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Feb 092014

What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?
Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse.
– Excerpt from An Open Letter from Dylan Farrow


Of course, I did not molest Dylan. I loved her and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father and exploited by a mother more interested in her own festering anger than her daughter’s well-being.
– Excerpt from Woody Allen Speaks Out.

Folks, if you live in America, if you love movies and if you read the newspapers, it’s impossible not to be drawn to the current drama surrounding one of the great movie directors of our time, Woody Allen.

High Drama

Dylan Farrow, Woody Allen’s adopted daughter with his estranged former partner Mia Farrow, penned a letter dripping in acid last week in the columns of the New York Times accusing her famous father of molesting her in an attic on August 4, 1992 when she was seven.

There’s a history of bad blood between Woody Allen and Mia Farrow after their acrimonious split 22 years back when Mia found nude pictures of her daughter Soon-Yi Previn taken by Woody.

Compounding matters, Woody started an affair with Soon-Yi- Previn (Mia’s adopted daughter with former husband André Previn) and married her in 1997.

Woody Allen has always denied molesting Dylan and in today’s New York Times he responded with elan to his daughter’s vitriolic letter, blasting Mia Farrow for poisoning Dylan against him.

SI’s Position on Charges

I am extremely skeptical that Woody Allen molested Dylan.

Medical experts from the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale-New Haven Hospital concluded that Woody had not molested Dylan.

But the Woody-Abused-Dylan scandal refuses to die down.

And now thanks to Dylan’s letter in the NYT, the scandal has received more oxygen.

I’ve read both letters (Woody’s and Dylan’s) to the NYT twice.

Dylan’s letter doesn’t convince me one bit.

Truth be said, it rings very phony!

Au contraire, Woody’s letter sounds extremely sincere and highly convincing.

I’m also extremely suspicious of the timing of Dylan’s recent letter, considering it came just a few days before the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were to vote for the upcoming Oscars. Woody’s latest film Blue Jasmine has been nominated for three Oscars.

Also, don’t forget Woody just received the Golden Globe Lifetime Achievement Award.

Remember what William Congreve wrote in The Mourning Bride (1697)?

Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned

You know what I’m getting at, don’t you? ;)

Tell me what you folks think via this poll on Woody Allen and the molestation charge by Dylan.

Important: But before you vote in the below poll, you must read the three pieces in the links provided below. It shouldn’t take you long!

Is Woody Allen a Child Molester?

View Results

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Related Woody Allen-Dylan Farrow Content:
An Open Letter from Dylan Farrow
Woody Allen Speaks Out
Dylan Farrow’s Brother Moses Defends Woody Allen
Jan 242014

I will brook no arguments on who will pick up the Oscar statuette for Best Actress at the upcoming 86th Academy Awards ceremony.

For I’ve already made up my mind. ;)

And the Oscar goes to….Cate Blanchett for a nonpareil performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine!

Streetcar Meets Madoff

Somewhere in the deep recesses of my cavernous brain was lodged the bit about Blue Jasmine being a modern take of A Streetcar Named Desire, a film I watched with great delight eight winters back.

To that extent, the charm of Blue Jasmine was lessened for me because I knew the direction of the story and its inevitable denouement.

Since it’s highly unlikely any of you have watched A Streetcar Named Desire (Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh), your pleasure in Blue Jasmine will be a lot higher than mine.

It’s a secret only to the most obtuse that we live in an Age of Greed symbolized by crooked rats like Bernard Madoff preying upon both the rich and the wannabe rich.

Woody Allen’s genius is to marry the enduring charm of Tennessee Williams’ famous play A Streetcar Named Desire with 21st century greed to create a remarkable movie that resonates well in these sad, crass times. Continue reading »

Jun 082011

The Past Is Never Dead. It’s Not Even Past.
Midnight in Paris (2011)

In a million years, the Indian mongrels can’t make a movie a millionth as pleasing as Midnight in Paris.

And neither will the millions of EverReady-for-Ready rabid curs patronize this classy a movie.

As the more discerning of SI readers will recollect, Midnight in Paris was the opening-night attraction at the recent 64th Cannes Film Festival.

Having watched Midnight in Paris today, we can say the film deserved all the applause it got at Cannes and more.

Truth be said, it took a mighty hard effort on our part not to get up and rush to the front of the movie-hall at the end of the movie and plant a sloppy kiss on the screen as a Thank You to Woody Allen who both wrote and directed this film that besides being a eulogy to Paris is so much more.

Warning: This Trailer Doesn’t Do Justice to the Movie

What is Midnight in Paris All About?

Well, at its most basic Midnight in Paris is nostalgia, a sweet, bewitching longing for a golden era.

A nostalgia complicated because it’s different times for different people.

Sure, for most of us, the past is a wonderful idyllic moment to dream about and savor in dreary middle-age and insufferable old-age.

Weren’t the old days great, the nights heavenly and the ancien regime extraordinary?

To say anything more about the Midnight in Paris story would be to give the game away. And the loss would all be yours. So we won’t spoil the fun.

Suffice to say, Woody Allen builds a gem of a movie on the entrancing scaffolding of nostalgia in the beautiful setting of Paris.

We were perplexed as the movie opened and the screen quickly shifted from one beautiful Paris shot to another – Paris by day, Paris by evening, Paris by night, Paris in the rain, and Paris in so many hues.

Is this a tourist brochure, a plug for Paris a la Vicky Cristina Barcelona for Barcelona, we asked ourselves.

Slowly, the answer revealed itself to us bit by gorgeous bit.

We know y’all want to know more.

But all we’ll say is that magic happens when the clock strikes midnight as our soon-to-be-married young man from California Gil Pender (Owen Wilson), on vacation in the city of lights, is walking about Paris, a city he can’t get enough of.

Au contraire, Gil’s fiancee Inez (Rachel McAdams) and his future in-laws, the Tea Party loving conservative snobs who are not too fond of Gil, can’t wait to get back stateside.

Darius Khondji’s camera work is sheer magic evoking as it does a rich tapestry of great artistic and literary figures in a riveting setting. By the way, the movie is mostly shot on location in Paris.

What Did We Love about Midnight in Paris?

Besides the brilliant audacity of the twist and beguiling charm of Woody Allen’s writing, the casting was excellent.

By the way, the movie is an embarras de richesses of great one-liners. Wish we could tell you. Well, that’s another reason to see this gem.

Owen Wilson as the Hollywood hack Gil Pender trying his hand at a novel, Rachel McAdams as his fiancee Inez, Marion Cotillard as Adriana, Carla Bruni (yes, the First Lady of France) as the museum guide and the rest of the vast entourage have all thrown in commendable performances.

Since Owen Wilson hogs the camera, let’s spend a few more seconds on him.

As the dissatisfied Hollywood hack yearning to write a novel, uneasy at one level with his fiancee and her parents, a disconnect that gnaws at him and as the man who comes to life after midnight, Owen Wilson is a delight on screen.

Hey, his character in the movie likes Indian food too, particularly Naan bread. Do you schmucks need any more reasons to see this delightful movie. ;)

Of the three Woody Allen movies we’ve seen so far Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris, we have no reservations in declaring Midnight in Paris to be our favorite.

Now, to all you Ladies and Gentlemen Kuttas and Kuttiyas who worship on the altar of beasts like Salman Khan and raise trash like Ready and Dabangg to the level of commercial successes, we say watch Midnight in Paris and then, maybe, you schmucks will realize the difference between cinema and offal!

Oct 042010


Damn, we should have done this over a year ago.

Seen Vicky Cristina Barcelona, we mean.

Sufficiently fortified with a glass of PinGin, we popped the Netflix DVD of Vicky Cristina Barcelona into the home theater last night.

Boy, the next 90-odd minutes were sheer bliss.

An absolutely delightful movie.

A classy affair, not crappy stuff like the one our South Indian simians are currently drooling over.

Lovely Romantic Quadrangle

Written and directed by Woody Allen, Vicky Cristina Barcelona brings together some of the finest actors around – Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson – and places them in a quaint, romantic quadrangle in Barcelona, Spain where before long everyone’s sleeping with everyone.

Not in a vulgar sextragavanza but in a loving, charming way.

Connoisseurs of kisses will find joy in the lengthy kiss between the characters of Javier Bardem and Scarlett Johansson.

Let’s Make Love

When American tourists and close friends Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) go to Barcelona, the former to learn more about Catalan architecture and culture and the latter fleeing from a broken relationship, they imagine it’ll be a brief holiday before returning to NYC.

Before long, at an art exhibition they meet the painter Juan Antonio Gonzalo (Javier Bardem), who invites them to join him on a weekend trip to the city of Oveido, where they can see the sights, have good food, nice wine and, hopefully, all three can make love.

And to make his invitation more compelling to the two pretty girls, he adds:

Life is short. Life is dull. Life is full of pain. And this is a chance for something special.

If you find this intriguing, consider there’s also Juan Antonio’s ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz), lurking first in the background (we only keep hearing about her initially) and later a forceful presence in the foreground.

Greatly adding to the allure of the movie, its characters are a study in contrasts:

* Maria Elena, a mercurial woman given to occasional violent actions.

* Vicky in her own words – I was always someone who knew what exactly I wanted.

* Cristina – this voluptuous, restless woman doesn’t know what she wants. I only know what I don’t want, she tells us.

* Juan Antonio Gonzalo – Ah, this tender bon vivant is bent of making the most of life since it’s short, dull and full of pain.

Visually charming and built on the edifice of a strong narrative and amusing dialogs, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a must-watch movie that drips class in every frame. Continue reading »