Showing posts with label Tony Roberts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tony Roberts. Show all posts

Saturday, September 13, 2014

RADIO DAYS (1987)

RADIO DAYS doesn't have a straight-forward story, instead it's a collection of anecdotes, urban legends and memories told by a fictional narrator (Allen) fondly remembering the innocent days of his youth growing up in the late 30's/early 40's Rockaway Beach, NY.  Not all of the stories have to do with Rockaway Beach, but most of them do have something to do with radio whether it's the radio performers themselves, something playing over a radio or an actual physical radio itself.  Another focal point is the narrator's family.  It's a big family and they all live in the same house.  I especially liked his mother (Julie Kavner), his father (Michael Tucker) and his lovelorn aunt, played wonderfully by Dianne Wiest.

From beginning to end RADIO DAYS is a delight.  The stories come and go in a leisurely manner and none of them overstay their welcome.  In fact, a lot of them could have been longer.  My favorites were: everything with Mia Forrow (of course), the one where his uncle goes to confront their Communist neighbor (Larry David) and ends up renouncing God, the baseball player that keeps getting injured and the one where the narrator sees his teacher naked.  We also get to hear Diane Keaton sing, which is always a joy.

How much you like RADIO DAYS will depend on how much you enjoy nostalgic stories, but for me I thought it was great.  Would make an interesting double-feature with Fellini's AMARCORD.  Oh yeah, I nearly forgot, the 30's/40's soundtrack is magnificent!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

STARDUST MEMORIES (1980)

Sandy Bates (Allen) is a successful filmmaker who is completely stressed out with burden of success (leeches, pestering fans, strains on relationships, fake people, etc.), but worst of all he's unhappy. He's invited to a weekend film festival of his movies and during the festival he can't get a moments peace from the fans (one gets into his room late at night) and while trying to salvage his relationship with Isobel he finds himself attracted to the damaged Daisy (the wonderful Jessica Harper) but also haunted by memories of his past love Dorrie.

STARDUST MEMORIES is one of those films that gets even better with repeat viewings. I'm most definitely not a Allen expert, but I feel that a lot of people don't really see SM correctly. I have nothing to back up my theory but I believe (and I don't think this is a spoiler) that if you pay attention at the beginning of the film Bates is dreaming about Dorrie when the maid screams. He runs into the kitchen and sees the dead rabbit. At that point he looks at it and he goes into another dream. It immediately cuts to him arriving at the film festival (that he already stated he wasn't going to) and everybody is exaggerated and grotesque. It's all a fantasy. Then later, still in the fantasy, his fondest memory could very well be a scene from one of his movies. We never really get enough information about his relationship with Dorrie to tell whether it's real or not, but I like to think that it is a scene from a movie. Which is sad when you think about it...his fondest memory is a scene from a movie.

If you are a fan of Cinema then you owe it to yourself to watch STARDUST MEMORIES. It's better than I could ever express and a nice stepping stone into the films of Bergman and Fellini. Highly recommended.
Sharon Stone's film debut.


I might be out on a limb here, but is this scene a nod to WISE BLOOD?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

ANNIE HALL (1977)

I'm sure you already know this but ANNIE HALL was a turning point for Allen. The films before were more joke driven with almost nonstop jokes and gags, but with ANNIE HALL the emphasis is less on the jokes and more on the characters...and it works wonderfully.

Allen talking to the audience while in character is nothing new, he ended his last film LOVE AND DEATH by doing so, but there's something about how he does it at the beginning of ANNIE HALL that's much more personal and intimate. Maybe it's the modern time period or just the subject matter, but within a few seconds of the film starting Allen has already masterfully engaged the audience. After his brief introduction, where he (Alvy Singer) talks about his outlook on life and his relationship with Annie, the audience is granted entrance into Alvy's world and allowed to watch Alvy's life from his childhood days up to his different sexual adventures as an adult, but mainly ANNIE HALL is about his lurve, his loave and his luff for the beautiful Annie.

I wasn't around in 1977 to see ANNIE HALL upon it's initial release, but I can only imagine how fresh and modern it must have felt with Allen talking directly to the audience, the split screens (one of which wasn't a real split screen, but instead just a wall between duel performances), the animation, the conversing with strangers on the street, the literary feel to the whole thing, etc. I watched it again last night (for about the hundredth time) and I was mesmerized. Even thought I know the script by heart I still find myself lost in the story and smiling at the beautiful photography. I really cannot recommend ANNIE HALL enough. It's been copied a million times during the last 35+ years, but it's still a landmark of Cinema and one of my favorite movies. But don't listen to me, just enjoy and discover it for yourself.

All of that said, I think, in my old (and wise) age I'm actually going to actually drop ANNIE HALL down a notch on my favorite Woody Allen Movies list move A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT SEX COMEDY up one. AH has faded just a little with time whereas AMNSC has actually gotten even more beautiful.
Great inside joke since that is the real Truman Capote.

FACE TO FACE

Sigourney Weaver