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.