VOTD: A Retrospective of Woody Allen Surrogates

Woody Allen famously has a habit of casting a stand-in for himelf in his comedies, and you can usually tell which one it is — while neuroses and Judaism aren’t requirements, they’re often indications that you’re looking in the right direction. But in case there’s any doubt, Film Drunk‘s Oliver Noble has Woody Allen surrogatism (which is not a real word, but you know what I mean) down to a science. He’s put together a supercut of the director’s stand-ins over the years, from John Cusack in 1994′s Bullets Over Broadway to Owen Wilson in this year’s delightful Midnight in Paris, and pinpointed the essential qualities that mark these characters as Woody Allen surrogates. Jesse Eisenberg*, I hope you’re taking notes. Watch the compilation after the jump.

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This Week in DVD is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy, Circuit City, and Fry’s.

Please don’t take the commentary on the movies and TV shows too seriously, as they’re meant not to be reviews but rather previews that include the general thoughts and ramblings of a twice-committed DVD addict. The categories represent solely the author’s intentions towards the DVDs at hand, and are in no way meant to be a reflection on what he thinks other people should rent or buy. So if he ends up putting a movie you like in the “Skip it” section without having seen it, please keep in mind that the time you could spend leaving a spiteful but ultimately futile comment could instead be used for more pleasant things in life. Like buying DVDs.

Buy It

VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
It’s hard to know what to make of Woody Allen’s career. With a writing/directing filmography consisting of over 40 movies, he’s ranged from undeniably brilliant to frustratingly repetitive to just plain bad. While some filmmakers take ten years to make their next movie, Allen is dropping out a new project every year. Love him or hate him, that’s damn impressive. And while his latest offerings may have provided more than a few clunkers, his recent attempt to move away from his dearly-loved New York scene with Match Point was definitely a step in the right direction. Vicky Cristina Barcelona shows that Allen is continuing this trend, and the reviews have clearly shown the benefits of doing so.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: None.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99 $19.99 $16.99
Amazon – $17.99

Rent It

ROCKNROLLA
(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Special Edition)
Continuing off what I was saying about directors taking a step in the right direction, Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla marks another example, but one with admittedly more mixed results. To say it’s an improvement on Swept Away and Revolver is stating the obvious. The real question is, just how much of an improvement is it? Does it come close to reaching the heights of Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels? Hell no. But it’s an entertaining ride nonetheless. The biggest problem is the story, which is extremely convoluted without ever justifying having such a needlessly complex narrative, or for that matter, even bothering to engage the audiences enough to care about it. What keeps it afloat is the characters and the actors playing them, all of whom are clearly having fun exchanging witty quips and playing around in Ritchie’s slickly rendered world.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: The two-disc includes a commentary by Guy Richie and Mark Strong, a deleted scene, a Guy’s Town featurette, and a digital copy of the film.

BEST PRICE*
Target Best Buy Fry’s
N/A $19.99 $16.99
Amazon – $19.49

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $22.99 at Best Buy and Fry’s, and $24.99 at Target and Amazon.

LAKEVIEW TERRACE
Lakeview Terrace is not an amazing movie by any means, but it blows my mind how people can so easily dismiss it while simultaneously praising Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino to no end. Don’t let the trailers fool you; this film isn’t some laughably absurd thriller about neighbors trying to kill each other over untrimmed hedges. It’s actually a fairly insightful and engaging dissection of race relations and how two men’s unflinching refusal to accept the things they cannot change lead them down an escalating path of destruction (one obviously more deserving of it than the other). The ending spirals out of control somewhat, but aside from that, it’s a film well worth seeing.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: A commentary with Director Neil LaBute and Kerry Washington, deleted scenes with optional commentary, and 3 featurettes (An Open House, Meet Your Neighbors, Home Sweet Home).

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$17.99 $16.99
Amazon – $19.99

THE ROCKER
I’m not gonna lie; this is a bad movie. The storytelling is by-the-numbers, the characters are poorly developed, and the direction is bland. The one thing that saves it, though, is Rainn Wilson. His energy and enthusiasm for the role single-handedly keeps the movie engaging, and even helps you to overlook every time a poorly written joke falls flat.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: A commentary with director Peter Cattaneo and actor Rainn Wilson, a second commentary with actors Josh Gad, Teddy Geiger, Emma Stone and Jason Sudeikis, 10 deleted scenes, a gag reel, 6 featurettes (Rainn Wilson: Office Rocker, Pete Best Interview, Behind The Band: Vesuvius, Rock Beat With Fish Fishman, The Music of The Rocker, Rock Tales), an MTV Film Festival Panel, an “I’m Not Bitter” music video, 4 exclusive podcasts, Fox Movie Channel Presents…In Character With The Rocker, Vesuvius Public Service Announcements, and a digital copy of the film.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$19.99 N/A
Amazon – $21.99

Skip It

PRIDE AND GLORY
(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Special Edition)
Holy hell does this movie look dull. I don’t think I’ve ever found myself this disinterested in a project that had so much talent on display, except for maybe We Own the Night, which was a similarly formulaic-looking police procedural. I can’t even tell the difference between these films anymore. They all look like nothing more than weak attempts to recreate the success of The Departed.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: The two-disc includes a Source of Glory: The Making of Pride and Glory making of documentary and a digital copy of the film.

BEST PRICE*
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$17.99 $16.99
Amazon – $16.99

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $ at each of the listed stores (and $23.99 at Amazon).

FIREPROOF
A movie that clearly cares more about upholding wholesome Christian values than providing an original narrative or strong production values, Fireproof managed to make over 60 times its budget with its limited theatrical release (it grossed $33 million, and only cost half a million). This is great for those who like watching films that reaffirm their faith, but for those looking for some genuine entertainment (other than the unintentionally comedic kind), look elsewhere.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: A commentary with co-writer/director Alex Kendrick and co-writer/producer Stephen Kendrick, deleted scenes, featurettes, bloopers, resource film clips, Fireproof Resources, and Fireproof in 60 with Director’s Introduction.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99
Amazon – $16.99

COLLEGE
For a movie with the title College, this movie sure does an impressive job presenting a reality so far removed from actual college life that it’s almost funny. (Almost being the keyword here.)
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: A gag reel.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$19.99
Amazon – $19.99

Other noteworthy DVDs available this week…
Roman Polanski: Wanted and DesiredThe Lucky OnesOpen Season 2Hulk Vs. (Two-Disc Special Edition)Mary Poppins (45th Anniversary Special Edition)Cheers (The Final Season)Blossom (Seasons 1 & 2)

The Specials
NOTE: Some deals may be in-store only.


Exclusive: Bonus Disc with Open Season 2 ($16.99).


Exclusive: Free backpack with purchase of Open Season 2 ($19.99).

Exclusive: Free trading cards with purchase of Hulk Vs. (2-Disc Special Edition) ($17.99).

The Dark Knight Grabs WGA and PGA Nominations

Both the Writers Guild of America (East and West) and the Producers Guild have nominated The Dark Knight as one of the best films of the year. This further solidifies The Dark Knight as a Best Picture contender, shocking some Hollywood insiders. Full list of nominations after the jump.

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Vicky Cristina Barcelona Movie Trailer #2

Vicky Cristina Barcelona PosterThe Weinstein Co has released a new trailer for Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The story follows “two young American women, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) come to Barcelona for a summer holiday. Vicky is sensible and engaged to be married; Cristina is emotionally and sexually adventurous. In Barcelona, they’re drawn into a series of unconventional romantic entanglements with Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), a charismatic painter, who is still involved with his tempestuous ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz). Set against the luscious Mediterranean sensuality of Barcelona, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is Woody Allen’s funny and open-minded celebration of love in all its configurations.” The film premiered at Cannes and was well reviewed. Kim Voynar called is “a lovely gift from a filmmaker who, when he’s on his game, truly hits the mark.” And Emanuel Levy called it Allen’s “most entertaining and commercial work since Bullets Over Broadway”.

The important thing to know is that Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz get it on. Check out the new trailer below, and as always, share your thoughts in the comment section!

[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/vickycristina2.flv 470 264]

You can watch the new trailer in High Definition on Yahoo. Vicky Cristina Barcelona arrives in theaters on September 5th 2008.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

The movie trailer for Woody Allen‘s Vicky Cristina Barcelona has hit the web, in preparation of the film’s premiere at Cannes. The story follows “two young American women, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) come to Barcelona for a summer holiday. Vicky is sensible and engaged to be married; Cristina is emotionally and sexually adventurous. In Barcelona, they’re drawn into a series of unconventional romantic entanglements with Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), a charismatic painter, who is still involved with his tempestuous ex-wife Maria Elena (Penélope Cruz). Set against the luscious Mediterranean sensuality of Barcelona, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is Woody Allen’s funny and open-minded celebration of love in all its configurations.”

It certainly looks like Woody Allen’s sexiest movie. I’m sure a lot of men will check it out just for the scene where Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz get it on. And apparently there’s apparently a sexy threesome scene between Bardem, Johansson and Cruz. Although there is something creepy about knowing that Woody Allen is standing behind the camera. Wait, didn’t he write this movie too? If you were a 72-year-old famous Hollywood director, what’s to stop you from essentially writing a dream porn where you could cast your fantasy starlets. I’m sure we’ll hear more about the movie when it premieres at Cannes.
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Vicky Cristina Barcelona

And the last photo we bring you from Festival De Cannes, is our first official look at Woody Allen‘s next film Vicky Cristina Barcelona about two young American women, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), who come to Barcelona for a summer holiday. Vicky is sensible and engaged to be married; Cristina is emotionally and sexually adventurous. In Barcelona, they’re drawn into a series of unconventional romantic entanglements with Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), a charismatic painter, who is still involved with his tempestuous ex-wife Maria Elena (Penélope Cruz). Of course, all of this is set against the luscious Mediterranean sensuality of Barcelona. The official plot synopsis lists a 96 minute running time and calls the movie “Woody Allen’s funny and open-minded celebration of love in all its configurations…”

Men everywhere rejoice – Scarlett Johansson filmed a “steamy lesbian sex scene with Penelope Cruz” for Woody Allen‘s new star filled porno film Vicky Cristina does Barcelona. A source tells the NY Post that the scene is “extremely erotic” and that “people will be blown away and even shocked.” Apparently, Penelope and Scarlett go at it in a red-tinted photography dark room, and “it will leave the audience gasping.” The duo later have a threesome with No Country For Old Men star Javier Bardem, who plays Penelope’s husband. I’m guessing that scene might be more creepy than hot.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona tells the story of a painter who enters a relationship with two American tourists, but conflict begins with the painter’s jealous ex-girlfriend. The film which also stars Patricia Clarkson, Rebecca Hall, Kevin Dunn and Chris Messina, has completed filming and will likely hit theaters in late-2008.

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