The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: An insurance investigator and an efficency expert who hate each other are both hypnotized by a crooked hypnotist with a jade scorpion into stealing jewels. Runtime: 103 mins Release Date: 24 Aug 2001
A delight. Woody Allen in his classical style, as good as ever. (by Spleen)
I paraphrase from memory from Allen's speech at the 2001 Oscars: `When the Academy called me, I was surprised - as you know, my movie, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion', hadn't been nominated for anything. I thought maybe they'd called to apologise.' At the time, I thought this was just another self-deprecating joke. And I'm sure it was. But having seen the film, I'm starting to think he had a point, or at least, as much of a point as anyone who complains about being snubbed at the Oscars ever has.In three of the categories which are ludicrously called <more>
technical' - art direction, cinematography costume design - Allen's picture had as much right to be included among the nominees as half of those that WERE included; it also had an original screenplay that had far more going for it than that of "Amelie" or "Monster's Ball" and it was at the very least above the AVERAGE quality of the films competing for the Best Picture award.Really - it's one of Allen's better films, and I don't see how anyone could reasonably think otherwise. The early, pure comedies which some people supposedly still long for "Take the Money and Run", "Sleeper" weren't actually any funnier; the obvious classics like "Manhattan" weren't better structured, or cleverer, or more pointed. Granted, "Manhattan", "Zelig" et al. had a divine spark which isn't, perhaps, to be found here, but you can't expect to be zapped by a divine spark every day of the week. It's an old-time romantic comedy, set in the 1940s, which could ONLY be set in the 1940s and Allen has a magic touch when it comes to 20th Century period pieces; don't ask me to explain it , in which several clichés - a contrived and unlikely plot involving in this instance hypnotism, a male lead decades older than the female lead, an odd couple who start by loathing each other and end up in love - are explained, given surprising depth, and pressed into serving new functions. When Briggs and Fitzgerald are arbitrarily HYPNOTISED into falling in love, it's like a comment on the absurdity of the way love strikes in romantic comedies ... but the story never fails to work perfectly when taken straight, too. All of Allen's implied second-order comments serve, in the end, to enrich the first-order story. It's as if he decided to show us that fiction crafted to debunk the conventions of other works of fiction CAN actually be good in its own right, when it's done by a true artist rather than some wanker with a theoretical axe to grind. The result: "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion" is diverting, pleasurable, and satisfying as not one film in a hundred succeeds in being.Place this alongside "Sweet and Lowdown" and you'll wonder how the rumour that Woody Allen's powers are declining ever got started. I blame the modern addiction to novelty. Allen has been making movies for a while now, and even though his films today are no more derivative than they've ever been less so, in fact , a Woody Allen picture is no longer a new KIND of thing. The same people who would argue that Haydn's 102nd symphony couldn't possibly be as good as his 80th because the latter happened to have been written and performed first and there are people who WOULD argue this, the instant it became fashionable to do so , will tell you that "Curse of the Jade Scorpion" is clearly inferior to, say, "The Purple Rose of Cairo", because it's in the same style and vein, and was made later. Put like that, the view sounds silly. And indeed it is.
This movie flows with the style that you come to expect with a Woody Allen film. The characters are great and the situations between the two main characters are simply amazing. This movie really deserves a 10 out of 10.
Another Classic Woody Allen Film (by hectic25)
This film has drawn quite a lot of negative reviews from critics who complain that Woody Allen is too old to play a "leading man," that his material isn't as fresh or funny as it used to be, and that the film in general does not compare to his earlier works. This commentary will tackle each of these issues. Regarding whether or not Woody Allen should stop playing the lead roles in his own movies; I believe those who say this are uncomfortable with the idea of a 66 year old man having romantic relationships with women in their 30's. I find this line of thinking to be <more>
extremely narrow-minded and stereotypical. Do all leading male actors have to look like George Clooney or Mel Gibson? Why can't we accept the fact that yes, some woman are attracted to a person's character as opposed to their physical appearance, and that they don't have to look like the typical Hollywood sex symbol? Furthermore, I belive that critics are deeply offended by Woody marrying his step-daughter, and they seem to hold a personal vendetta against him. I've read many reviews which have been unnecessarily cruel and harsh against Mr. Allen. No other film maker would receive reviews that blatantly attack the person rather than the film maker. It's not fair, and it's unprofessional. Now for the criticism that this film is not as fresh or funny or inspired as his previous films. I've seen almost every Woody Allen film, and this film is just about on par with the best of them. It's funny, witty, smart, and yes, inspired. Critics tend to romanticize the past, and the fact they aren't "inspired" by Woody's current work is more a reflection of what's going on with them personally rather than with the actual material. For example, Star Wars was extremely inspiring when I saw it when I was 8 years old, and of course the recent Phantom Menace didn't inspire me much because I'm just not in a position to be inspired by that kind of film. Does that mean Phantom Menace is less inspiring than Star Wars? Probably not. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion is an excellent comedy with a touching underlying story. The plot, while a bit hokey, is still interesting and mostly believable. Forget the critics, see this film and decide for yourself!
The basic storyline alone of this film is simple and has been repeated in various forms countless times. However it is the clever and extremly funny script that make this a very good film. I recommend it.While not a total departure for Woody, it is definitely a funny film paying homage to another era of filmmaking in many ways.
To be enjoyed by a huge audience. (by overcaffeined)
The most remarkable aspect of this movie is the huge audience that can enjoy it. People of very different ages and cultural backgrounds will have a nice time watching it. Even people who usually dislike Woody Allen will enjoy too, because of the optimistic comedy style in which the film is based. Fun and optimistic.
Great entertainment! (by dragos_dobrota)
This is a good movie, with great dialogs, good acting especially Woody Allen and an interesting story - and not just for Woody Allen fans! Great fun you will NOT get bored! and I give it a 9/10!
Funny With A Good Cast (by ccthemovieman-1)
Here's an entertaining crime story set in 1939 with nice atmosphere and colors and the normal Woody Allen wacky humor.If you enjoy man-versus-woman insult exchanges, you'll love this as Allen and Helen Hunt trade clever barbs back and forth at a rate that reminded of an old Marx Brothers film. Many of the lines are funny with Allen, since it's his film, delivering most of them.The story goes on a bit too long but overall keeps your interest. The women in here, from Hunt to the office girl Elizabeth Berkely to Charlize Theron playing a Veroncia Lake-lookalike are all <more>
glamorous.Dan Akroyd, David Ogden-Stiers, Wallace Shawn and John Schuck are all veteran comedians who know their trade so the movie offers a lot of quality yuks. I'm surprised this movie isn't better known. I really enjoyed it the first time but laughed even more on the second viewing. Silly, but fun.
A delightful gem for Woody Allen fans (by CombatShock)
First of all, since I am such a loyal fan of Woody's films, this may not be the most objective critique in the world. I have since my 18th year thoroughly enjoyed his witty dialogue, his comedic and sometimes darker explorations into life, love, and death. In addition, I adore the variety of early jazz scores that he uses for his films. That being said, Woody at 66 years of age has showed no signs of slowing down in his flm career, delivering by far the brightest and wittiest comedy I've viewed this year, in "Curse of the Jade Scorpion". The film is a homage to the Pulp <more>
films of yesteryear. It's set in 1940, Woody plays the role of an aging detective in an insurance company. He has cracked many huge cases, receiving information from street contacts, and relying heavily on gut instinct and dumb luck. He can't stand the new efficiency expert Helen Hunt who is smarter than he is, younger than he is, poses a threat to his job, and can't stand him either. During a dinner party for a fellow detective's birthday, they are both hypnotized by the magician Zolton, who uses the powers of the 'Jade Scorpion' to make them fall deeply in love with one another. He snaps them out of it just as they are about to kiss, but Zolton never releases them from the key word that can at anytime send them deep into suggestive hypnosis. Later on, Zolton calls CW Briggs, hypnotizes him with the keyword, and uses him as a pawn to rob jewelry from rich estates.The casting in the film was excellent. There are supposed film "experts" out there who believe that Woody is too old for the lead in this film, and that it is unbelievable how Charlize Theron or Helen Hunt would ever fall for him. I wholeheartedly disagree. Throughout the film, Woody's character is not displayed as a handsome or romantic gent, in fact quite the opposite. In it he is called grubby, an inchworm, and a cockroach, just to name a few. Theron only wants to have sex with him as an experiment, since she is used to handsome and muscular men, not shrimpy and ugly ones. Helen Hunt is hypnotized into loving him, and vice versa, but when they're not under Jade's spell then they absolutely loathe each other I won't go any further into this so I don't spoil the film's ending. Although Woody is ageing, his performance was outstanding, not losing a step as he delivers wise cracks and witty comments, one after the other. Helen Hunt also performs flawlessly and was actually a treat to watch her. As for the rest of the cast, Dan Aykroyd is decent in a small yet significant role, as well as Charlize Theron and Elizabeth Berkeley.The cinematography and the visual setting for the film in jazzy 1940 is absolutely exquisite, it is much more polished then his earlier works. The writing is excellent, as I've said before, Woody hasn't lost one step in his writing or his performance. The jazz soundtrack is, as usual, very pleasant and fits very well with the scenery. Overall, "Curse of the Jade Scorpion" ranks as one of my favorite Woody films. If you are a fan of his previous light comedies then you will definitely enjoy this little film. So what are you waiting for? Head up to the theatre and see it on the big screen.
So, Woody Allen is now old and it is hard to believe that a rich and attractive girl played by Charlize Theron could be attracted to him... If you were truly thinking about that while watching The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, then you should reconsider the way you watch a movie. Sure, Allen is now really old, but who can play his role as well as he does. He sometimes casts other actors in that role, such as John Cusack in Bullet Over Broadway, but even though they do the job very well, they can't be better than the old man with the big glasses himself. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion is not <more>
a serious Woody Allen movie. It is not one of his most important movies that is clear. But its aim is to entertain and entertain it does. Jade Scorpion shares a lot with Woody's recent light comedies such as Small Time Crooks and Manathan Murder Mystery. And like these two, it is certainly not a new Annie Hall. But it does not try to. It is just a lot of fun to watch. The script is funny, the acting is charming, the plot is just hilarious, and on the whole, this movie puts a smile on your face from the beginning to the end. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion is another very nostalgic movie, like Radio Days, Sweet and Lowdown, Everyone Says I Love You and Bullets Over Broadway, but once again, Allen makes us forget for 103 minutes that he is basically doing nothing he hasn't done before. But the man once again shows his gift to entertain. And what more can you ask from an aging genius?77%