We’ve traveled around the sun an entire three times since I started Cinemaniac Reviews.  If I had to take a guess, I’d say that between all the typing, writing, scratching out, erasing, backspacing, and returning the carriage of my manual typewriter after each line of text, my fingers have probably done three laps around the sun, as well.

So I’ve decided to treat my fingers to another triathlon, and to treat you guys to a short screenplay. Well, it’s just dialogue, and it’s not exactly formatted correctly. WordPress doesn’t seem to like it when I cut and paste stuff I’ve written in screenplay format onto the blog.

So without further ado, here’s some dialogue for y’all to enjoy:

Read the dialogue…

Boyhood

Movie Review #843: ‘Boyhood’ is the most captivating drama of the year.

★★★★
By Alexander Diminiano

boyhood

Drama
Rated R (alcohol use, brief drug use, profanity, suggestive dialogue)
165 minutes

“Boyhood” is a movie that we watch like a miracle, or as if it’s watching us. It’s a movie we can all relate to. Even if our goings-about in life around precisely the same as they are in the life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane), we are led to reminisce with times when we felt exactly as he did. It’s a film about growing up, and as Mason watches the downfalls of his older sister (Lorelei Linklater), and even his father (Ethan Hawke) and mother (Patricia Arquette), we begin to realize that when he’s eighteen years old, he’ll still have a lot of growing up to do.

There’s all the more realism and nostalgia in the drama given how it was crafted. Director Richard Linklater put this cast to the challenge of filming on an entirely unorthodox schedule: 39 total filming days, spread out over a span of 12 years. This is a challenge, but it gives the film amazing characterization. I’d imagine that for the four principal actors, shooting “Boyhood” for three days a year was like gathering on holidays with the family that you’re too far away to see at any other time. So naturally, I say that the movie grows better with each depicted year in Mason’s life. He begins at the age of five, and by the time he’s going off to college at the age of eighteen, he and his family have grown into a bond that’s so close, it’s more than simply touching.

Continue Reading »

Hey all,

I’m going to push Part III of my Woody Allen: A Filmography Complete back to the 31st of August. That means my review of Boyhood will be up tomorrow, 1 PM.

Stay tuned.

–APKD

By Alexander Diminiano

Yep. Now that I’ve seen every movie Woody Allen has directed, my life does feel pretty empty.

Allan Stewart Konigsberg, otherwise known as Woody Allen, remains the most respected screenwriter in all of American cinema. Take one look at one of his movies and you can tell why.

Actually, be careful which of his movies you pick. He’s got a bunch of classics. But he’s got 45 movies overall, mind you. There are some real stinkers out there that I would not recommend watching.

Technically, this is not a filmography complete. His newest film, “Magic in the Moonlight” is currently in limited release and I am unable to see it as of yet. Seeing how most of the movies he has made for his current distributor, Sony Pictures Classics, expanded to wide release after four weeks, it won’t even be playing near me until almost four weeks from now. (The movie just opened two days ago, and it’s not playing in very many theaters at all.)

But I’m pretty impatient, so let’s get this over with. Here’s my ranking of Woody Allen’s movies from worst to best. Actually, this is just part one, which will be #44 through #26. Part two will be posted tomorrow at 1pm, and that will feature #25 through #11. Part three will be posted Tuesday at 1pm, and of course that will feature #10 through #1.

So, without further ado, I give you…Mr. Woody Allen.

woody-allen

44. Celebrity (1998)

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43. What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1967)

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42. Cassandra’s Dream (2007)

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41. Melinda and Melinda (2004)

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40. Scoop (2006)

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39. Anything Else (2003)

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38. Shadows and Fog (1991)

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37. Hollywood Ending (2002)

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36. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)

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35. Husbands and Wives (1992)

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34. Alice (1990)

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33. To Rome with Love (2012)

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32. Another Woman (1988)

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31. Stardust Memories (1980)

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30. Radio Days (1987)

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29. Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex * but Were Afraid to Ask (1972)

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28. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

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27. Mighty Aphrodite (1995)

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26. Bananas (1971)

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Stay tuned for Part II, coming your way in 24 hours!

Sydney White

Movie Review #842: Amanda Bynes’s charisma drives Sydney White forward through its clichés and stereotypes.

★★★
By Red Stewart

sydney_white_ver2

Comedy, Romance
Rated PG-13 (contains alcohol use, profanity, suggestive dialogue)
108 minutes

I always love it when older literature is modernized in the film industry as it allows us to revisit many classics with a new spin! This isn’t always successful of course (“Romeo + Juliet”), but for the most part the new results are fun to watch.

Such is the case with Sydney White which, if you couldn’t tell, adapts the Snow White story to the college setting. Our eponymous protagonist (Amanda Bynes) is cast out of her favorite sorority by the evil Rachel Witchburn, and is rescued from her depressive state by seven dorks. After recovering, she vows to fight back against Rachel, all the while falling for the local hottie Tyler Prince.

Read the rest of this review…

Wadjda

Movie Review #841: A groundbreaking and uplifting foreign film.

★★★½
By Alexander Diminiano

wadjda

Comedy, Drama
Rated PG (contains mature themes, mild language)
98 minutes

There’s really no point in starting off a movie review with something you can figure out in five seconds without seeing the movie, but I’ll do it anyway. “Wadjda” (2013) is a monumental film. Not only is it the first Saudi movie filmed entirely in Saudi Arabia, it’s the very first film to be directed by a Saudi woman. Without a doubt, the movie is controversial in Saudi Arabia and has made Haifaa Al-Mansour into a controversial director, but that it was released (let alone produced in its entirety) is simply incredible.

Mind you, “Wadjda” was made in a country that forces several absolutely outlandish restrictions upon women. For one, they can’t drive, nor can they vote. And if they are the victim of a rape, it’s more than likely they’ll be given the criminal charges, because this more than likely happened at a time that they left the house without their husband within five feet of them. Yes, that’s a crime in Saudi Arabia: women always have to be seen with their husbands, or else they’re arrested.

Read the rest of this review…

Volver

Movie Review #840: Most certainly, I will return to ‘Volver’ for another viewing.

★★★★
By Alexander Diminiano
volver

Comedy, Crime, Drama
Rated R (contains violence, sexual content, profanity)
121 minutes

Pedro Almodóvar is a genius. His filmmaking isn’t the result of twisting the truth, but rather letting it flow in a Zen-like manner. His characters are natural. Everything in the plot is natural, and everything in the plot happens naturally. Almodóvar, by making his films so natural, becomes possibly the greatest genre-bender in modern cinema. It’s obvious in “Volver”. Here, we have a little bit of comedy here, a little bit of murder mystery there, a little bit of romance there, and I guess it’s a drama overall. Though the problem with the word “drama” is that it suggests a stage performance. “Volver” is a diamond in modern-day cinema.

Read the rest of this review…

The Crucible

Movie Review #839: Not even the great Daniel Day-Lewis can save ‘The Crucible’ from its horrendously stiff dialogue and poorly executed storytelling.

★½
By Red Stewart

crucible

Drama, History
Rated PG-13 (contains religious subject matter, violence)
124 minutes

The Crucible is a failure, an attempt at creating a relevant metaphor only to fall so far. I’m talking about the Arthur Miller play of course, but seeing as how the film is a word-for-word adaptation by him, the same can sadly be said for it.

A retelling of the 17th century Salem Witch Trials, “The Crucible” follows the chain of events that emerge when a group of girls are seen participating in a ritual in the woods by a reverend (what they were even doing is never made clear). To avoid punishment, the girls, lead by Abigail Williams (Ryder) claim witchcraft as the cause of their weird behavior, instigated by the Devil possessing various people around them. This antic grows into mass paranoia, tearing the community apart despite the efforts of a local man named John Proctor (Day-Lewis), whom Abigail had an affair with.

Miller wrote The Crucible as an allegory for McCarthyism; the 1950s era where communists were hounded, blacklisted, and possibly executed out of Cold War fear. Miller was particularly inspired by the House Un-American Activities Committee’s (HUAC) case of director Elia Kazan (“On the Waterfront”, “A Streetcar Named Desire”), in which Kazan ratted out eight of his friends to lessen his punishment. Using a historical witch hunt to show the ridiculousness of a modern-day one is a noble and interesting prospect, but that’s about all Miller does correct. Right from the start we have to listen to this agonizing drivel spouted by every character that honestly made me want to rip my ears off. Imagine Gilbert Gottfried speaking in a monotonous voice and you’ll have an idea of what it’s like to hear the dialogue. It’s so bad that it seems like almost every actor is overacting, from the judges to the townsfolk. Did people honestly talk like this back then?

Read the rest of this review…

Nymphomaniac: Volume II

Movie Review #838: ‘Volume II’ weakly wraps up the four-hour film, save for its brilliant finale.

★★½
By Alexander Diminiano

nymphomaniac_ver19

Drama
Rated NR (contains mature themes, explicit sexual content, graphic nudity, depiction of sexual violence, disturbing content, strong language)
123 minutes

I’m going to be brutally honest here. “Nymphomaniac: Volume I” was a masterpiece. “Nymphomaniac: Volume II” is not a masterpiece. It’s a half-baked mess of sex scenes, which now are marked with violence that did not appear in the first installment. I would not go as far as to call it smut, but this certainly is not what I would refer to as art. Lars von Trier’s style still pervades this finishing entry, but it’s still extremely difficult to believe that “Volume I” and “Volume II” were originally intended to stand as a single, four-hour movie.

Read the rest of this review…

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  • The Grading Scale

    ★★★★ (unforgettable)
    ★★★½ (outstanding)
    ★★★ (solid)
    ★★½ (acceptable)
    ★★ (mediocre)
    ★½ (substandard)
    ★ (poor)
    ½ (bad)
    NO STARS (unforgivable)

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