Thighs Wide Shut Thighs Wide Shut

Friday, August 15

The Old Men & The Threes

Vicky Cristina Barcelona
A Latesummer Night's Sex Dramedy
Trailers & Mo

The two names that proceed Barcelona in the title are two American tourists BFFs who are spending a month long holiday in Spain's second largest city before heading back to reality. Vicky (Rebecca Hall, with the film's finest performance, which is saying something considering how great everyone else is), essentially the Woody Allen character here, is the straight-laced one with her future well planned out, including her upcoming marriage to a boring NYC finance guy (Chris Messina). Cristina (Scarlett Johansson, who always exudes sexy, and awkward acting) on the other hand, is the free spirit, ready for whatever adventure comes her way. One night, while the two are dining in a restaurant, a famed local painter named (Don) Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) approaches them with an offer to whisk them away for a whirlwind weekend of fine wine, art and fornication. Cristina is overly charmed and ready to jump in, and while Vicky is hesitant at first, she ultimately agrees to join them. Juan Antonio guns for Cristina, but she gets very sick after a heavy night of drinking, forcing him to spend the next day and night with Vicky. She tries her best to resist his charms, but this is Javier Bardem we're talking about! The two tryst it up, leaving her shaken and stirred. The threesome return from the weekend, and Cristina and Juan Antonio pursue a steamy relationship, while Vicky starts to second guess her life's plan and pending nuptials, finding a good ear in an expat who's been in a similar situation (Patricia Clarkson)

It sounds like there's enuff drama here to fill up the rest of the film, but things get a lot more interesting when Juan Antonio's ex-wife and soul mate Maria Elena (Penélope Cruz, whose English keeps gettin better flick by flick, but is at her best when speaking in her native Spanish tongue) reenters his life and lights the screen on fire. She's down in the dumps and Juan A has no other choice but to let her live with him and Cristina. It's an fragile grouping from the get go, but by looking at the image above, you juss know things will eventually get a lil bit saucy between them. Yes, there's a ménage à trois between beautiful peoples Bardem, Cruz and Johansson, but before you pack yer Kleenex and Jergens lotion and head off to the theater with yer pants around yer cankles, please note that this hot action occurs, sadly, off screen, save a lil smooching d-tease. Don't let this panty bunching prevent you perverts from seeing Woody Allen's latest European Vacation, which is dripping with plenty o' luscious lust-er, and gorgeous scenery that isn't flesh-based

While not as brilliant as Match Point, or as goofy as Scoop, or as gripping as the vastly underrated Cassandra's Dream, VCB is still an enjoyable romp around the Iberian Peninsula. The more the Woodman stays away from Manhattan, the less his movies feel like... a Woody Allen movie, and after a decade of mediocrity, this is a mos welcome sojourn. Must be something in the Old World's water that has the ability to tone down his usual New World neurosis and output something that feels fresh, yet still retains a hint of the Allentown we all love to keep visiting year after year. VCB's got more charm than a 24 pack of Charmin, so break out the rolls and wipe this baby up!

Voice Male: the film's narrator, Christopher Evan Welch, is most well known for providing the voice of Tails in the cartoon The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog when he was a kid. these days, you can hear his growns up vox on many an audiobooks

Verdictgo: Jeepers Mos Def Worth A Peepers

A Girl Cut In Two
(La Fille Coupée En Deux)

An Obtuse Astute Love Triangle
Trailers & Mo

Lovely TV weather gal Gabrielle (Ludivine Sagnier, for once, not in NSFW mode) has gots some men issues. She's the part-time mistress of a renowned French author (François Berléand, last seen as the police detective in Tell No One), who totally enjoys a good tumble under the sheets, but he can't really commit to her, being married and taking frequent trips to an high-brow sex club. Then there's the wealthy brat Paul (Benoît Magimel), who will stop at nothing to win her affection, although he only seems to love himself, and his hamazin hair. As the author starts to pull away, tearing Gabrielle's heart... IN TWO, she finds uneasy comfort in Paul's arms. While Paul may have won the prize, he can't help but feel like sloppy seconds. This leads him to do something quite dastardly that we won't reveal here. The plot is hactually based on what this man did to Madison Square Garden (version II)'s architect (don't click one the first link unless you want yer milk spoiled), and it isn't even the first time these events have been fictionalized. It was the subject, mos famously, of the 1955 film The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing and the 1975 novel Ragtime. French New Wave director Claude Chabrol blends the love tragedy in Girl with some nice bits of humor, and shows that for a septuagenarian juss like Allen, he isn't showing any signs of rust. And while we're still figuring out what exactly happened at the end, we suggest you start at the beginning

E Femme Rule: Paul's sisters are quite the cutie patooties. pay love and respek to Clémence Bretécher and Charley Fouquet

Verdictgo: Jeepers Worth A Peepers

Anita O'Day:
The Life of a Jazz Singer

Not All That Jazz
Trailers & Mo

Anita O'Day led a mos colorful life. Nicknamed The Jezebel of Jazz, her unique voice has stood the test of time (peep Ms O'Day at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival kick out the jams 'Sweet Georgia Brown' and 'Tea For Two'), even dropping her last album right before she passed on at age of 87. She's been as highly revered as such other legends as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn, sang alongside sum luminary musicians like Gene Krupa and Stan Kenton, and had more than her fair share of professional and personal highs (she loved to drink and smoke marijuana) and lows (and dabble with heroin and multiple husbands as well). This basic documentary, pieced together over 4 years by her adoring manager Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden, shines when the camera's pointing at Anita, but the rest of the other surrounding pitter-patter will probably only eggcite the diehard fans, which leaves the uninitiated feeling that if it don't mean a thing, it juss aint got that swing

Hat Tip: although currently not available on DVD, don't forget to seek out Hats Off, about another classy olde dame by the name of Mimi Weddell

Verdictgo: Sum Merit But No Stinkin Badges

all three films open in limited release today

until next thyme the balcony is clothed...