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Rifkin's Festival (2020)

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9/10: I RESPECTFULLY DISAGREE Setting aside...
Monday, June 7, 2021

I RESPECTFULLY DISAGREE Setting aside Woody's recently contaminated personal life for a moment, to fully enjoy Rifkin's Festival is surely going to be problematic, but not impossible. If you watched the accusations detailed in HBO's "Allen v. Farrow" you may already have decided to intensely hate the man. I'll leave that decision to you.So let's get this over with right now: Woody's pinnacle as a filmmaker likely ended around 30 years ago. His best work may indeed be behind him but he apparently isn't finished yet.Rifkin's Festival is about obsessing about one's own demise, and reveals multiple parodies of several well-known film classics (Citizen Kane, films by Ingmar Bergman, Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, snd Federico Fellini, etc.). These frequent "regressions" are crisply shot in black-and-white film, not color. It's a small movie with a moderately sized heart. As of May 28, 2021, Rifkin's...

7/10: Woody's Love Letter to...
Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Woody's Love Letter to Cinema Most likely to be Woody's last battle as a Director, Rifkin's Festival is Woody's 50th+ movie he has both written and directed. A legendary filmmaker equal to the likes of Ingmar Bergman, Rifkin's Festival is not only a love letter to Woody's career in cinema, but it is also a statement of appreciation for Ingmar Bergman himself. Many scenes from the movie are either a parody or pay homage to Bergman's movies. At the end of Deconstructing Harry, Woody Allen mentions a new character named Rifkin as the movie ends. Seeing this more clearly as a fan of Woody Allen, I see more an more connections to all his movies as a whole collective. This makes Rifkin's Festival the perfect movie to end Woody Allen's career as America's greatest story teller and filmmaker of humor and relationships. Wallace Shawn finally gets the starring lead in...

7/10: Woody does it again, and...
Saturday, September 4, 2021

Woody does it again, and again and again... The intellectual loser, who's an expert in cinema, who's marriage is falling apart forced into a personal soul searching, while parodying cinema, the cinematic industry, the western culture and so on. Woody himself has done it so many times no wonder he's an expert on the subject.Yes, one still chuckles at the right times because the dream parodies are spot on. Because Wallace Shawn is perfect as an incarnation of Woody's old comic persona and as a rule - Woody is a professional. But I used to really love his genius, his brilliance, his complex philosophical meandering that had an ironic smile accompanying them. These are gone now all that is left is a tired professional who does one film a year because that's his way of making a living (that's what Woody himself said). I'm sorry, when I see one of Woody's movies...

2/10: Love Woody, but not this...
Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Love Woody, but not this movie. I'm a lifetime Woody fan, and I went into "Rifkin's Festival" with a lot of goodwill, but it felt really stodgy and dated. The actors do a uniformly great job, and it looks great courtesy of the legendary cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, but I felt like this was the kind of thing Woody could write in his sleep, because it was the same dialogue (especially tinny-sounding this time) and themes we already know from fifty of his other movies, and in a kind of uninspired way. I also cringed a little when Wallace Shawn kept hitting on the pretty doctor, Elena Anaya, even after she initially turned him down. We're definitely lucky that we still have this masterful filmmaker delivering a film once a year, but I wish this one had been much better.

7/10: Enjoyable but unsurprising late Woody...
Thursday, April 8, 2021

Enjoyable but unsurprising late Woody Another charming if unsubstantial late-era Woody film. The usual WA tropes of older guy and younger woman (and vice versa this time with the Gina Gershon and Louis Garrel pairing), the same joke themes one has come to expect - death, illness, sex. Though this time Woody has done some nice pastiches of some of the Greats' films he admires - Bergman, Fellini, Bunuel. Wallace Shawn plays a good Woody alter ego, except we don't get him French kissing the delightful Elena Anaya, thankfully. The town looks wonderful. Some nice one-liners, of course. Worth a watch but don't expect anything shattering. Go along for the ride.

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