Catching the Classics: Annie Hall

Annie Hall PosterSince 1998, I have been maintaining a list of movies that I wanted to see. Sometimes these are all-time classics that passed me by, sometimes they’re genre classics that interest me. The list is updated regularly and is currently more than 1700 movies long. Fogs has gone through and hand-picked several classic films for me to “fast-track” and review here. This is one of those films.

Woody Allen probably has the longest lead time for a director between my having heard of him and my having seen one of the films he directed. I’m fairly sure I first heard of him when I was a kid, seeing his name come up on occasion in the Academy Awards (why I was watching the Oscars when I was too young to understand any of the films is a question I cannot answer.) Yet the first time I watched a film he directed was earlier this year, with Manhattan Murder Mystery. I admitted this oversight at the time and got some gentle picking on for it and some not-so-gentle pushing to check out Annie Hall. Of course, I knew something of what to expect from the film. I knew it was a romantic comedy, and by reputation an unorthodox one. And I knew Woody Allen would be playing a neurotic New Yorker, because — Casino Royale aside — Woody Allen is pretty much impossible to picture as anything else. What I wasn’t sure on was how well I would appreciate the humor. Continue reading

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Movies That Everyone Should See: “Casino Royale”

In 2002, Eon Productions released the 20th Bond film in the series, “Die Another Day”.

Though it was critically panned (57% on Rotten Tomatoes) and generally reviled by hardcore fans, it was still a huge hit. The combination of Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry provided an enormous box office draw. Without taking inflation into account, it was the highest grossing Bond film ever released. It earned $432 million worldwide, and was the sixth highest grossing film of 2002.

The producers were faced with a difficult decision. Brosnan, though still wildly popular, had fulfilled his contract and was about to turn 50. The series had also begun to lose credibility during Brosnan’s run, with the quality of the movies gradually devolving until they were cartoonish action films.

They made the difficult decision to recast the role of James Bond, replacing Brosnan with the relatively unknown Daniel Craig. They also decided to create a more grounded movie… to return 007 to more believable territory.

The result? A movie that not only overtook “Die Another Day” as the series’ box office champion, but one that many fans list as the greatest film in the franchise’s proud history.

“Casino Royale”.

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Now Showing on Cable: “Midnight in Paris”

Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” made its debut on Starz this past weekend.

Last year’s Academy Award winner for Best Original Screenplay, “Midnight in Paris” stars Owen Wilson as Gil Pender, a man who idealizes the Paris of the 1920s. Disenchanted with his career as a Hollywood hack, disrespected by his fiancée and lightly regarded by his future in-laws, Gil wishes he had lived amongst the great literary, artistic and culturally important figures of that time.

Little does he know… something extraordinary is in store for him.

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The 2011 FMR MAJOR Award Winner for Best Director

Ok folks. Our last individual honor of 2011. Tomorrow, all that’s left are the movie awards.

Today’s category? The Best Director! These are the artists that paint the canvas that is the silver screen. What they say – their “Directions” – are what you wind up seeing. And these five? They all did extraordinary work.

The nominees are: Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”, David Fincher, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, Terrence Malick, “Tree of Life”, Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”, and Nicholas Winding Refn, “Drive”.

Click through to see who won!!

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