01 August 2010

Woody Allen: Day Twenty-Two

Woody Allen has twice made films about celebrated artists (Stardust Memories and Deconstructing Harry), but 1998's Celebrity is about fame itself and those trying to achieve it. Celebrity is similar to Deconstructing Harry and Everyone Says I Love You with an incredibly talented cast, including Kenneth Branagh, Judy Davis, Joe Mantegna, Winona Ryder, Melanie Griffith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Charlize Theron, Famke Janssen, Allison Janney and Bebe Neuwirth. Celebrity is shot entirely in black and white which enhances the film's mystique while the storyline is too sporadic. Kenneth Branagh's Lee is the film's common link but viewer is never given the opportunity to empathize with his character. Unfortunately Celebrity's moments of genius are too far and few between.

At the centre of Celebrity is the divorce between Lee and Robin (Davis). Lee is a wannabe novelist who works as a travel writer. His assignment leads him to encounters with movie star Nicole Oliver (Griffith), a fashion model (Theron), up-and-coming star Brandon Darrow (DiCaprio), while balancing a new relationship with Bonnie (Janssen) and his infatuation with Nola (Ryder). Robin is a one-time teacher who randomly meets Tony (Mantegna), a television producer, and their relationship blossoms and Robin becomes a television celebrity.

Judy Davis was so wonderful at playing neurotic in Husbands & Wives but she and Kenneth Branagh seem ill-suited to this Woody Allen film. Surprigingly Leonardo DiCaprio is quite charismatic in his role as a spoiled star.

Next up: Sweet and Lowdown.

My list:
1. Hannah and Her Sisters
2. Everyone Says I Love You
3. Manhattan
4. Bullets over Broadway
5. Annie Hall
6. Crimes and Misdemeanors
7. Radio Days
8. Husbands & Wives
9. Another Woman
10. The Purple Rose of Cairo
11. Broadway Danny Rose
12. Love and Death
13. Mighty Aphrodite
14. Interiors
15. Sleeper
16. Manhattan Murder Mystery
17. Zelig
18. Stardust Memories
19. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)
20. Take the Money and Run
21. Deconstructing Harry
22. Oedipus Wrecks from New York Stories
23. Bananas
24. What's Up, Tiger Lily?
25. Alice
26. Shadows and Fog
27. Don't Drink the Water
28. September
29. A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy
30. Celebrity

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