Woody Allen

Bill Hader Made an Epic List of Essential Movie Comedies; Here’s Where to Stream Them

We all know Bill Hader’s a funny guy; with the release this month of The Skeleton Twins and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, he’s proving himself a pretty damn fine actor as well. But your film editor was heretofore unaware that Mr. Hader is such a movie geek — at least, that’s the impression I’m left with from his epic list of “200 Essential Movies Every Comedy Writer Should See.” It’s part of the new book Poking a Dead Frog by Mike Sachs, shared in full over at xoJane, and it’s a pretty remarkable (and esoteric) gathering of comedies and seriocomic dramas from the 1920s up to the present day. (And, I might add, there’s a good deal of crossover with our own list of the 50 Funniest Movies Ever Made.) So, with an eye on adding to your holiday weekend viewing queue, we combed through Netflix and Hulu Plus to see how many of Hader’s picks are available for your streaming needs. Links, and a few thoughts on his selections, after the jump. … Read More

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The 10 Ugliest Movie Posters of All Time

Woody Allen’s latest, Magic in the Moonlight, is out this weekend, and all of the discussion surrounding its release is good news for at least one group of people: the marketing folks who designed and approved its comically inept poster. It’s yet another example of godawful Photoshop work in movie marketing, an area already tainted by a stunning lack of originality. Click through for a closer look at Magic and a few other egregious movie poster… Read More

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“The Best I Can Offer Is Distraction”: Woody Allen, ‘Magic in the Moonlight,’ and the Elephant in the Room

“Just want to remind you guys that we’re going to talk primarily — really, exclusively — about this film today, so please keep your questions centered on Magic in the Moonlight.” The moderator issued his edict early in the press conference, and restated it before turning the panel over to questions from the press. It was the closest anyone running Friday’s press event for Woody Allen’s new film came to acknowledging that there was something else we might want to ask about. The problem is, the only thing newsworthy about Magic in the Moonlight is that it’s the director’s first release after decades-old allegations of sexual abuse resurfaced last winter, in a harrowing open letter by his adopted daughter Dylan. Ninety-nine percent of the writing about Woody Allen in the past year was rooted in that story. And now we were all being told to pretend like this ubiquitous scandal never… Read More

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‘When Harry Met Sally': How Nora Ephron Sold Woody Allen to the Masses

The film opens with simple, white-on-black titles, backed by an elegant, evocative jazz standard. The story that follows, framed by documentary-style straight-to-camera interviews, concerns a witty, urbane Jewish neurotic and his relationship with a sunny, fashionable shiksa. They stroll in through an autumnal Central Park and discuss death, sexual hang-ups, and New York real estate; the borough of Manhattan is captured in loving beauty shots, often backed by the music of Louie Armstrong. From that description, it would be easy to assume I was describing any number of Woody Allen films (Annie Hall in particular). But no, I’m talking about director Rob Reiner and screenwriter Nora Ephron’s When Harry Met Sally… which hit theaters 25 years ago today and made a mint — its $92 million gross easily besting any Allen film to this day. So how did Harry do so well (big money, cultural capital, ongoing influence over the romantic comedy genre) when its clear inspiration remains such an acquired taste? … Read More

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10 Clever Parody Films Worth Your Time

Quirky, indie girl meets a corporate guy. They fall in love, break up, and get back together. This is the premise for the Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd film They Came Together — but the basic narrative can be found in dozens of romantic comedies. The parody film opens in theaters this weekend. It just so happens that this weekend also marks the birthday of comedy legend and renowned producer Mel Brooks, whose works combine pop culture parody, vaudevillian gags, and frenetic farce. While masters of the parody film like Brooks found a formula for success, the genre has its share of stinkers. Here are ten big-screen parodies that are actually worth your time. … Read More

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8 Legendary Deleted Movie Scenes You’ve Never Seen

You’d think, by this point, we’d know just about all there is to know about the Indiana Jones movies, but last week (in honor of the second film’s 30th anniversary), Yahoo! Movies tracked down Nizwar Karanj, the actor on the receiving end of Temple of Doom’s notorious improvised heart removal. And he had a bit of inside information: that scene was supposed to be even gorier than it was. Yet somehow, the original version of the scene hasn’t made its way onto the Indy DVDs or Blu-rays, which makes it one more lost bit of film that somehow hasn’t reached viewers in this age of ubiquitous “Deleted Scene” bonus features. … Read More

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Louis C.K. Is the New Woody Allen

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Despite the Woody Allen Association, ‘Bullets Over Broadway’ Is an Excellent Musical

It probably wouldn’t be too outlandish to say that a new Woody Allen cultural property is not exactly what anyone is in the mood for these days, given the last few months’ worth of op-ed tell-alls, backlashes, and comment-thread arguments. Despite the fact that the production of Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical had been in the works years before Dylan Farrow became part of the cultural conversation again, it still may seem like an April 2014 Broadway opening might not be the best timing for a musical based on one of Woody Allen’s films, especially as Allen himself wrote the book. The Broadway audience, however, is limited compared to the larger audience that would respond to the release of a new Woody Allen film, and it’ll be interesting to see in the next few weeks if the critical and public response to Bullets Over Broadway will indicate a turn in the acceptance of Allen’s work. Is it possible, at this point, to compartmentalize Woody Allen, to appreciate his art while not supporting the artist?  … Read More

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