Day 173: Husbands and Wives

518V6SXNJ1LHusbands and Wives, Woody’s 22nd turn behind the camera, is a terrible movie, on par with Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask*.

Maybe worse.

For one thing, this 1992 documentary-like film is the most foul-mouthed Woody Allen movie to date. Lots of F-words.

Lots. Of. F. Words.

For another, Husbands and Wives uses my most despised cinematic technique: hand-held camera work. It’s the most pretentious, pseudo-envelope-pushing gimmick in the book. Words can’t express how much I despise this way of filming a movie.

The ends result is a film that’s like seeing the world from a swift-moving roller coaster. Sloshes from side to side, extreme closeups, slow (or fast) zooms…It makes me nauseous.

I’ve walked out of movies with cinematography this shitty, and I’m likely to walk out of this one.

Finally, the subject matter of Husbands and Wives is the most Continue reading

Day 172: Shadows and Fog

51MJ3DB536LShadows and Fog, the 21st movie Woody Allen directed, boasts another huge cast.

And a very strange plot.

And Mia Farrow, who was in every one of Woody’s movies since 1982’s A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy.

According to its entry on Wikipedia,

Shadows and Fog (1991) is a black-and-white film directed by Woody Allen and based on his one-act play Death. It stars Allen, Mia Farrow, John Malkovich, John Cusack, Madonna, and Kenneth Mars. It was filmed on a 26,000-square-foot (2,400 m2) set at Kaufman Astoria Studios, which holds the distinction of being the biggest set ever built in New York. It was also his last film for Orion Pictures.

Shadows and Fog is an homage to German Expressionist filmmakers Fritz Lang, G.W. Pabst and F.W. Murnau in its visual presentation, and to the writer Franz Kafka in theme.

Shadows and Fog is almost absurdist in its execution. Lots of misunderstandings, non sequitur dialogue, and bizarre characters.

All wandering around a city at night, in the fog, with a killer Continue reading