August 1st, 2006
Scoop: Go and Discover the “Scoop” for
Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson and
Woody Allen in Focus Features' Scoop -
Scoop is Woody Allen's second
film set in London. He is working on the third one. Allen said
he likes the accessibility of the theater-trained,
award-winning actors who are willing to take on a small
supporting role, unlike the American actors who feel that they
are above that. Believe it or not, Allen hired Hugh Jackman
after meeting him for about three minutes. He hadn't even seen
any of Hugh's work. Allen did the same with Ian McShane. Just
one fast meeting and he got the part. Of course he worked with
Scarlett Johansson on Match Point. Allen likes to work with
the same actors when he can.
In Scoop, Ian McShane
(Deadwood and Sexy Beast) plays Joe Strombel, a very
well-respected British journalist who is known for his
tenacity in 'scooping' other reporters for the great stories.
Joe has died suddenly and on his journey to wherever Death is
taking him, he uncovers a potential scoop about a wealthy
English gent. Unable to pursue the story himself, he attempts
to contact a reporter who he can pass the information onto.
His 'vibes' take him to Sondra Pransky, who is participating
in a magic act with the Great Splendini. Sondra is played by
Scarlett Johansson (In Good Company), a journalism major in
college who works for her school paper. Woody Allen (Annie
Hall and Match Point, just to name a few) plays the Great
Splendini, a magician. His real name is Sid Waterman and he is
from Brooklyn, as is Sondra. Sondra drags Sid into helping her
find Peter Lyman, the Wealthy English gent and prove Joe's
story. Peter Lyman is played by the stunning Hugh Jackman
(X-Men and Van Helsing). He is gorgeous, rich and not what
Sondra expects in a possible serial killer. Her inexperience
worries Joe as she may be involved with a killer. Sid is also
worried and he eventually is as involved in the drama as she
is. Unfortunately, neither of them are the brightest of the
bunch and soon they are in way over their heads. Woody Allen
has again created a funny mystery to solve.
Blonde: CUTE… SO VERY WOODY CUTE! This was a charming, clever
and original storyline. YES, Woody is back and on screen, too!
So, who cares about his personal fetishes! He is a wonderful
screenwriter, actor, comic and notorious neurotic and, let us
not forget, sex maniac! But he is one of the greats of our
time. Seeing him again was, in a way, comforting. It is nice
to know and to be able to count on that some people never
change. His selection of music, actors, directing style,
pacing and dialogue are so WOODYESQUE. He always seems to get
the performance from his actors as if he were playing the role
himself. Most interesting! Scoop was like Manhattan Mystery
meets the Thin Man series meets the Pink Panther meets
Bewitched. By the way, Mav, it is amazing how Woody’s
appearance never changes. He never even gains a pound. With
his love for New York City’s restaurants, how does he stay so
The Maven: This movie could have been the
worst ever and I still would have loved it. I have always
loved Woody Allen, the nebbish. I saw him twice when I was
much younger and he was touring as a comedian. There’s no one
else like him. I suppose he had to be seriously disturbed
personally to have come up with all those neurotic characters
over the years. However bizarre Woody is, I missed him on
screen. Thank G-d he is sharing the screen and not hogging it
all to himself. I certainly don’t want to see the 70-year-old
man groping a young starlet. Instead, he leaves that to the
hunky Hugh Jackman. My favorite line of the film is Woody
saying, “I was born into Hebrew religion, but as I got older I
converted to narcissism.”
The Blonde: Mine too. I just
want to state here that I love Hugh. He is dashing and
debonair, not to mention gorgeous. Unfortunately, I didn’t
like him playing the suspected bad guy. Furthermore, I thought
it was quite brave of Scarlett to go through an entire film
wearing such blah, hideous, unflattering, drab clothing.
Speaking of which, no one wears black to a garden party and
why didn’t they put hats on the extras? Everyone knows garden
parties are all about hats! Just ask Martha Stewart!
The Maven: I think her character was supposed to be a
little drab. After all, she was a college student majoring in
journalism and had an orthodox upbringing. She wasn’t a model.
Speaking of Martha and models (Christy Brinkley), did you know
that Martha’s daughter Alexis slept with Christy’s husband
Peter Cook, too! But at least it was before he was engaged to
The Blonde: How do you know all this
stuff? Are you friends with Martha, Alexis or Christy. NOOOO,
Peter told you!!!! You slept with Peter, too?
Maven: Alexis discussed it on her Sirius Radio Show and Howard
Stern commented on it on his Sirius Radio show.
Blonde: Since when is Howard doing a serious radio show?
The Maven: NEVER MIND! Back to the film… When I was a
kid, I watched the “Thin Man” series of movies. Woody’s Sondra
and Sid reminded me of those films; not that their characters
were like William Powel or Myrna Loy, just the way they tried
to solve the mystery before them. I liked Scarlett and Woody’s
chemistry. Their rapport was obvious and the jokes clicked. I
didn’t buy chemistry between Scarlett and Hugh. It just wasn’t
The Blonde: You are just jealous you weren’t
working with him in the love scenes. But yes, Meg Ryan did
have more chemistry with him in the film Kate and Leopold!
The Maven: Hey, I don’t mind your jealous comment, but
at least be correct. I want to do a lot more than just work
The Blonde: I must say, I feel the same way
Woody’s character felt about the British driving on the wrong
side of the road. I never could drive comfortably in London.
You really don’t want to go there and drive drunk.
Maven: Are you referring to that 50-plus-year-old Australian,
Mel Gibson? He was recently stopped for speeding when the
deputy smelled alcohol on his breath. He tested Mel and got a
.12 and .08 is the legal limit. WHEN ARRESTED, Gibson
“launched into a profanity-laced tirade hurling Anti-Semitic
and sexist statements at authorities,” according to TMZ.COM.
The Blonde: OH COME ON! Cut MEL-LLY some slack. It
only happened once!
The Maven: I am HAPPY to tell you,
YOU BLONDIE ARE SO WRONG! In 1984 he was arrested for DUI in
Toronto! Who knows how many other times have been covered up!
The Blonde: Okay, this sounds more than you just being
jealous this time. I don’t think you like the BLOKE!!
The Maven: Just GO TO THAT WEB SITE and read what HE
SAID! You will no longer be a FAN!
SPEAKING OF GEORGE W. BUSH...
The Maven: PLEASE… NO
The Blonde: Oh, are we back to your
censoring me again like you did during the campaign.
The Maven: NO, JUST NO MORE GEORGE!
Blonde: I ONLY WISH!
The Maven: BLONDE!
Blonde: FINE…… Can I at least mention how hurt I am that they
hired Jay Leno to fill in for Ebert (while he recuperates
after his cancer surgery) on the Ebert and Roepert Movie
Review Show instead of us?
The Maven: Did you forget
that YOU refused to cancel your manicure and pedicure to do
The Blonde: NEVER MIND!
Although this isn’t one of Woody Allen’s best films, it was
fun to watch. It was light, funny, and slightly mysterious.
Allen’s return to the screen wasn’t overdone. There was just
enough to laugh at. I would have liked more Ian McShane and I
would have especially liked more Hugh Jackson. I rate this
movie a B- for Woody’s bringing back the neurotic nebbish. I
didn’t realize how much I missed him!
The Blonde: I
too really enjoyed this film. It wasn’t a great movie
masterpiece, but it was cute and fun to watch Woody back on
screen. Go ahead and see it! I rate it a C++. For your film
snacks, enjoy a scoop of ice cream and/or a scoop of popcorn!
That’s this week’s film scoop!