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August 1st, 2006
Scoop: Go and Discover the “Scoop” for Yourself

Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson and Woody Allen in Focus Features' Scoop - 2006
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.

The 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 skinny?

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 poor Christy!

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?

The Maven: Alexis discussed it on her Sirius Radio Show and Howard Stern commented on it on his Sirius Radio show.

The 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 there.

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 with him!

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.

The 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!



The Blonde: Oh, are we back to your censoring me again like you did during the campaign.


The Blonde: I ONLY WISH!

The Maven: BLONDE!

The 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 show?

The Blonde: NEVER MIND!

The Maven: 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!

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