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Vicky Cristina Barcelona 2008

Two girlfriends on a summer holiday in Spain become enamored with the same painter, unaware that his ex-wife, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the picture...

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RATING (0 to ****): ***

After the hype (thankfully) died down for a possible provocative threesome scene, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" was left once more to the Woody Allen fans eagerly anticipating it. Opening with the same song you heard in the trailer (a theme that repeats throughout the film), the film already induces smiles, but it is in the narration itself that provides for the most enjoyment. Christopher Evan Welch provides very dry voiceover that occurs just as frequently as the aforementioned theme, and while such commentary frequently detracts from other works, it injects a sense of humor to the film's chaotic events that would have otherwise been unclear without it.

In fact, while all done in Allen's subdued, dialogue-driven style (and like always, the dialogue is delicious), you'll be at a loss to summarize what you've just witnessed. It starts with reserved and engaged Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and adventurous, romantic Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) on a trip to Barcelona , who meet a famed painter Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), already up-front in his desire to get them together for a threesome. Vicky is, of course, as resistant to this as Cristina seems to be up for it. Of the picture's surprises, while Johansson would be Woody's neurotic character, Hall is actually the one who provides its biggest laughs.

As for missing her when her fiancee (and now husband) comes to Spain and only Vicky figures into Juan Antonio's love affair, here comes the picture's second most amusing character-- his much talked-about mentally-unstable ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz). It's obvious that Cruz had the most fun out of everybody shooting this, and her character provides for some surprising developments when it comes to her hostility towards Vicky.

If you want to know the rest, of course, you're just going to have to see the movie (and see it to the end- the most priceless moment occurs right after the climax). Gaining a far wider release than Allen's previous picture, the underrated "Cassandra's Dream", it shouldn't be too hard for you to find.


MPAA: PG-13 (mature thematic material involving sexuality, and smoking)
Runtime: 1 hour, 36 minutes (93 minutes of "real movie")
An absolutely beatifully shot film by Woody Allen, which provides audiences with a realistic take on romantic relationships....Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz steal the show


Very glad this movie came to town. I mean, it's Woody AND Scarlett - obviously going to be great. I'd probably put it below Match Point and Scoop as far as their combo efforts (and probably even below Woody's most recent Cassandra's Dream), but this was still a darn good film that I really enjoyed. Nice acting all around, with a special shout out to Penelope Cruz (especially for one knock-out freak-out scene). One of my favorites of this year. Go see it and support the Wood.
Old news.
Woody Allen returns to mediocrity with a disappointing movie



Don't get me wrong -- I always kind of liked Woody Allen, even more so after he married his daughter. I thought Match Point was a good movie, and I enjoyed Scoop. However, just as with the previous ups and downs that marked his long movie career, Woody manages to disappoint again with Vicky Christina Barcelona.



While the movie was meant to portray a "clash of civilizations", it quickly turns out to be nothing more than a clash of stereotypes and clich
I'm a huge Woody Allen fan, but this movie is just not great. Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz are wonderful, and their part of the story is compelling. The rest of it is just a rip off of Woody Allen's least interesting work. The direction and cimematography are all over the map. It doesn't help that I'm sick of Scarlett Johansson phoning in each fabulous role she inexplicably lands.
Penelope Cruz should retire from acting, go back to Spain to a lost village in the middle of nowhere and grow a moustache, however, her horrible performance does not damage the movie. Woody Allen is a genius!
VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA



As the summer blockbuster season draws to a merciful close, 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' treats audiences to a good old-fashioned dose of sinfully sweet entertainment. It's one intricate web of love, desire, lust, sex, and fate the way only Woody Allen could bring to film. Set against the beautiful and exotic backdrop of Barcelona, this picture finds all who are involved in top form.

When it comes to purely character-driven films, few have done it better than Woody Allen. And as he has done in recent years, Allen leaves (in part) the streets of New York he knows so well in favor of a more sultry flair he finds in the rich architecture of Barcelona, Spain. Though it's a departure in setting and environment, Allen seems right at home and takes no time stirring up a pot of messy love. Too intricate to simply summarize, the many twists and turns this film takes you on is all part of the surprise.

'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' assembles an utterly brilliant cast, all of whom appear to be having a complete blast together. Rebecca Hall's blunt and deadpan soon-to-be married character, Javier Bardem's cunning and romantic lover boy, Scarlett Johansson's sultry free-thinker, and Penelope Cruz's neurotic and tempered ex-lover. They collide, they butt heads, they make love, they argue, they make-up, guns are fired, and it's all just so irresistible. Cruz in particular is such a treat to watch on-screen, stealing practically every scene she has the opportunity to appear in, climaxing in what can only be described as, well, a slight overreaction.

Ultimately, 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' becomes something more than sexy trickery. It's about the choices we make, the paths we choose for ourselves and the longing desire to break free and start over. It's an extremely strong outing for Woody Allen, who has still found ways to remain relevant after all these years. If you're looking for an antidote after another busy summer season, 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' is just what you need. It's entertaining, it's funny, it's sensuous, it's Woody Allen.


This movie was like watching a stew being cooked. It starts out slowly. The two American women were the veggies (bland and tasteless). Javier Bardem was added as the meat (for sex of course). However, the pot really does not get sizzling until the spice (passion) was added in the form of Penelope Cruz! I read one review before I saw the movie. It said that Woody Allen should stop making movies featuring Scarlet Johanson and instead feature Penelope Cruz. I totally agree. She is beautiful, passionate and a real live wire! I personally would have liked to have seen Antonio Banderas in the role played by Bardem. The scenes of Barcelona and the small town of Oviedo were enticing and make you want to hop on a plane for Catalan! BTW speaking of Catalan, I don't think that Bardem and Cruz were speaking Catalan. I could understand them. I don't understand Catalan, so I should not have been able to understand them. Maybe someone who speaks Catalan can verify this. Also, why was one of the American women who was studying the Catalan culture taking Spanish classes? I would have thought she'd be up on the language before she made the trip, especially if that was her area of study. She didn't know an ounce of Spanish! Anyway, I love Woody Allen films, so I would still recommend seeing this movie.
Theater First Viewing, every Woody Allen film seen

There's literally one million reasons to see Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The first, I'm happy to reveal, is that Woody Allen has made his best, and arguably his only good, film since Match Point (and Husbands and Wives before that).

The second (of one million) is the performances. This is Scarlett Johansson's best work in an Allen film, and both Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz are true veterans. But my favorite performance had to be Rebecca Hall's. Virtually unknown - I had only seen her in The Prestige and Starter For 10 - she handled Allen's sharpest dialogue in years brilliantly. She brought a brilliant female character to life, revealing complexity I thought was defunct in a Woody Allen film.

As of right now, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a top contender for my favorite film of 2008. And looking ahead at the coming months, I can't really foresee too many films I'm looking forward to as much.
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