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Stardust Memories (Widescreen/Full Screen)

Woody Allen , Charlotte Rampling , Woody Allen    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 34.97
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Stardust Memories (Widescreen/Full Screen) + Husbands and Wives (Bilingual) + Manhattan
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"Doesn't he know he's got the greatest gift anyone can have, the gift of laughter?" Woody Allen stars as filmmaker Sandy Bates, who, like John Sullivan in Preston Sturges's Sullivan's Travels, no longer wants to make comedies. As studio executives threaten to wrest control of his latest film, he reluctantly attends a weekend film-culture festival in his honor, where he is besieged by journalists ("I'm doing a piece on the shallow indifference of celebrities"), groupies ("I drove all the way from Bridgeport to make it with you"), and persistent oddballs ("Can I talk to you about my idea I have for a movie? It's a comedy based on the whole Guyana mass suicide").

After the exhilarating Manhattan, Stardust Memories was a dramatic departure that threw critics and fans for an outraged loop. But out of all of Allen's films, it is perhaps the one most ripe for rediscovery. It poses the same dilemma Stephen King would later tackle in Misery: What happens when a popular artist is held captive by an adoring audience that doesn't want him to change? The answer may come from an extraterrestrial, who in one of the many fantasy sequences advises the comedian, "You want to do mankind a real service? Tell funnier jokes."

The film is impeccably cast with Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper, and Marie-Christine Barrault (of Cousine/Cousine) as the three women in Sandy's life. There are also choice bits by Sharon Stone as a fantasy woman on a train, Daniel Stern as an aspiring actor, Louise Lasser as Sandy's overwhelmed secretary, Laraine Newman as an unimpressed studio executive, and Tony Roberts as Tony Roberts. My own aunt, Victoria Zussin, utters the film's most famous line as the patron who tells Sandy she loves his movies, especially "your early funny ones." --Donald Liebenson

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The Woodmeister himself has declared Stardust Memories one of his best movies, and I have to agree with the funny old ferret. Allen's early career consisted of laugh-a-minute slapstick comedies, which were wonderful (especially Love & Death in 1975); from Manhattan(1979) onwards he toned everything down a bit, replacing the slapstick with human drama, although always leaving in the priceless oneliners.
I feel that Stardust Memories(1980) is his best film because it manages to meld the comedy and drama together better than all of his other attempts. (I'm not a big fan of Manhattan, I think it's dull; Crimes & Misdemeanors is perhaps his second-best move-tastic motion picture.) There's some out-and-out hilarious comedy, which self-knowingly refers back to Allen's early comedic style, and the drama is complex and moving. There are moments of bad taste, and the film sometimes seems geared to patronise Allen's fans, but these are brave moves, and make it all the more memorable.
Beautifully shot, wonderfully acted, brilliantly written, astoundingly funny, powerfully touching, insanely insane, comically surreal, slyly self-referential, overtly recommendable to friends and family, oven-fresh and microwave-compatible.
PS Keep your eyes peeled for a blink-and-you'll-miss-it from a young Sharon Stone at the beginning. ...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great Jan. 7 2003
People either seem to love or hate this film. It is easy to see why.
On the one hand, it is full of Woody's usual intelligent yet hilarious one liners. It is also a very bold and interesting satire on how contemporary America deals with its famous yet intelligent artists. This is set in the context of an increasingly absurd weekend 'seminar' in which the Woody character shows and comments on his films. This brings out the zaniness in the audience, really the U.S. film audience. The comments the film tries to make are indeed profound (how can one make funny movies when one is a depressed person in a depressing world? what is the point of artistic creation? when is the line crossed between admiration of an artist and obsession? can the affluent be happy, or will they create problems?)
On the other hand, the film is almost incoherent. It is supposed to have a dream-like effect, and it hurtles through past and present to try to give life to several sub-plots (noticeably the love story(ies)). Yet they only acheive a kind of artifical ressucitation. The film is shot in an over-lighted black and white which has its purpose but really gets on the nerves!
One has to give it to Woody, how honest he is in his movies about himself, even the 'scandalous' aspects of his real life. In this film his lover suspects him of flirting with a 14 year old cousin. In Deconstructing Harry his sexual 'weakness' causes him to lose his son, his lovers, and almost his freedom. Even in the more care-free movies like Curse of the Jade Scorpion he hints at his inability to resist young women.
The message of many of his films seems to be, yes life is awful, but there is time for love and laughter and we need to focus on this.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed March 14 2004
Apparently this flick was trashed when it was released (extreme) and is adored now (also extreme). I do not understand movies and know nothing about foreign ones, so I can neither recognize nor comment on Woody Allen's influences. The less for me. However, I thought this movie was shallow and superficial. I thought it was well and interestingly directed, had a few good chuckles in it (but was hardly a laugh riot), had some interesting scenes (not many), but if this is the way Allen sees his fans (a lot of grinning idiots, devoted slobbering dogs, virtual freaks), the less for him. I am a fan of Allen and I like to think well of my heroes, not as demeaning, blase gods. And I prefer movies in color. And just for the record, I've had it to the teeth with Allen's private life, that's just what it is, a PRIVATE life. I know people who based on his life dislike his movies and have never even seen any! (And on the subject of decency, if I'd been Janet Jackson, I'd have shown them the other one, but I would NOT have apologized!) I did not think this movie was funny enough to watch again nor complex and subtle enough (like his more serious movies) to study. But (sigh) maybe I'll watch it again in 6 months and love it. I did that to "Manhattan Murder Mystery."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tell Funnier Jokes Jan. 18 2004
There are 2 kinds of Woody fans- those who like his earlier silly stuff (ala Mel Brooks) and those who appreciate his deeper side. Those who like the 1st kind of films will not like this. This is by far his best film- along with the brilliant "Another Woman" where he shows us a poetic side of himself, trying to find "meaning" in this life, only then to be visited by aliens who tell him to "tell funner jokes" if he wants to do the world a real favor. People who dis this film don't see how profound a statement that is- basically do what you're good at. Just think about how many singers/song writers set out to "do good" rather than just focus on what they do best. Just think if Picasso had chosen to be a missionary rather than what he's known for- we would have all suffered on account of it. Highly symbolic and deeply probing, this film is not without humor as well. I don't understand how people can rip on this film yet think something like "Saving Private Ryan" is four star material. Stardust Memories has multiple meanings and dementions, unlike the one-dimentional Hollywood attempt to be deep, by stating the obvious, that yes, WAR IS BAD.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Terribly underrated Allen film - one of his very best
I know -- I'm supposed to like 'Manhattan' more. I know -- this
straddles the line between homage and rip-off when it comes to
Fellini... Read more
Published on April 14 2011 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Woody's Best Film.
As a huge Allen fan I warmly recommend this movie. It's quirky, neurotic, romantic, and generally all of the things that make us love Woody so much in the first place. Read more
Published on July 18 2004 by Bernard Chapin
4.0 out of 5 stars dreamy
Strange movie, undoubtably influenced by some of the European masters. A bit different than the typical Allen fare, almost melancholic. Read more
Published on Oct. 19 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and Confusing- Rent Manhattan or Annie Hall!
I am a new Woody Allen fan having just discovered his brillance this year. With that having been said, this film is not up to par with the rest that I've seen from Woody. Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2002 by A. Neal
5.0 out of 5 stars A diamond in the rough, an ignored classic
I am baffled that this film does not receive more acclaim than it has. In the pantheon of Allen films it easily ranks near the top. Read more
Published on Feb. 18 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best
Definitely one of his best. Personally I think it was originally panned because it was sort of proactively mocking its critics, due to the seemingly autobiographical slant of it. Read more
Published on Nov. 9 2001 by Tim Rosenstein
4.0 out of 5 stars Mid-period Woody that's both funny and thoughtful
When discussing the two things in this life that man has complete control over, Sandy Bates (Woody Allen) notes that only art and masturbation fall into that category. Read more
Published on July 2 2001 by Mike Stone
5.0 out of 5 stars Check your prejudices at the door -- this is great cinema!
Why do I choose to waste these few minutes of my life talking about a movie that few people have ever seen and that fewer still want to resurrect? Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2001 by R. David Roe
5.0 out of 5 stars Unrecognised classic
An unrecongised classic. Delicate, shot in black and white, highly intricate and complex script, and soft humour throughout. A marvel.
Published on Jan. 22 2001 by Robertomelbourne
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