Monday, May 22, 2006

Mighty Aphrodite

Mighty Aphrodite (1995)-

Mighty Aphrodite was great. Mira Sorvino won an Oscar for best supporting actress and it was well deserved. Many of Allen's films have at least something different, some story-telling device that's original or different (maybe to hide the fact that the rest of the movie is similar to another). In this one it's the Greek Chorus collectively chanting story elements that link this one to Oedipus.

I'm not ashamed to admit to being a huge Woody Allen fan and am proud to say that after watching this one I've seen 25 of his 33 feature films (the ones he's written and directed - "Play It Again Sam" would make 26 of 34 but he didn't direct it). Anyone seen them all? It's a little daunting the way he cranks them out year after year. And then when you thought you'd seen most of them you find out about September, Interiors, and Alice. Whaaa Happen?

Because he's produced a film every year for over thirty years now his are interesting to study in the context of an artist going through different periods where different influences shape his work. Almost in a Bergman way. He seems to have gone through some interesting phases in his career; from the brilliant slapstick and absurdity of Bananas and Sleeper and Love and Death, to the romantic/dramatic Annie Hall and Manhattan, the nostalgic Purple Rose of Cairo and Radio Days, the moral questionings of Crimes and Misdemeanors and Hannah and Her Sisters, the purely hand held and hilarious and perfect - Manhattan Murder Mystery (my favorite), to the drama/mocumentary style - Husband and Wives (see Bergman's Scenes of a Marriage), to the sweet and phenomenal Sweet and Low Down, through a few down years, and then to the London phase - Match Point, Scoop (just completed), and untitled Summer 2007 project - all filmed in London.

His films aren't all brilliant or even original. It seems that he often does the same story and same scenes over and over again but evenso I always like watching them. And you got to respect the guy for his work ethic at least. Or maybe you don't.

5 Comments:

Blogger Drew said...

A long time ago I had the ambition to read the book "Woody Allen on Woody Allen" and then watch each film that corresponded with each chapter. I didn't make it very far before I realized that his body of work was like a couple seasons of the same TV show. I was recently watching "wild man blues", (the documentary about him on tour with a band). It felt just like one of his films with the same neurotic character. I admire that his films are so close to reality but I wonder if some of them haven't determined his reality. I can't help but think he is always miserable.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Seth Kawasaki said...

I love Woody Allen's films and I am continuously surprised to find people that don't like his movies. I think that if you don't like his movies it must be because you haven't seen them. I guess I could be wrong. Last week I watched Take the Money and Run again and I am continually amazed at how well he pulls off some of the jokes that would really not be very funny on paper. But to see him dressed as a rabbi speaking about the passover I think is very funny. A lot of people give credit to Christopher guest as the originator of the mockumentary and if they are more informed the say Rob Reiner. But Woody Allen was making mockumentaries way before Spinal. I must admit though that I didn't really like his drama stage of movies like Interiors, and Septmeber. However, it has been a long time since I have seen them so maybe I would like them better now. Anyway, cheers.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Bryan Summers said...

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10:15 PM  
Blogger Bryan Summers said...

I like Woody Allen. Sometimes I love him. About once every other year I get a craving for Woody Allen films. But after one or two films, I get tired of them lose the desire to watch them for another year or so.
So I guess my fandom fluctuates.
I recently saw Match Point and Crimes and Misdemenors. I enjoyed them both, and I think I've got enough desire to see one more. Maybe Manhattan which I hear is real good.
The Woody Allen film I laughed the hardest at was Small Time Crooks. (Which everyone says is slight. Still made me laugh, and I think it was the greatest cast he's ever had.) I want him to do another funny crime movie.
My favorite was Radio Days.

That being said, I've seen 14 of his movies. I imagine one day I'll see them all.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

I love Small Time Crooks.

My favorite woody allen films are probably:

Manhattan Murder Mystery
Crimes and Misdemeanors
Manhattan
Annie Hall
Sweet and Low Down
Small Time Crooks
Husbands and Wives

Play it Again Sam is also great

My favorite all-time actress is Dianne Keaton. Specifically in Manhattan Murder Mystery and Manhattan. Followed probably by Angelica Huston who is also wonderful in the Woody Allen films she's in.

10:00 PM  

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