1981-1990

Chia-Liang Liu – Lo foo chut gang AKA Tiger on the Beat (1988)

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Synopsis:
Francis Li (Chow Yun-Fat) is a lazy, arrogant cop coasting on his badge, more interested in chasing women than catching crooks. His new partner is Michael Tso (Conan Lee, in his “first” role) a determined, ambitious cop who doesn’t hesitate to get reckless if it means closing a case. When a new shipment of cocaine comes into Hong Kong, and with it a corpse, the two are forced together to get to the bottom of it. Their only lead: a beautiful but naive drug mule (Nina Li) Read More »

Woody Allen – A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982)

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Woody Allen brings a diverting whimsy and a hopeful innocence to this period roundelay, based upon Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer’s Night and Jean Renoir’s Rules of the Game. Allen plays Andrew, a Wall Street broker and eccentric inventor who is having frigidity problems with his wife Adrian (Mary Steenburgen). Adrian and Andrew are the hosts, at their summer house in the country, of a wedding party for Ariel (Mia Farrow) and Leopold (Jose Ferrer), a famed academic who is Andrew’s cousin. Over the weekend, another couple converges at Andrew’s summer home — the sly, lady-killer of a doctor Maxwell (Tony Roberts) and his date, the deliciously ditzy nurse Dulcy (Julie Hagerty). Through the course of the weekend, sexual partners are exchanged and magical fairy tale moments are shared. Read More »

Woody Allen – Broadway Danny Rose (1984)


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“A smaller, amusing comedy from writer/director Woody Allen, Broadway Danny Rose begins with a bunch of show business vets sitting around a table at New York’s Carnegie Deli and reminiscing about the legendary titular character, a loser of an agent who would represent anyone, including blind xylophonists, piano-playing birds, and has-been crooners with drinking problems. Allen plays Rose as a befuddled, warm-hearted schlub who finally has a shot at getting somewhere when he signs washed-up lounge singer Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte) and nearly brings his career back to life. Danny gets him a date at the Waldorf, where Milton Berle is in the audience, looking for guests for his TV special. Canova has a complicated love life, juggling both a wife and a girlfriend. so he enlists Danny to take the girlfriend, Tina Vitale (Mia Farrow), to the concert. But Canova and Tina have a fight, she goes back to her Mafioso boyfriend, and Danny winds up getting chased halfway around New York and New Jersey by the Mob. And of course, once Canova gets his big break, he dumps Danny for another agent. Allen, Forte, and especially Farrow all do strong work with characters that could have easily become stereotypes, and the film has a lighter, warmer touch than the Allen films that preceded it (Stardust Memories and Zelig). Read More »

Woody Allen – The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)


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by Hal Erickson

Woody Allen blurs the the boundaries between the real and unreal in this unique comic fantasy. The scene is a small town in the mid-1930s. Trapped in a dead-end job and an abusive marriage, Cecelia (Mia Farrow) regularly seeks refuge in the local movie house. She becomes so enraptured by the latest attraction, an RKO screwball comedy called The Purple Rose of Cairo, that she returns to the theatre day after day. During one of these visits, the film’s main character Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels), pauses in his dialogue, turns towards the audience, and says to Cecelia, “My God, how you must love this picture.” Then he climbs out of the movie, much to the consternation of the rest of the audience and the other characters on screen. Liberated from his customary black-and-white environs, he accompanies Cecelia on a tour of the town, eventually falling in love with her. Meanwhile, the other Purple Rose characters, unable to proceed with the film, carry on a discussion with themselves. Desperately, the RKO executives seek out Gil Shepherd, the actor who played the hero of Purple Rose. Shepherd (also played by Daniels), is sent to Cecelia’s hometown to see if he can repair the damage. Read More »

Woody Allen – September (1987)

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A weekend stay at a Vermont summer house provides glimpses into the lives of six unhappy people most of whom are in love with others who love others, etc. Mia Farrow plays a troubled lady who hides from a terrible childhood memory. She’s in love with Sam Waterston, who is tempted by Dianne Wiest, who’s a good friend of Farrow. And so it goes. The careful human interplay is aided by excellent filming techniques. Read More »

Woody Allen – Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)


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Woody Allen spent most of the 1980s and ’90s veering between comedy and drama, and he rarely combined the two with greater success than in Crimes and Misdemeanors, in which he weaved together two stories, one deadly serious, one often funny, both ending in sadness. Martin Landau plays Dr. Judah Rosenthal, a prominent ophthalmologist with a successful practice, a loving family, and a reputation for generous charity work. But Rosenthal also has a secret: his mistress, Dolores (Anjelica Huston). What began as a casual fling has become uncomfortably intimate, and as he tries to break off the relationship, Dolores threatens to expose his infidelity to his wife and some unorthodox financial arrangements to his colleagues. Fearful that Dolores will make good on her threats, Judah confesses his secret to his brother Jack (Jerry Orbach), who has ties to organized crime and offers to “make the problem go away.” Meanwhile, Cliff Stern (Woody Allen) is a filmmaker working on his pet project, a documentary about philosopher Prof. Louis Levy (Martin Bergmann). However, films about philosophers don’t pay the rent, so Cliff’s wife Wendy (Joanna Gleason) arranges for him to make a documentary for public television about her brother Lester (Alan Alda), a famous TV comedian whose vapidity is exceeded only by his arrogance. While Cliff tries to bite the bullet and finish the film, he finds himself falling in love with PBS producer Halley Reed (Mia Farrow). — Mark Deming Read More »

Woody Allen – Alice (1990)


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Description: Fifteen years ago, Alice (Mia Farrow) gave up her fashion career to marry the wealthy Douglas (William Hurt). Now they live in a fancy East Side apartment, with their two kids and several servants. She spends her time shopping, heaving beauty treatments, and being a good wife/mother. Raised a Catholic – her idol is Mother Teresa – Alice feels guilty just for being madly attracted to Joe (Joe Mantegna): a sax player and single father whose kids attend her kids’ school. She is too shy to talk with him. Having a painful back, she goes to Dr. Yang (Keye Luke): a weird acupuncturist-herbalist, who realizes that her problem is caused by her attraction to Joe. Yang gives her a special herb. Read More »