Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: there are ants in Ant-Man and the Wasp. There are ants in other things also, but only rarely as […]

Let nobody say that Woody Allen is really as redundant and uninspired as all that. After 46 feature films spanning 50 years, the director’s Café Society finally catches him doing something brand new: for the first time, he’s made a film in color that is a genuine triumph of cinematography, as opposed to just reasonably […]

The very best thing that ever happened to Magic in the Moonlight is that writer-director Woody Allen made The Curse of the Jade Scorpion prior to it. The two films resemble each other in multiple ways: they’re both set just outside the Great Depression (Jade Scorpion in New York in 1940, Magic in 1928 in […]

I do not know that Woody Allen has ever made a movie that is so much about its central performance, to the exclusion of every other concern, as Blue Jasmine; the most recent film of his monumentally prolific career that even comes close is Another Woman, a quarter of a century old. This isn’t meant […]

The last time Woody Allen made more than one genuinely great movies right in a row was in 1994 (if we want to press a point and allow the intermittently brilliant, sometimes strident Deconstructing Harry as great, it jumps to 1997), and thus it must follow, as night the day, that his next project after […]

A previous review of this film can be found here. A guide to this blog’s James Bond marathon can be found right here. CASINO ROYALEDirected by John Huston, Ken Hughes, Val Guest, Joseph McGrath, and Robert ParrishWritten by Wolf Mankowitz & John Law & Michael Sayerswith uncredited contributions by Woody Allen, Val Guest, Ben Hecht, […]

He adored Paris. He idolized it all out of proportion. Uh, no, make that he, he romanticized it all out of proportion. Better. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in warm golden tones and pulsated to the great tunes of Cole Porter. These are not the […]

So habituated had I become to steeling myself against yet another disappointment from the once-brilliant Woody Allen, who as we all know has tilted deeply into scattershot demi-irrelevance in the past 15 years or so, that when his latest film opened with a distinctly peevish narrator (Zak Orth) informing us, “Shakespeare said life was all […]

The tempting thing would be to make some kind of jokes on the model of “Whatever Works doesn’t” and call it a day, but that’s a fairly unlovely pun, and besides, however far Woody Allen might fall in any given film from the heights of his greatest work, he deserves more respect than that kind […]

Woody Allen’s projects aren’t films so much as they are changes in the weather: sometimes delightful, sometimes annoying, nothing that anybody says or does can do much to change them, and they occur in a roughly annual cycle. With that in mind (extremely strained metaphor to follow), his latest feature, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, is like […]

The life of a dedicated Woody Allen apologist has gotten harder lately, and this is, ironically enough, because he finally came out with a really great film not that long ago. Back in 2002, when the recent examples of “good” Allen were Deconstructing Harry and Sweet and Lowdown, it was not so very hard to […]

Because I am ultimately far more concerned with entertaining myself than providing edification for you my readers, I thought it might be fun to pursue a bit of a theme with my Sunday reviews for a while. In honor of the impending Academy Awards, I will spend the month of February looking at Oscar-winning films […]