Woody Allen on set of To Rome With Love

Woody Allen on set of To Rome With Love

Woody Allen is one of those director's who has always used the city that his movies are set in to great effect.

Over the years the setting has become a character in itself and in his early movies he tended not to stray out of America.

However in more recent years the director has explored Europe though his movies and this week is no different as To Rome With Love hits the big screen.

And so we take a tour of the continent as we look at Allen's Europe based movies of the last few years.

- Match Point

Match Point saw Allen set his movie in London as teamed up with Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Scarlett Johansson.

This movie also saw Allen move away from the romance comedies that we are use to seeing from him as he tackled the crime drama.

Match Point was an incredibly provocative film that was packed with twists and turns as well as great and complex characters.

Match Point proved to be Allen's best movie in quite some time while London proved to be a fantastic backdrop for the movie.

- Cassandra's Dream

He returned to London to 2008 when he directed Cassandra's Dream - which starred Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell in another crime drama.

But unlike Match Point this movie just plods along and the thriller element is completely missing from the script and from the central performances.

Despite the great cast - McGregor and Farrell do seem to have a very good rapport - Cassandra's Dream falls more than a little flat and it seemed that Allen had once again lost his way.

- Vicky Cristina Barcelona

But he made a triumphant return in 2009 when he directed Vicky Cristina Barcelona - which followed two friends on holiday in the Spanish city.

Allen returned to the romance/drama of which he has become somewhat of a master and he delivered another gem of a movie that featured some fantastic performances.

Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson are all great in the movie but it is Penelope Cruz that really steals the show - she went on to win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona had a tight and witty script while Allen made the most of his beautiful surroundings as Barcelona proved to be the perfect backdrop for the movie.

- You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

Despite having mixed success when setting his movies in London Allen returned in 2011 with You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger.

This movie was a great mix of British and international talent as Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Gemma Jones, Frieda Pinto and Naomi Watts all starred.

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger was a solid offering from Allen and it was his cast that really shown through as they all delivered incredibly strong performances.

But it was Hopkins and Jones that really shone and it would have been nice to see the movie focus more on their relationship because it was the most interesting.

- Midnight In Paris

Midnight In Paris was one of the best movies of 2011 as Allen set the film in the City of Love.

This is his best movie in a long time as he played with the idea that we don’t ever consider the time that we are in to be a golden era and that time that has passed is a better one.

There is a real magic to Midnight In Paris as Allen brought 1920's Paris to life - not to mention that it was a fantastic script.

Owen Wilson is on form as Gil, who finds himself transported back to the twenties when the clock strikes midnight.

The movie was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and went on to win Best Original Screenplay.

- To Rome With Love

This week he is back with To Rome With Love and, as we have come to expect, he has assembled another impressive cast that includes Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page.

To Rome with Love is a kaleidoscopic comedy movie set in one of the world’s most enchanting cities.

The film brings us into contact with a well-known American architect reliving his youth; an average middle-class Roman who suddenly finds himself Rome’s biggest celebrity; a young provincial couple drawn into separate romantic encounters; and an American opera director endeavouring to put a singing mortician on stage.

To Rome With Love is released 14th September

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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