8:00 PM, 1st March, 2013
It has been said that there are two kinds of people: those who ‘cannot stand’ Woody Allen and those (myself included) who think he can ‘walk on water’. Allen’s latest, this time a romp in the Eternal City, features his (welcome) return to the screen. How to begin? It is the familiar nervy, edgy, insecure Woody Allen (‘Don’t psychoanalyse me! Many have tried. All have failed.’) amongst a mélange of intersecting characters and story lines – blending romance, farce and pure silliness with commentary on celebrity – all jumbled together and played out by his stellar cast.
There are four concurrent storylines played out. Parents Jerry (Allen) and Phyllis (Judy Davis) are visiting Rome for the wedding of their daughter Hayley to local Italian lawyer Michelangelo. Architect Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) and his girlfriend Sally (Greta Gerwin) are dealing with ‘complication’ Monica (Ellen Page) – running into famous architect John (Baldwin), who offers romantic advice to the young Jack. Newlyweds Antonio and Milly find themselves separated and involved in farcical encounters with prostitute Anna (Cruz) and a local film star (Antonio Albanese) respectively. Leopoldo (Benigni), a regular guy, suddenly finds himself a ‘temporary celebrity’ mobbed by paparazzi and fans for no clear reason.
This all plays against the background of retired theatrical agent Jerry trying to persuade the father of his new son-in-law, undertaker Giancarlo (played by Italian opera star Fabio Armiliato), to take up a professional singing career – which produces one of the silliest (and funniest) sight gags of this or any other Allen movie.
Altogether: it’s a hoot, don’t miss it!
10:07 PM, 1st March, 2013
2 Days in New York is a comedy starring Julie Delpy, Chris Rock, Alexia Landeau and Delpy’s real-life father, Albert Deply. Delpy also directs the film and contributed to the screenplay. It is a follow-up to her previous directorial effort, 2 Days in Paris.
The story revolves around Delpy and Rock – as couple Marion and Mingus. A visit from Marion’s relatives upsets their normally calm and peaceful lives in New York City. Marion’s French family includes a portly, unruly father and a libidinous psychotherapist sister with a pot-smoking French boyfriend. Their arrival proves that familial and cultural clashes can quickly get out of control.
The film confirms that Delpy has a gift for the wildly absurd. It’s extremely funny with a particularly winning style – far-fetched, extreme and nonstop. Scenes are taken just short of chaos, with several characters onscreen talking simultaneously or doing something completely different from each other. Despite all of this, the comic beats crisp and clean.
Rock contributes several funny lines, (‘Your family, they’re like a reverse “Waiting for Godot”‘) showing his improved acting chops. It’s nice to see Rock settle into a role; he and Delpy display a genuine onscreen connection.
If you’ve ever had a family visit turn into a train wreck, you will relate to what happens in 2 Days in New York. It may bring back some unpleasant memories but when the story is so good, you won’t want to look away.