Morning Glory (2010)

2015 #194
Roger Michell | 107 mins | streaming (HD) | 16:9 | USA / English | 12 / PG-13

Rachel McAdams takes a break from time-jumping rom-coms to lead a film where the romantic subplot is merely tacked on, presumably for marketing purposes. Really, it’s about a woman in love with her job.

McAdams plays the producer of TV’s worst-rated breakfast show, but her dream career faces ruin when it’s scheduled for cancellation. If only she can persuade her hero, investigative reporter turned disgruntled host Harrison Ford, to toe the line…

Overlong, predictable, and not the sharpest newsroom-based comedy, Morning Glory’s likeable cast nonetheless carry it to a level of entertaining amusement. Not the disaster it’s been painted as.

4 out of 5

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Manhattan (1979)

2007 #119
Woody Allen | 92 mins | DVD | 15 / R

ManhattanDrama (though it does include some very funny bits) focusing on the interrelationships of a handful of 40-something New Yorkers.

Allen fails to convince as a bit of a womaniser, even if he is notably less neurotic than usual; however, once the viewer gets over that little fantasy of his, I believe there’s a lot to be had here. It’s a much more traditional film than Annie Hall — events occur in chronological order, with no unusual comedic breaks, or monologues to camera — and, as a drama, it’s all the better for this.

The black & white photography is gorgeous throughout, helping the city to shine far brighter than any of the characters — for me, the best bit of the entire film is the opening three-and-a-half minutes, in which the beautiful images, Allen’s narration and Gershwin’s music combine in a tribute to what must be the most genuinely loved of all cities.

(A 5-star rating system only allows minimal delineation, so for the sake of clarity I’d like to point out that I personally preferred this to Annie Hall, though it falls just off attaining a full five.)

4 out of 5

Annie Hall (1977)

2007 #115
Woody Allen | 90 mins | DVD | 15 / PG

Annie HallWidely considered to be Woody Allen’s breakthrough movie and winner of four of the ‘Big Five’ Oscars. One might call it a romantic comedy, but it’s very much an indie comedy-drama (for one thing, it utilises the ever-popular tactic of not taking place in chronological order), rather than the mainstream cliché-fest that first springs to mind whenever “rom-com” is mentioned.

Annie Hall is either the basis for or just exemplifies all the clichés of Allen films (essentially, neurotic Jew who struggles with life), but that doesn’t make it bad. It’s very funny in places, suitably realistic in others, and has a nice line in comedic philosophy too.

4 out of 5