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|Also Known As:||Allen Stewart Konigsberg,Heywood Allen||Died:|
|Born:||December 1, 1935||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Brooklyn, New York, USA||Profession:||Cast ... comedian screenwriter actor director author musician publicist|
h a loving wife (Emily Mortimer) and his torrid affair with a sensual but ultimately demanding American actress (Scarlett Johansson). Allen did not appear as an actor in the film, and even more significantly, neither did New York City: the film was shot entirely in London. "Match Point" demonstrated that Allen still had considerable power as a filmmaker and fresh subject matter to explore as a screenwriter. His continued significance as a writer was validated with an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. "Scoop" (2006), a comedy about an American journalism student in London, and "Cassandra's Dream" (2007), a morality tale about a pair of brothers also set in London, earned lukewarm reviews but his fourth European outing, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008) was a critical pick. An evocative new locale and a well-matched cast including Allen's latest muse, Scarlett Johansson, as well as Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, spelled a return to Allen's strength with intelligent and thoughtful romantic comedies. The filmmaker's next project was "Whatever Works" (2009), starring Larry David. After writing and directing his fourth London film, "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" (2010), Allen returned to prominence with "Midnight in Paris" (2011), an engrossing comedy-drama where a despondent Hollywood hack (Owen Wilson) dreams of writing his novel and is mysteriously transported to the past where he meets his artistic heroes Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston) and Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody). The film received widespread acclaim â¿¿ including a Golden Globe for Allen for Best Screenplay â¿¿ and became his highest-grosser at the box office, surpassing "Hannah and Her Sisters." For his work on "Paris," Allen earned his 22nd and 23rd career Academy Award nominations with nods for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay; ultimately taking home the Oscar for the latter." (1986), a chronicle of New York family relationships and a set of very different sisters. The bloodless "September" (1987) and the Bergman-esque "Another Woman" (1988), featuring a virtuoso leading turn from Gena Rowlands, were further examinations of the emotionally bereft worlds of WASPy New Yorkers. With the outstanding "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989), Allen closed the decade with a pessimistic examination of the morality of murder and earned more Oscar nominations for his screenplay and direction. In a lighter mode, 1990's "Alice," a riff on Lewis Carroll's Alice and Wonderland, cast Farrow as a wealthy but shallow uptown woman who receives a new perspective on life thanks to a Chinatown herbalogist. Allen had a rare starring role in a film not of his own making, playing Bette Midler's husband in Paul Mazursky's seriocomic look at contemporary marriage, "Scenes from a Mall" (1991) â¿¿ a film which tanked miserably. Back behind the camera, his critically reviled "Shadows and Fog" (1992) was an allegory about anti-Semitism that combined homages to 1930s German expressionism and 1950s European art films but was plagued by one-note characterizations.
Though not without humor, "Husbands and Wives" (1992) marked one of Allen's most emotionally violent films. Highlighted by jittery, hand-held cinema verite camerawork and a pessimistic view of enduring love, the film was released early by its distributor in part to capitalize on its uncanny parallels with the real-life turmoil between Allen and Farrow. Their very public break-up, spurred by Allen's romantic involvement with Farrow's adopted daughter, Soon Yi, was followed by Farrow's public accusations that Allen had molested their adopted daughter, Dylan (now Malone). In the midst of all the Sturm und Drang, Allen made the frothy but fun "Manhattan Murder Mystery" (1993), which reunited him with Marshall Brickman and ex-flame, Diane Keaton. The comic thriller attempted to recreate the banter and urbanity of such seminal films as "The Thin Man," though it proved to be a financial disappointment, overshadowed by Allen's personal troubles â¿¿ which by this time, were monumental, when Soon Yi left her family to be with Allen. By the time "Bullets Over Broadway" was released in 1994, Allen was out of the headlines and audiences were ready to embrace his work anew. The hilarious period comedy about a 1930s New York playwright (John Cusack as Allen's screen alter ego) banked on a lush, dramatic portrayal of the era's theater world and benefited from an outstanding ensemble cast, including Oscar-winning performances from Dianne Wiest as a past-her-prime stage diva and a nomination for Chazz Palminteri as a thug-turned-ghost writer. Under it all, the film was a successful meditation on the definition of an artist.
Allen returned to TV to adapt, direct and co-star in a small screen remake of his 1968 stage play "Don't Drink the Water" (ABC, 1994). On the big screen, "Mighty Aphrodite" (1995) was an uneven attempt that baldly proclaimed its indebtedness to Greek theater with the use of a chorus. Allen played a middle-aged sportswriter searching for the birth mother of his adopted child, who turns out not to be the cultured woman he imagined but a prostitute. With "Everyone Says I Love You" (1996), he combined frothy 1930s musical sensibilities with his familiar themes, resulting in a mixed response that divided audiences and critics. "Deconstructing Harry" (1997) was an Oscar-nominated screenplay â¿¿ a scatological and complex look at a writer's life employing black comedy and dramatizations of his works to comment on the function of the artist in society. "Celebrity" (1998) with Kenneth Branagh doing a mannered Allen impersonation in the leading role, was considered a misbegotten, poorly cast take on the contemporary obsession with fame. Paying his own price for fame, Allen was in the tabloids again for his 1997 marriage to Soon Yi Previn, 35 years his junior. The marriage reminded all of the sordid story from only six years prior, but the couple seemed in love. The following year, documentarian Barbara Kopple released "Wild Man Blues" (1998). Rather than focusing on Allen the filmmaker, Allen the amateur clarinet player was the central character, from the Monday evening club engagement he held for decades to a European tour.
Allen the filmmaker continued to put out one movie per year for the next five years. Still dabbling in different genres and new techniques, 1999's clever mockumentary/dramedy hybrid "Sweet and Lowdown" cast Sean Penn in one of his finest performances as a fictional 1930s jazz guitarist and hothead. He followed up with the surprisingly mainstream but highly comic heist picture, "Small Time Crooks" (2000) and the disappointing period faux noir "Curse of the Jade Scorpion" (2001). "Hollywood Ending" (2002), where Allen played a film director who goes blind, was poorly received. The target of much criticism for his series of disappointing films, Allen mined familiar territory in 2003 with "Anything Else," which did little groundbreaking besides casting Jason Biggs in the Allen-esque lead as a young writer bedeviled by his torturous relationship with a neurotic actress (Christina Ricci), with Allen playing the role of Biggs' conspiracy-minded mentor. He rebounded with the novel "Melinda and Melinda" (2005), which offered two parallel interpretations of the romantic troubles of a neurotic, self-destructive woman (Radha Mitchell); one tragic and one comic. The film's intriguing structure and fresh cast, including Will Ferrell, Amanda Peet, Chl Sevigny, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mitchell as two widely differing Melindas, made the film one of the more satisfying efforts from Allen in recent years.
Even better was his next project, "Match Point" (2005), an entirely serious, morality-minded effort featuring Jonathan Rhys Myers as a social climbing tennis pro who believes he would rather "be lucky than good," who finds himself torn between his comfortable, practical, status-confirming union witil
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