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Bullets Over Broadway (1994)


10/10: The Broadway theater comes to life with Woody's magic
Friday, April 29, 2016

Just one of several dozen movies to be musicalized for the Broadway stage since the beginning of the 21st Century, "Bullets Over Broadway" is already musical enough even without being a musical. The 1930's razz-a-mattaz atmosphere comes alive in Woody's love letter to the great white way that is up there with "The Purple Rose of Cairo" and "Radio Days" in his tributes to nostalgia, a genre known today as "pastiche". Woody's Broadway isn't filled with innocent chorus girls who become stars, just a dumb gangster's moll (Jennifer Tilly) who tries to become an actress after baring practically it all in a mob owned nightclub, and ends up paying for it dearly thanks to the sudden snobbery of her bodyguard, Chazz Palminteri. Writer John Cusack is having a difficult time truly understanding the characters he's writing about for the play being produced, and Palminteri begins helping him out as a ghost writer...

9/10: Woody at His Best
Friday, November 16, 2001

This is a nicely paced comedy out of the tradition of the 1940's when people didn't take themselves so seriously. A playwright who has developed an inflated view of his work is faced with the fact that he has sold out to a gangster to get his play on Broadway. The kicker is that to do this he must cast the guy's self absorbed girlfriend in one of the important roles. She has the childlike rasping voice that would lend even a good actress impotent. But she must be there. The other side of the equation is that the playwright just isn't very good. He eventually makes his success with the aid of a super talented neanderthal bodyguard who does the rewrites and critiques the playwright's work. Throw into the mix the angst experienced by the principle character, a group of volatile or unpredictable actors, not to mention the mob and their expectations, and you...

8/10: much fun to be had
Sunday, April 30, 2017

Set in 20s New York and featuring many great Gershwin songs, Woody Allen, without himself appearing, tells the story of a young aspiring playwright and a bunch of rather pretentious actors, contriving to put on a play in an old Broadway theatre. There is much fun to be had with the notion of man vs man the artist and indeed art and life itself and the whole is very funny with excellent performances. Dianne West is great as the old dame who one way or another will have her way and Jennifer Tilly fantastic as the gangster's moll, would be actress. Tracy Ullman is surely at her very best and least annoying and if John Cusack struggles here and there it must be because he has the unenviable task of playing Allen. Chazz Palminteri's role is pivotal as he gradually insinuates himself into centre stage, without any interruption to his extremely violent day job, of course. Its a...

9/10: Better as a drama
Thursday, June 21, 2018

I admit that I miss not seeing Woody Allen himself in the movies he made, but this was just fine. This movie tells the story of the problems a group of people go through when trying to make a play. It's kind of weird that this would be qualified as a comedy, because it really wasn't. There were definitely funny bits in it. My favorite was when Helen said she hadn't drank since New Year's. That is, Chinese New Year's, which was a few days ago.I'm just so impressed at how authentic this movie is. They really wanted to set the mood for what life was like in the 1920's. I didn't even recognize Jennifer Tilly at first, but I did recognize her voice. This film is lit up by great conversations, especially the one where they talk about how they don't feel much when they kill a person. It...

7/10: pretty good Woody
Thursday, January 7, 2016

In the late 20's NYC, idealistic playwright David Shayne (John Cusack) is trying to get his play on Broadway. He gets finance from ruthless gangster Nick Valenti but he has to cast Nick's talentless loud-mouthed girlfriend Olive Neal (Jennifer Tilly). He is horrified that he's whoring himself out. Her surprisingly-insightful escort Cheech (Chazz Palminteri), not Mr. Cheech, starts making great suggestions. David falls for aging leading star Helen Sinclair (Dianne Wiest) and cheats on his girlfriend Ellen (Mary-Louise Parker). Olive has an affair with leading man Warner Purcell (Jim Broadbent).It's an irreverent Woody Allen movie taking a sharp jab at the backstage world with a healthy dose of mob violence. There are some hilarious moments but I do want more. I keep thinking that the movie is on the verge of great madcap fun. This is a pretty good Woody movie just below some of his greats

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