5 items from 2014
Magic in the Moonlight, 2014.
Written and Directed by Woody Allen.
A romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Personal and professional complications ensue.
Woody Allen has released a film every consecutive year since 1982 and has seldom missed a year since his first feature What’s Up, Tiger Lily? in 1966. His film releases are as much part of the ‘must see’ list of any given years as any directors, but the results can be mixed. For every Midnight in Paris you get a From Rome With Love and with the likes of Everyone Says I Love You comes The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. His latest offering Magic in the Moonlight is by no means Allen at his best, but I’ll take average woody »
- Gary Collinson
Hocus Pocus: Allen’s Latest a Re-hash of All-Too-Familiar Themes
Returning once more to the world of psychics and magicians to inform his breezy comedic styling, Woody Allen’s latest, Magic in the Moonlight, plays like the slight reconnoitering of a slew of other past titles from his filmography. While this is often a critique lobbed at Allen’s perennial offerings, his latest is a surprisingly uncharismatic and uninvolving recapitulation of the kinds of schemes he used in The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001), Scoop (2006), and a few others. If those are your favored Allen titles, then perhaps this one will be a pleasing trifle. However, whereas generally Allen applies a zany, broad streak to these scenarios, here we’re pared down to a quietly developing (and unlikely) romance between its two leads.
Wei Ling Soo, a famed Chinese conjurer in 1920’s Berlin, is actually the stage persona of a »
- Nicholas Bell
Romance blooms under the sun and the stars in Woody Allen’s “Magic in the Moonlight,” a high-spirited bauble that goes down easy thanks to fleet comic pacing, a surfeit of ravishing Cote d’Azur vistas and the genuinely reactive chemistry of stars Colin Firth and Emma Stone. A welcome balm for the blockbuster-addled soul, Allen’s 44th feature finds the director back in the 1920s Gallic mood of 2011’s “Midnight in Paris,” with the star-crossed lovers this time held apart not by time but rather by philosophical inclinations. While the result may not quite equal “Midnight’”s box office bonanza, expect “Magic” to handily corner the upscale adult demo for the remainder of summer, continuing the Woodman’s late-career hot streak.
A childhood magic buff and amateur magician, Allen has incorporated hypnotists, stage illusionists and touches of the supernatural into many films including “Alice,” “The Curse of the Jade Scorpion” and “Scoop, »
- Scott Foundas
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a film that looks more like the filmmaker’s midlife-crisis wish-fulfillment fantasy than this one. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
You know how it happens. A beautiful, wealthy woman — a doctor — happens to mention, offhand, just out of the blue, to one of her patients that she and her even more gorgeous, even more rich friend are just dying to have a threesome. And the patient, who just happens to be Woody Allen, naturally thinks to pimp out his florist pal, John Turturro, to them. Cuz who couldn’t use a little extra dough? Same old story, really.
Did I mention that this is written and directed by Turturro?
This is like Twilight for middle-aged men, in which prostitution is an adventure and getting paid tons »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Not everyone welcomed the director's Lifetime Achievement award – particularly Mia and Ronan Farrow. So is it Ok to praise his work?
Is it Ok to celebrate Woody Allen? Many fans thought, with some relief, that this question had finally been settled, with the public beginning to relax about the public scandals that destroyed his family in the 90s, and the filmmaker himself at long last returning to professional form. (It has never been clear to me, incidentally, which was deemed by the masses to be Allen's more grievous fault: running off with his longterm partner Mia Farrow's adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, or going off the boil and making dross like The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. These, shall we say, missteps seemed, in the eyes of the media, to be interchangeable, probably with some mutual causation.) Clearly the Hollywood Foreign Press Association felt all that "unpleasantness" was over when »
- Hadley Freeman
5 items from 2014
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