Big talents, like everybody else, deserve a day off. And sure enough, in the illustrious Woody Allen canon, To Rome With Love is a very minor entry that should be accompanied by a sign that says “Gone fishing.”
Having forsaken New York (temporarily, I hope) for an uneven European tour that includes stops in London, Barcelona and Paris, Woody now sends home a pretty but vapid tourist postcard of Rome that is nothing more than stale bolognese coarsened by a compendium of numbingly familiar clichés. Just how stale is evident as a cheesy rendition of “Volare” overwhelms the opening credits. From there, his 44th film as a director is a labored farce that makes few demands on the talents of its all-star cast and ends up as boring as it is preposterous.
Though Greta Gerwig has outlived the heyday of “mumblecore”—a genre distinguished by low budgets and a rambling discursiveness—any movie she is in seems to become as much. While Lola Versus bears many hallmarks of a more traditional romantic comedy, the actress at its center consistently carries it beyond the bounds of its own ambitions.
While the Met was swarmed by A-listers Monday night, we only heard news about Beyonce‘s dress this morning. Upstaged by the attendance of Tim Tebow, these celebrities dispersed to three locations the Met in order to fully dance away the pain: the Ukrainian Institute of America, the Boom Boom Room, and Crown all hosted parties that were hit up by roaming models, actors, and musicians.
While it’s not particularly our forte, The Observer fasted on Monday. Mostly fasted, rather. It was a religious holiday of sorts, indeed more of a pilgrimage, for which we practiced the ancient art of self-denial. Relais & Chateaux’s Dîner des Grands Chefs was our evening’s sacrosanct destination, and we intended to arrive with a pilgrim-pure palate.
As we approached Gotham Hall’s regal colonnade, we were beginning to feel slightly faint. Swaying ever so slightly in our heels, we dashed upstairs, past the congested red carpet, for some sustenance, which, before we could object, came in the form of a flute of 1999 Cuvée Louise Pommery Champagne. We weren’t alone in our pre-sunset indulgence: after a lap around the room, we noticed 25 empty bottles of bubbly neatly (and proudly) displayed at the bar. But a few minutes later, the tally was trente-cinq. At that point, we stopped counting.
It would be easy to compare Whit Stillman’s latest feature, Damsels in Distress, to other flicks about the dangers of female friendship: It’s Heathers without high school, or Mean Girls at college. After all, the movie begins with young, brunette ingénue Lily (Analeigh Tipton) during her first day at Seven Oaks College, being swooped in on by a pack of three severely affected juniors who immediately offer her friendship. Greta Gerwig is the blonde queen bee, Violet, and her two cohorts include the British Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke) and the ditzy Heather (Carrie MacLemore). These three are seemingly on a mission of good: they run the school’s suicide-prevention center and spend most of their time “helping” the brothers of D.U., one of the school’s Roman (not Greek) fraternity houses.
Spring Arts Preview
The Hunger Games (Gary Ross) March 23
Your children have been refreshing Fandango daily to see if tickets are available yet for the movie based on Suzanne Collins’ kiddie novels—think of them as Twilight, except with actual murder instead of benign vampirism. Games promises a chaste love triangle and lots of angst for the tween Read More
Good news for New York’s Urban Haute Bourgeoisie. Damsels in Distress, the first film from hometown hero Whit Stillman in over a decade, will make its debut at this year’s Venice Film Festival. Among the heavy-hitter directors potentially screening their new works for the first time — Steven Soderbergh, Roman Polanski and, for some reason, Read More
Big in 2011
It was a quiet afternoon when The Observer came across a profile of actress Greta Gerwig in Women’s Wear Daily.
Any profile on Ms. Gerwig appeals to The Observer as a reasonable thing to aggregate. The actress is very much of the moment. Ms. Gerwig has both cult cache Read More
RUNNING TIME 107 minutes
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Noah Baumbach
STARRING Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Rhys Ifans
3 Eyeballs out of 4
When Noah Baumbach’s wonderful (and still totally underappreciated) The Squid and the Whale came out in 2006, it quickly sent a wide swath of New York’s male population spiraling Read More
Despite our dislike for so much of Margot at the Wedding, particularly the final thirty minutes, count us amongst the very many fans of Noah Baumbach. But with the exception of a bizarre short film that he directed for Saturday Night Live last year, Mr. Baumbach has been in relative hiding since 2007 (we Read More