Problem Solved

vicky-christina-barcelona

So Woody Allen seems to have found a way out of the woods. Firstly, he’s not in Britain. I always thought his dialogue spoken in a British accent sounded weird and clunky. He’s now a European filmmaker, but not UK European, real European.

Secondly, he’s not concerned with a “return to form” if the form you’re talking about is ANNIE HALL or MANHATTAN. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my feelings for these films but I have to say I’m delighted with this direction he’s taken. No longer is he looking for the comedic but is happy to let the characters and the situations breathe.

Woody Allen now seems to have let go of what he was as a director, to concentrate on what he is. When the Allen of BANANAS, SLEEPER and LOVE AND DEATH became the Allen of ANNIE HALL, INTERIORS and MANHATTAN he was initially chastised for abandoning his pure comic roots. Of course the negativity subsided when the realisation set in that Allen was evolving and that huge gains as an audience could be had by evolving with him.

The same could be said here.

After MATCH POINT, SCOOP and CASSANDRA’S DREAM (which for my money were on the bland side) Woody’s new evolution would appear to have taken shape. Will this be his final major artistic shift? That remains to be seen. One thing is for sure though, History will look kindly on his body of work.

I saw the film knowing nothing about it, I suggest you do the same.

The film opens on February 6th and probably won’t be in cinemas for long, after all…… there’s no explosions in this picture.

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22 responses to “Problem Solved

  1. You notice what is missing on the poster though?

    I realised on my trip into the office this morning.

    On the ads for the movie on the bus stops and on the busses themselves for that matter there is no mention of the director.

    If you didn’t find out independently there would be no indication at all that this is an Allen movie.

    In stark contrast to movies like Changeling and Frost/Nixon or even Benjamin Button who’s directors are not only prominently displayed but are above the title.

    Has public opinion shifted so far now that Woody is thought of as a potential hinderance byu the marketing department rather than an indication of a quality product?

  2. Interesting point.

    I have the movie poster for MANHATTAN in my hallway and on that, Woody’s name is stuck right at the bottom no bigger than anyone else’s.

    On the Annie Hall poster, it’s only enlarged because he stars in it but it’s no bigger than Dianne Keaton’s or anyone else’s, on the revised version of the poster, the one that lists the picture’s Oscar haul, Woody’s name can’t be seen at all…. the poster can be seen here…

    http://www.impawards.com/1977/annie_hall_ver2.html

    MATCH POINT is slightly different as it mentions the fact it’s a Woody Allen film, as does CASSANDRA’S DREAM but in a fairly understated way …. The recent film SCOOP makes no such announcement though.

    The marketing of his films doesn’t appear to have changed much at all. His very early comedies being the exception.

    Oh, and I do understand that in the earlier films you can see him on the poster. My point is there’s no big directorial fanfare.

  3. Whilst that may be true I think it is telling.

    In this world where marketing is king I feel sure that if the studio felt having Woddy’s name prominently displayed would get a few more bums on seats it would be above the title.

    If they felt it didn’t matter it may be below or mixed in with the cast but to not have any mention of the film being by unqestionably one of the biggest names of the last 30 years on the advertising is very odd indeed.

  4. “unquestionably one of the biggest names of the last 30 years” …… I like that!!… Nice to see you coming around!

    I agree, it is odd. On the poster for CASSANDRA’S DREAM it even says “From the director of Match Point”…. As if that’s anything to shout about! Maybe they thought a more subtle approach was better. Allen films have never done huge box office business but do really well on dvd sales.

    I’ll tell you what else is odd about that poster, Rebecca Hall, who plays the “Vicky” of the films title, is given very little love.

  5. “‘unquestionably one of the biggest names of the last 30 years’…… I like that!!… Nice to see you coming around!”

    A simple statement of fact not an indication of my personal opinion young man!

    In just the same way that Paul W.S. Anderson is one of this countries biggest Writer/Director/Producers.

    Doesn’t stop him being a hack!

  6. The sickening thing is, if we sacrificed one of Paul W.S. Anderson’s horrific, gone tomorrow pictures, we could easily fund Woody’s work until the end of his life.

    And as for being a hack, you don’t see Paul W.S. Anderson double bills in arthouse cinemas, the same can’t be said for Allen. There won’t be worldwide retrospectives of Paul W.S. Anderson’s back catalogue when he passes away, the same won’t be the case for Woody.

    In saying that…… EVENT HORIZON was alright.

  7. I have to admit that my two movie related dark shameful secrets are I LOVE Romcoms (seriously, even the bad ones) and I like Andersons movies even though they are the artistic equivalent of a Big Mac.

    Shopping was great, I enjoy the Resident Evil movies (although would love to know what Romero would have done with them) and Event Horizon is fantastic but then anything with Sam and Larry is bound to be great.

    Here’s a tragic stat for you in Mr Allen’s whole carrer he has directed 35 movies grossing $448,768,868.

    Our Paul has only managed 7 and has already made $268,442,599.

    Following that through by the time he has reached the 35 movie mark he will have grossed $1,342,212,994!!!!

    Whilst there may not be many Art Houses mourning his passing there will be a fair few studio execs that will.

  8. Are those numbers factoring in inflation? I don’t know the price of a cinema seat in the 70’s but I can imagine it’s way less than todays extortionate admission fees.

    That asside, I’ve already said that Allen isn’t a huge box office draw, his films however, do have qualities that will see them watched for years to come.

    I’m not slating blockbusters though. I enjoy the odd dose of Hollywood escapism. I don’t think a director should ever be judged on the box office.

    And rom coms are ace. From Lubitsch to LOVE ACTUALLY…. I’m there….

  9. “I don’t think a director should ever be judged on the box office”

    I’d agree however the movie business is just that, a business and these days one with a capital B.

    So given that I think all directors are judged not only by their gross but more depressingly by their opening weekend grosses.

    Sad as it is if a movie aint a success by close of business on its first sunday the director is going to struggle to finance his next project.

    Woody however has the unique budgeting ability that top tier A listers will work for him for buttons just for the experience.

    So a move that may well cost any other director well into the high tens of millions of dollars will be made for a fraction of that by your man.

    However even taking that into account Cassandra’s Dream must have hurt him with a opening weekend of hust $362k and grosses of under $1M.

  10. Yep, it’s a business and always has been. I think the good will out though and we’ll still see a stream of great, low budget, independant movies. That, for my mind, is the real future of creative cinema, bar the odd exception. Woody Allen, for all his fame, has always been closer to that genre than the mainstream.

    As far as I know, he’s also on a unique contract that’s still running that allows him a picture a year, an allowance that he’s used from pretty much his first film. This gives him a bit of leaway I suppose, that added to the fact that VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA is his best box office since HANNAH AND HER SISTERS should see him producing until he no longer can.

  11. An odd situation and no mistake.

    A studio that is so determined to keep a talent on their books that they guarantee he can make a movie a year and then when he does they don’t put his name on the ads.

    Stranger still that given his absence from the hype (such as it is) that VCB should be his best opening since Small Time Crooks and that was his best ever.

  12. It is bizzare. Mind you, as you said, Woody Allen has such a status (if not a box office draw) that people know when there’s a new movie being released. I can’t say I’ve seen the VCB poster ANYWHERE except the net. I only just saw the trailer in the cinema for the first time last week but knew about a year ago that this film was coming out.

    Scarlett Johansson on the poster with the word BARCELONA (Just so you know it’s not another crumby british effort) probably helped its gross.

    SMALL TIME CROOKS only just beat it but opened in more theatres. God, I love that movie, one of his best premisses.

  13. And Tracey Ullman. Even I like it.

    I think given the cast it was bound to do well. Bardem is hot stuff after No Country and Johansson’s career as a movie opener seems to be building momentum too with The Spirit & He’s Just Not That Into You.

    Not that either of them seem to be any good.

  14. I’ve read some really harsh stuff about THE SPIRIT and even the title of that second film makes me recoil in horror, I’m Just Not Into That…..

    Bardem was GREAT in VCB, very convincing. Still to see NO COUNTRY… I know, shoot me. I usually get quite annoyed by the sight of Penelope Cruz (VOLVER asside) but she was also really good here. The film had some good scenes with the two of them arguing. They’re ranting away in Spanish in front of Cristina (Johansson) and the nice thing is, Allen feels no need to subtitle it…. We just look on, unaware of the details, just like you would if in the situation yourself…. Unless you speak Spanish of course.

  15. “I usually get quite annoyed by the sight of Penelope Cruz”

    You really are an odd man.

    The Spirit got urdered didn’t it. Framk Miller should stick to what he does best, comic books.

    Mind you he hasn’t been on form in that medium for about a decade.

    As for “He’s Just Not That Into You” it’s a Romcom with Jennifer Anniston, Ben Affleck & Drew Barrymore. It’s based on the Self-Help book of the same name.

    Has all the right ingredients to ensure I hate it but given its a romcom I will no doubt catch it one late night on Sky and love it.

    I know, I have a problem. Mind you it also has Jennifer Connolly in it and she’s the finest actress working today.

  16. Yes she does….. And I can’t quite explain why.

    She’s a decent actress and undeniably pleasing to the eye, I dunno…. There’s something about her screen presence that, to me, is like chewing wire wool.

    I’ll add it to the therapy list.

    Speaking of Jennifer Connolly, revisited THE LABARYNTH the other day. It’s not aged much at all…… Jen’s looking great these days!

  17. My beloved has the same thing with Eric Roberts and David Carruso. As soon as she sees either of them on screen regardless of what they are in she has to turn it off or leave the room.

    Can’t say I have any actors I irrationally dislike to be honest.

    I meand I can’t stand Woody but thats just sensible 😉

    In all seriousness though I really can’t think of anyone I dislike on screen enough to aviod a picture due to their presence.

  18. I came on here to mention the missing director credit but alas, I am too late. I wonder if they thought they would get more people in thinking it’s a scarjo rom-com and NOT an Allen film.

  19. ……… I’d still rather see an Allen film.

    Go see it man, it’s good!

  20. VCB is great – I went twice. Apparently, it’s made a ton of money.

    http://goodsmallfilms.blogspot.com/2008/12/banking-on-barcelona.html

    You’ll see also on this blog that he’s heading back to the UK for his next film:

    http://goodsmallfilms.blogspot.com/2009/02/brolin-hopkins-and-london.html

  21. What a nice site.

    It’s really pleasing to see VCB doing so well, I can’t help but think coming back to London is a step in the wrong direction.

    I spotted CASSANDRA’S DREAM in a local DVD store for £6 at the weekend but held off from buying it. I’m not ready yet!

  22. Pingback: Vicky Christina Barcelona « Blurasis

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