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Thoughts on "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: Matinee. This was a very enjoyable summer matinee film that will lose a little something if you wait for DVD when viewing the landscapes of Spain on the small screen.

Will I Own It On DVD: Probably not. I might purchase it as a heavily-discounted DVD (under $10), but I would like to receive it as a gift.

1) I'm not a big Woody Allen fan, however, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" forgoes several of his trademark qualities and instead provides a breezy sexual romp through various locales in Spain with a winning cast fronted by Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johannson and Penelope Cruz. The film is bathed in a honeyed light throughout the running time, which makes both Spain and the cast look very, very good.

2) Allen is still preoccupied with relationships, and this film explores various couplings from those who are engaged to a comfortable married couple and mainly a free love ethos that Bardem espouses which includes pairings with Johansson, Cruz and Rebecca Hall.

It's hard to decide which viewpoint or relationship that Allen holds up to be the ideal arrangement, and since he tends to lean towards all pairings having their own inherent difficulties, it could be an hour and a half justification for his own relationship with his adopted step-daughter - but I tend to doubt it.

3) Johansson looks great and is solid in her role as the sexually adventurous yet eternally dissatisfied American tourist, but it is Cruz who really gives the film laughs, passion and a manic energy that works well. It's semi-amazing how good Cruz has become since she arrived in America and began making movies as she used to annoy me quite a bit. Now, she has turned in several outstanding performances lately and this one is no exception.

That being said, the kiss between Johansonn and Cruz was not nearly as sexy as I thought it would be (but was still a fine idea to try).

4) Bardem also does an excellent job of grounding the film, and his sleepy, laid-back charisma gives credibility that his artist character could indeed manage to bed just about anyone who crosses his path. He's also lucky he has a regular haircut in this film, and not that dead otter look he sported in "No Country for Old Men."

5) I tend to loathe narration in movies as it is usually a very lazy way to tell a story. "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" utilizes this device extensively, which grated me in places yet wasn't a show-stopper as it did help keep this film light and breezy and easy to digest as the summer winds down.



  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. Penelope Cruz or Salma Hayek? Which was the one who played the vampire stripper in From Dusk Till Dawn?

  3. Maddy Says:
  4. Netflicks!

  5. Your wife picked this one, right?


    I want to see it too.

  6. WhatIgot - Hayek in 'Dusk' and she has never looked better than that scene where she enters dancing with the snake. Spectacular.

    Maddy - Definitely. It's a fun movie.

    Anonymous Boxer - I prefer to think of it as a comprimise. Ha. Actually, I wanted to see it too, so those are the ones I suggest knowing that it's tilted her direction yet still fun for me as well. And you should check it out.

  7. Heff Says:
  8. I was expecting this to be a total chick-flick. I suppose a little female nudity was out of the question ?

  9. Gypsy Says:
  10. Thank goodness you keep me in the loop about what's hot and what's not. I have never even heard of this flick.

    Personally I enjoy a narration as it allows me to close my eyes and still follow what's going on. I quite often nod off at the movies which is why I rarely go. Yep I'm a HOT date)

  11. JLee Says:
  12. I am not a big Woody Allen fan either, but want to check this out because of the cast. I was going to rent it, but might have to catch it on the big screen for the scenery.

  13. Ghey Hutner Says:
  14. Were you the only male within a mile of the theatre?

    Did you also write review for "Fried Green Tomatos" and "Steel Magnolias"?

    Note: There's no hidden implications in my questions.

    The Ghey Hunter

  15. Heff - It's certainly tilted in the chick flick direction, but on that scale, I found it far easier to digest the Sex & the City movie (which I didn't see or others) and I liked the cast. As for nudity, I thought there might be an artsy bit of it, but the closest was about 3/4 of Johanson's boob sitting up in bed. Selah.

    Gypsy - Then you should definitely NOT pay even matinee prices for the movie. Ha. In this case, most everything should be a rental because then if you fall asleep at least you're on the couch or in bed, which is nice. This was a small movie with a small budget, but it turning a nice profit, so it's been a bit under the radar.

    Jlee - Rental is probably just fine, but this time of year there's not a lot of new stuff coming out that looks good, so . . . You could do a lot worse at the theater. And it will be hot as hell in Texas for at least another month.

    Ghey Hunter - Actually, there was about half and half at the theater, which was also pretty crowded. I would point out that most of the audience was with a female, which should mitigate the subject matter which largely revolves around threesomes with good-looking women, so . . . And weren't you just singing karaoke with a group of dudes? Ha.

  16. Wendy Says:
  17. Did you read the Woody Allen interview in Newsweek? He is one seriously effed up old dude.

  18. I did read that one, and it was semi-interesting the juxtoposition (sp?) of his philosophies. Ha. It sounded like a tough way to live for me as that kind of constant thinking sounds draining.

  19. just tell me you also saw Tropic Thunder?

  20. Linda Says:
  21. I liked this one as well, didn't come off as your "typical" Allen flick. It's interesting to me how all the relationships were flawed in different ways. I loved Cruz in this, especially in her crazy outbursts! Good review...

  22. Miss Ash Says:
  23. I actually enjoy Allen films and will have to check this one out. I didn't even realize it was in the theatres.

  24. vivavavoom Says:
  25. don't you love seeing Woody Allen's fantasies up on film. I loved Annie Hall, but seriously, he makes films as psychotherapy.

  26. Anonymous Boxer - I did, and plan to post a review on Monday as this short week swamped me. Unfortunately.

    Linda - Thanks as I agree about the film, and Cruz. She gave it some needed spunk and a bit of an edge and I think she's been really good these past few years.

    Miss Ash - Then you should definitely check this one out. It was a solid & enjoyable end of summer film.

    Vivavavoom - Wouldn't it be nice to find people who would pay you money and fund your films to be able to do that? Ha. It's a sweet gig if you can get it.


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