1991-2000

Woody Allen – Deconstructing Harry (1997)

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Synopsis:
Harry Block has written a best seller… bout his best friends… he revealed their deepest secrets… and they’re not pleased… now Harry Block is going to Hell…
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Woody Allen – Celebrity (1998)


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Description: Black-and-white Sven Nykvist cinematography highlights this Woody Allen comedy about fame and obscurity among Manhattan celebs. Journalist Lee Simon (Kenneth Branagh), makes a play for actress Nicole Oliver (Melanie Griffith), subject of his current story. Lee is separated from his wife Robin (Judy Davis), a schoolteacher who’s totally lost and insecure — until TV producer Tony Gardella (Joe Mantegna) becomes fascinated with her. Concerned about her possible sexual inadequacies, Robin recruits a prostitute (Bebe Neuwirth) to instruct her on oral sex techniques. On the town, Lee becomes transfixed by a blond supermodel (Charlize Theron), who teases him throughout the night, eventually dropping him before they get home. Lee’s relationship with book editor Bonnie (Famke Janssen) is solid, and she’s due to move into his place. However, he suddenly becomes romantically involved with waitress-actress Nola (Winona Ryder), complicating his agreement with Bonnie. Lee’s efforts to sell his screenplay take him to the Stanhope Hotel, where he arrives just as spoiled young movie star Brandon Darrow (Leonardo DiCaprio) is fighting with his girlfriend (Gretchen Mol), trashing his hotel room, and insulting hotel staffers. When Darrow and his entourage head off to Atlantic City, Lee tags along, but as life swirls about him, a dismal dawn awaits. In addition to the Stanhope, locations included Barbetta’s Restaurant, Ziegfeld Theatre, Soho’s Serge Soroko Gallery, Flamingo Club, Jean-Georges Restaurant, and the Trump Marina Hotel and Casino (donated by Donald Trump, who portrays himself in a cameo at the Jean-Georges). Shown at the 1998 Venice Film Festival, this was the opening night selection of the 1998 New York Film Festival. Read More »

Woody Allen – Sweet and Lowdown (1999)


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A comedic biopic focused on the life of fictional jazz guitarist Emmett Ray. Ray was an irresponsible, free-spending, arrogant, obnoxious, alcohol-abusing, miserable human being, who was also arguably the best guitarist in the world. We follow Ray’s life: bouts of getting drunk, his bizzare hobbies of shooting rats and watching passing trains, his dreams of fame and fortune, his strange obsession with the better-known guitarist Django Reinhardt, and of course, playing his beautiful music. Read More »

Woody Allen – Small Time Crooks (2000)


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Plot:
Ray Winkler is a “small time crook” with big dreams. Recruiting his wife and some fellow bumblers, he leaves his job as a dishwasher to open a cookie store next to a bank. And while his wife operates the cookie store, he and his cohorts work in the basement on breaking into the bank. Wealth comes from an unexpected direction, helping fulfill his dreams. But there is an ancient curse about getting everything you wish for. Read More »

Woody Allen – The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)

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Writer and director Woody Allen returns to the Manhattan of the past with this romantic comedy set in 1940, the era of fedora hats and gumshoe detectives. Allen stars as C.W. Briggs, an insurance investigator whose razor-sharp instincts have just led to the successful conclusion of another case, the recovery of a stolen Picasso. While he’s a valued employee, Briggs is under fire from efficiency expert Betty Ann Fitzgerald (Helen Hunt) for his antiquated attitudes and refusal to accept modern crime-solving techniques such as fingerprinting. C.W. claims he puts himself directly into the criminal mind, a skill that will do him no good when he and Betty Ann are hypnotized at a Rainbow Room gathering one night by the magician Volton (David Ogden Stiers). As a parlor trick to entertain their co-workers, Volton makes C.W. and Betty Ann believe they’re a couple that’s deeply in love. But the performer secretly keeps up the ruse after the party’s over, calling C.W. to whisper a magic code word and ordering the detective to rob wealthy homes with security systems that C.W. himself has designed. With no memory of his thieving activities, a frustrated C.W. can’t solve the high-profile jewel burglaries, while he and Betty Ann struggle with their odd new attraction for each other, made more complicated by the fact that Betty Ann is romantically involved with their boss (Dan Aykroyd).
— Karl Williams @ allmovie.com Read More »

Jan Harlan – Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001)


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Description: Narrated by Tom Cruise, “Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures” goes through each one of his movies and talks to various participants about their memories of working with Kubrick. For those who know very little about Kubrick, the documentary is an excellent career overview. Read More »

Abel Ferrara – Body Snatchers (1993)

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Review by Mike Long
There’s an old saying in Hollywood that goes, “Don’t remake the same movie too many times.” Okay, so I made that up, but I’m sure that someone has said that at some time in the past. No matter the case, when “Body Snatchers”, the third film to be based on the novel by Jack Finney, was released in 1993, it went virtually ignored by the public. I can only assume that most people thought it was a re-release of the 1978 version “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” While “Body Snatchers” may share the same basic plot as its predecessors, it is a unique film that brings a new vision to the nightmare story. The film has just hit DVD and deserves to find a new audience. Read More »