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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

May 17, 2010 at 10:15 AM

And more Woody Allen . . .

Like the inexpensive Betty Boop watch I bought 15 years ago and is still on my wrist this very morning, Woody Allen just keeps on ticking. The man churns out a movie a year on schedule, unlike any other filmmaker I can think of. This weekend, his 2010 ensemble comedy “You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger,” shot in London, screened at Cannes, starring a typical big-name Allen ensemble cast: Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Freida Pinto and more. Initial reaction appears to be underwhelming (just judging from headlines I’ve seen; I try to not read reviews for movies that I’ll ultimately review but haven’t seen yet), which has been the case of most of Allen’s recent films. And today comes word in the Hollywood Reporter that his next film, “Midnight in Paris,” is cast and will shoot this summer in Paris (natch), starring the mildly bizarro crew of Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, Adrien Brody, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Kathy Bates and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
It’s been fascinating to watch Allen’s output over the years; every time everyone seems ready to write him off, he pops up with something interesting. “Match Point,” in 2005, came after a long string of dreary New York movies and seemed to revitalize him; likewise, popping over to Spain for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” He might be due for a good one soon — really, “Whatever Works,” his last U.S. theatrical release, was pretty awful. I think his last truly great movie was “Everyone Says I Love You,” fifteen years ago, and that his decline in quality began immediately after that film. (Once you’ve had Edward Norton crooning “My Baby Just Cares For Me,” where else can you go?) But, though I’ve reviewed more than my share of mediocre-to-lame Allen efforts, I admire the way he keeps going; obviously, this man loves to make movies. I just wish, too often, that he’d put a little more effort into it.
And, speaking of Edward Norton, he’ll be in town June 4 for a special Seattle International Film Festival tribute. Let’s hope somebody asks him about this scene, perhaps the most charming of his career.

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