Woody Allen: Reel to Real: Version 4.0 (Digidialogues) Kindle Edition
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But as with any good work, it's all about approach and delivery - and Woody Allen: Reel to Real offers something truly different as it takes Allen's complete body of cinema works and translates it into 'Digidialogue': a process whereby the author's analysis results in a discussion between himself and his audience. Basically, it's dialogue and inquiry brought to light in the form of a text debate, and is linked to a website at http://www.woodyallenreel2real.com: multimedia at its finest.
Readers anticipating another production based on text analysis should be advised that this website is an integral key to the process; not a tertiary adjunct as with so many multimedia productions. It's here that one will discover summaries of the book's concepts, reproduction of one key chapter in its entirety, and a set of book-inspired dialogues that are the whole purpose and point of Woody Allen: Reel to Real.
This is no light coverage: paragraphs are long and analytical and present critical views that may prove controversial - but that's the best part of such an intersection of minds: the ability to provoke thought and dialogue in the critical thinker.
So go ahead: imbibe. Just keep in mind that this is no light read, and is especially well suited to college-level cinema analysis students who will find Woody Allen: Reel to Real's discussion-oriented focus is especially accessible and intriguing. And: the book promises to be updated once a year with new, free material by the author. In the meantime, readers can visit http://alexsheremet.com/ for more essays on cinema and art.
I consider myself a somewhat casual movie buff but an adoring Woody Allen fan, and this is an excellent, excellent analysis of his work. Nearly every one of Allen's many films gets its own separate section, with explanations of themes, examinations of characters, and reactions to critical consensus. It made me want to go back and revisit films that I didn't care for the first time around, especially Stardust Memories and Sweet and Lowdown. I now feel like I have a much wider lens with which to view these movies. While I'm not convinced the interactive nature of the book (including website comments and so on) is all that interesting, I do fully approve of the plan to update the book digitally on a regular basis. Allen's quite the prolific filmmaker, and any attempt to write a comprehensive analysis of his films will require some upkeep. I'm looking forward to seeing future Allen films and shortly thereafter reading Sheremet's responses.
The individual film analysis is the meat of this book, and it's the most likely to appeal to both professional critics and "untrained eyes" such as myself. Where the book loses me is in its insistence that Sheremet's interpretation of each film (and Allen's work as a whole) is unequivocally the correct one, and dissenting viewers are either emotionally biased or have not truly seen the film. While I grant that Sheremet's research and analyses are extremely thorough and worth listening to, he doesn't seem to have a lot of room for instinctive emotional responses in his view of film criticism or even film admiration, and his constant dismissal of alternative reations becomes tiring, even somewhat grating in the section where he critiques the critics. I agree that critics should not rely solely on their emotional responses when writing about a film because those differ for each viewer, but nor do I think addressing them is meaningless -- especially when viewers find a critic whose instinctive responses frequently line up with their own, as Roger Ebert's did for me.
That being said, that's a relatively small part of the book -- and, after all, my reaction to that comes out of my own "emotional bias" as well, so it's quite likely that not everyone will be bothered by it the way I was. Even if that isn't your cup of tea, though, the insightful film analyses are well worth the book's price, and I'd certainly recommend it to those who want a truly detailed look at Allen's work.
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