Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Charles Dance, Julian Glover, Ian McShane, Woody Allen, Scarlett Johansson
Director: Woody Allen
Light and charming, Scoop blends murder, ghosts, and falling in love. While inside of a magician's magic cabinet, aspiring journalist Sondra Pransky (Scarlett Johansson, Lost in Translation) is visiting by the ghost of a d... more »
A very entertaining, very funny, and very fun film
Tom Benton | North Springfield, VT USA | 10/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Woody Allen seemed to be losing it at the start of the twenty-first century. The films he released around that time (THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION, SMALL TIME CROOKS, etc.) failed to make a lasting (or for that matter positive) impression on audiences. In 2004 he enjoyed something of a comeback with MELINDA AND MELINDA before bursting back on the scene with his thrilling masterwork MATCH POINT. Now he's back to whip up another slice of cinema greatness, and this is a slice considerably sweeter than (though not as classy as) MATCH POINT. This is SCOOP, one of the most delightful romantic comedies of the year.
SCOOP revolves around Sondra Pransky (Scarlett Johansson), an American college student eyeing a career in journalism. While vacationing in England with a friend, she visits a magic show run by the timid Sid Waterman (Woody Allen). Sid decides to use Sondra in a magic trick involving a box from which Sondra will supposedly disappear. Instead of disappearing, Sondra watches as famous - and recently diseased - journalist Joe Strombel (Ian McShane) appears. Joe gives Sondra a tip on who may be the notorious "Tarot Card Killer" before vanishing into thin air. Now it's up to Sondra, along with incompetent magician Sid, to follow a lead from a dead journalist and investigate the man who may be a vicious serial killer: irresistible (and rich) bachelor Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman).
SCOOP is a compelling and thoroughly entertaining picture. It's not an unforgettable film, nor one that could be considered a moviemaking milestone. Much of the film's charm comes from the fact that it doesn't try to be. What it does try to be is a witty, entertaining, fun and funny mystery film, and that's exactly what it is. Much of the credit for this should go to Allen's taut, fine-tuned script. It has laughs a plenty, thrilling mystery, and not a slow spot in sight.
The rest of the credit goes to the cast. Though most people are accustomed to seeing Johansson portray scalding hot blonde bombshells in films like THE BLACK DAHLIA and MATCH POINT, her performance as a geeky young college student is surprisingly convincing. Jackman, as always, shines; he's every bit as charismatic as his character, and then some. With actors as great as these, it's a little surprising that Allen himself is the highlight of the cast. Sid the magician's foolishness isn't irking at all; in fact, it's immensely amusing, and Sid winds up as an almost adorable character rather than the bothersome twit he could have been. As a huge BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER fan, I was also immensely pleased to see Anthony Stewart Head pop up toward the end of the film as a detective.
Ashamed as I am to admit it, as of this writing I have seen only one other Woody Allen film, MATCH POINT. Thus I can't make any remarks about where SCOOP ranks in comparison to Allen's many previous films. I can and will say this, however: SCOOP is a delight. It's not grand, and it doesn't try to be. It is what it is: a very entertaining, very funny, very fun film, and a great way to spend two hours."
One of the best comedies of the year.
Movie_Fan | Texas | 09/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sondra Prensky (Scarlett Johansson), a college journalist, encounters big-time journalist Joe Strombel's (Ian McShane) spirit. He proceeds to giving her information that could mean the biggest scoop of his life, pertaining to aristocrat Peter Lyman(Hugh Jackman) and the Tarot Card murders. With his advice, and the help of magician Sid Waterman (Woody Allen), she starts the investigation against Peter, but (predictably) falls in love with him. Is he the Tarot-card killer? Is she in any mortal danger?
I've always been a huge fan of Woody Allen, even though he's been in a little bit of a slump lately which he seems to have gotten out of since Match Point, so this might be biased.
This does resemble some of his earlier work, such as Manhattan Murder Mystery, so it might not seem very original. But they were done so long ago that putting a modern spin to his genre works.
With that in mind, I absolutely LOVED Scoop. I'd say it was one of the best adult, smart, comedies (although comedy-mystery seems more appropriate) of 2006, joining the ranks of Little Miss Sunshine and Thank You For Smoking.
I thought the casting and the acting was on-pitch. Scarlett Johansson is competely believable as a young (and dare I say sometimes dorky) college journalist. Hugh Jackman was great, as it has come to be expected. And while I've never been huge on Woody Allen acting in his movies, here it works out great and he turns out to be actually quite endearing. I thought his performance was great and completely in tune with the tone of the movie, and here he's hilarious, and I loved his sense of humor. But I especially liked the beginning when you see him doing magic tricks on stage as Splendini.
This is a movie I'd definitely recommend. I had a really good time, and I ended up laughing for a great deal of the movie. It's funny, entertaining, smart, and Woody Allen is one of the best. 5 Stars, no hesitation.
I was surprised by how charming I found this story to be
Craig Matteson | Ann Arbor, MI | 02/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Frankly, for me Woody Allen had become as pleasure long past his sell by date. However, I happened to catch this movie when flipping around and watched the rest of it and then caught the whole film at a later viewing. I liked it! No, it isn't a great film, but it is a delightful light entertainment.
Scarlett Johansson plays Sondra Pransky, a young, somewhat ditzy but earnest reporter for her college newspaper. She is in London visiting a wealth upper crust friend and staying with her family. We also learn that she has (as Woody Allen's character notes later) a problem with promiscuity. For example, when trying to get an interview with a big time movie producer who has no intention of telling her anything, all she comes away with is a hangover and an embarrassing story of being outwitted.
We also get to see a barge load of souls headed to the land of the departed engaging in the kind of idle conversation you might expect from the newly dead. A secretary tells a reporter that she knows who the Tarot Card Killer is. The reporter, Joe Strombel (Ian McShane) asks her how she would know that. She says that she noticed something about her boss's cufflinks and told someone about it over the phone, but she had hear a click on the line and suspected someone was listening. She notes that she was dead by that afternoon and suspected poison. Her boss is the millionaire son of a Lord, Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman) and Strombel is determined to not let such a story pass and slips off the barge to swim back towards the land of the living.
While attending a magic show by "The Great Splendini", Sondra gets selected to enter the "dematerializer" so she will disappear and then reappear as her molecules are agitated. While she is in the box, Strombel materializes and tells her that he knows she is a reporter and gives her the gist of the story before he is taken back. Sondra is confused, but does a web search of the key elements, goes back to tell the rightly skeptical Splendini (Woody Allen) and wants to get back in his box. Splendini lets her do it, but notes that he is really just Sid Waterman and he built the "dematerializer" and it is just plywood. Nothing happens while she is in the box, but after she steps out Strombel appears in a way that she and Sid can see and hear. Sid wants no part of it, but is drawn in. Sondra is convinced of Lyman's guilt and Sid is equally convinced of his innocence.
The rest of the story is how Sid and Sondra try to determine what is real and what is false about the story. Strombel makes a couple more short appearances to help a bit, but Sondra is also falling for the handsome and sensitive Peter Lyman and no longer believes he is the bad guy while Sid has flipped to becoming convinced of his guild.
Who is right, who is wrong, and how the story ends you should watch this charming little tale to find out. The dialogue has some with, charm, and the plot has a couple of nice twists along the way.
Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
Not earth shattering, but very fun
Dmitri Karamazov | Memphis, TN | 10/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The movie theatre I work at in Memphis was the only place to see the film in the city and it attracted steady crowds who seemed to love it. Having seen the bulk of Woody's pre-1995 films, I thought this measured up pretty well with a lot of his better work. I classify it as "light" as far as his films go, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. As I told patrons at my theatre who asked if they should see it: if you're a Woody Allen fan, you'll enjoy it, and if you didn't like most of his past works, then you won't. This is a fun comedy that might predominately appeal to the tastes of older generations in its pace and humor, but hey, I'm 30 and really enjoyed it. Yes, it's much like Manhattan Murder Mystery (with a younger appeal, due to the savvy casting of current moviegoer faves, Scarlet Johansson and Hugh Jackman (my only criticism of Johansson is that, like some actors before her, she seems to take on too many of Allen's vocal affectations), but I see nothing wrong with that. Though typical Woody, it was a breath of fresh air amongst many of the other films this past summer. Like I said, if you like Woody..."