Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Play it Again, Sam (Herbert Ross, 1972)

One of the only Woody Allen films not directed by the man himself (although he did write the screenplay, and the play on which it was based), Play It Again, Sam starts with Allen rapturously watching Casablanca in the theater, and, once it's over, wishing he had the cool that Humphrey Bogart does. His wife has left him, and his married friends Tony Roberts and Diane Keaton try to set him up with several of their single friends. This always completely fails, as one would expect, but the first blind date scene at Allan's (Allen, humorously enough) apartment is full of slapstick and awkward hilariousness that really had me laughing out loud at several points. The rest of the film is regular Allen territory, focusing on his complete lack of social graces and awkwardness toward the opposite sex. Eventually, he falls in love with Keaton's character, and has a typical Allen crisis of morality, which resolves itself in a wonderful mock-up of the final scene in Casablanca.

While this sounds like a typical Allen film (and in most ways, it is), it also becomes wonderfully surreal with the addition of the spectre of Bogart, who comes in at times and tells Allan how to act like a man - get rough with dames, forget them quick, that kind of stuff. The ghostly Bogart is not really like Bogart at all, but is instead what Allan has in his mind of Bogart, and becomes a pretty good parody of typical, film noir masculinity. But, after all is said and done, this is one of Allen's more mainstream films (once, I had a roommate who called Annie Hall weird, and I knew after that, that we'd never be close), but doesn't come close the emotional maturity or even humor of his later works.


RIYL: Annie Hall

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