Posts Tagged ‘manhattan’

This Woody Allen directed contemporary musical, which boasts a star-studded cast revolves around the love lives of an extended family, and takes place in Manhattan, Paris and Rome.

I only really wanted to watch this film because Tim Roth is in it, and I wasn’t sure whether I was going to enjoy it – I’ve not actually seen many Woody Allen films – but in fact it is utterly charming and really rather lovely.

The story is narrated by Djuna (known to everyone as DJ, and played by Natasha Lyonne). She starts by introducing the viewers to her family – stepfather Bob (Alan Alda), mother Steffi (Goldie Hawn), step-sisters Skylar (Drew Barrymore), Lane (Gaby Hoffman) and Laura (Natalie Portman) and step-brother Scott (Lukas Haas). Not forgetting her actual father Joe (Woody Allen).

While Holden (Edward Norton) and Skylar get engaged, Joe is bemoaning the demise of his latest relationship, and DJ decides to set him up with Von (Julia Roberts) the patient of DJ’s friend’s psychiatrist mother! Von is in an unhappy relationship, and Joe is determined to win her over.

Meanwhile, Lane and Laurie are both in love with the same young man, Bob is distraught that son Scott is turning into a young conservative, despite have extremely liberal parents, and DJ is busy falling in love with various young men. Things get even more complicated when recently paroled prisoner Charles Ferry (Tim Roth) turns up!

The cast mostly sing all their own songs (Barrymore is dubbed) and all the songs are well known musical classics. Obviously these actors are not professional singers, but for the most part they hold their own pretty well – in fact Goldie Hawn and Ed Norton apparently had to be told NOT to sing as well as they were able, as they were not believable as the characters randomly bursting into song which they were meant to be portraying.

There is also some quite amazing dancing, with lots of extras (obviously professional dancers) being used – and this film also contains probably the happiest funeral scene you will ever see! There is also a quite stunning dance towards the end of the film, featuring Goldie Hawn and Woody Allen – it is very cleverly and beautifully done.

The whole cast shines, but I would give special mention to Alan Alda and Goldie Hawn, and also to Tim Roth, who has a great time with his own relatively small role. Edward Norton is also terrific in a role that is very much unlike the kind of parts we are used to seeing him play.

Overall, if you are looking for a film that will make you laugh and feel warm and happy inside, I would strongly recommend you give this one a go. I loved it.


Year of release: 1996

Director: Woody Allen

Writer: Woody Allen

Main cast: Alan Alda, Natasha Lyonne, Goldie Hawn, Edward Norton, Drew Barrymore, Woody Allen, Julia Roberts, Tim Roth, Gaby Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Lukas Haas


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This is one of Marilyn Monroe’s most popular films – and it’s easy to see why.  Tom Ewell plays Richard Sherman, a married man whose wife and son go away for the summer, and he finds himself tempted by the beautiful woman (Marilyn Monroe) who moves into the apartment upstairs from where he lives…

This film appears in the American Film Institute’s list of top 100 comedies, and it deserves its place.  Marilyn looks stunning and again shows off her comedic skills. Tom Ewell is brilliant as Sherman – a part that could easily have been annoying in the hands of a less skilled actor.  Sherman talks to himself incessantly, and is constantly imagining himself being an irresistable object of affection for women.  The two actors work really well together, and have a real chemistry, but the whole time the viewer is reminded that Sherman is really something of a dreamer.

There are several laugh-out-loud moments in the film, and Marilyn with her blend of childlike innocence and woman-like seductiveness, really shines.  From the moment she first appears on screen, she makes the character her own, and it’s really hard to imagine any other actress playing this part.  Special mention also to Robert Strauss, who plays a slovenly janitor; he only takes a small part in this film, but is very funny.

So what happens at the end?  Well, you’ll just have to watch it to find out – and if you haven’t seen this classic comedy yet, I definitely recommend that you do so!

Year of release: 1955

Director: Billy Wilder

Writers: George Axelrod (play), Billy Wilder

Main cast: Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, Evelyn Keyes, Robert Strauss

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