Thursday, August 03, 2006

My all-time top five Woody Allen movies just because...

3. Sweet and Lowdown (1999)
A hard one - to watch, and to include on the list. Everything else in my top five was a dead cert. For me, Sweet and Lowdown slugs it out with Annie Hall. I know why S&L wins out. Annie Hall is perfect. Dated in some ways, starchy in others, but perfect. S&L is a film you can argue with, and over, but despite its niggling flaws, it has a core that is tough and true. Maybe it's just because of Sean Penn and Samantha Morton. Yeah, "just".

So much here is divine. Zhao Fei's cinematography: the colours sizzle, the images seem to burn on the retina (next he made the thoroughly ugly Small Time Crooks look edible). How dotty to put John Waters as Emmet's agent. The rising tide of Penn's hairdo, the squint of his piggy eyes, the lips that keep puckering and pursing like they're being manipulated by an invisible drawstring. Those snappy suits that look sort of tawdry on him. Both of them in the birthday present scene; you could sob just thinking about it. Everything is dwarfed by the moment when Emmet meets up with Hattie again on the boardwalk and Allen keeps the camera fixed on him as he learns how her life has turned out. Ouch.


Blogger tim r said...

It's nice enough, and I really like Penn and Morton. But Fellini's La Strada got here first. It's the same film, right?

4:20 AM  
Blogger Gator said...

Haven't seen La Strada, though I heard it's the same story. I don't really get on with Fellini, except for I Vitelloni and the sheer weirdness of And The Ship Sails On.

5:25 AM  
Blogger tim r said...

I Vitelloni – right with you on that. It's his best. Anthony Minghella thinks so too, so it must be.

8:04 AM  

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