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As 'Blue Jasmine' goes wide, savor its secret weapon: It's the most topical movie Woody Allen has ever made

When you think back on the great Woody Allen films, they have so many different dimensions. They are dramatic (Crimes and Misdemeanors), they are hilarious (Bananas), they are touching (The Purple Rose of Cairo), they are dramatic and hilarious and touching (Manhattan), they are sublimely bittersweet romantic (Annie Hall), they are drop-dead clever (Zelig), they are darkly sexy and thrilling (Match Point), they are even cheerfully up front about their own lack of consequence (Broadway Danny Rose). But a word that virtually never springs to mind in connection with a Woody Allen film is 
”topical.” On rare occasions, he has tried to be topical, and the results haven’t usually worked out too well (e.g., his toothless satire of the new gossip culture in Celebrity, or every time he makes a reference to rock & roll). That’s not to say that all of Allen’s movies are unconnected to their time. One of the things I cherish about Manhattan is the way that it pinpoints New York in its transitional end-of-the-’70s moment, when professors were becoming yuppies, love and art were finding a rival in real estate, and comedy was turning into an assembly-line commodity. Manhattan is great time-capsule material, but it’s not exactly ripped from the headlines. READ FULL STORY

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