Amazon Holiday

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: Two American girls, best-friends Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), go to Barcelona for the summer, where they are seduced by and fall for the same Latin Lover (Javier Bardem).

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Patricia Clarkson, Kevin Dunn, Chris Messina, Christopher Evan Welch, Pablo Schreiber, Zak Orth, Carrie Preston

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketGo! With the Dollar so low, and the Euro so high, this may be the only affordable way to visit Spain anymore. But economics notwithstanding, the film also has going for it that it's a passionate exploration of how relationships are ultimately nothing more-- or less-- than a choose your own adventure story.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: Woody's still got a few tricks up his sleeve.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: No, but it could get your sexy juices flowing.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: Penelope Cruz, Penelope Cruz, everyone's talking about Penelope Cruz. I spent the first half of the movie wondering if she was even in this film... But boy was she ever! Without seeing any of the other performances to come, I'm going to go big, and put in my prediction now: she will win (yes, I said "win") the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: Rebecca Hall is incredible in the "Woody Allen role," which leads me to wonder, does he give them stuttering, hemming, and hawing lessons on set? Or do they just instinctively know that when you work with Woody Allen, every word should come from your most neurotic place?

Also, after only having seen him play a psychopath, an invalid, and a gay revolutionary, I was surprised to see how much sexiness and charisma Javier Bardem was able to bring to what may be the closest he's yet come to playing an average guy. Okay, so a Spanish master of seduction isn't that average-- but still, compared to his previous roles, this is just a regular guy. And he still comes off like an acting genius.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: I've always thought of Woody Allen as a simple director, who doesn't do much more than the bare minimum to tell the story. After all, he's known for letting his scripts do the talking. But in this film, his camera is dynamic, constantly moving, and often at a faster pace than I would associate with his work. For once, his directing actually stands out, and it turns out, he's quite talented.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: Woody Allen has written and directed a movie a year for as long as I can remember, so sometimes the quality gets compromised in the rush. That is not the case with Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

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Farzan said...

hmm...I havent heard of this film. It seems to have an interesting cast, but I might have to look for a trailer first. Good review as always

Monique Elisabeth said...

I'm surprised you haven't heard of this. It's the new Woody Allen movie, and it was all the rage at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Anyway, I really liked it, but it's more of an independent style film, so you have to be into that sort of thing. There are no chase scenes or explosions, just people talking and trying to figure themselves out.

Thanks for your feedback!

Farzan said...

Wasnt the movie Che the one that got alot of people jumping in excitement? I dont mind the no car chases or explosions, as long as its good than Im fine with

Jaccstev said...

It seem Johansson has become Woody's new favorite actress. I think this film will be as interesting as "Match Point".

Monique Elisabeth said...

@Farzan: People were talking about Che at Cannes because it was a big Steven Soderberg film and it couldn't land distribution. It was being used more as a cautionary tale than a success story. And I think it's like 3 or 4 hours long.

@Jaccstev: Thematically, I think Match Point is a little more deep and complex than this one, as it clearly all revolved around the idea, "I'd rather be lucky than good." And there was all sorts of intrigue about murder, etc. This film is really just about love and love affairs. It's a kind of morally out there, as it explores "What are the different types of sexual relationships and loving relationships that can make a person happy." It's just saying that you don't have to settle for the type of by the book relationship that we're taught to want when we're growing up, i.e. life long marriage to a regular person, and kids. I really enjoy these themes, but Match Point has a much stronger plot. It's pretty different.

Matt Cyganik said...

I too have heard all Penelope Cruz at this point. I'll be seeing the film later today, so we'll see. Thanks for giving a positive review though. I really like Woody Allen (at least mostly older Woody Allen), and it was disheartening to open the newspaper and see our local guy give it 2 stars.

Monique Elisabeth said...

Let me know what you think, Matt. If you agree more with me or with your local guy... Where do you live? Cuz some more conservative areas/people might not appreciate the sexually libertated messages in this movie.