||Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Movie Details: View Here
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Audio: English: Dolby Digital Stereo
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Run Time: 97 min
Synopsis from DVD Cover:
Oscar winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Oscar nominee Penelope Cruz (Volver) and Golden Globe nominee Scarlett Johansson (Match Point) light up the stunning city of Barcelona in this sexy romantic comedy. Vicky and Cristina are two young Americans spending a summer in Spain who meet a charming "Casanova" and his beautiful but volatile ex-wife. When they all become romantically entangled, the smoldering sparks begin to fly in hilarious fashion.
Woody Allen baffles me. Not necessarily him, as a person, but the phenomenon that is his movie. There's always clever dialogue, outstanding performances - he does seem to elicit the best from his actors. But from what I've seen, underneath all the ingredients one would think should make a good movie, there's no real heart. Sure, there's all kinds of stuff that's ripe for dissection in film class, but in the end, Woody Allen films always seem like an exercise in pretension and trying too hard to make some grand statement - "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" is not the exception.
Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) go to Barcelona-that's where the title comes from. Vicky's the traditional type, going to study Catalan Identity (whatever the heck that is) and Cristina's all romance-y and adventurous. On their way they meet artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), a sexy painter who tries to entice both women into bed with him, preferably at the same time. Eventually, toss in his knife-wielding, loony ex-wife/soulmate Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz) and you've got your usual Woody Allen take on love, relationships, and their ultimately transitory nature.
One thing that can be said in the positive-this thing looks amazing. If Spain were a character - and it kind of is - it would be the most interesting character in the whole film. Cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe understands intimately how to capture his homeland, and I found myself watching the background instead of paying attention to the action - and that's not really a rip on the movie. This is though - every character feels like a description off of craigslist, and they never really go beyond that shallow depth, with Allen choosing instead to alternate his voice between the two female leads (at least he didn't act in this one). Bardem and Cruz give exciting performances, but I think the credit for that goes to them and not the script - they don't have so much of the Woody neurosis to contend with, and are able to thrive in their passionate, half-crazy, very sensual roles. And that's not to say that Hall and Johansson aren't strong, they are-they're just saddled with roles full of banter and empty of soul. Boo hoo, beautiful people flutter around for a summer, talk a lot, and we all end up where started.
Also, apparently, Allen hates Special Features. Whatever.
It's a beautiful film to look at, so if you get a chance to see "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," I suggest watching it on mute, maybe turning it up when Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz show up onscreen.