Sweet and Lowdown


Woody Allen’s most conventional picture in years is being touted as a

real return to form, and I suppose that’s true. His previous effort, Celebrity, was the worst Woody since Mighty Aphrodite (and probably longer than that), so Sweet and Lowdown certainly looks good in comparison. I have to admit, though, that I enjoyed the playful Everyone Says I Love You and the feisty, combative Deconstructing Harry

enough to rate them more highly despite the fact that the auteur was

shamelessly pillaging his own back catalog on both occasions.

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The Avengers


This big-budget version of the well-liked 1960s TV series (which I’ve never seen) smells like something cooked up by a talent agency that still thinks a film is just the sum of its thespian parts. Stars Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, and Sean Connery may seem well-positioned to breathe life into a tongue-in-cheek action pic derived from these most stylish, rough-and-tumble icons of British urbanity, but who thought that director Jeremiah Chechik (1996’s atrocious Diabolique) and screenwriter Don MacPherson (Absolute Beginners) were the ones to pull it off?

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