Martha Marcy May Marlene

Terrifying and beautiful, this might well be the best film of 2012.

Interview: James Watkins

The director of The Woman in Black and Eden Lake sits down and chats with us about horror, Daniel Radcliffe and 3D.

Review: Acts of Godfrey

84 minutes of rhyming couplets? It sounds well annoying but I actually loved it.

Review: The Descendants

Nice film, shame about the voiceover.

Tinker Tailor Whack-a-Mole

There's a mole at the top of The Circus. Can you bash its face in?

Review: Like Crazy

A superb anti-rom-com that breaks some cliches and obeys others, which only makes it more moving.

Review: Shame

A devastating, magnificent film that trades almost solely in sex – and yet looks right through it.

Review: Coriolanus

Like Olivier and Branagh before him, Fiennes makes Shakespeare as gripping as it ever was. Verily, Voldemort did good.

If Newsreaders Did Shakespeare...

Inspired by Jon Snow's role in Coriolanus, here are some other Shakespeare adaptations starring newsreaders.

Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

After Benjamin Button and The Social Network, this feels like Fincher back in Se7en territory. Grizzled, haunting and beautiful.

Woody at the BFI

As the BFI's season of Woody Allen films continues, we look back at some of the director's best (and worst) films.

The Artist

A feel-good treat, pure and simple. You’ll swoon, you’ll sigh, you’ll want to tap dance.


iFlicks on Twitter

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BFI Woody Allen Season
Woody at the BFI: Crimes and Misdemeanors and Melinda and Melinda Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 08:56

Crimes and Misdemeanors, Woody Allen BFI season 

“Let me tell you a story and you tell me, is it material for a comedy or a tragedy?”

The starting point for Melinda and Melinda is the opening for every Woody Allen movie. As a director who finds comedy in the depressing and futile meaningless of life, Allen’s best work features comedy that stems from serious drama. Hannah and Her Sisters. The Purple Rose of Cairo. Husbands and Wives. Manhattan.

That duality is something that Allen openly confronts in binary titles. Crimes and Misdemeanors. Melinda and Melinda. Even Love and Death highlights the contrast between the silliness of farce and the philosophy of Chekhov. It’s when the director steps away from this balance that he starts to falter - see the Bergman-inspired Interiors, or the melodramatic Match Point, which expands one half of Crimes and Misdemeanours into a full feature-length narrative.

And so, as the BFI Woody Allen season continues, here are some thoughts on two of Woody’s most explicitly binary movies.

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Woody at the BFI: Husbands and Wives and The Purple Rose of Cairo Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Sunday, 22 January 2012 15:44

Jeff Daniels, The Purple Rose of Cairo - BFI Woody Allen season review 

"I just met a wonderful new man. He's fictional but you can't have everything."

There's something about the surreal tone of Woody Allen, that intelligent silliness, that often reminds me of Monty Python. But unlike Python, Woody's neurotic humour stems from the inherently bleak, futile crappiness of human existence. And, of course, most of the grief (as well as the good bits) come from relationships.

Indeed, for the most part, it isn't a Woody Allen film if two married couples aren't both having affairs - usually with each other. So, to continue this blog-along series with the BFI Woody Allen season, here are some thoughts on two films with particularly tempestuous relationships.

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Woody at the BFI: Everyone Says I Love You and Sweet and Lowdown Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Saturday, 21 January 2012 08:07

BFI Woody Allen season - Sweet and Lowdown, Sean Penn 

If you've seen the opening credits for a Woody Allen film, you'll have noticed two things: the Windsor font and the music.

So, as the BFI Woody Allen season ventures into the 1990s, we look at two of the director's most musical numbers: Everyone Says I Love You and Sweet and Lowdown.

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Woody at the BFI: Manhattan, Manhattan, Manhattan Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 13:16

Manhattan review, opening scene - Woody Allen BFI season 

"Chapter One. He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion. No, make that he, he romanticized it all out of proportion. Better. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin. Uh, no, let me start this over."

It's impossible not to quote that monologue when talking about Woody Allen movies - and the BFI Woody Allen season doesn't disappoint. And so we turn to Manhattan, a location so adored by the director that it gave its name to the title of his movies. Twice.

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Woody at the BFI: Sleeper (1973) Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Sunday, 15 January 2012 10:50

Woody Allen at the BFI - Sleeper 

"What do you believe in?" "Sex and death. Two things that come once in a lifetime. But at least after death, you're not nauseous."

The BFI Woody Allen retrospective continues tonight with Sleeper, one of Allen's earliest films - and one of the most quintessential. From its opening scene, in which a man (Woody Allen) is woken up in the future after being cryogenically frozen (complete with signature glasses), you can tell it's going to be a very silly affair. You'll also note a lot of the elements that have popped up in Austin Powers, as well as in Allen's future films.

Awake and disoriented, Allen's health food store owner staggers around the 22nd Century lab, eating rubber gloves and running people over in a wheelchair. All the while, he wears a manic grin on his face. It's genuinely hilarious, clearly inspired by comedians such as Benny Hill and Buster Keaton, as loud jazz honky tonks over the top of near-silent slapstick. Early on, instant pudding takes over the kitchen; later, Allen flies away from government officials before going on to win the Miss America beauty pageant. 

Sleeper is stitched together loosely, a patchwork of gags and occasional plot. Satire is in there somewhere too, but so are giant bananas, scientific experiments and machines that cause orgasms. It's the epitome of Allen's "early, funny ones" and he has rarely exhibited such an open love of anarchy since.

In that sense it compares well to the initial output of fellow silly-to-serious helmer Pedro Almodovar.

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More Articles...
  • Woody at the BFI: Bananas, Broadway Danny Rose and Bullets Over Broadway
  • Woody Allen at the BFI: Hannah and Her Sisters and Zelig
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