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
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.