DAVID BIANCULLI

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SCOOP
January 1, 2014  | By David Bianculli

HBO Signature, 9:00 p.m. ET

 

In the last 20 years – the most recent chunk of a film career almost 30 years longer than that – Woody Allen, as writer and director, has enjoyed a late-career surge that has upped his already considerable batting average of entertaining films. Start with Mighty Aphrodite in 1995 as one obvious high point, and look what he’s done since: just a partial list of smart, impressive movies includes Deconstructing Harry, Sweet and Lowdown, Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Midnight in Paris, To Rome with Love, the most recent Blue Jasmine – and this film, from 2006, which stars Scarlett Johannson as an aspiring journalist who suspects a wealthy man (Hugh Jackman) of murder, thanks to clues delivered, as if by magic, from the onstage act of a washed-up magician (Allen himself). Like most of Allen’s movies, it’s got a great role for its female lead, and plenty of momentum to carry the story to its wry conclusion.

 
 
 
 
 
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