We saw "Scoop" last night, Woody Allen's latest.
If you love Woody Allen, as I do, you'll enjoy this one very much. Allen plays an aged Jewish magician who hails from Brooklyn, doing his act in London; Scarlett Johansson is a goofy American be journalism student who can't stop sleeping with the men she's supposed to interview.
Allen's classic Woody Allen character is completely over the top - more stuttering, more nervous hand gestures, more indigestion and anxiety, than any character should have to live with. It's a cartoon, but knowingly so, a nod to all the Woody Allen characters of the past. Thankfully, the man has learned a thing or two, and hasn't scripted a romantic encounter between the two leads.
Allen still possesses that uncanny knack of getting more out of his female leads than anyone else can. From the early days of Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow, through Dianne Weist and Julie Kavner, on to Helena Bonham Carter, Mia Sorvino and Christina Ricci, Allen makes them all look like better actors - and more beautiful - than they do in anything else.
"Scoop" is lighthearted, silly, sweet but not saccharine, not entirely predictable, and a lovely, brief 90 minutes. If you hate Woody Allen, this wouldn't change your opinion, but if you want to see everything he's made, as I do, add this to your list.
Allen is one of the quintessential American independent filmmakers, creating what he wants, neither overly commercial or affectedly nonconformist, always working, always true to himself. I get the feeling as long as there's daylight and he's breathing, this man will be making movies.