Big city mobsters and the Broadway stage collide hilariously in this side-splitting all-star comedy that had audiences and critics rolling in the aisles! John Cusack (SERENDIPITY, HIGH FIDELITY) stars as David Shayne, an i... more »dealistic young writer who'll do anything to get his first Broadway play off the ground -- even if it means teaming up with the mob! Surrounded by a wacky cast of characters including a gangster's ditzy girlfriend (Jennifer Tilly, LIAR, LIAR), a tipsy actress (Dianne Wiest in her Academy Award(R)-winning performance -- Best Supporting Actress, 1994), and a mob hit man (Chazz Palminteri, THE USUAL SUSPECTS), Shayne's got to pull it all off before the curtain falls and bullets start to fly!« less
"As a die hard Woody Allen fan, I can honestly state that this is one of his best efforts. The characters are so incredibly good (dare I say delicious?) and the actors who bring them to life are equally exquisite. From Dianne Wiest ("Don't speak...Don't speak") to Jennifer Tilly ("Hey, Venus, where's that hooch?") to Chaz Palmentieri("You don't write the way people talk")to John Cusack ("I think I'll go now and get the psychiatric help I need"). The rest of the cast is equally marvelous, especially Tracey Ullman. She really is nothing short of brilliant in everything she does. This movie is just a delight throughout. It is truly droll and clever, never once loosing it's intelligence. The attention to detail is admirable, so much so that the film seemingly leaps out at you from the screen. I've seen this film more times than I care to mention and each time I find myself enjoying it more. Only Woody Allen could have devised such an ironic plot twist. He is, without question, the O. Henry of the cinema. One final note: No one, and I mean no one, can make New York seem more fabulous and intoxicating than Mr. Allen. All his films are love letters to this the greatest of American cities. This is to the person who accused Woody Allen of preaching through the Rob Reiner character: Give me a major break. He was spoofing the tendency of some over-indulgent artists to dramatize and take himself too seriously. Sometimes a cigar, my friend, is just a cigar. Don't read so much into things. It can sometimes get you into trouble."
Joseph Hart | Visalia, CA United States | 05/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Why do "reviewers" of Woody Allen always have to qualify their praise with something lame like "not his best, but...". It sucks! This move is as good as any Woody Allen movie I've ever seen, and that's saying a hell of a lot, and I've seen a hell of a lot of them. Own a lot too. This movie was colorful, funny, filled with fascinating characters, had more plot twists that a dog's hind leg, and the perfect ending. It was as original as anything could possibly be. I won't give away any of the plot, I'll leave that to the clods who have nothing else to say about the picture. Woody Allen is not in this movie, that disappointed me the first time I saw it, but now that I've seen it again, I don't mind. It was great. Though as a rule I prefer his movies with him in them. Also the movie had substance and structure. It was well-constructed and moved fast. I liked it a lot. Note: pay attention to the background music (songs actually) at significant events in the flick. I highly recommend it."
Woody Allen's best -- at least for casting
peterdao | Springfield, VA United States | 09/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe no poll has ever been made about which one is most deemed as Woody Allen's masterpiece by far. I once thought that we seemingly tend to pick whichever we can best relate to, but recently when I had a chance to sit down and watch five of his movies all over again -- "Annie Hall", "Manhattan", "Hannah and her sisters", "Bullets over Broadway", "Mighty Aphrodite" -- I realized that any of us could easily relate to at least something in each of those great films. That would define Allen's genius when it comes to directing (romantic or un-romantic?) comedies. When it comes to casting, though, "Bullets over Broadway" must be the best of all, featuring the finest performance of every actor. Not only the credit must go to those in lead roles (John Cusack -- who played Woody Allen's would-be character, Dianne Wiest, Jack Warden, Jennifer Tilly), but the supporting cast was superb as well (with Tracy Ullman as Eden, Chazz Palmenterri as Cheech, Rob Reiner as Flender, Mary-Louise Parker as Ellen, and Stacey Nelkin -- Allen's ex-girldfriend -- as Rita). This film was perfect in each of its scenes, but if I had to pick my favorite one, it would be the final dialogue between Cusack, Parker, Reiner and Nelkin. I don't remember having heard in any other comedy a dialogue that's so hilarious and so thought-provoking at the same time."
A wonderful study of the artist.
wannabemoviecritic | California | 08/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Departing from the modern realism of 'Interiors,' 'Annie Hall,' and 'Hannah and Her Sisters,' director Woody Allen uses old-time, deliciously over-the-top Broadway to execute with brilliant precision themes concerning the artist, his art, and the motivation to create.
In a problematic but never unexciting performance, John Cusack is David Shayne, a play-write living in New York City in the midst of a stable relationship whilst directing a play found to be pretentiously unrealistic. He casts two generally wonderful actors, the melodramatic but passionate Helen Sinclair (a hilarious Dianne Wiest in a brilliant, Oscar-winning performance), and finally, a gangster's girlfriend, Olive Neal (Jennifer Tilly), who simply cannot act...at all. Every word she speaks is painfully bland and obnoxious, and she can't even recognize a few of the more complicated ones (she has a bit of trouble reading "masochistic"). David has no choice but to cast her, though, lest he face the mob and/or lose all financial support for the play. In addition to her obnoxious...erm...stage presence, she brings along Cheech (Chazz Parliminteri), a body guard who often contradicts David's directorial decisions and dialogue.
This storyline could have easily been played off as farce. But under the hands of master auteur Allen, it is obvious that art, theme and credible side-splitting comedy are first and foremost on his mind at all times. Through dinner conversation, casual walks through a serene park, and wonderfully portrayed rehearsals, Allen harnesses this potentially absurd setting with a grace that allows emphasis on the crucial themes concerning all that surrounds an artist's yearning to capture life at its brightest and darkest moments.
Dianne Wiest's powerhouse of a comedic performance only strengthens the fluidity of the writing and direction. Her seductive Helen Sinclair not only overacts her lines, but also everyday expressions (whenever David attempts to say something self-doubting, she shoves her hands in his face, screaming, "Don't...speak"). In addition to these hilarities, Wiest allows us to believe David began to fall for her. She injects a strong, luminous quality into Helen that could intoxicate the most impervious of hearts. Behind the cigarettes and the sparkling hats and dresses, Wiest developed a glowing gem of a human being who feels comfortably real.
Also notable was Chazz Paliminteri who successfully and convincingly began to shed Cheech's "tough gangster" persona to reveal a naturalistic talent for writing that clashed purposefully and appropriately with David's forced poeticism.
Despite some memorable performances and a well-written screenplay, 'Bullets' unfortunately concludes a little too easily. Fortunately, the tone is never monotonous and the laughs keep on coming. What's wonderful about Allen's comedy is that it doesn't feel contrived or trite at any point in time. Even when he plays with the dazzlingly over-expressive lights of old Broadway, whatever comes out of his characters' mouthes feels absolutely natural, and for the most part endearingly uproarious."
James L. | 02/24/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm usually pretty hit-and-miss with Woody Allen films, and in this case, it was a definite hit. The film explores the behind the scenes goings-on of a 1930's Broadway show being put into production. John Cusack stars as the self-important young writer/director who finds his play bankrolled by a Mafia kingpin, which necessitates having the kingpin's mistress in the play. Chazz Palmenterri plays the mistress' bodyguard, a man who has a knack for re-writing scenes. The actors in the play are Dianne Wiest, Jim Broadbent, Tracy Ullman, and Jennifer Tilly. All the performers in the movie are exceptional, with special praise to Wiest and Tilly. The dialogue is typically funny for an Allen film, and the plot moves along well. The behind the scenes aspect of the film works very well, and Allen does an amazing job (along with the production team) of re-creating a 1930's atmosphere. The film speaks about the need for art to be accessible to everyone, and not simply a self-indulgent activity that strokes one's ego. This is certainly one of Allen's most accessible films."