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Movie Review: Hollywood Ending

Story: I will cut to the chase. I am a BIG Woody Allen fan. His output, about 30 some odd films in as many years, has been inspiring. He is true to his personal 'vision,' has done it, as Frank Sinatra used to say...his way. It is not always pretty, but it is mighty impressive.

This time out he almost hits the mark. In another semi-autobiographical film about a two time Oscar winner (Allen has won three) who has started his descent into obscurity, we watch a director who grabs an opportunity for a come back to direct a big budget film and then develops psychosomatic blindness the day before the shooting begins. Hilarity ensues both in some very funny physical comedy and of course his ongoing routine about various physical maladies from elm blight disease to an allergy to oxygen. I admit, however stupid these jokes were, they cracked me up. Without revealing the ending (I would never do that), it is ironic that this film is opening the Cannes Film Festival soon. If you are a Woody Allen fan like me, go and have a couple of good laughs. It won't change your life, but you will laugh.

Acting: Woody Allen seemed to enjoy this role and I enjoyed watching him again, as well. Tea Leoni is terrific. She is smart, has a good understanding of physical comedy and is also quite beautiful. George Hamilton, with his sprayed on suntan, cracked me up.

Critters: None. He rarely uses animals in his films. I think one of his many maladies might be fear of other species.

Food: Great New York kitchens...but no food. There are beverages (see blatant product placement category).

Visual Art: Woody Allen's films always have great detailed New York apartment interiors - that always include some terrific art. Sometimes I find myself getting lost in looking at the apartments.

Blatant Product Placement: The restaurant, Balthazar, Beck's Beer and 7Up.

Soundtrack: Typical enjoyable Woody Allen mix.

Opening Titles: The same black and white titles he always uses...like a signature.

Theater Audience: A nice number of New York diehard Woody Allen fans. I laughed the loudest.

Squirm Scale: Some of his recent films have made me squirm (usually because I was embarrassed by the descent in quality). I was happy not to have a squirm factor during this one.

Predictability Level: High

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: This film was a little longer than his normal running time for films and I found myself looking at my watch quite a bit during the last 20 minutes.

Big Screen or Rental: If you are a Woody Allen fan, you probably already have it on your 'o see list. I think there should be a TV Cable channel devoted to Woody Allen - All Woody, all of the time. Here are his films -- some are pure genius, some are eye-rolling horrors, some make you squirm and some make you howl with laughter.

Have fun reviewing the list. I think it is a quite an achievement: Hollywood Ending, Company Man, Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Small Time Crooks, Sweet And Lowdown,

Wild Man Blues, Antz, Celebrity, Deconstructing Harry, Everyone Says I Love You,

Mighty Aphrodite, Bullets Over Broadway, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Husbands And Wives, Shadows And Fog, Scenes From a Mall, Alice, Crimes And Misdemeanors, New York Stories, King Lear, Another Woman, Radio Days, September, Hannah And Her Sisters, Purple Rose of Cairo, Broadway Danny Rose, Zelig, Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, Stardust Memories, Manhattan, Interiors, Annie Hall, The Front, Love And Death, Sleeper, Play It Again, Sam, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask, Bananas, Take the Money And Run, Casino Royale, What's Up, Tiger Lily?, What's New, Pussycat?,

Length: A bit under two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 6