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Sweet and Lowdown  

Emmet Ray (Sean Penn)
Blanche (Uma Thurman)
Hattie (Samantha Morton)
Al Torrio (Anthony LaPaglia)
Written and Directed by Woody Allen
Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some substance abuse
Running Time: 93 minutes Distributed by Sony

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Sweet and Lowdown is a hilarious and original comedy. The film follows the fictional story of jazz guitarist Emmet Ray (Penn). Emmet Ray, according to himself, was the second greatest guitarist of the 1920's and 1930's. The only man Emmet Ray considered better than him was jazz legend Django Reinhardt. Outside of having an incredible gift with the guitar, Ray had many other roles. He was a pimp, seducer, kleptomaniac, he liked to shoot rats at trash dumps and he liked to watch trains travel. Emmet Ray and his actions are the subject of Sweet and Lowdown.

Sweet and Lowdown is a funny movie with outstanding performances by Sean Penn and Samantha Morton. It is the best Woody Allen movie that I have ever seen.

Woody Allen wrote and directed Sweet and Lowdown. His previous credits include Annie Hall, Sleeper, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Bullets over Broadway and Mighty Aphrodite. I have only seen 3 or 4 of Allen's films and out of those, Sweet and Lowdown is the best. Allen just develops one of those unforgettable comedic characters with Emmet Ray, like Kevin Kline's character in A Fish Called Wanda, or Dustin Hoffman's character in Wag the Dog. Allen's script is smoothly written with a little bit of drama mixed into its comedy. Allen's direction is also pretty sufficient. He uniquely captures the feel of the 1920's and 1930's. Examples are that Emmet is always wearing the typical suits of the time and driving classical cars.

Sean Penn is fantastic as Emmet Ray. Penn very deservably earn himself an Oscar nomination last week for his role as Emmet Ray. In my opinion, Penn is one of the most flexible actors in Hollywood. He just interpts distinct characters very stylishly and effectively. Also receiving an Oscar nomination last week was Samantha Morton for best supporting actor. Morton dynamically plays Hattie, who is Emmet's mute love interest. Morton conveys a great performance without saying one word. She lets her facial expressions and innocent eyes structure her performance. Also, Uma Thurman gives a swell supporting performance as Emmet's wife, Blanche.

Sweet and Lowdown accomplishes its task, which is to entertain you with laughter. It is a good film with an unforgettable comedic character.

I do see Sweet and Lowdown pulling in some revenue from its wide Oscar release. The film will draw audiences to it to see the nominated performances by Penn and Morton. Maybe then a good word of mouth will get started about this film, and then it will pull in many late ticket sales.

Report Card Grade: A-

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