Let me preface this by saying my "collecting" habits revolve around movies, etc. filmed in NYC. I wasn't always a huge Woody Allen fan, but have grown to appreciate his humor over the years.
These are all decent Woody Allen movies.
Some of the acting in the lesser of this group, seems forced. Usually Woody's humor slips under the radar, and forces one to think for a second or two. In some of these, the jokes seem telegraphed between the parties. Especially in the first few minutes of each film. My personal test is if I ever use a Woody Allen one liner from one of his films, that film gets a passing grade in my book. The title of my review might be found in one these four.
I'm ranking these within the set from Best to Worst. (within this set)
Small Time Crooks
The best of the lot, with the best simpleton plot. Strong supporting cast in Tracey Ulman, and Hugh Grant.
If you are simply looking for quality over quantity, simply buy this title on its own, and call it a day. It's a rags to riches and back to rags again story. Some very funny moments packed into this one.
This is another good NYC movie. Some awesome scenes filmed in wide sweeping shots, and some great streets scenes. Christina Ricci is really something to look at it this film, too. She is believable in the "struggling / tortured actress" role. Woody plays a mentor role to the love sick male co-star (Jason Biggs), however, Mr. Biggs is not a good fit for this movie. The film gives a nice "sunny Sunday afternoon, in NYC feeling", along with a few laughs.
Curse of the Jade Scorpion
This is one of Woody's "flash back" to the 30's pictures. Good upbeat jazz soundtrack. Fun story line, but a little corny and forced. This movie almost lost me in the first 10 minutes of joke dialog, but stick with it. (If you're looking for something from the 30's era, skip this, and go to "Sweet & Lowdown")
Good NYC scenery and some good cinematography, but WAY TOO LONG. My wife and I gave up on this before we could see the "Hollywood Ending", so that's all I'll say about it.
Overall, I give the set a B- rating, as a set. However, the price per film is excellent, if you are collector, or like to have an occasional Woody film to queue up, on a Sunday afternoon. You might have a hard time finding one or two of these movies at a standard circuit city or Best Buy store, so it's worth it to grab them at an average of $6 per movie. If you don't like Woody's style, you probably won't like most of these, and you might be better off reviewing them on a title by title basis.