Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vicky Cristina Barcelona...

Woody Allen still has it. Ever since I was about 11 and first saw Annie Hall, I have tried to see as many Woody Allen films, and have not really liked many of his more recent ones, really since Curse of The Jade Scorpion. HOWEVER, with Match Point, Scoop, and this year's releases, Cassandra's Dream (which was just out of my top 10 of the year so far this past week), and now, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which if I were to redo that very list, it would easily make it. Now, the question is, how good is it...

Vicky Cristina Barcelona has a really simple premise. Two friends, Vicky (Rebecca Hall, who is really phenominal), and Cristina (the always, minus the Black Dhalia, seductive Scarlett Johansson), embark on a summer vacation in Barcelona, where they had a chance meeting with a painter, Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), who asks them to join him for a weekend of wine, food, and love making. The two go, and have an extremely interesting trip. This film is the story of that very trip. The two fall in and out of love with Javier and in an interesting turn, his ex wife, played by Penelope Cruz, and have a trip that is full of growth and experimentation. That's the film in a nutshell. And you know what, it really worked.

First off, let me get this off my chest. I now have no shame in admitting my completely heterosexual man love for Javier Bardem. He is a master at his craft, and that craft is seduction. This is a really simple film, and that is what is so great about it. It's just a story about three lives who intersect and ultimatley change. The dialouge is brilliant, the banter back and forth is great, and the actors really make this screenplay shine. Scarlett is suprisingly good in her performance as a free spirited sex pot, and Rebecca Hall really steals the show. Penelope Cruz is great in her small role, and as before, I said Javier is just amazing, and it really seems to be a natural performance from him. Woody Allen also shows that he still has some left in the tank. Granted, there are no awe inspiring shots, but the way he works the camera during seemingly mundane discussions, makes these interchanges a real character themselves. Also, and probably my biggest positive, is the cinematography from Javier Aguirresarobe who may be most famous for his work on the great film, The Sea Inside, also starring Mr. Bardem. The way that Spain is shot in this film is truly amazing. It's so warm, the city streets look amazing, and the way they use the culture in the film, because the two friends are on vacation, make this one of the most enjoyable movie going experiences I've had all year. Not much happens, but that's really the charm of this film. You can go to see the Dark Knight and get hit over the head with heavy, 9/11 overtones, but if you want some lighter, and more naturalistic fare, this should be right up your alley. Yeah, the film looses steam, some of the dialouge gets boring, some scenes don't really hit, but these are so few and far between that this is easily in my top 5 films of the year so far, and, like I said, is one of the most fun experiences I've had all year in the theatres. Go check this out, and then go check out some Pedro Almodovar films, or vice versa...

Vicky Cristina Barcelona - 8/10

Here's the trailer for those of you who are interested...

(The song from the trailer is featured a lot in the film, and if you like it, it's called Barcelona and is from the group Giulia y Tellarini)

Thanks for reading, and I would really like to hear your thoughts on some new releases. If you've seen any new flicks, what are they and what did you think?

Go see something good!!!

1 comment:

  1. I saw Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express recently. Both were very funny. I also rented The Life Before Her Eyes from the same people who did the House of Sand and Fog. It was really good. I'd like to hear your thoughts on that one.


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