Sweet and Lowdown
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Sweet and Lowdown has been playing for a while in Select Cities. I want to live in a Select City but I don't, so I have to wait a long time for certain films to open here. But this week, two of the actors in Sweet and Lowdown received Oscar nominations, and the movie opened in Baton Rouge. I arrived early at the theatre just in case it would be sold out since it was Friday at 7:30 pm.  I was the only one in the theatre when I walked in and when the film started, there were a total of five people there.  These small films play in our oldest theatre which is getting pretty rundown. Sometimes, they forget to start the movie. Last night they cut it off in the middle of the closing credits. And they only showed one trailer! I guess the Oscar buzz hasn't reached Louisiana! Anyway, Sweet and Lowdown is the latest Woody Allen film.  I haven't seen most of Woody's recent films. I'm like that character who walked up to him in Stardust Memories and said he liked his films especially the early funny ones.  This new film is a very minor addition to the Woody Allen lexicon and it is not a funny one although it may sound amusing from the plot summary.  The plot of Sweet and Lowdown, such as it is, follows a musician (Sean Penn) through several years of his career which never quite takes off despite the fact that he is acknowledged as being the second greatest jazz guitarist in the world.  Penn has a big psychological hang-up about the guy who is number one.  But mostly, he is very screwed up and sabotages his own career and life.  He is not a nice guy and he has issues about commitment. He likes to watch trains and shoot at rats at the dump.  He meets a nice girl (Samantha Morton) who happens to be mute.  He leaves her. OK, that's it. Not much happens in this movie.  It's done in a semi-documentary style, which Woody likes, with commentators coming on from time to time to talk about Sean Penn's character.  Allen appears as one of the commentators.   This movie is what we call quirky which we expect from Woody Allen. And it gives the actors a chance to be a bit different.  As a result, both Penn and Morton received Oscar nominations.  They are both very good.  Morton, in particular, does a lot considering she utters no words at all a la Holly Hunter in The Piano.  Hunter won the Oscar for her wordless role.  This film has some nice moments but maybe you should wait until it comes out on cable.