Wonder Wheel reviews

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Re: Wonder Wheel reviews

Postby Sabin » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:59 pm

Mister Tee wrote
The press seems to have effectively ended Woody Allen's career by letting actors know they'll be shamed if they choose to work with him. I'm opposed to this on moral grounds -- I think history will view it as blacklist-y -- but, having seen Wonder Wheel, I'm not sure it matters much in terms of depriving us of potential great art.

Put aside the fact that I have zero hope of him making anything I really like again. The guy's not doing himself any favors. What must it be like to be his publicist these days? He's making public comments about how he feels bad for Bill Cosby and his latest film is allegedly about a sexual relationship between a middle-aged man and a teenager. I read an article recently suggesting the film's theatrical release might be cancelled.
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Re: Wonder Wheel reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:34 pm

The press seems to have effectively ended Woody Allen's career by letting actors know they'll be shamed if they choose to work with him. I'm opposed to this on moral grounds -- I think history will view it as blacklist-y -- but, having seen Wonder Wheel, I'm not sure it matters much in terms of depriving us of potential great art.

I say this not because I think Wonder Wheel is awful. In fact, I think, like Cafe Society, the film has its fascinating elements, But, while, after seeing Cafe Society, I thought maybe Woody had it in him to still create a great film if he got all his ducks in a row, after seeing Wonder Wheel, I'm inclined to think he can no longer distinguish between a good idea and a bad one, a workable concept and a disastrous one, so we'd be doomed to a succession of half-assed efforts where effective moments are drowned out by dire ones.

It's easy to pick out the flaws in Wonder Wheel -- the borrowing BJ notes from mid-century drama (Justin Timberlake doing his Larry Slade/Iceman monologues, a View from the Bridge-ish father looking too longingly at his daughter, Kate Winslet near the end doing full-on late Act Two Blanche); the way every scene inside the apartment feels like it's staged for proscenium; an over-reliance on voice-over narration. But one can't dismiss the strong points: the visualization of Coney Island as simultaneous fantasy paradise and point of desperation (both effectively conveyed by Storaro's superb cinematography); the occasional graceful narrative moment (the way the gangsters' initial pass-through is referred to as "the shadow of death"); some wonderful backstory monologues written for (and beautifully performed by) Winslet; and, above all, a stunning late-film moment that is so logical yet startling that it stops you cold. If this were a fully-realized film, this would be a moment that would be spoken of in the same breath with classic scenes -- Michael Corleone in the Italian restaurant; Holly Martens deciding to turn on Harry Lime; Ratso Rizzo confessing he can't walk anymore. Even if the film just worked as flat-out melodrama, it could rank with Gene Tierney's decision in Leave Her to Heaven. But Allen vitiates it almost entirely by having Timberlake parse out the entire sequence and explain it laboriously/literally -- which drains the film of its last ounce of juice.

I can see both why Kate Winslet was rumored to be seriously in the Oscar conversation and why she dropped out in the end. She has individual moments that are absolutely stellar: her under-the-boardwalk monologue about how her dream relationship fell apart is beautifully written, wonderfully performed, and Allen gives her the full close-up treatment. Yet he then undercuts her by having the scene continue with another story -- one not nearly so compelling or as well-constructed -- that almost zeroes out the scene's impact. It's as if he left all the chaff mixed in with the wheat. If Winslet had been allowed to live up to her performance's highest points throughout -- which is mostly to say, if the film had been better -- I think this might have been viewed as one of her greatest efforts, an award-worthy tour de force. Instead, it's a worthy effort undone by directorial missteps and a mediocre surrounding effort.

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Re: Wonder Wheel reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:43 am

Wonder Wheel isn't indifferent Woody Allen -- the phrase I'd use to describe the director's laziest work -- but I might characterize it as an attempt to create something grand out of a collection of reheated Woody Allen leftovers. You've got the protagonist who descends into alcoholic madness (Winslet's last shot is even a direct repeat of Blanchett's last shot in Blue Jasmine), the goonish mafiosos, the Allen surrogate with dreams of being a great playwright, even the pyromaniac character is recycled from earlier work. A lot of the plotting feels like mid-twentieth century dramaturgy -- all those references to Eugene O'Neill just further emphasize the comparison -- and the dialogue really seems to lack much in the way of zing. Ultimately I found the combination of all of this to be mostly ho-hum.

The most interesting portion of the movie, for me, involves the choice Winslet makes that sets the last act into motion. Because it's interesting moral territory -- she makes a decision that's clearly wrong, but the degree of culpability she has in its effect has elements of murkiness to it. Still, I can't say any of this led to a compelling resolution -- the ending is one area where I definitely think Allen resorts to narrative laziness to wrap things up.

Winslet has a meaty enough part in terms of scene work, and the actress, unsurprisingly, makes the most out of her role. But I find the character so sketchily written that her effort doesn't seem to be in service of very much, certainly not a consistent characterization that elucidated all that much about who this woman is.

I don't think Justin Timberlake is well cast at all -- his type is about as far from "aspiring beat writer from Greenwich village" as one could imagine.

Is Allen just TRYING to trigger people with the references to inappropriate relationships between fathers and daughters?

This is a beautifully lit movie, as many have noted. (Not surprising, given the pedigree.) I particularly liked the way the light noticeably shifted during the middle of several scenes, the way it often does in life, but so rarely does in film. Beautiful work by Vittorio Storaro.

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Re: Wonder Wheel reviews

Postby Sabin » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:09 pm

WOODY ALLEN'S PUBLICIST LAST WEEK
As long as Woody Allen acts like a gentleman and doesn't do anything stupid, like defend Harvey Weinstein, we might be able to keep the spotlight on the movie and off of him.

WOODY ALLEN'S PUBLICIST TODAY
I don't get paid enough for this shit.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: Wonder Wheel reviews

Postby flipp525 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:11 pm

They should have had Billy Magnusson play the Justin Timberlake role.
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Re: Wonder Wheel reviews

Postby Reza » Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:48 am

flipp525 wrote:these countless annoying Oscar prognosticators


Lol

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Re: Wonder Wheel reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:13 am

Seems like all the 'Wonder' films of 2017 are underwhelming.

First Wonderstruck, now Wonder Wheel. If the trailer is anything to go by (I've seen it twice and that's enough! and if my local cinema shows it again I'm lodging a compliant) Wonder, which looks like a syrupy version of Mask: The Early Years.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Re: Wonder Wheel reviews

Postby flipp525 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:41 pm

Sabin wrote:
Mister Tee wrote
Unless Streep's Post performance turns out to be one of her landmarks (which is certainly possible), it looks as if we'll have a situation where there's a very wide, strong field -- McDormand, Hawkins, Ronan, Robbie, Chastain, Winslet, Dench, Streep -- without a clear favorite.

Right now, I’d say it’s either Hawkins or McDormand. Hawkins is a previous nominee headlining a Best Picture contender. But I have an easier time seeing McDormand. She’s about due for a second win, and it seems like she has a lot in her favor. The part seems in tune with the country’s anger yet very sympathetic. It’s a rare feature lead for a beloved character actor. The film seems like it will get lots of other nominations.


And using my same (possibly, now tired) Janney-Robbie rationale, Sam Rockwell's apparently stellar performance in McDormand's film will inevitably draw more attention to her work.
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."



-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

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Re: Wonder Wheel reviews

Postby Sabin » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:43 pm

Mister Tee wrote
Unless Streep's Post performance turns out to be one of her landmarks (which is certainly possible), it looks as if we'll have a situation where there's a very wide, strong field -- McDormand, Hawkins, Ronan, Robbie, Chastain, Winslet, Dench, Streep -- without a clear favorite.

Right now, I’d say it’s either Hawkins or McDormand. Hawkins is a previous nominee headlining a Best Picture contender. But I have an easier time seeing McDormand. She’s about due for a second win, and it seems like she has a lot in her favor. The part seems in tune with the country’s anger yet very sympathetic. It’s a rare feature lead for a beloved character actor. The film seems like it will get lots of other nominations.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: Wonder Wheel reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:38 pm

These reviews for Winslet are potential-nomination level, but they're not sweep-the-critics a la Blanchett, which had been somewhat the expectation.

Unless Streep's Post performance turns out to be one of her landmarks (which is certainly possible), it looks as if we'll have a situation where there's a very wide, strong field -- McDormand, Hawkins, Ronan, Robbie, Chastain, Winslet, Dench, Streep -- without a clear favorite. Put it this way: when the Broadcasters do their prediction-posing-as-vote choice in January, who from that group will they pick? I have no idea. Whereas I know that, barring meteor strike, they'll pick Gary Oldman as best actor. It's very unusual to have nearly the whole field on view and not have at least a strong idea who's a favorite.

One does, now, have to question Amazon's decision to hold this film till Fall screening/Christmas release. The July/August slot would have suited the film much better; prevented it from competing in a cutthroat market.

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Re: Wonder Wheel reviews

Postby flipp525 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:51 pm

Winslet now seems to be in the Judi Dench position of turning in a good performance in a so-so received film. Second tier candidate.

I'm still going with Margot Robbie as this year's Ruth Negga. I think the frontrunner-ish status of Allison Janney is also in her favor more than these countless annoying Oscar prognosticators have factored in.
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."



-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

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Re: Wonder Wheel reviews

Postby Sabin » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:13 pm

Indiewire likes it, but it reads like a very generous "B+". Takeaways: Winslet, Storaro great.

http://www.indiewire.com/2017/10/wonder ... 201887148/
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Wonder Wheel reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:56 pm

There are some tweets that totally hate it, but the two trade reviews are in the category of Decent/Not Major/Great Role for Winslet. (Also, lots of strong reaction for Storaro's cinematography.)

http://variety.com/2017/film/reviews/wo ... 202588390/

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review ... 17-1047865


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