Miramax/1998/113m/WS 1.85

       There’s a snide remark in Woody Allen’s latest effort about movie directors who make black and white films. Is the humor self-deprecating? The irony, of course, is that Celebrity is one of those black and white films. I do love black and white and Celebrity looks good. Yes, it’s aces in that department, but did the black and white add anything to Celebrity. I’ll leave it to Allen to ponder the question.

On the lookout for another gal .©Miramax

     Celebrity has some classically funny Allen moments, but there’s also Kenneth Branagh forever doing an annoying imitation of Allen. One could argue that since Branagh as writer Lee Simon is playing Woody’s usual part, this is an acceptable conceit. It doesn’t work. It works against the film. 
     The pervasive energy in Celebrity is inertia. The film doesn’t really move anywhere in the journey of Lee Simon. Characters come and go, but Lee stays the same. Watching this guy for the better part of two hours is not that interesting. The phrase “who cares? Keeps cropping up and that’s the crux of the problem with Celebrity. Allen never makes a case to care about any of the players.
     Some of Celebrity’s finer segments include the opening passages with Lee dying for a night with a supermodel played by Charleze Theron. Theron is goofy and it’s often are funny and on target.  Lee’s time with callow movie star Brandon Darrow, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, also have a ring of truth to them. Lee hangs around, totally out of his element, hoping for something to develop. Judy Davis is always an interesting actress to watch and there are times when her Robin Simon creates some cinema sparks. Joe Mantegna is a nice solid presence as television producer Tony Gardella and I always love Famke Janssen Bonnie, Lee’s girlfriend. 
     Celebrity is a lovely widescreen transfer. The black and white images are creamy and delicious. It’s like New York City through a newspaper photographer’s lens. Count on a consistently sharp picture. Contrast range is excellent. The mono sound (A Woody conceit.) is fine.












































































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