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4.8 out of 5 stars
Manhattan [Blu-ray]
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 20, 2014
I loved the opening monologue from this movie so much that I went to Youtube and downloaded it for my iPod. That was seven years ago, and I still watch it sometimes. Every time I feel bored, I re-watch the movie. The entire movie is a masterpiece. As usual, the dialogues in this Woody Allen movie are smart, funny, and sharp. I was surprised that Mariel Hemingway could not milk her appearance from this movie for greater roles. Her innocence shines in the movie. The movie is also a love letter to the city and its heart. I don't remember any other movie showcasing New York City and Manhattan so well. And, to be able to do that in Black and White says something about the skill of the director (Allen) and the cinematographer (Gordon Willis, who also shot the Godfather movies). Of all the Woody Allen movies, Manhattan ranks in the top spot for me personally.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2013
The CD - "Manhattan" was a gift for my husband. He listens to it everyday. He loves it.

Sandra Martel
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon April 14, 2011
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.

But, personally, It doesn't quite rise to the level of `Annie Hall' for me in terms of timelessness or emotional impact.

It's a film I deeply admire, respect, see why others have it on their '10 best of all time' lists, etc. but feel guilty
that I can't unreservedly 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 its any film lover owes themselves
the chance to see. Among other things, Gordon Willis' photography will leave you with
images you'll never forget.

And as nice as the DVD transfer was, the beautiful new blu-ray goes it one better. This film has a depth
and immediacy on blu-ray that rivaled my memories of seeing it for the first time on the big screen. Of
course, as always with Woody, there are still no real extras, but these images are so great, that you
owe yourself the blu-ray version.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2004
This is how a black and white should be filmed. And in the perfect location. I'm not a Woody Allen fan but this is just simply an excellent film. Funny, smart, insightful and emminently watchable.
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on July 3, 2004
Woody Allen made a pictoric statement ; an artistic gift of countless carats ; an etarnal portrait for the next generations who will watch this picture with the same devotion we have in front a masterpiece in the Metropolitan , Louvre or any other prestigious museum in the world.
The story turns as a leit motive in many films of this clever film maker , about the disturbing relationship between two lovers , the loneliness , the no sense living who seems work out for many people in a city as NY that owns the sublime virtue of being capable of renovating to itself from time to time . This is the clue why we love so much this unique city .
The opening shots shows Allen who is left by his wife (Meryl Streep) for another woman ; this bitter sight is linked with the fact Woody falls in love with a teenager that it might be well his own daughter (Mariel Hemingway) ; notice this relationship is built for the Pygmalion effect. She admires him and eventually falls in love with him when she compares his rich gaze about the world with the routiny of her friends ; flat and deepless.
In the middle of this emotional chaos the rendezvous to NYC emerges from time to time with unforgettable images . Gordon Willis stole the show with this arresting landscapes. He caught the mythical essence of this caleidoscopic city: irreverent , creative , seductive , challenging but fascinating . However Allen knew show the viewer the underestimated wonderful treasures that by one or several reasons some proportion of the people who lives there it doesn't seem to realize . Once more the sight of an artist is to make open the eyes and alterate the usual perspectives of the reality , creating a new one.
And Allen made it . Bravo!
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2004
Does it bother anyone else that in what the director himself cals an "idealized New York" there are never any people of color? I'm talking about all of Woody Allen's films, not just this smug, prettily photographed, over-rated film. Wait, I've just been told that there is a black extra standing silently in the background of a party scene in Hannah and Her Sisters. I guess I'm wrong.
Why are people so crazy for this nasty, self-absorbed hack?
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on May 2, 2004
Schmuck!
This is the movie you wanted to buy back from the studio?
It doesn't really matter, and maybe that's why it makes such a noticible difference: "Annie Hall" was the first of an apparantly unconcious trilogy where Woody Allen, acting as a writer/director/actor ("Star Wa- oops!- DUST Memories" is the third: "Interiors" came out around the same time but is a very different non-animal and doesn't count) acceded -- in very different stages of reluctance -- his own attractiveness, brilliance and success in all realms of life.
But in "Manhattan," Allen dumps his editor?collaborator? Ralph Rosenblum and takes control in collaboration with maverick non-union non-recognized cinematographer Gordon Willis to make a very different film. Allen allows that the concept was to make a film in real wide-screen (aka "anamorphic") set in New York.
Schmuck.
Unlike "Annie," this film is non-improvisational and supremely more stylish; and being filmed in widescreen black & white is by no means the greatest of the differences.
Meaner than "Annie's" breaking-the-fourth-wall snottiness, "Manhattan" honed a contempt for the delusional and self-hating inhabitants of its namesake into a screed in which even the judgemental character Allen plays (who lectures everyone -- especially himself) is scalded for having no business enjoying the magnificent vistas they cluelessly scamper through with as much appreciation as a yeti in the Serengheti.
Sorry. Great film, gorgeous cinematography (the first 10 min. are worth the price of the DVD alone), acting you won't even notice, it's so good, probably the best of any 10 films of the last 25 years, regardless of your opinion of Allen's life or personal crap.
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There's a scene in this film where Woody Allen is lying on his couch, lethargic and immensely depressed. He's talking into a tape recorder, and he says something along the lines of, "I'm thinking about writing a short story about people in Manhattan who are constantly creating these real, unnecessary, neurotic problems for themselves, because it keeps them from dealing with more unsolvable, terrifying problems about the universe." What an interesting issue he's preparing to approach in his latest work of art. And purposefully (for obvious reasons), that quote sums up the entire film.
Manhattan surrounds the lives of Isaac (Woody Allen), his ex-wife Jill (Meryl Streep), his best friend Yale (Michael Murphy), his seventeen-year-old girlfriend Tracy (the Oscar-nominated Marial Hemmingway), Yale's wife (Anne Byrne Hoffman), and, of course, Yale's mistress Mary (the wonderful Diane Keaton). One day, Isaac and Tracy are on a date and they come across Yale spending the day with Mary. And that's what starts it all. At first Isaac despises Mary's overbearing, free personality. But eventually he runs into her again and he gives her a chance, walking home with her after a gala. And the two become great friends, leading to something more, causing an entire love triangle to form, affecting every character in the film in different ways. But of course, that's not all there is to it.
The love triangle between Mary, Isaac and Yale is a vehicle for studying the behavioral habits of Isaac, the film's main focus. He is an intensely neurotic man who, like he says at one point in the film, fixates on smaller problems in order to rid his mind of the larger ones he is afraid to face. But as the love triangle progresses, falls apart, nearly comes back together, then falls apart again, he transforms into another man at the end. And the way Woody Allen carefully (and in a very clever way) tells the tale and explains the change is so utterly original and touching that it will leave you breathless.
That is, of course, the high point of the film: its screenplay. There are so many brilliantly subtle jokes and so many of Isaac's mannerisms made fun of and focuses upon that the smile will never leave your face. It is also full of artistic maturity and integrity which Allen, in his early days (apparently), never ceased to express. Not once does he stray from the purpose of the film. Nor does he create unnecessary or cliche plot points or become dishonest in any way. He remains true to himself and the the world. And what strengthens the writing are the wonderful performances from every person in the cast.
Of course, Marial Hemmingway was nominated for the Oscar. And although she was great, the truly wonderful performance in this film was Diane Keaton's as the confused, newly-divorced Mary. She is so precise with her emotions, but reveals so many shades and builds upon the already realistic depth of Allen's screenplay. She should have been nominated for the Oscar. Also noticeably great was, of course, Woody Allen himself, who is always wonderful. Another character clearly and beautifully conveyed in the film is the city of New York.
The widescreen, black-and-white cinematography by Gordon Willis is stunning, and matches the overall tone of the film perfectly. Also complementing the photography and personality of the film is the music scattered throughout, all written by George Gershwin (the film even opens up with the commanding sound of "Rhapsody in Blue").
So as you turn off your television and relax after having finished Manhattan, you are sure to be filled with amazement at how honest, witty and glorious the film is, with the clear knowledge that Woody Allen is a pure genius.
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on March 10, 2004
I've read some great reviews on this film and agree with the ones that states that this is one of Woody's best.As much as I like to notice the artistic endeavors a film maker puts into his/her movies, the key to me is does it pull me into the story? Does it move me in some way? This movie definitely does so. I became enthralled with how petty the adults were and how the innocence of youth packed the biggest wallop of wisdom. Allen seems to want to show that our preconceived notions of "older and wiser" is not always a truism. Of course he also shares a load of laughs with his witty writing as he does in most of his movies. I too was blown away by the cinematography and use of music to convey the emotional content of the movie. As an artist he always tries to be true to himself and sometimes he hits and sometimes he misses, but in this film he knocked one out of the park in the ninth inning with 2 out and the count at 3 and 2 and the bases loaded.
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on March 8, 2004
I am giving the Woody Allen classic "Manhattan" 5 stars here because it's a classic movie- despite the fact that the dvd has no bonus features other than the original trailer (after all, the movie was released in 1979). Anyway, this movie holds up particularly well even today- especially because of the gorgeous black and white cinematography. It's a timeless, romantic slice of pre-9/11 New York. Woody Allen at his best. Still skeptical? Rent it at your local video store and you'll want to add it to your collection.
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