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CELEBRITY at the New York Film Festival.

Well folks the Toronto Fest ends, but New York is just starting. We got tons of great reports from Canada, lets see if the Big Apple can top them. Send in those reviews we want them, we need them, we love them, and so does the rest of the world. Here's our first post, a review of Woody's new film Celebrity. What else is there, who is there,let AICN be your voice.

Just came back from the New York Film Festival screening for "Celebrity," Woody Allen's latest. The film is in black & white and is handsomely put together, visually. Sven Nykvist (Ingmar Bergman's collaborator) shot it and it shows. Woody's recent flicks had been shot by CarloDiPalma, who just didn't push Woody to compose shots and scenes the way they should be done. It seemed he was more interested in making to the Knicks on time than doing coverage for his scenes. "Celebrity" is different. There are probably as many extras as in "Zelig" and the camera actually moves!

There are many marquee actors in "Celebrity." Among them, Winona Ryder, Kenneth Branaugh, Melanie Griffith, etc, etc, etc, oh, and that guy, Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie actually belongs to Branaugh and Judy Davis, who play a divorced couple trying to find themselves in this crazy world where everyone is or wants to be a "celebrity." The film is less a statement about society than a glimpse into the lives of two very confused people. The film plays more like a drama than a comedy. The tone of it is very sad, almost depressing. There is some humor in it, but not as much as one would expect, given the subject matter.

Branaugh plays the classic Woody character-- insecure, philosophical, pathetic, sexually inept, etc. But Branaugh can't do Woody and that's where the movie fails. Woody himself should've played the character. It would have suited the film better. But since there's a lot of interaction between the character and a host of models and beautiful young women, I suspect Woody chose to have someone else play it, rather than dealing with the criticism. Woody should try detaching himself from the script a little more. It's too distracting to see Braunagh trying to incarnate him.

So now let me talk about DiCaprio. He plays a teen idol who's given to smashing hotel rooms, drinking, gambling, and having orgies. He's in the film for about 15 minutes and his segment is pretty hilarious. He's doing all those things while Branaugh is trying to pitch him a script. Jack Dawson this is not. I bet this movie is going to open strong because of Leo's appearance in it. And my prediction is that there's going to be a lot of controversy about whether parents should allow their teenage daughters to see it. DiCaprio probably wants to rid himself of that pretty-boy image so I guess this is ultimately good for him.

"Celebrity" is what I call a real art-house film. It's not particularly enjoyable to watch in the same way Secrets and Lies wasn't enjoyable to watch. But you still watch it because you know it's good for you. Like eating your veggies or something. Some scenes ramble on for too long without any real payoff. And you don't really care about any of the characters, except maybe for Judy Davis, who really gets to the core of the mess that is her character. However, there is a particularly memorable sequence involving Charlize Thieron (Devil's Advocate), who plays a fashion model with a very alluring sexual trait. The screen can't contain this girl. She's going to be the next Sharon Stone, I guarantee you.

Call me,


Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 24, 1998, 5:35 a.m. CST

    The Woodster

    by smilin'jackruby

    If that is the case, that Mr. Allen didn't play the role because he anticipated criticism, I'd find that very sad. I hope he wouldn't crater like that and really don't think he did, but until he says something about it, who knows? No one can write 'em like Woody Allen, though. Nice to see he's working with Nykvist again. He certainly is getting out in the public eye more, though. That cameo in the Tucci pic, "ANTZ," the documentary, the couple of lines over a phone in that inane sitcom. Who knows, maybe he'll bless us all with another stand-up comedy album. That's, of course, what I'm really waiting for (and will probably be waiting a long time).

  • Sept. 24, 1998, 9:40 a.m. CST


    by Jason Guthrie

    Harry & Readers: Unless your intrepid reviewer has access to a time machine, I doubt very much he saw "Celebrity" at the New York Film Festival. FYI: Both screenings are tom. night (that's Friday) at Lincoln Center. So while he (or she) may have seen the flick, he certainly didn't see it at the NYFF. Accuracy in Reporting anyone?

  • Sept. 24, 1998, 11:47 a.m. CST


    by beth

    Given her performance in "The Devil's Own," I think she has far greater things ahead of her than simply being the next Sharon Stone. And she won't have to team with Scorsese to get respect--or turn in a worthwhile performance.

  • Sept. 24, 1998, 12:41 p.m. CST

    NYFF Crybaby

    by Pennifer

    Y'all have so much time on your hands that you must post to a site to say that you believe the informative fellow who took the time to review "Celebrity" didn't see it where he said he saw it? Pfft. Bitter little person. Thanks for clarifying, IGOR, and in such good form. More than I can say for myself. One thing though, I don't see the big deal about Charlize. I've seen her in several things and while she's a lovely girl, she just doesn't have the charisma for major stardom. Of course, you're talking to someone who misses Phoebe Cates with every fiber of her being too. Sigh. Where have all the classic beautiful actresses gone?

  • Sept. 24, 1998, 3:08 p.m. CST

    Charlize Theron

    by MrJenkins


  • Sept. 24, 1998, 6:54 p.m. CST

    Kenneth Branagh in Celebrity

    by Laura

  • Sept. 24, 1998, 6:55 p.m. CST

    Kenneth Branagh in Celebrity

    by Laura

    You spelled Kenneth Branagh's name wrong throughout the entire review of Celebrity. It is Branagh, not Branaugh.

  • Sept. 24, 1998, 7:49 p.m. CST

    Celebrity Public Screening

    by Red Dog

    This film was hilarious from start to finish, although it could use a little bit of editing.. perhaps most of Winona Ryder's part. Or maybe they should reshoot the 2nd half of her appearance. She doesn't seem to hold together her performance that great. Good Leonardo DiCaprio stuff and Joe Mantegna was great. The audience loved it, and even though this is only my first Woody film, I think this one is persuading enough to make me watch many more

  • Sept. 26, 1998, 7:14 a.m. CST


    by hamster

    Was there a scene in "Celebrity" that involved some sort of a talk show mixup? If so who was in that scene? I'm very curious, -Hamster-