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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Vicky Cristina Barcelona DVD Review



On DVD: January 27th, 2009

Rated Canada 14A for sexual content, coarse language and mature theme.

Running time: 97 minutes

Woody Allen (dir.)

Rebecca Hall as Vicky

Scarlett Johansson as Cristina

Javier Bardem as Juan Antonio Gonzalo

Penélope Cruz as Maria Elena

Christopher Evan Welch as Narrator

Chris Messina as Doug

Patricia Clarkson as Judy Nash

Kevin Dunn as Mark Nash

Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson star in Woody Allen’s VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA, an Alliance Films release. Photo by: Victor Bello/TWC 2008.

© 2009 Gravier Productions, Inc. and Mediaproducción, S.L. Artwork © 2009 The Weinstein Company. All Rights Reserved. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.

Our reviews below:


Vicky Cristina Barcelona Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Vicky, (Rebecca Hall), a smart and going to be married university student and her naive friend Cristina, (Scarlett Johansson), decide to spend their summer in Barcelona to take pictures, study the architecture and have a vacation. There they run into Juan Antonio, (Javier Bardem), a painter who still has feelings for his ex-wife. Penelope Cruz plays his ex as crazy, neurotic and impossible not to watch. She is fully deserving of her Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. The cinematography of Spain by Javier Aguirresarobe, provides a scenic backdrop for the film. Woody Allen’s characters are totally believable, yet could only exist in the movies, his writing is sharp and the dialogue is very funny. From start to finish Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a lot of fun.

The DVD has no bonus features, not even the film’s theatrical trailer, so even though the film is great, it’s not really worth the 20 to 25 dollars that it is selling for.


Vicky Cristina Barcelona Review By Erin V.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona actually surprised me in a great way. I did not expect it to be as funny as it was. The writing is great, and would have been deserving of a Best Screenplay nomination.

The story begins when Vicky, (Rebecca Hall), and her friend Cristina, (Scarlett Johansson), go on a trip to Spain for the Summer. In Barcelona they meet Juan Antonio Gonzalo, (Javier Bardem). Both young women find him attractive, although Vicky is engaged to be married. As they strike up relationships with him, his estranged ex-wife, Maria Elena, (Penélope Cruz), comes back into the picture.

The acting by the whole cast is great, in particular by Penélope Cruz who is nominated for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona for an Oscar. This is most deserving, and I would not be surprised if she wins. Over all, this movie is very well made, and the light music in the background really keeps the mood. The other thing that I must note, is that I loved the narrator, (Christopher Evan Welch), which gave the film a certain mood that really fit here.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is definitely worth seeing at some point. Since the disc has no extras, you would not be missing out if you PPV this one. Eventually though, you may want to add it to your collection.


Vicky Cristina Barcelona Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a funny comedy, with a lot of interesting twists and turns. When two American women go to Barcelona to study the architecture, they run into an artist named Juan Antonio, who takes a liking to the both of them. Cristina finds him fun, and agrees to go off with him to Oveido. Vicky, however is engaged, and doesn’t want to go out with someone else, let alone a man who has a psychotic ex-wife. But Vicky agrees to go to Oveido, just to keep an eye on her naive and impulsive friend, Cristina. Things start to get complicated when Cristina gets sick. But the relationships between Vicky, Juan Antonio, and Cristina get in a real tangled knot when Juan Antonio’s ex-wife, Maria Elena comes back into the picture. There, some really unusual and quirky things start to happen.

This movie is fun and very exciting. The acting is excellent, and Penélope Cruz is perfect as Maria Elena. The scenery in the film is beautiful, and the narration track adds a light, comedic element to the movie. The music is very fitting, and quite lovely.

The only setback about the DVD is that there are no bonus features, not even a commentary track. However, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is such an enjoyable film, that the DVD is definitely worth owning.


Vicky Cristina Barcelona Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

The Golden Globes got it right when they named Vicky Cristina Barcelona Best Comedy/Musical Picture. Woody Allen’s romantic comedy about two American women, Vicky and Cristina, and their romantic adventures in Barcelona is extremely well written and very funny.

When both Vicky, (Rebecca Hall), and Cristina, (Scarlett Johansson), meet Juan Antonio, (Javier Bardem), their expectations of love and relationships are challenged and result in some interesting twists and turns. One of the interesting twists and turns comes form Juan Antonio’s mentally unstable ex-wife, Maria Elena, played to perfection by Penélope Cruz. It is no surprise that Cruz is up for Best Supporting Actress at this year’s Oscars.

The fast-paced dialogue between the four main characters is what carries this film. The acting is excellent and the interactions between the characters is believable. The technique of using a narrator talk us through the story works well. The music also works really well in keeping the story interesting. Visually, this is a very pretty movie to watch. The Barcelona architecture and scenery are lovely. My only complaint is with the English subtitles when Juan Antonio and Maria Elena are speaking Spanish. I found the subtitles hard to read. They moved too quickly for me and the white type blended into some of the background.

Overall, this DVD is worth owning despite the fact that there are no extras or bonus features. If you are a Woody Allen fan, you’ll want this one. (Note that this is an adult comedy, not a family film.)


Vicky Cristina Barcelona Review By Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), in Spain for the summer, are invited by divorced artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) to his villa for a weekend of good food, wine and sex. Cristina, a free spirit, is charmed by Juan Antonio’s frankness just as much as Vicky, engaged to marry a man just as bourgeois as she, is scandalized. They accept, and Juan Antonio is not disappointed with either of them. Soon enough Cristina moves in with him. After some time, the ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz) turns up after a suicide attempt and moves in under Juan Antonio’s care. I don’t want to reveal any more and spoil the fun.

Admittedly, after faithfully seeing the first 20 Woody Allen films back in the day, I got away from his work, save for Sweet and Lowdown. This is a good comeback for me, with all the sharp writing and wit of the best of his films. All the acting is brilliant as expected. A few differences were notable. Woody Allen himself doesn’t appear, not even as the narrator. The story is as appropriate to its Spanish setting as most of his New York stories fit their location. Don’t be creeped out by the appearance of Javier Bardem if you only know him from No Country for Old Men. His part here is much more typical of his work. The musical score, consisting largely of solo classical Spanish guitar pieces, is also perfect.

There are no real extras on the DVD, but it is still worth getting, if you can afford it. Woody Allen films rarely seem to go on sale.


Consensus: Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a funny romantic comedy with sharp writing, and strong performances by it’s actors. It is definitely deserving of the awards/nominations it has been getting. ***1/2 (Out of 4)