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Vicky Cristina Barcelona
DVD disk
Feb 3, 2009 By: Jason Adams
Vicky Cristina Barcelona order
Director:
Woody Allen

Actors:
Javier Bardem
Scarlett Johansson
Penelope Cruz

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two young friends spend the summer relaxing in Barcelona, both having affairs with the same spontaneous, soulful artist. Things get even more complicated when the painter’s crazy, suicidal ex-wife returns in to his life.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I like that Woody Allen can pump out a movie a year. It’s nice to see a filmmaker push himself creatively and not rest on his laurels, although given some of his output from the past decade it’d be just as easy to argue the opposite with regards to stretching oneself too thin. Thankfully VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA is among his stronger efforts of recent times, a curious comedy/drama that is eager to explore ideas of love and romance in modern times.

The things Allen gets truly right in VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA stem from two of his classic strengths as a director, storytelling and characters. Narration is a tricky thing to pull off but here Allen uses it in a simple and straightforward approach that gives the film the feel of an engrossing short story, helping it to unfold naturally and not at hurried or lagging pace. The characters (for the most part) are strongly written and relatable in each of their respective situations. The lessons of life and love learned here can only come from experience and it feels like each of these characters has that beyond what we see on screen.

Javier Bardem comes off his Oscar win here with a role tailor made for his suave Spanish sensibilities. I say tailor made because Bardem is a talented enough performer to pull off the macho Spanish lover persona, and then go and back it up with a soulful motivation that makes you like the guy for exactly what he is. As much as Scarlett Johansson has been called Woody’s muse, her character feels like something of an afterthought here. She is an important piece of the equation no doubt, but her persona seemed not as explored or interesting as the other female characters experiencing similar things. Rebecca Hall especially is stronger as an actress and a character in the film, going through typical feelings of marital ennui unique and interesting to this particular story. Penelope Cruz has a smaller role but is powerful enough to steal the majority of the movie as a crazy, jealous but likable ex-lover. Oscar nomination worthy probably, but I don’t see her taking home the statue.
THE EXTRAS
As the Spanish would say, “Nada.”
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Yes, Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz make out in this movie. If you rented VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA just for that, you might be presently surprised to find a nice little story behind it featuring the complexities of romance and defined love. (And for some that equates to two chicks kissing each other.) Just don’t expect much of anything from the DVD.

Extra Tidbit: The film also boasts a great soundtrack. Fans of Spanish guitar music will want to pick up this eclectic mix of tunes.
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