.

I have heard many things about Midnight In Paris, the good and the bad, and after reading several reviews have come to the conclusion that you will either love this film (head over heals), or will be indifferent with a leaning toward dislike.  If you are a Woody Allen fan, it is likely you might class this film among his best.  The Academy is certainly a huge fan of his work.  In the past few weeks I have discovered that I differ from the Academy in this regard.  I find the cynicism of his characters dull and predictable and would rather be enlightened by refreshing characters.  Despite this, there were certainly aspects of the film that I enjoyed.


It is spring time in Paris, and the cinematography stresses the beauty of the city, particularly in the rain, which is when the main character Gil (Owen Wilson–the Allen replacement) is happiest.  He is a Hollywood screenwriter who is trying his hand at writing the next great American novel.  His deepest desire has become to move to Paris, but his fiancé Inez (Rachel McAdams), who spends all her time shopping, would much rather live in the States in the suburbs and grow up to be exactly like her parents, who ironically also happen to be in Paris.  From the start, it is clear that Gil does not fit in with her family, and their relationship seems more convenient to her than deeply passionate.


I won’t say much else about the plot, because if you haven’t seen it I would rather not be the one to give away the main plot twists.  There are two driving forces behind this film, the most transparent of which is the idea of nostalgia.  Many writers and lovers of culture fall victim to this tempting view of the past, and Gil is no different.  He is obsessed with Paris in the twenties.  He claims that everything moves too quickly now, and that it hurts the originality and creativity of the present.  So many greats were born in the 20s–Hemingway for example–that he idolizes the era as much as the artists.


The other subplot is, of course, about love, but is a little more deep than your average romantic comedy.  As was said in the Daily Mail, “Life and art are both worth the most meticulous re-examination and a life without art or romance is one that’s only half-lived.  Moreover, Allen argues — in an entrancing final scene — lasting relationships are built not on lust or love at first sight, but on understanding based on shared tastes.”


The cinematography is fairly good, as well as the scripting.  Allen’s witty diatribes have still not abandoned his films, which despite their generally negative view of life, still leave me a little breathless in their use of the English language.  The acting was average, and the final scene between Gil and Inez is a letdown.  I’m not quite sure that any aspect of the film truly resonated with me and I will be honest in saying that it is not something that I will likely seek out to watch again.


If you are a fan of Woody Allen, Paris, or Owen Wilson, then by all means this should be a film that you see!


Sources: We Eat FilmsThe Guardian IMDBRotten TomatoesRoger EbertDaily MailLA TimesThe GuardianFilms According to Chris WyattJohn Likes MoviesCinema Sights

Annie Hall (1977) Review | Jamie Daily

“Annie Hall” (1977)
50th Academy Awards (1978)
3/5 Stars
Nominated for 5 awards, of which it won 4.
Nominated for Best Actor (Woody Allen).
Won Best Actress (Diane Keaton), Directing (Woody Allen), Best Picture (Charles H. Joffe), and Writing–Original (Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman).
Watched August 18, 2012.


Oh Woody Allen, what do I say about you?  You are a genius, and yet despite your brilliance, the majority of your films rub me the wrong way.  They have all the pieces, and they fit together very nicely–from the writing to the directing to the characterization to the cinematography and all the way to the editing, Annie Hall is flawless.  Most distinctly it is recognized for its non-linear approach.  However, something about it left with me with a bad taste in my mouth.


The film is a romantic comedy following the main characterAlvy Singer (Allen) who is a comedian.  Ironically, Singer’s comedic journey follows Allen’s journey.   From a writer to a stand up comedian who eventually begins writing plays, his character is incredibly pessimistic.  The film opens with a brilliant camera- and audience-directed monologue.  Within the inevitable love story of this film, Singer is a witty realist while Annie (Diane Keaton) is a ditzy artist.  Through every discussion and experience, we discover more about them–about the depth of Singer’s nervous tendencies and Annie’s impatience with them.  They fall in and out of love almost as many times as the roller coaster Singer grew up living underneath rose and fell.  They are constantly pushing one another to be who they desire, when in reality they are trying to force a square peg into a round hole.


Much of the film revolves around sex.  Right up front you can see how much Annie lacks confidence with men, but it is even more evidenced when she can’t sleep with Singer until she has smoked weed.  After they are past the honeymoon phase, Singer is dismayed that they only have sex three times a week, while Annie feels as if they are constantly having sex, “I’d say three times a week!”  Because they both approach life so differently, it is difficult for them to journey it together.


I think one of the main things that held me back from enjoying this film was the fact that Annie fell for Alvy at all.  He was obnoxious, rude, and funny looking, but right from the start she was taken.  Cynicism is not my favourite attribute, and I think that stopped me from liking Alvy at all.  When you don’t like the main character, it is hard to enjoy a film, no matter how well done it is.


Despite my negative opinions, I do think that it is a film worth seeing!  My absolute favourite piece of the film was the non-linear approach–not showing their relationship from start to finish but jumping around in order to show a more reflective, emotional flow to the relationship.  For all of the good pieces to this film, I would be curious what you think of its humor and depth.


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Sources: IMDBRotten TomatoesTriviana ReviewsNew York TimesThe GuardianThe Oscars ProjectFan Pop