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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! A documentary that does justice to this great man......
Whilst watching this documentary I found myself frequently thinking of another of cinemas greats, Stanley Kubrick, and in particular the wonderful documentary 'A Life in Pictures' STANLEY KUBRICK : A LIFE IN PICTURES.

Stanley Kubrick was the victim of some very unpleasant rumours when he was alive and due to his desire to keep his and his families life as...
Published 21 months ago by IOWBOY

versus
20 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but...
This documentary covers everything and nothing. It's an interesting look at Allen, it touches upon some (not all) of his films and has some nice interviews with cast and friends. Sadly, it can't quite decide what it wants to be. It's not comprehensive enough to be a film about Allen's life or his work, so attempts to balance the two and misses its mark. It's very...
Published 23 months ago by Ian Armer


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! A documentary that does justice to this great man......, 23 Oct 2012
By 
IOWBOY - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Woody Allen: A Documentary [DVD] (DVD)
Whilst watching this documentary I found myself frequently thinking of another of cinemas greats, Stanley Kubrick, and in particular the wonderful documentary 'A Life in Pictures' STANLEY KUBRICK : A LIFE IN PICTURES.

Stanley Kubrick was the victim of some very unpleasant rumours when he was alive and due to his desire to keep his and his families life as private as possible he went to his grave never having shown the world his true self. Following his death a number of books and documentaries were released, most notably the aforementioned 'A Life in Pictures', and a completely different man was revealed; a gentle, caring, compassionate, funny and loyal man that bore no semblance whatsoever to the image portrayed in the media.

I found this really sad, and for me it was a genuine tragedy that the world never got to really know Stanley Kubrick when he was alive.

I feel this way to some extent with Woody Allen.

Yes he is more 'visible' than Kubrick and has certainly done more interviews, but it was not until I watched this fascinating documentary that I realised what a gentle, shy, charming and 'normal' man he is.

This documentary by the Oscar nominated filmmaker Robert B Weide is quite simply one of the very best that I have ever seen.

It has a very generous total running time of 192 minutes and this is spread across two discs.

The film consists of interviews with people who have worked with him (including Diane Keaton, Dianne Weist, Scarlett Johansson, Martin Scorcese, Larry David etc), peple who know him best (his sister, his second wife, a childhood friend), and experts on the film industry.

There are also a huge number of clips from his films, including some fascinating behind the scenes footage.

And finally, and most importantly, there are the interviews with Woody himself; these consist of archive interviews going back to the early days of his career, and the brand new interview footage shot especially for this documentary.

This new interview footage for me is what makes the film such a success.

Ok, the accumulated total probably amounts to about twenty minutes, but the quality of the footage and the insight it offers in to this man surpasses anything I have seen to date.

I am a big fan of the 1996 documentary 'Wild Man Blues' Wild Man Blues and feel that up until the release of this film it offered us the best insight into Woody Allen, but for me the tone of his appearances in this new production are very different; here we see a far more relaxed man who appears to be enjoying the experience (possibly helped by what appears to be is a genuine rapport with the interviewer), and this allows him to be more honest and candid, thus leaving the viewer with a far warmer and affectionate impression.

The film covers his life, beginning with his childhood in Brooklyn (with Allen actually revisiting his childhood home in one of the films sweeter sequences) and it then moves on to cover his stand-up career; I found the part covering his stand-up absolutely fascinating, and boy was he funny!

It then moves on to his film career and apart from a couple of minor hiccups he was more or less an overnight success.

His film career is pretty much unparralled, on average one a year since he started and apart from the odd exception he has written, directed, and more often than not starred in, over fifty (yes fifty!) movies.

The various controversies are also featured, with the way in which the breakdown of his relationship with Mia Farrow happened being particularly fascinating.

One of the good things about Woody Allen is that he is not afraid to voice his disappointment with his films (infact he is well known for not being happy with just about all of them!), this willingness of his to discuss failure allows for those he knows to also acknowledge the fact that he does have the ocassional misfire, this is refreshing to hear from such a major filmmaker.

The documentary is presented in an aspect ratio of 16:9 and the audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround.

There are also some pretty impressive extras:

1. 'The New Yorker'
2. 'Woody Allen in Idaho Story'
3. '12 Questions'
4. 'Nettie'
5. 'Director Interview'
6. 'Back to Brooklyn'
7. 'Woody Allen's Favourite Actor'
8. 'BFI Live: A Conversation with Robert B Weide'

My personal favourite is '12 Questions', here we really get to see Woody at his most relaxed and he comes across as a really great person.

Overall I think it is a absolutely fantastic film/documentary, on my first viewing I intended to watch just the first half but I was so engrossed I ended up watching the entire three hours (much to my fiance's annoyance!).

For me the best thing about this film is that the viewer gets to see one of the greatest, and most misunderstood, directors at his best in his lifetime, too often society only truly appreciates some of its greatest contributors when they are gone; whilst Woody Allen is nearly eighty years old he certainly appears to have plenty of life left in him and hopefully he has enough time left to finally make that thing that has eluded him most, a film he is completely satisfied with!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a terrific documentary that will play in the USA on Blu Ray, 20 Dec 2012
By 
Richardson "Clarence" (Sunny California USA) - See all my reviews
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Hello My UK friends...

I'm writing from California to let others in the USA know that as we don't have this available on Blu Ray in the USA that this edition is region free , or at least it also works over here. Besides getting this sensational documentary in a HD edition it also comes with a load of extras that are NOT even available over here on any format. I'm not sure why this happens (your Deer Hunter features a commentary by Michael Cimino and an interview with him on camera and ours did not?)... but as it turns out many of us have to buy UK editions to get quality items.

Being a life long fan of Mr Allen and his movies I found the documentary very good , even considering the crazy notion that even in a few hours a proper job could be done on a half century spanning career. The bonus features like a trip to Brooklyn and the interview with the director I also found quite enjoyable and darn near an hours worth!

Thanks for letting me butt into your site from California but I took a chance on this and I want other fans in the USA to be free to buy it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great insight, 4 Feb 2013
By 
Mark Kilmurry (australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Woody Allen: A Documentary [DVD] (DVD)
This is for everyone who always wanted to know everything about Woody Allen (but was to scared to ask)... A warm, friendly and surprisingly open Woody Allen talks about his past, his films, his writing -even that scandal in an easy going and thoughtful manner. We see his 40 year old typewriter, his home and the old places he used to live -all filmed with a fond attention to detail by Robert B. Weide. For me Annie Hall is the best of Woody Allen films and that period of his life from the mid 70's to the late 80's produced great classics - Manhattan, Radio Days, Hannah & Her Sisters so it is especially rewarding hearing Woody Allen talk about these films ....For a fan this is a great documentary - for those interested in a filmmaker at work it is unmissable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the true 'Woody Allen' style., 8 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Woody Allen: A Documentary [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent value (if you buy it from Amazon) for this gem of a double DVD, plus the extras. A must for any Allen fan. It is a documentary about the life and work of this genius, who doesn't see himself as that at all. He is modest and self-effacing which is in contrast to the other celebrities' views of him, both as a person and their experiences of working with him. There are clips from many of his films, together with his reactions to the finished products; what he set out for and the results - which are not always as anticipated.

A delightful trip through his life and films, which has led me to get quite a few I didn't know about! Strongly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Documentary, 9 May 2013
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This review is from: Woody Allen: A Documentary [DVD] (DVD)
Great 2 part documentary. It was very interesting and the fact that its split in two helps as my friend and I watched each part separately. You really do get a good insight into the genius of Woody Allen and just how much the man works. He is astounding at what he does but its through years of practice and experience as well as a natural talent for comedy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Woody Allen Documentary could not get any BETTER Than depicted on This DVD Release, 1 May 2013
By 
R. Howard "grandprize" (London,uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Woody Allen: A Documentary [DVD] (DVD)
There has never been a Documentary on Woody Allen that has delved FULLY into the career of one of the 20th and 21st Centuries Most Iconic Film Directors of Modern Film Cinema.
There has been a reason for that...Woody rarely gives interviews.
In fact, it was a real task in getting him involved in this Documentary Film, that covers his entire film career as well as his humble beginning as a comic actor on Television, and (much later in his life) his music career.
This Documentary is spread across 2 DVD'S. In total the whole documentary last over 3 hours. (the addition being 12 minutes
What is TOTALLY revealing is that Woody Allen lets his guard down (on film- something he rarely does) and we as viewers see the REAL Woody Allen, going around his Neighbourhood (where he grew up). We see the Typewriter that has written his most iconic film scripts. There seems to be NO STONE LEFT UNTURNED...in this documentary. What is even more revealing like Woody's Comic Films, there is Humour running throughout this documentary, which makes it even more entertaining for the viewer.
There is a reason why it has taken so long for a documentary on Woody Allen to come about, and that is only someone like Robert B Weide (The Documentary's Director) could have given it full justice. Which is exactly what Robert B Weide has done with this documentary on Woody Allen.
If you LOVE Woody Allen Films, don't you DARE miss this for a second.
In fact I would say that anybody who loves Good Films and Filmmakers, should have this DVD in their collection.
R.Howard (North London)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive documentary film with never a dull moment, 25 July 2013
By 
Philoctetes (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Woody Allen: A Documentary [DVD] (DVD)
Oddly enough, I watched this within 24 hours of sitting through three hours on the life and loves of Moana Pozzi. I don't think Woody ever cast her in one of his films but I'm sure he could have found time to sit on her lap.

The length of the Woody Allen documentary is judicious, any less and it would have been irrelevant and perfunctory, more and it would have risked boredom. It's great because it features his participation and that does so much to combat his aloof stance as the couldn't-care-less director who forgets a film the minute it wraps. On camera Woody is open about the writing, directing and editing process, self-mocking and ironic (naturally) and when he does laugh, completely disarming. The reviewers on Amazon who said there's nothing new or that the film is a 'whitewash' are on the wrong channel.

We get archive insights into his childhood and early pre-movie career, old family home movies, outtakes from the sets of certain films and a plethora of interviewees - actors, critics, production staff, family members. There is special attention given to pretty much every film up until Hannah And Her Sisters and many more from the '90s, all the way through to the box office smash that was Midnight In Paris (2011). That's not to say it bypasses what Mariel Hemingway calls the 'clunkers' but it doesn't waste time analyzing or criticizing those films in depth.

This is a documentary about Woody, for those interested in his life and work, and so accordingly there's no room for non-fans, haters and the like; they can have their day when a posthumous documentary is needed, or flame him in some contribution to a monograph on auteurs of the 20th century. Allen is his own severest critic and perfectly cognisant of his tendency to production-line laziness. What's unarguable is that his best work is very, very good, and there's more of that than there is of the dross.

This excellent and entertaining film will bring home to you just how productive, how hardworking, Woody Allen is and always has been.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars portrait of a genius ..., 28 Oct 2012
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Woody Allen: A Documentary [DVD] (DVD)
Woody Allen is such a great director I think he really is one of the few geniuses in our midst, with the ability to write so many film scripts and see the project through with aplomb every time ... of course some are better than others, but even the least successful are interesting and engaging - he simply never writes bad dialogue or has anything less than fully intelligent going on in terms of tone. This is certainly more than can be said for most commercial cinema, which seems crude by comparison. What is particularly interesting about the documentary is the footage of Allen himself; he is so modest about his achievements, and somehow diffident in a way that is very likeable and always shedding light on whatever he is talking about, while sounding very unassuming ... he has an aura of greatness, somehow, that comes straight from the content of his remarks. It is so unusual to find this gentleness in someone who is quite such a high achiever, and it gives one pause to realise it is possible for such a talent to shine, that it's not always those who push the hardest who get heard. He doesn't seem to feel any of his films stand with those of the directors he most admires, and is quite dissatisfied with some of the most popular - Manhattan, for instance, which he didn't want to release, while liking Stardust Memories which didn't do well critically or with the public. The documentary is 192 minutes long but it really flies by, with a mixture of interviews and clips. Allen gives his views on many issues; perhaps the fall-out with Mia Farrow is glossed over somewhat, but this seems fair enough. The way his films reflect his life, or his preoccupations, is fascinating, but it would be intrusive to want to take it too far, and the discretion of the director Robert B. Weide leaves an appropriate sense of mystery around the real Allen, a mystery which would be there in any case ... Interviews with his second wife and with his mother give all kinds of surprising insights, while his directing of actors seems to be paradoxically very easy-going and also very focused in that he has a very clear idea of what he wants. This is one area that doesn't come across all that clearly ... Inevitably there are limitations with a documentary of this type where you get so many short bursts of things, and it doesn't quite take you over like a work of art, but it is nevertheless a most important document and to hear Allen himself talking in such a relaxed mode is something very valuable.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A definative Woody documentary!, 20 Nov 2012
By 
William C. Saul "Bill Saul" (Denver, CO) - See all my reviews
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This is a must if you're a Woody Allen fan. It covers his life from birth to "Midnight In Paris." It's generally a positive doc, however it briefly touches on some of the negative aspects. Knowing Woody this will be the only chance to hear him talk about his life and films. This UK edition is a beautiful all-region blu-ray with clips from his films presented in high definition. There is even a 15 minute exclusive extra from the film's director! If you already have the standard DVD, this is well worth the blu-ray ungrade. Pounce on this one immediately!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great documentary, 29 Nov 2013
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For anyone who loves Woody Allen, this is informative and very well made. Funny as well! A must-have to add to your collection.
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Woody Allen: A Documentary [DVD]
Woody Allen: A Documentary [DVD] by Robert B. Weide (DVD - 2012)
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