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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "They do nothing but give awards"
__________________
Annie Hall is one of the best films of the 1970s, in some ways it defined them. Woody outdid himself, and yet it really was just the first of his "real" movies. Without this one, well, never mind, I can't bear to contemplate that. This is often rated as one of the best American movies ever made. I'd like to warn you that it has no chase scenes or...
Published on June 23 2001 by Holy Olio

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3.0 out of 5 stars Where is Play it Again Sam?
I have the VHS versions of most of these films, and I have viewed all of the films. But I was hoping for the extras allowed by DVD, such as commentary and background info. And where IS my favorite Woody Allen vehicle, Play It Again Sam?
Published on July 8 2000 by Canary


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "They do nothing but give awards", June 23 2001
By 
Holy Olio "holy_olio" (Grand Rapids, MI USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Woody Allen Collection, Set 1 (Annie Hall/Manhattan/Sleeper/Bananas/Interiors/Stardust Memories/Love and Death/Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask) (DVD)
__________________
Annie Hall is one of the best films of the 1970s, in some ways it defined them. Woody outdid himself, and yet it really was just the first of his "real" movies. Without this one, well, never mind, I can't bear to contemplate that. This is often rated as one of the best American movies ever made. I'd like to warn you that it has no chase scenes or shootouts, no hostages get taken, no wrongly-convicted criminals try to break out of jail, and no one says "excellent" or high-fives. It's just a good film. If you don't have an ounce of heart or have a poor ability to remember premarital affairs, you may not like it. Otherwise you will.
Manhattan - Not only one of Woody Allen's best movies, one of the best movies, period. While Annie Hall is a great movie, the development of Allen's talent between AH and Manhattan is startling. The chemistry of the cast is a factor in its success. The humor is smoothly integrated into the dialogue and not distracting. The scenes are well acted, shot, and edited. It's a love story in which the only mature participant is a 17 year old.
Interiors - Not much music in the soundtrack, which contributes to the somber feel of this film. Despite some of the critical rejection of it, and despite the Bergman influence, this is one of his finest. I remember seeing this reviewed by Gene Shalit who was nearly speechless (not much of a change, since he was doing those 30 second reviews for Today back then) and in awe. The performances were natural and believable, and the cast were well chosen. This film may appear derivative, but I found it to be innovative and original, and couldn't take my eyes off it, despite the deliberate drabness.
Stardust Memories is one of Woody's most underrated films, stronger than any of his "early, funny ones" and is very cohesive, particularly with repeated viewings. The gags have more impact because most of the movie is stress and strain. There's a jail scene (a common element in Woody's films - off the top of my head, there are at least four other movies with some form of confinement), three different breakups, and its flashbacks anticipates the recent "Deconstructing Harry". Stardust Memories was in part a kiss-off to critics of "Interiors". It's shot in black and white, has a great cast and performances, has unexplained props (like a cervical collar), Laraine Newman (first cast of SNL), Brent Spiner (Commander Data in ST:TNG), and the most graceful integration of Woody's childhood memories. This is a movie best experienced more than once -- another thing it has in common with "Deconstructing Harry".
Love and Death is one that I've only seen once, and it didn't make much of an impact on me. A friend of mine considers this the best of Woody's funny movies, and he's the one who loaned it to me. I found it a little too gag-filled, although I must admit that I fell asleep a few times.
Sleeper is a more sophisticated version of Bananas. Although it also gets preachy, it looks better on the screen, has better gags, and superficially is a great send-up of science fiction of all kinds. I love the bit about health food.
Bananas is poorly shot, preachy, and not too funny, which is odd because it's one of the "early, funny ones". I know people who mistakenly think of this as his finest work. [...]
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask is one of his classic funny ones, but having seen it I don't see anything much to recommend it. The gags look like things he based on his stage act that may have been daring during the Bitter End years. [...]
Now that we know what is in the second Woody box, the main question to ask is "why?" This first box set is a far better deal, and the selections in the second box mostly mystify fans, buffs, and critics.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every one a gem, May 29 2001
This review is from: The Woody Allen Collection, Set 1 (Annie Hall/Manhattan/Sleeper/Bananas/Interiors/Stardust Memories/Love and Death/Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask) (DVD)
Every film in this collection is a gem. Annie Hall and Manhattan are both top notch, followed by Bananas, Everything you wanted to Know about Sex, Sleeper...heck, even Interiors was such a radical departure its worth seeing at least once or twice. But to me the real diamonds in the rough of this set are Stardust Memories and Love and Death. These two films are probably Woody's least talked about, but really, I think they are both fantastic films. Love and Death is full of the witty one liners and pratfalls that were prevelant in his "earlier, funnier" works... but you can see in the dialogue of Love and Death that Woody was maturing. And Stardust Memories, my favorite Woody film. This film says so much for anyone who fancies themselves an "artist" who is trying to figure out what they want to say...and how to say it. Maybe my one beef is the lack of extras on these DVD's... but for the money, you can't beat the price of this set.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy collection of the director's work, Jan. 25 2001
By 
Norman Landsburg (Chapel Hill, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Woody Allen Collection, Set 1 (Annie Hall/Manhattan/Sleeper/Bananas/Interiors/Stardust Memories/Love and Death/Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask) (DVD)
Just about anybody can enjoy a Woody Allen movie; it simply requires all your attention and intellect while viewing it. This collection shows Allen as a comedy director (Bananas, Sleeper) and his transition to deeper, more bittersweet films (Annie Hall, Manhattan). An excellent job by MGM, though Annie Hall is the only non-anamorphic title in the bunch. I look forward to more Woody Allen film collections on DVD in the future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A collection of brilliant films - some out of print otherwise., April 14 2011
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Woody Allen Collection, Set 1 (Annie Hall/Manhattan/Sleeper/Bananas/Interiors/Stardust Memories/Love and Death/Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask) (DVD)
This collection is currently the only way to get new region 1 copies of some of Allen's greatest and most important films, including 'Annie Hall', 'Stardust Memories', 'Interiors', 'Bananas' and others. I can only hope that these films are going out of print in anticipation of an upgraded re-release (hopefully blu-ray?), but there's always the danger that they've gotten caught up in some sort of rights war, in which case this it could be a while before these films reappear, and grabbing this set now makes even more sense.

My brief reviews of each, on a 4 star scale;

Bananas (1971) ***1/2 Incredibly funny, broad, slapstick, surreal political satire as Woody takes over a Latin American country to impress a girl. A few bits feel dated, and it didn't make me laugh quite as much as 'Take the Money and Run' when I recently re-watched Allen's 'early funny films', but it still has more than it's share of great comic moments. The whole trial sequence is genius worthy of the very best of the Marx Brothers. (Or, in a more modern context Monty Python). Personally I don't love the score -- it tends to underline jokes that don't need the help. It was after this that Allen went away from having music written for his films, using existing pieces instead, which became a huge part of his filmmaking style.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (1972) *** While all the early Woody Allen films are funny and worthwhile, this is probably the most uneven to my taste. Allen took the famous, serious non-fiction book about sex, and turned it into a series of short comedy pieces. A couple segments are pure genius (inside the male body during sex, Gene Wilder falling in love with a sheep), a couple are pretty good (Woody as a medieval court jester trying to have an affair with the queen, who is locked into a chastity belt, a mad scientist creates a giant milk squirting breast that goes on a rampage) and a few are real duds. Also, of all the Allen films, this might have the weakest DVD print/transfer quality.

Sleeper (1973) ***3/4 While all of Allen's early comedies are pretty wonderful, this film represents a big leap in technical proficiency. For the first time you sense him really thinking about how the camera is telling the story. And in finding Diane Keaton, Allen was finally paired with an actress who's comedic strengths were a great match for his. This film relies less on verbal jokes (although there are brilliant lines) and more on visual gags. It almost feels like you're watching a great silent comedy at times. Better music too, with jazz taking over from traditional score the first time in Allen's films. A funny, inventive, sophisticated if sometimes wonderfully silly comedy, with almost no dead moments. For me it represents the beginning of the shift from Allen as a brilliantly funny writer and comic who happened to make films, to becoming one of our very best filmmakers.

Love and Death (1975) **** I'm not surprised this was rumored to be Allen's favorite film. I'd say it's the best of his flat out comedies. All the strengths he was gathering as a filmmaker came together in this brilliant satire of (among other things) 19th century Russian literature, war, epic films about war, Ingmar Bergman, etc. etc. It's very very smart, and very very funny. An amazing mix of sophisticated intellectual verbal comedy, parody, low and high-brow visual gags (from speeded up film of bopping a character repeatedly over the head with a bottle, to homages to great images from early Russian films) , terrific cinematography, and some real ideas, both political and philosophical. Diane Keaton is wonderful, and fully comes into her own as Allen's on screen equal partner. And the look of the film shows the deep visual sophistication that would become a hallmark of the next phase of Allen's career; Annie Hall, Manhattan, etc. With this film Allen completed his journey from brilliant joke teller to brilliant director-writer. It would be his next film, Annie Hall, that would make the world realize he was a world class filmmaker. But you can see the all groundwork laid here, and have a lot of fun in the process.

Annie Hall (1977)**** Quite simply one of the best films about romantic relationships ever made. Brilliantly written. Brilliantly acted -- Diane Keaton is tremendous, the supporting cast is full of gems and Allen himself takes the leap to present himself as a real (if funny) human being and not a walking joke. And brilliantly
photographed by the great Gordon Willis of 'The Godfather' and many of most important films of the 70s and 80s. Wildly funny and ultimately heartbreaking. It's hard to imagine anyone who has ever been in love, or struggled through grown-up relationships NOT identifying with a lot of this film. I loved it in my late teens when it first came out, and I love it even more 32 years later. Every time I see it I notice different details, depending on my own current life experiences. A film of enormous wit, humor, invention, and understanding of the human heart. Its completely unique, playful and idiosyncratic in style and approach, but that experimentation somehow only makes it more accessible and universal. If you haven't seen it, you owe yourself a try, even if you're not a Woody Allen 'fan'. And if you saw it long ago, it may be time for another look.

Interiors (1978) ***1/4 A totally serious, almost theatrical examination of the meltdown of a rich, WASPy family might seem worlds away from anything Allen's earlier films prepared us for, but for the most part he's very up to the task, creating a gallery of disturbing and unforgettable moments and characters. Yes, it's derivative of Bergman, but it's also pretty damn good. Beautifully photographed by Gordon Willis, with amazing performances (Geraldine Page, Mary Beth Hurt, Maureen Stapleton in particular are brilliant, but everyone is good). The script does border on cliché at moments, and some specific dialogue is clunky, but there's something deeply moving and hard to shake in it's overall final effect. Under appreciated in its time, it's faults now seem very forgivable, and there's excitement in watching a great filmmaker stretch his talent in a new direction.

Manhattan (1979) ***3/4 One of the most stunningly beautiful to look at films of the last 50 years, made with great wit, and full of strong observations about loss, aging, and how we lie to ourselves. Still, it doesn't quite rise to the level of `Annie Hall' for me in terms of timelessness or emotional impact. A film I really, really like, respect, see why others have it on their '10 best of all time' lists, etc. but feel guilty that I can't flat out love. Somehow all the adult characters' self-obsessed narcissism keeps me at arms length. I identify with moments, but -- unlike Annie Hall - not the whole. That said, it's strengths are so strong, and it has affected so many so deeply that I would say its a film any film lover owes themselves the chance to see. If nothing else, Gordon Willis' photography will leave you with images you'll never forget.

Stardust Memories (1980)**** II know -- I'm supposed to like 'Manhattan' more. I know -- this straddles the line between homage and rip-off when it comes to
Fellini... But it's so physically beautiful, and so full of unforgettable moments of humor and heartbreak, that I can watch it over and over and just see more and more in it. It's an odd, wonderful mix of sad, angry, surreal and very funny. It's a chilling, hysterical look at the emptiness of being famous, at what it means to not trust your own worth as an artist, what it means to be scared of happiness. The jump cut sequence with Charlotte Rampling is one of the best, most incisive pieces of film-making I've ever seen. Period. For me, it's a tragically underrated film. This is brave, unique, special film-making in a world with far too little.
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4.0 out of 5 stars No English subtitles..., Aug. 18 2011
This review is from: The Woody Allen Collection, Set 1 (Annie Hall/Manhattan/Sleeper/Bananas/Interiors/Stardust Memories/Love and Death/Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask) (DVD)
The product is fine, delivery OK, etc.

No English subtitles for the hard of hearing or non English speakers who want to reinforce the sound with the written word.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great collection of DVDs, July 1 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Woody Allen Collection, Set 1 (Annie Hall/Manhattan/Sleeper/Bananas/Interiors/Stardust Memories/Love and Death/Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask) (DVD)
this is a great collection of movies-- a must have for fans of woody allen!
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4.0 out of 5 stars For those interested in learning the MIND of Woody Allen, Dec 9 2001
By 
Puck Mackie (Japan) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Woody Allen Collection, Set 1 (Annie Hall/Manhattan/Sleeper/Bananas/Interiors/Stardust Memories/Love and Death/Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask) (DVD)
Every movie in this collection will leave you in deep thought one way or the other long after you view them. This is the sort of collection you can own and view multiple times without tiring of the plots, and there's always something new to get out of the stories each time you see them. "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan" are more prominent and famous over the others because there are more moments where you can laugh and enjoy the characters.
"Interiors" is not a film to be viewed for uplifting entertainment, but you can still appreciate it for its unique perceptiveness into a wealthy New York family's misery. It's serious movies like this one where you can delve into the artist's mind and pick apart his brain, enjoy the neurotic journey, and later you will be able to see reoccuring themes and motifs appear in his later works. What makes "Interiors" special is that it captures the essence of a family's life that rarely any other author or filmaker would bother to examine. Through this movie you can step outside yourself and feel the raw anguish and bitter remorse of all old maids around the world, and even still have the desire to sock them in the kisser. However i must warn this movie is for people seriously interested in examining human character and family dynamics. This doesn't follow a climax/ happy ending standard.
"Everything you always wanted to know about sex But were afraid to ask" is a fun film, and one of his earliest. There are a few weak and dull moments, but there are other episodes that make it all worthwhile. Right before you want to let out a big yawn you'll choke with laughter till you cry. It's inspiring to see how much Woody Allen has accomplished since.
All in all, this collection is the most diverse in mood compared to the other collections. From silly slapstick humor to neurotic-relationship drama, and the bleak and miserable... This pack carries a sample of Woody Allen's every style.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection, Jan. 7 2001
By 
E. Olson "lovethatgoren" (New Milford, CT USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Allen, Woody (VHS Tape)
For any Woody-phile, this collection makes a great gift - especially for yourself. 1990s news headlines aside, Woody Allen remains one of the best filmmakes of the century, albeit a narcissistic attempt to immortalize himself on the silver screen. "Sleeper," the first Allen movie I saw with my father, of all people, made both of us laugh so hard we were nearly asked to leave the theater more than once during the evening. "Manhattan" is a self-fulfilling prophesy with fabulous 35MM screen projections, beautiful camera angles and a view of New York City that is pretty much lost to the televison and movie viewers of today, coupled with a soundtrack that shouldn't be missed. "Bananas" shows Allen in a young, pre-balding state with a flair for the corny dramatic, quite amusing and entertaining. Rather than go on, get this collection. You won't be sorry!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate Woodman DVD collection (so far), Nov. 28 2000
By 
Hank Dole (Austin, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Woody Allen Collection, Set 1 (Annie Hall/Manhattan/Sleeper/Bananas/Interiors/Stardust Memories/Love and Death/Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask) (DVD)
Any DVD collection with "Love & Death", "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan" would have to be considered one of the best. Add in "Stardust Memories", "Bananas" and "Sleeper" and it becomes hard to resist. The video transfers are good, and although Mr. Allen uses older audio sources for his soundtracks, they have never sounded better. And now the wait for the next box set begins.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Woody Allen Collection - 8 Pack, Nov. 18 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Woody Allen Collection, Set 1 (Annie Hall/Manhattan/Sleeper/Bananas/Interiors/Stardust Memories/Love and Death/Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask) (DVD)
How can I describe this collection? Woody Allen is a sheer genuis at what he does, and this is the best evidence of it. The best movie is without doubt - Annie Hall. A truly magnificent film!
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