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Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:43 pm
by Penelope
It really was astonishingly bad. I had to look up Javier Aguirresarobe, the DP: I've only seen two of his previous films--The Others was gorgeously photographed, Talk to Her was servicable. Was nobody paying attention? You'd expect such an incompetently photographed film from a pair of neophytes working with $10 budget, not two veterans working with a budget somewhere in the millions.

Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:04 pm
by Sabin
Doesn't it just? And the D.P.'s pretty good. I have no idea why some of those focus pulls were let to pass.

Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:20 pm
by Penelope
I'll admit this: Penelope Cruz is a diamond, it's a dazzling gem of a performance. But she faces a major roadblock to a nomination: the film itself is an unbelievable slagheap of utter awfulness.

Too bad the Razzies don't give out prizes for Worst Cinematography: Vicky Christina Barcelona would "win" in a walk.

Posted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:52 pm
by Sabin
The film jump-starts upon her arrival but I don't think it's an incredibly complex role. She's just playing a crazy Spanish woman. She's capable of far more than this. Her lunch scene is one of the funniest I've seen in a long time, I'll give her that. Javier Bardem deserves real props for crafting a genuine character out of Woody's condescending foreign sympathetic lothario prose. Cruz is fun and a nomination isn't out of the cards.

Posted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:46 pm
by FilmFan720
I really liked it (no surprise there, though, probably). Penelope Cruz does walk away with the film though...she deserves a nomination.

Posted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 12:02 pm
by Okri
You know, I sorta enjoyed the film. It's not great shakes, but Cruz is combustible (and better here than she was in Volver), Hall is a very watchable screen presence, and I still like Scarlett Johansson, against my better judgement. I just like the feel of the whole thing. But I only paid six dollars to see it.

Posted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:11 am
by Johnny Guitar
Penelope Cruz owns this movie.

Posted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:14 pm
by Sabin
Has there ever been an allegedly great filmmaker whose new films inspire less enthusiasm than Woody Allen? Perhaps in the 1970's or especially the dumbed down 1980's the promise of a new Woody Allen film was akin to a breath of fresh air, whether he be aping himself or others. The last decade was a turbulent one for the filmmaker with strong highs ('Husbands and Wives', 'Bullets over Broadway') but mostly a mixed bag. This decade is rather disastrous with only 'Match Point' serving as an impeccably shot throwback to what happens when he would let an idea marinate for a little while. The film is flawed but there is a perversity to his narrative that is nasty and enjoyable. His other films are destined to be all-but completely forgotten as either trifles from the get go ('Small Time Crooks', 'Scoop'), maddening fare that fails to live up to initial conceit ('The Curse of the Jade Scorpion', 'Hollywood Ending'), or just outwardly forgotten ('Anything Else', 'Cassandra's Dreams').

'Vicky Christina Barcelona' should belong in the latter category but will likely end up in the middle one, though keeping in mind I may be one of the few people that bemoans the inconsistency of 'Hollywood Ending'. Really, there's nothing in this film you need to see aside from the beauty of the Spanish countryside and art scene that Woody Allen films exactly like New York or any of his newly-expanded exotic locales. I'd argue that there is a strong advancement in mise-en-scene demonstrated in 'Match Point' but that's about it. This film has miserable cinematography that is often out of focus, dreadful editing choices and all-too literal usage of dissolves, and a voice-over narration that feels pulled from Francois Truffaut's bathroom wastepaper basket. If Woody Allen is such a compulsive creator (Lord knows, I can't believe his stack of bills is too high) and Spain is the only country willing to foot his bills, wouldn't you think he had enough foresight to at least find a stronger voice-over narration voice? Or a second layer to his female characters who languish in toxic domains throughout the film's duration: the intellectual bitch who needs a deep dicking and the stunted artist bitch who needs a deep dicking.

Rebecca Hall has the makings of a strong actress who needs better material, but I enjoyed her making a go of it very much. Scarlett Johansson has the makings of a has-been. There are no interesting characters in 'Vicky Christina Barcelona' least of all his female protagonists, but Javier Bardem comes closest as a similarly shallow figure but seductive as fuck. I don't know if Penelope Cruz is legitimately good in this movie, just playing a crazy bitch, but she certainly picks up the film's pace. Mostly though, I wish I had spent ninety-some-odd minutes in a Barcelona airport or put the $13.50 into an account to go to Barcelona and savor the real thing.

Very nominal pleasures but mostly a boring, unexceptional experience to watch Woody Allen ape Francois Truffaut with such, such limited success where perhaps a second rewrite could have elevated the material. The man doesn't understand women, never will, and doesn't seem to be trying. On the other hand, there's something sad about a man at his age just now realizing there's a world outside Manhattan.