Dreaming Woody Allen

Last night I dreamt that I was writing a screenplay with Woody Allen. That's one of the only times I can ever remember engaging in a creative process during a dream; I brainstormed various murder mystery plots and discussed them with Mr. Allen until my alarm went off. I assume that I dreamt about him because I watched his new-to-DVD Cassandra's Dream last week. Dreaming and escapism are themes of the film; it certainly seems to have cast some kind of a spell on my subconscious.

I thought the film was a grim and suspenseful thrill, but I'm in the minority. I asked a friend if she'd seen it today and her reply was, "I tried to watch it but I couldn't take it and turned it off halfway through." Then she said she feels like Woody Allen has "lost it." The common consensus seems to be that the prolific filmmaker has lost his touch; people complain that his only half-decent movie in the last decade was Match Point, which (they say) was merely his own Crimes And Misdemeanors dressed up in different clothes. I love both films and I think their similarities are unobtrusive; besides, a filmmaker so prolific is bound to return to certain themes and styles. Redundancy seems an unfair complaint about a storyteller who switches from comedy to tragedy to romance so deftly!

Like Oscar Wilde once said of The Picture of Dorain Gray, I found that a 'note of doom' ran through Cassandra's Dream like 'a purple thread.' Here are four more films that I greatly enjoyed recently:

Intermission (John Crowley, 2003)
This clever Irish film boasts a great cast, heaps of witty dialogue, and interwoven narrative threads that suggest a serious Tarantino influence.

Master and Commander (Peter Weir, 2003)
This historical seafaring epic is one of the most subtle and riveting action films I've ever seen.

Chop Shop (Ramin Bahrani, 2008)
This gritty drama follows a young brother and sister as they try to survive in an urban wasteland next to Shea Stadium in Queens.

Step Brothers (Adam McKay, 2008)
Turns out John C. Reilly might eclipse Will Ferrell's funniness someday soon.

No comments: