Allen seems to care little now for new ideas or stories, the possibilities of the medium or his own actors. (The less experienced among them sink like stones.) There's so little evident pleasure up on the screen that it's difficult to see what he gets out of making movies. Professionally dressed by production designer Santo Loquasto and shot by cinematographer Zhao Fei, then glazed sepia, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion achieves a generic period look, but there's nothing lived-in about its rooms, nothing persuasive or necessary about its time and place—there's no longer even a movie fan's nostalgia to give it some spark or a reason for being. Whether out of habit or narcissism, an obligation to his creditors or to the undying faithful, Allen shows no sign of stopping. To watch him creak from scene to scene in his latest film, recycling the same stuff he's been peddling for the past 40 years, it's easy to imagine him doing the exact same thing 20 years hence: lobbing duds, and the occasional hit, about Hitler, Mussolini, his own thinning hair, broad asses, big tits, sex and more sex, ogling women who, as of this writing, haven't been born yet. At this point, even Allen seems to understand that his movies are no longer about the individual films, or the art and craft of filmmaking, but rather are the effect, the symptom—or perhaps just the compulsion—we call "Woody Allen."
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was written and directed by Kevin Smith; produced by Scott Mosier; and stars Jason Mewes and Smith. Now playing countywide; The Curse of the Jade Scorpion was written and directed by Woody Allen; produced by Letty Aronson; and stars Allen and Helen Hunt. Now playing countywide.