Monday, Monday + Mini-review: Scoop (2006)

On this Monday, I would like to register a wish for some interesting movie-related news.  I don’t give a darn about Noomi Rapace being cast as “a French gypsy” in Sherlock 2 … don’t have a whole lot of love/excitement for Sherlock 2 across the board (aside from a general interest in its pretty, pretty star) although I would like to know who’s playing Moriarty. IMDb still has DDL listed. But I guess this is just the slow movie season; the calm before the awards season storm.

We didn’t get to Butch Cassidy this weekend, but we did watch a movie. I don’t have a whole lot to say about it, but since I said I was going to try to do more reviewing, I’ll go with a few impressions. A mini-review, if you will. We watched Scoop, which is a Woody Allen film starring Scarlett Johansson and Hugh Jackman. See, Scarlett is on the husband’s List, and so every now and then she pops up in the old Netflix queue, even though we’ve pretty much decided that she’s not really that much of an actress.  Still,  I was moderately curious about the film, so down I sat. This despite my dislike of Hugh Jackman. Yes, I know, he’s sooo pretty, and he sings! And dances! And he’s Wolverine! Enh. His looks don’t do it for me. I just find him smarmy. Except as Wolverine, obviously, but I am just not a Wolverine fan (there is not really anything hot about a very hairy, very grouchy man. Seriously, if your honey generally behaved like Wolvie, you would not be swooning). I do, however, think he’s a decent actor some of the time. See: The Prestige. He’s much, much better in that.

The plot of Scoop is that a well-respected journalist (Ian McShane, funny), upon dying, gains insider information into the possible identity of a serial killer, and cheats death in order to gift this scoop to a journalist in the land of the living. For reasons unexplained, he gets connected with Sonya Pransky, an American journalism student (ScarJo, weird) who is in the middle of being “disappeared” onstage by flaky magician Sid (Allen, obnoxious and dare I say, unnecessary?). The scoop is that the Tarot Card Killer may be Peter Lyman, handsome businessman and aristocrat (Jackman, smarmy).  Sonya and Sid decide to investigate, with Sonya ending up in a relationship with Peter, while Sid masquerades as her father. Hilarity ensues? There’s a little bit of a plot twist, and that’s pretty much it.

Alright. I don’t get Woody Allen. I haven’t seen any of the movies from his heydey, (Annie Hall is way up on the AFI list, and I am sort of looking forward to it) but I kind of think that they must have been a whole lot better than his more recent stuff, which is pretty unimpressive. I liked Vicky Cristina Barcelona, though, and I think the reason why (aside from Bardem & Cruz being awesome) is that Allen himself was not in it. Seriously, the neurotic Jewish schtick, exemplied by non-stop patter? Not funny: annoying. And in Scoop, he sort of has ScarJo emulating that brand of humor, which was weird. I do think she did a decent job of it, but it didn’t look comfortable. I thought the plot and the performances (Johansson, McShane, Jackman [except for the denouement]) were fine, but that the whole thing would have been better in the hands of someone other than Woody Allen. Is that sacrilegious? I will reserve judgment on Allen in general for now, not having seen his “masterpiece” but after a couple of his more recent movies, I am not impressed. At least in this one (as opposed to The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, v. similar) he didn’t get the girl. That would just be beyond creepy, his actual personal life aside.

Bottom line, I don’t recommend Scoop, unless you just want to look at Hugh Jackman being “charming” for a hour and a half. Johansson is not remotely her usual va-va-voom self in this one, so there’s not even that much in the way of feminine eye candy. Check out Vicky Cristina Barcelona instead. Johansson is slightly less wooden, and is more than made up for by Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, and Rebecca Hall. And there’s no Woody Allen to gum up the works.

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5 responses to “Monday, Monday + Mini-review: Scoop (2006)

  1. Hey, high five on three points Sam! Jackman doesn’t do it for me, either, yes he is a looker and great performer, but I just don’t get weak in the knees seeing/watching him for some reason. I’m nodding on what you said about Scarlet. Plus, I too don’t get Woody Allen, though I did enjoy Purple Rose of Cairo that I watched recently (maybe ’cause like in VCB, “there’s no Woody Allen to gum up the works”)

    I think Scoop is dull and just plain silly, and I simply can’t buy the romance between Jackman/Scarlet. Completely a waste of time IMO.

  2. Ooh, yes. Thanks for reminding me: ZERO chemistry between Jackman and Johansson. Bleh.

    • The last movie he made in his the style that made him famous was Scenes From A Mall.

      The last movie he did that is both romantic and tragic, two hallmarks of his style, is my personal favorite, Sweet and Lowdown.

      The only good movie he’s made this decade was Vicky Christina Barcelona, mostly because it was a surprise coming from him.

      Now shifting the boat, he as much loves the Mel Brooks as Ingmar Bergman as Holocaust documentaries–a sensibility I can relate. If you go in thinking you’re watching a slapstick, visual gag, quick-witted counter-punching comedy, you may end up loving Bananas, Sleeper, Love and Death, and Manhattan Murder Mystery. If you go in thinking you’d like some stageplay verite, Bullets over Broadway, Everyone Says I Love You, and Broadway Danny Rose. If you want to see….you know what, you’re on your own for the rest.

      He may be creepy, true, but I love Woody Allen. And save Annie Hall for later, for some one.

      • Oh, I forgot about Bullets Over Broadway! That is an excellent movie…love Dianne Wiest and Chazz Palmientieri. I think maybe I don’t like Allen the actor, mostly…thanks for the recs!!

  3. i really liked Hollywood Ending–which is the movie he made right after Jade Scorpion in ’02. He’s the director hoping for a comeback who worries himself blind–and tries to direct his
    comeback film completely blind–a lot of people i know
    don’t really care for it–but i honestly thought it was a really
    good performance from him–yes he’s himself but he’s also
    walking into walls, falling off stages, in general poking a little bit of fun at himself as well—i don’t know i know its
    not one that a lot of people out there like–but its honestly
    maybe my favorite underrated film of his. (meaning film of his
    that isn’t widely known as a “classic”–speaking of which
    you really should see Annie Hall–i didn’t really get him so much as an actor or writer or director until i saw that one freshman year of college–and holy shit was i blown away. of course it helps that i’m a neurotic new york jew myself so there you go. also i would recommend Radio Days you get to see
    Seth Green as an 8 year old and he’s wonderful as a younger Woody in it.)

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