Woody Allen is undoubtedly a very talented man. Directing and starring in numerous films his influence throughout American cinema is undisputed. New York's Museum of Modern Art revived Annie Hall for the big screen recently, so in honor of the occasion we decided to take a shot at picking the top 5 masterpieces by the man himself. No doubt, it was a hard task.
Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson in a love triangle set in the rural outskirts of Barcelona. I’m not sure you could get more aesthetically picturesque than that as far as movies go! A coming of age journey for Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), and a journey or realization for Vicky (Rebecca Hall), their worlds are turned upside down when they are approached by the charming Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) during dinner one night in Barcelona. What follows is a rich cinematic tapestry of lust, love, colloquial landscapes and splendors, portrayed only the way Woody can.
Cate Blanchett leaves you awestruck in this sad and slow demise of a New York socialite and her embezzling husband, played by Alec Baldwin. When Jasmine (Blanchett) is forced to live with her sister (Sally Hawkins) amongst means – and people - a lot less desirable than she is used to, the cracks being to show. The juxtaposition between Jasmine’s former and present lives is mirrored beautifully in the way her character deals with her present and ailing situation, eventually revealing the secrets that led to her families downfall.
A beautiful look into a family and its dynamics set against the backdrop of two sumptuous yet frantic Thanksgiving meals, not to mention the outstanding cast - Woody, Michael Caine, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Barbara Hershey, Dianne Weist and more. Hannah is the pivotal character link in a series of familial betrayals and emotional downfalls which lead to the baring of souls and secrets. An incestuous bunch at best the family discovers, grows and learns together in what is an eccentric look at sisterly love – perhaps taken from Woody’s personal experiences across the years.
A rib-tickling collection of short vignettes about the birds and the bees featuring Woody, Tony Randall, Burt Reynolds, Gene Wilder and Lynne Redgrave amongst others. Inspired by the book penned by Dr David Reuben there is certainly no love lacking in the creativity or characters of this film. Every aspect of sex is studied through varied and bizarre means - Queens, court jesters, sheep, cross dressing, voyeurism, game shows – giving a well-rounded if not obscure look at sex and the human psyche through Allens’ lens. This was also one of Woody’s earliest smash hits and highest grossing films, earning him a cool $18 million at the box office in North America alone, against a mere $2 million budget
A beautifully produced, romantic comedy-cum-fantasy set in Paris where the films mainstay, a flailing screenwriter played by Owen Wilson, travels back in time to the 1920’s each night at Midnight. Touted as one of his more successful modern films both artistically and critically, this off-the-wall fantastical approach to the demise of a relationship in the world’s most romantic city is something to behold. As protagonist Gill (Wilson) and his betrothed Ines (Rachel McAdams) grow further apart the film continues to become more whimsical and imaginative, with love and wonder winning out in the end.