A list of Edgar Wright's favorite 1000 Movies per his list on Mubi on July 27th, 2016.
Love and Death
Set in 19th-century Russia, Allen is a cowardly serf drafted into the Napoleonic war, who would rather write poetry and obsess over his beautiful but pretentious cousin. Allen's cowardice serves him well when he hides in a cannon and is shot into a tent of French soldiers, making him a national hero. A hilarious parody of Russian literature, Love and Death is a must-see for fans of Allen's films.
Smart, sophisticated, and goofy, Woody Allen's "Love and Death" is the kind of pleasing comedy that caters to everybody who aced Russian Lit. in college. Sending up 19th century Russian literature, Allen puts his personal spin on life in the time of the Napoleonic wars.
In epic, costume drama fashion, "Love and Death" skewers both love and death as presented by the great Russian novelists. There are battlefield skirmishes, duels, flirtatious ladies, and Allen's anachronistic-in-context commentary to hold it all together. Most importantly, there is the aforementioned love and death in great supply.
The film is colorful and expansive; it is executed on a much larger scale than Allen provides today. Still, the token Allen humor regarding sex, love, family,…
Performances : 6.5/10
Story : 8/10
Production : 7.5/10
Overall : 7.33/10
Extremely funny. What stood out the most to me was the delivery of most of Allen's lines. Very reminiscent of the Marx brothers, and it was glorious. Love and Death probably had the most laugh out loud scenes out of any of his films that I've seen in a while, unfortunately I just didn't love what the story was about. Honestly my high rating is mostly just for the yucks. Oh, and for the copious amounts of Ingmar Bergman references.
Long live Woody.
The December Challenge: Film 8
I have something of a love/hate relationship with the films of Woody Allen, by which I mean that I love the vast majority of them but hate the fact that I can never decide which is my favourite. The last time I watched Love and Death I made the following claim;
”It’s not the funniest of Allen’s films (as I said earlier, there are some moments of pure gold but there is certainly some dross that hasn’t quite passed the test of time) but in terms of its creativity and the clear dedication and devotion that Allen had for it, it’s a fantastic film to watch.”
This is where I have a real problem…
Not at all what I was expecting. The title implies something heavy and meditative. In actuality, there are endless laughs to be had along with its theories and contemplations (some rather earnest) on "love and death." BARRY LYNDON meets Mel Brooks? Bergman's take on a lowbrow sex comedy? A David Lean historical-epic fallen into the hands of Monty Python? During the Napoleonic wars in Tsarist Russia, Woody Allen plays a physically-feeble intellectual, Boris, who'd do anything to avoid getting enlisted in the Russian military, but is thrown into battle regardless, with surprising results. Yet, as the title suggests, this is only the beginning of poor Boris's ordeals. LOVE AND DEATH is, hands down, one of Allen's funniest, goofiest, most irreverent…
Woody Allen's hysterically funny satire of Russian literature and European cinema is one of his best comedies. Arguably containing the highest number of laugh-out loud gags as any film he has ever made, Love and Death sees Allen as cowardly pacifist Bruno, forced to enlist in the Russian army when Napoleon invades. Inadvertently becoming something of a war hero, the perennially randy Bruno convinces his saucy cousin Sonja (a brilliant Diane Keaton) to marry him, and she, in turn, persuades him to carry out her deviously conceived plot to assassinate the occupying French conqueror on a visit to Moscow. Whilst most overtly taking Tolstoy's War and Peace as its main inspiration, translated through the anachronistic filter of Allen's nebbish Manhattanite…
I was pleasantly surprised at how hilarious this was, something I was not expecting at all. Its slapstick style was complimented incredibly by the over-use of sarcasm, an attack of clichés, and Woody Allen's typical deconstruction of love (and I guess of death, too). A clever parody of Russian literature, its references are easy to pick up, and the dialogue, one of Allen's most genius qualities, is exceptionally brilliant. The third collaboration between Allen and Diane Keaton, and their pairing before Allen's breakthrough Annie Hall, their chemistry is spot on, and it is through their leads that this film is so easily yet thoroughly enjoyable.
One of Woody's earlier, funnier films. This one focuses on a Russian coward forced to fight against the invading French army. He loves a woman that doesn't love him back. The film is filled with Woody's signature existentialist satire. Characters ponder aloud the meaning of life, the absurdity of love, and the ingredients in chicken salad. (This is an attempt to provide an example of the "humor" in the movie).
The film is vaudevillian in its comedy. It relies on schtick and one-lines to deliver the comedy. Woody's sense of academia isn't quite as polished in this movie as it would come to be in his later films.
The setting isn't a character in the film, but it is noteworthy…
My Woody Allen Retrospective: #1, Love and Death
I've watched a fair few of Woody Allen's films though a lot of them a while ago. I've also seen very few more than once so I figured now would be a good time to catch those that I haven't seen and revisit those I have. You have to start somewhere and I started with perhaps his first big success at the box office, Love and Death, largely because I had meant to watch it several times and had not. Moreover, given it was a satire of classic Russian literature, it would appeal to the political scientist in me.
A wise decision, this was a great comedy and one of the funniest…
Into his eighties, Woody Allen is prolific as ever, his annual output has been tenaciously consistent, although these most recent ones seem to have lost his mojo after the unexpected resurgence of plaudits for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (2011) and a Cate Blanchett Oscar-bait showcase BLUE JASMINE (2013).
So one might feel more inclined to visit Allen's time-honroured earlier works, LOVE AND DEATH, his sixth feature, a kooky war parody gets certain inspiration from classic Russian novel. During the Napoleonic Wars, Boris Grushenko (Allen), is the weakling of his Russian family, a bookish pacifist, the characteristic Allen-esque persona, pining for his twice-removed cousin Sonja (Keaton), but the latter doesn’t reciprocate with the same feeling, apart from their unbidden philosophical babble. When…
A lot of the jokes are rather dull, and pretty much every character seems to have been written for Woody to play (although the latter is the case with pretty much every Woody Allen movie), but if you can get past that, then there's some really great stuff to be found here, particularly the toying with Bergman compositions (the 'wheat' dialogue toward the end) and references to all sorts of material (the patchwork religious affirmation monologue, for instance) that resonate really well.
"Nothingness... nonexistence... black emptiness..."
"What'd you say?"
"Oh I was just planning my future"
You have the temerity to say that
I'm talking to you out of jejunosity?
I am one of the most june people
in all of the Russias!
"To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness. I hope you're getting this down."
Woody Allen is a revered and maddening figure in my world. Revered because he is an absolute genius; maddening for the same reason. Even if you have never seen a film he has written and directed, you have no doubt heard his one liners: "Don't knock masturbation, it's sex with someone I love." "I'm not afraid of death, I just don't want to be there when it happens." "I'm not really the heroic type, I was beat up by Quakers." His jokes have a delivery that mocks the greats like Rodney Dangerfield and Bob Hope yet Woody Allen's unique on screen persona imposes at least a superficial level of earnestness and faux-intellectualism. It's especially maddening to think he's so freakishly…
"You know, if it turns out that there IS a God, I don't think that He's evil. I think that the worst you can say about Him is that, basically, He's an underachiever."
With wonderful wit and clearly inspired by classic Russian literature, Woody Allen showcases a satire of the Napoleonic era, really ringing in the parallels to Kubrick's 'Barry Lyndon' (both released in 1975). While it does not hold a candle to Kubrick's camera, Allen assembles a bizarre tale of a Russian brother thrown into a plot to assassinate Napoleon. I laughed when I read that the production was so strange due to the multiple nationalities on set, and some of my favorite scenes included the old perverted priest and the Idiot convention. It possessed some of the philosophical quips and ramblings from his later films, but it wasn't nearly as fine-tuned as in C+M.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, but still want to squeeze a film into your daily routine, this list is made for…