A few thoughts on the whole Woody Allen situation.

For over two decades now, my official second-favorite film of all time has been The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985). An image from the film’s final scene is embedded in the banner at the top of every post on this blog. Thirteen months ago, I selected this film for a screening and discussion group at a film festival in Texas. Six weeks ago, on Boxing Day, I even got to see the film on the big screen for the first time ever — a 35mm print, even! — as part of the VanCity Theatre’s year-long Woody Allen series.

So I’m something of a fan — not just of this particular film, but of Woody Allen’s films in general, at least for the first two decades or so of his directing career. In truth, the last film directed by Woody that I really enjoyed was Bullets over Broadway (1994), and the last film to star him (or at least his voice) that I really enjoyed was the DreamWorks comedy Antz (1998). Since then, it has seemed to me that most of his films recycle themes that he did a better, more interesting job of exploring in his earlier films; and it has sometimes seemed to me that the moral urgency he brought to films like Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) has given way to a more cynical complacency in similarly-themed films like Match Point (2005).

[Read more...]

The Prince of Egypt came out fifteen years ago today.

It was fifteen years ago today that The Prince of Egypt opened in theatres across North America. To mark the occasion, here are twelve things you may or may not know about the movie. (I would have come up with fifteen things, but didn’t have quite enough time.)

1. It came very close to being the first DreamWorks cartoon. It may seem hard to believe now, given that the DreamWorks brand has become associated with adolescent wise-ass humour and lots of pop-culture references, but when Jeffrey Katzenberg left Disney and co-founded the DreamWorks studio with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen in 1994, he aspired to epic greatness. After Katzenberg pitched the idea that animated films could take place on a grand scale like Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Spielberg suggested that they make an animated version of The Ten Commandments (1956) — and the resulting film was supposed to help establish the DreamWorks brand. [Read more...]

Review: Antz (dir. Eric Darnell & Tim Johnson, 1998); A Bug’s Life (dir. John Lasseter, 1998)

antz2Go to the ant, thou moviegoer; consider its ways and be wise. This famous proverb works on the assumption that all ants act and work alike. But what if the ant we considered was a nonconformist, a social misfit who didn’t feel like he or she belonged in proper ant society? Two recent feature-length computer-animated films explore this scenario.

Antz, still going strong after almost two months in theatres, follows the misadventures of Z-4195, an ant who frets that he is "insignificant" because, "when you’re the middle child in a family of five million, you don’t get any attention." Moreover, he’s just one of many worker ants who dig, dig, dig all day long and then head off to the bar for an evening of aphid-excreted beer and dull, formulaic, pre-patterned dancing.

[Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X