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Monday, August 18, 2008

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

By Luke

I would put it #2 for best movies of the year thus far. The 7 really great movies this year are (in order):

Reprise
Be Kind Rewind
Mister Lonely
Chop Shop
Flight of the Red Balloon
Speed Racer

Those would be followed by Encounters at the End of the World, The Dark Knight, Cloverfield, In Bruges.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona felt the closest to Annie Hall of any of the Woody movies I've ever seen (there are a lot I haven't seen). That doesn't mean I necessarily think it's his second best ever, but movies like Manhattan and Hannah and her Sisters (i.e. the relationship dramadies I think Annie hall is most often compared to) don't have the same balance of charm and fantasy that makes Annie Hall so great and it was really surprising to find it here, even though VCB isn't nearly as great a movie. It's very fun and engaging, and yet there's this really potent edge to the relationships lying underneath the surface. There are laughs here, just like Woody Allen comedies, and there are the same 'true' relationship moments that can be found in Annie Hall, and a lot of people would say 'Hannah' and Manhattan as well. So it really felt like a return to form by the Woodster, plus it's full of great performances and Barcelona art.

Maybe an indicator of whether you like the movie is how you feel about the title. One review I read said the title was the first indication that Woody has gotten lazy, and he thought the movie reflected that. I think 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' is a clever title in the same vein of Old Woody (if that's lazy, what are: "Annie Hall," "Manhattan," "Hannah and her Sisters," "Broadway Danny Rose," "Zelig," etc.?) and the movie reflects that, it's a throwback to Woody's Golden Age.

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