Multi-film review: Woody Allen's "Johansson Trilogy" Match Point [A+] - the first (and, as yet only) Woody Allen film I saw in theatres. I loved it in 2005, and put it on my top 10 for the 2000s, but his later films weren't as strongly reviewed (and generally weren't dramas, a genre I generally prefer), so I never got around to seeing any of them. Deciding to settle down and watch the latter two films with Johansson, I decided to give Match Point a rewatch as well to write a retrospective review. I'm generally not much of a rewatching type (though I still collect DVDs of films I saw in theaters for some reason), but anyway. This film really holds up, and remains one of my favourites of the last decade. Having a better sense of Rhys Meyers' character, rewatching the film you can really observe how calculated he is about upward mobility; everything he does serves some other end (including the seemingly unsubtle closeup of Crime and Punishment), until he meets Nola, which knocks him off his manipulative if ultimately harmless path. Great performances all around. I think some aspects of the Hewett family seem a bit outdated; at times they seem more like they stepped out of the Edwardian era in terms of how the aristocracy behaves (such as the seemingly jobless Chloe), but whatever. Scoop [C] - One can imagine how this would have been a disappointment after Match Point. This seems like Allen attempting a return to pure comedy, a genre he mostly abandoned after Stardust Memories (which meta-fictionally explained why he wanted to do that). But it's just not especially funny; there are long stretches with no real jokes, but it also doesn't work a thriller (he occasionally ends up with these genre-hybrids that don't effectively work in either). Johansson is doing what is basically a Mia Farrow role here (female Woody Allen), but it's hard to buy her as mousy (though the film at least doesn't pretend she's unattractive). Allen makes a rare-these-days onscreen appearance in a supporting role; he uses a lot of the same schtick he did in Broadway Danny Rose, but it's a bit tired. He does, though, deliver my favourite part of the film, where his character puts the puzzle together and drives off to rescue Johansson, only to die in a car crash on the way there because he's not used to driving on British roads. When last we see him, he's on the boat to the afterlife, grousing about how if the movie had been set in America he'd have gotten there, saved the day, and totally been a hero. If the rest of the movie had been that effective as a mystery/thriller parody, it might have been great. Vicky Cristina Barcelona [B+] - Allen's (for now) final film with Johansson, moving the setting to Spain after three films in London (a venue he's now returning to with 2010's You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, after a nostalgic 2009 stopover in New York). After a superb drama and a subpar comedy, we get one of his relationship dramedies, the point of which seems to be that relationships are inconsistent. The character who doesn't know what she wants at the start of the film still doesn't at the end, and the one who knew what she wanted now doesn't (in another film, they'd just have switched places). There's a lengthy tradition in North American literature of North Americans going to Europe (especially the continent) and falling in with libertine arty types; this fits into that, but Allen mildly deconstructs this with Cristina, who is shown to be purposefully constructing such an identity for herself, and more notably by having Juan and Maria Elena be so much less idealized than a lot of such characters are (particularly Maria Elena). A collection of very strong performances, and I generally connected to the characters, though the weird decision to include a lot of totally superfluous narration (by a third-person narrator) takes it down at least a point).