Monday, January 02, 2006

Match Point

On Saturday I saw "Match Point," Woody Allen's new film, which is getting rave reviews. I went into Manhattan for an early showing - noon - and it was packed. Mostly older people (older than me, even) but they are good quiet theater companions, especially when it's also a Woody Allen crowd, which tends to be more film-savvy.

How many times can I say "Woody Allen" in one post? I have to keep saying his name, though, because that's how I can remember this is his film. That's the crux of the whole magic - a non-Woody Allen film made by, incomprehensibly, Woody Allen. So here is my quick review: if this movie were written and directed by anyone else, it would be a good fun drama/romance/thriller, but nothing spectacular, but because it's so different for Woody Allen you are constantly amazed that he could manage something so different. The power of the film is less with the actors or the plot (though both are quite good) but with the knowledge that this is a whole untapped side of a director you thought you knew.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who I fell madly in love with in "Velvet Goldmine" and enjoyed in "Bend It Like Beckham," is still delicious, although now that I know he's played Elvis I can't shake seeing the likeness. (Especially when sitting in the second row of a theater with a surprisingly large screen, where faces tower in front of you like at a drive-in.) Scarlett Johansson, she of the puffy lips and perfectly round apple breasts, still reminds me of the little girl in "Manny & Lo," a film she made when she was just 11. It's good, rent it if you haven't seen it. She plays a young girl who runs away with her pregnant teen age sister and kidnaps Mary Kay Place to help them survive. Scarlett's Manny is the heart of the picture and carries it beautifully.

I also can't look at her without wondering if the rumors about her and Benicio del Toro are true. So I never saw "Girl in a Pearl Earring," because that just seemed unseemly, although it's perfectly suitable a thought while watching "Match Point."

Woody Allen's next film, a comedy, is also set in London and stars Scarlett Johansson. Hopefully she has not become his muse - we know what happens to them.


Blogger Pynchon said...

I'm very much looking forward to seeing "Match Point" when it comes out in the UK. The trailer looks great, and why shouldn't Woody Allen make a non Woody Allen movie? I suppose he is like all of us and has many different favourite films.

5:31 PM  
Blogger medusa said...

Oh I agree with you... hope it didn't sound like I thought he made a mistake. I love that he can invent himself and do so well. My point was just that this could have been directed by, say, Robert Zemeckis, and I think the critics would been less flattering.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Pynchon said...

Hi, Medusa. No, I'm sorry I didn't misunderstand you. The point I was trying to make (badly) was that I am sure that Woody Allen likes all sorts of different films, and just because he became famous for one particular style of film (comedy), doesn't mean that he would not like to try making different genres. Hell, imagine how bored anybody would be doing the same thing over and over again.

4:58 PM  

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