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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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Husbands & Wives (Woody Allen, 1992)

I often end up watching movies in two parts, because my usual viewing time is before bed, but as I age, I can't stay up late every night anymore. The joys of having a real job. So last night, I watched the first half of Husbands & Wives and really wasn't enjoying it. I used to consider Woody Allen one of my favorite filmmakers (Manhattan still remains in my top 20 of all time, probably), but he hasn't made a good film in years (Match Point was about the time I gave up on him, and the fact that he's made the no-talent Scarlett Johansson his current muse isn't helping). As I watched the beginning of this film about upper-class married couples, I was completely turned off. Maybe a few years ago, I would have liked it a lot, but I've become less interested in the thinly veiled autobiographical whinings of a rich white man since then.

Today, I gave the second half a chance, though, because I do still have a soft spot for Allen. The second half isn't nearly as irritating as the first, but it's still not one of his better films. Allen and Mia Farrow and Sydney Pollack and Judy Davis play married couples who are good friends. Pollack and Davis decide to split up and begin dating younger people, something that effects both couples, and people around them, in myriad and profound ways. Well, sort of. It mostly effects them in the disenchanted rich people ways, which can certainly be entertaining to watch. Farrow in particular, as the passive-aggressive, seemingly nice Judy, is a pleasure to watch, although it's almost uncomfortable at times, knowing now that Farrow and Allen's relationship would go so sour so soon after, and that Judy is probably based on Farrow herself. How can an actor play a character written by someone they're close to, that's obviously based on themselves? That's a challenge all in itself.

But if you like Allen movies, with their snappy dialogue and hot young women (in this case, Juliette Lewis) throwing themselves at Allen, this movie is for you. It is certainly more grown-up in some ways than his 70s masterpieces -- divorce and infidelity are both here -- but in many ways, it's exactly the same. Not particularly great, but not a waste like I was afraid.


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