Watch before Viewing Vicky Cristina Barcelona February 4, 2009 Woody Allen returns to form in this weeks Vicky Cristina Barcelona – but what are some other Allen gems to check out – Movies.ie recommends… Perhaps it was something in the Spanish water, but Woody Allen’s latest film finally sees the director return to form in the seductively funny “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”. Travelling to the land of sun, sangrias and siesta, Allen has recruited Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson as two American girls, who hit Barcelona for a summer vacation and end up in an unusual encounter with a local painter (Javier Bardem). He seduces them into joining him on a white-knuckle plane trip to his place. There, he tries to bed both separately and together–until his unstable ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz) shows up and throws his game plan off. Cristina seems like the more willing of the two, eager to give anything a try, while Vicky, who is engaged to be married, completely resists–that is, until she doesn’t… The unexpected choices made by this group of disparate people suddenly brought together is what keeps Allen’s story edgy and surprising. WHAT’S UP, TIGERY LILY? The “directorial debut” of Woody Allen is a film he didn’t actually direct. Or really make, for that matter. Allen removed the dialogue from a cheesy Japanese action flick and altered the story, turning it into an odd comedy about the search for an egg salad recipe. The new dialogue is performed (mostly) but Allen himself, and for the most part it’s hilarious. ANNIE HALL It’s Allen’s most celebrated film in his early years, and it easily one of his best. His exchange with Christopher Walken is one of cinema’s classic comedy moments. Of course, Diane Keaton is what really makes Hall work so beautifully, and their chemistry is undeniable. RADIO DAYS This sentimental, clever story weaves together the coming age tale of a young boy growing up in Brooklyn and his family (all of whom live together), as well as the adventures of a radio starlet. Allen narrates the story wonderfully, making it perhaps one of the best uses of voice over in a film. SLEEPER Easily one of the more bizarre of Allen’s early films, this science fiction comedy puts Allen’s sarcastic New Yorker into a future that is both silly and scary. He starts out as a relic treated with curiosity to a rebel hunted by police and ending with an elaborate kidnapping plot of a nose. THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO The very concept of this movie is simply brilliant. A movie character comes off the screen in order to be with the woman who spends so much time watching his movie. And the execution is great, with Jeff Daniels and Mia Farrow delivering great performances. Again, it’s also black and white, which just adds to the style. ZELIG This film and the one that follows it on this list are quite simply Woody Allen’s most inventive efforts. Zelig is a pseudo documentary about a fictional man whose chameleon-like ability is explored. The film is both bizarre and brilliant. Although the mock-u-mentary has become something of a tired subgenre these days, it was spawned by some clever concepts, and this was one of them. “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is in Irish cinemas Friday, February 6th.