Sunday, August 09, 2009

My Five - Woody Allen films

I don't see how someone can dismiss Woody Allen as an eccentric comic. Even if you don't dig his quirky humor or his neurotic persona, his brilliance clearly shines through in his scripts and his movies. Though I haven't seen several of his acclaimed older works yet, here is my top five Woody Allen movies (in random order).

1. Annie Hall - With a brilliant cast and a witty-as-hell script that has some of the best one-lines (sample: "What's with all these awards? They're always giving out awards. Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler."), "Annie Hall" works both as a screwball comedy and as an intimate study of human relationships.

2. Hannah and Her Sisters - High voltage drama mixed with slapstick comedy makes up for a delicious cocktail. "Hannah.." is a very neat ensemble drama that probably also has Allen's finest performance.

3. Husbands and Wives - A very mature and a hilarious drama that uses the mockumentary format in the best possible way. I cannot imagine why someone would rip this masterpiece off only to make a dumbed-down mess called "Dil Kabaddi".

4. Crimes and Misdemeanors - Morality, guilt and conscience are the underlying themes in this very engaging drama/thriller.

5. Match Point - Story-wise "Match Point" is very similar to Allen's earlier work "Crimes and Misdemeanors". However, Allen looks at luck and destiny in his own quirky way in what is probably his finest film in decades.

Some of his other films that I liked are "Sleeper", "Manhattan Murder Mystery", "Scoop", "Vicky Christina Barcelona", and "Cassandra's Dream". There is an obvious difference in style and handling in his newer movies (post 2000) compared to his "Annie Hall" days and I am not sure which I like more. Some of his older films are definitely among his best but his genius in later works are enough proof that the master may not have finished his masterpiece yet. I have a lot more Woody to catch up with until then.
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