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Midnight in Paris
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Midnight in Paris More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Pretentious boring niche market fantasy

Author: doru-diaconescu from London, England
17 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'll start by stating that I'm far from a movie critic, more like the average Joe... From this point of view this movie was a big disappointment after all the good reviews I've seen here, there was nothing to entertain me in this film... I guess this could be a gem for people into arts, eclectic aspirations and cult of personality but believe me, for normal average people this film means nothing whatsoever, thus I give it one point out of ten.

In short, one American writer somehow manage to go back in time in 1920's Paris and meet some of the era most notable writers / artists / critics etc, then chat with them a bit about their / his creations... pretty boring huh ?

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Should have shown the script to Hemingway

6/10
Author: clivey6 from London, England
10 October 2011

I picked this DVD up in a backstreet, but when I got it home Paris Hilton was nowhere to be seen! Swindlers, I tell you! Okay, okay, this is Woody Allen's latest and again, another 'return to form'. My sister said it was delightful, but she had no expectations. Any UK guy might recall a BBC comedy called Goodnight Sweetheart from the 1980s in which a young man steps into a pub and finds himself back in the 1940s, where he meets and falls in love with a belle from back then, committing a kind of time-travellers adultery. This has a similar theme only it's an American Owen Wilson (who looks not wholly unlike Nicholas Lyndhurst) who gets in a Rolls and finds himself back in Paris in the 1920s, his ideal time.

It's a decent premise. I didn't take to the film however. It has lovely opening shots of Paris, but the cinematography is very plain and grainy and Woody's style is very point and shoot throughout. Don't expect much depth here. Wilson falls into the trap of just imitating Woody, like most his leading men do, and it's a distraction. Actually, I thought Johnny Galecki from The Big Bang Theory would have been excellent in the role, as he has real comic chops and I'm not sure Wilson does really.

Michael Sheen (Blair) turns up as a pompous bore, the sort you see in Allen's films sometimes, and gets plaudits for being wholly unlike his Blair persona. Initially you find yourself thinking that talk of him being a Bond villain is really not wide of the mark at all. Until, that is, you realise that he's doing another of his impersonations - it's a young Anthony Hopkins. Again, Sheen is not bad, but doesn't really nail the humour of the situation, though it gets indulgent audience titters.

The scenes where our hero finds himself in 1920s Paris lack authenticity and is all too broadly drawn for my taste, with Hemingway seeming a real bore and the whole thing might as well be set in a 1920s themed speakeasy bar in Shoreditch. All these literary legends of the time take to Wilson, though he seems to bring nothing to the party at all, has nothing of interest to say to them. And you never get much sense of why he might feel disillusionment for the time: wouldn't a neurotic like Allen realise that they never washed their hands after using the john back then? What about the casual racism of the time? The smoke, the dirt in the air? It's all rather superficially done. As Hemingway says at one point, it doesn't matter what the story is, so long as it's told well, and I don't think this was told very well.

Carla Brunei puts in a good cameo, she's actually quite good.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Disappointing first time round but I fancy seeing it again

Author: ianfaepaisley from europe
27 September 2011

I wrote the other day that a mediocre Woody Allen comedy is still a good comedy by any other standards (or something like that) and I stand by that, but this is only part comedy. I mean, you wouldn't call Sleeper a sci-fi comedy, it's a normal comedy set in the future, and you wouldn't call Curse of the Jade Scorpion a crime comedy (although it parodies detective films) or Love and Death a historical comedy, they're very witty, mildly absurd, satirical comedy films with different settings.

Anyway, this isn't just a comedy in a different setting, it's a fantasy romance with comic elements, a weak lead character and dependent to a great degree on Americans' views of Paris. The comedy isn't always the main concern, the fantasy setting is a bit stereotyped but there's a twist or two, the romance is romantic enough, suspense is kept up well, Owen Wilson is OK but not a good enough actor to make up for the lack of snappy dialogue, the dullness of the character and being vastly and madly outperformed by a certain Mr Hemingway and a Snr Dali, among others. It seems to my European eyes that this is aimed again at US viewers, rather than just being Allen's personal vision. The 'Americans Abroad' perspective just doesn't work outside the US.

Worth seeing but don't expect to laugh out loud more than 3 times.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Utterly charming, beautifully filmed romantic classic

9/10
Author: Dan Franzen (dfranzen70) from United States
25 September 2011

Of all the Woody Allen movies in all the art-house theaters in the world, this one is one of his truest, most engaging, most satisfying, and most existential. It's a gigantic treat to lovers of literature everywhere, but even if you don't know Toulouse-Lautrec from 2Pac, you should truly love either the tantalizing romantic angles or the mystery/fantasy underlying them all.

Allen is getting too old to be playing himself in these movies, so the task falls to Owen Wilson (who doesn't have to change anything to do an Allen impression). Wilson plays Gil, a Hollywood writer engaged to Inez (Rachel McAdams), and they're tagging along with Inez's parents on their vacation to Paris. But while Inez is enamored with pretty, shiny objects and appearances, Gil instantly falls in love with the soul of Paris and wants nothing more than to wander its streets, particularly at night, to soak in its ambiance and perhaps get inspired to work on his burgeoning first novel. After all, such literary greats as Hemingway, Eliot, Fitzgerald, and Stein roamed those very streets; perhaps what they saw will help Gil.

Now, the following is not a spoiler in least. A quick look at the list of characters should indicate a change in venue for Gil. One evening, a little drunk from a wine tasting, Gil sits on a church's steps; as the clock chimes midnight, an old car pulls up, exhorting him to come with them. Where? Why to the Fitzgeralds' of course. This leads Gil down quite the path of self-examination and inspiration.

Along the way, Gil meets many of his literary heroes and discovers a little bit about what makes them tick. He's even able to make return visits by going to the same place at the same time. Of course, Inez doesn't believe him and is increasingly concerned with buying antique furniture with her bossy, snobby mother. The chasm between man and almost-wife widens.

There are several reasons to recommend this movie. As usual, Allen's handpicked cast is up to its tasks. Some of these actors are known quantities to many people, but some are not; either way, they imbue their own characters with such a sense of reality that it's easy to imagine that actor truly is that icon. They deal not in caricatures but in realizations.

Another huge plus is the way that the storyline is set up. On the one hand, you have the conflict between Inez and Gil, and on another you have his cathartic moments with his literary heroes. Along the way, Gil meets the Portugese Adriana (Marion Cotillard), a beauty who has inspired famous painters and who is in love with an earlier time – just as Gil is infatuated with his own earlier time. The moral that ties these two worlds and their inhabitants together is a simple one, and Allen delivers it with subtle grace and beauty.

I have never been to Paris, a faraway land to me. But look at what Allen has done with the way the movie is shot. Paris is idyllic in the daytime, a combination of markets and boutiques, air-conditioned restaurants and street cafés. At night, the city comes alive, even in the rain; the movie is shot with such unerring detail and each raindrop seems a work of art symbolizing Gil's various quandaries.

I think that Midnight in Paris is one of Allen's finest over the past 20 years, perhaps one of his best ever, and certainly I'm not saying so idly. The man has a long track record of delightful, funny comedies and romances. He knows his audience well. But here, I think he surpassed some expectations; his recent spate of Euro-centric movies (like Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Match Point) were fairly well received by most critics (ahem, not this one), but Midnight in Paris far exceeds them both – as well as just about anything Allen's done going back to the mid-1990s. It is a superlative film that's rich in texture, meaning, and elegance, and its ending is a little surprising but certainly plausible – the perfect ending.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Strengths and weaknesses

7/10
Author: Red-125 from Upstate New York
12 July 2011

Midnight in Paris (2011) was written and directed by Woody Allen. The bad news about this movie is that the "real" plot is ridiculous. We are supposed to believe that Gil (played by Owen Wilson) would want to marry Inez (Rachel McAdams) despite the fact that Inez is spoiled, selfish, immature, and comes as part of a package that includes her unpleasant parents and obnoxious friends. Yes, Inez is attractive, but as a successful screenwriter, surely Gil could find other attractive women with whom he'd be more compatible.

The other part of the "real" plot that doesn't compute is that Gil, a handsome, strapping, Californian, would be channeling Woody Allen's nebbish character. When Gil whines, "That's crazy," in Allen's singsong voice, I just wanted to wince.

The good news is that the "fantasy" part of the plot is great. Allen knows how to present cities to us in the best possible light (in both senses). Paris looks wonderful, the people in it look wonderful, and the "conceit" of going back in time worked for me.

So, I recommend that you see this movie, ignore the "real" plot, and concentrate on Paris in an earlier era. As with most Woody Allen movies, this film will work on a small screen.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Good film with some flaws

6/10
Author: Greg from Westport, CT
10 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Good: One of the most approachable Woody Allen films in years. It paints a lovely portrait of Paris, a real character in the film. It presents a nice message about the need to live in our own real time and make the life we want for ourselves. Owen Wilson is charming and pleasant in his role. The concept of reaching out and touching a group of legendary people from the past is fun and Bates and others give very intriguing performances as the literary/cultural figures in the time periods visited. Allen also spares us most of the clichés from a "time travel" film - the choice at the end whether to stay or not, the friends discovering the time portal, the race against time etc. No, this is a piece about the mood and ambiance of a different age, the time travel bit is more a flight of fancy and/or fantasy

The bad: What Allen saves in clichés on the time travel theme we gives back in terms of the characterizations of the other present-day characters. The fiancée, her parents, her friends all have next to zero redeeming qualities. They are extremely unpleasant to be around, making Wilson the only likable person in the present day by default. You hope from the onset that he will break it off with this woman, her family and friends, so there is little tension there.

Not that much happens in the film. Yes, it's intriguing to meet Getrude Stein, Hemingway, Picasso but really they just say some clever things and that's the extent of it. Wilson is immediately and warmly welcomed into this tight-knit clique of 1920's artists and writers, apparently there is no need for money, he is invited in everywhere he goes. The film also fails to show any of the realities of the 1920's or the Belle Epoque, so Wilson comes to the conclusion it's better to live in his own time not by seeing the other time is not so great but because he sees Cotillard fawning over the Belle Epoque instead of the 1920's. Had that not happened, Owen would have probably gladly agreed to stay there, again with no immediate need for money, a place to stay etc.

The movie is like a Parisian pastry, which is fun to eat but then later you wonder if it was worth all of the calories.

It was a very sweet homage to Paris, some intriguing portraits of larger than life people but the final message in the end, the characters in the present-day were a little thin.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Charming little romantic fantasy

6/10
Author: arturus from New York, NY
1 July 2011

This is a lovely little film, extravagant in its visuals, with Paris serving as another character in the story, looking glorious of course. The photography alone is worth the price of admission. The premise is charming and is executed in a believable way. The filming of it is simple and effective, with no tricks, just as straightforward realism.

The contemporary characters are out of Allen's stock barrel of characters. The two leads could be played by Allen and Diane Keaton, but they are now too old to play them, so the young actors serve as stand-ins for the two originals. Wilson has an interesting face but is too good-looking and too WASP-y to play the "Allen character". He does a spot on imitation of Allan's quirky mannerisms, vocal and physical, in this role. I wish he hadn't. I think a more original take on the "Allen character" might have been more effective. Here, he just seems like an imitation, and not a believable one.

The writing is fair. The dialogue is Allen's usual "realistic" way of making his characters speak, which never seems like the way people talk, just someones Idea of how they talk.

The best part of this film for me are the time travel scenes, populated by all of the main character's heroes from the past. They could be a dream, but they are executed with total realism. These roles are written and acted with more success than the 2010 characters, which all seem as if they actually belong in the 1970s, not the 2010s. All of the great people the hero meets in these episodes are done quite well, except for a stilted Hemingway (but how else could you portray a character who was mostly bluster and defensive pretense in real life?) Kathy Bates is the real standout as Gertrude Stein. She takes an underwritten part and creates a portrait of the iconic figure not at all as a caricature of her, but as real, breathing person, intelligent, savvy and believable.

The real problem with this charming film is that it's too long for its slight story. This might have been better as a short or as one episode in a multiple-story film, which Allen has done before. Here, about halfway through, it starts to drag and you begin to wonder...

I think this is a fine little picture, but not a great one, and not one of Allen's best. I think it is garnering the praise it's been getting because it's superb in contrast to most of the drek that's being released right now.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A man returns to the 1920s in Paris...and I want to return the Blu-ray

2/10
Author: jessieb2709 from Australia
30 April 2012

Midnight in Paris is one of the only movies lucky enough to be rented out by me and not returned with an expected refund...in respect for this supposedly good title I merely stopped the DVD less than an hour in, ejected it and placed it calmly back into its case. Now I understand the concept of the film, it's quite a cool concept, however apart from it already being unbelievable, as most movies are, making it believable should have been the director's primary aim, unfortunately it undoubtedly was and yet I didn't see it.

Luckily for director Woody Allen it was set in the beautiful Paris which sold the title to me in the first place, I was looking forward too seeing the stunning French backdrop to reminisce on my recent travels...and the horrendous long introduction covered this, and then began the script and the character introduction;

In short, the main characters, Gil (Owen Wilson) and the other one...his fiancé i think she was supposed to be (Rachel McAdams) are two people who live in the States and travel to Paris often, despite the obvious and constantly expressed dislike McAdams feels for the place which makes no sense to me at all. Gil, a script writer and keen novelist adores the city however and has a love for writing, art and the 1920s. So he often goes off without his fiancé which is the most believable part of the whole film as I do not understand how anyone would want to be around her, and at midnight every night he finds himself back into the 20s era spending time with Hemingway, Picasso and a bunch of other famous people he admires. Blah blah blah whats-her-name doesn't believe him but he keeps going back to get his novel proof read by some woman that's played by Cathy Bates of course and he finds out history's secrets and has a near affair with some chick who's with Picasso, whom we liked because she wasn't a winy brat like the other chick...OK, I didn't like her, much less whatever the wardrobe department kept dressing her in which included some horrific belts...never mind it was awful but um tangent city....

Now, not that I continued watching once I discovered the story had no peaks or troughs, just a monotone that started at the bottom and stayed there, I realized that for the type of movie it was, it had the worst possible casting. Clearly the famous names and setting for the film were its only selling point; however had they been unknown actors it would have been far better in my opinion...Wilson is a funny guy...and always the same funny guy, he was so not needed here, and McAdam's was just there to look pretty, but her character's attitude didn't suit her and i feel sorry for her that she thought she had to star in this.

All I really remember from this experience was turning to my boyfriend and sincerely apologizing for my choice of movie for which I begged but that's it! I have no idea what happened at the end of the film, or in the middle...but if anyone has the strength to find out it'd be nice to know if it actually ever went anywhere. Also, if you can stand the stupid (sorry) script, the uncomfortably annoying relationship between the main characters and Rachel's outfits then I commend you..but if you truly love Paris, maybe just watch the film on mute because it doesn't have much else going for it.

C'est Fini.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Please stop Woody

4/10
Author: YellowManReanimated from Nottingham, England
13 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Let me first off start by stating my overall perspective: Woody Allen is truly one of cinema's greatest talents in my view. His films during the 70s and 80s were amongst some of the greatest cinematic art ever created. His development from zany, energetic comedic maestro to wistful, poignant, comedic/dramatic master is a joy to behold. I just wish that he'd stop making films. Now I know that I'm not the first to say this and that it may seem mean-spirited if he enjoys making films and there are still those who enjoy watching them (and there clearly are) but I just find it painful to watch this once brilliant talent regurgitate the same ideas, themes and characters but with less colour, wit and inspiration on each occasion.

But let me talk about this film specifically. You'll have guessed from my tone that I wasn't impressed. What we have here, essentially, is a typical Woody dynamic of a central character caught in an unfulfilling relationship who wishes for something different and is taken on a journey of discovery. To be fair the journey of discovery usually involves another woman, and whilst that is part of the journey here, it is certainly not the full picture. In fact we get a "Purple Rose of Cairo"esque fantasy journey where Gil, the central character, this time it's Owen Wilson as the Woody cipher, travels to Paris in the 1920s, the time and place he professes that he would most wish to be alive.

Now this device you will either find "amusing", as British reviewer Mark Kermode described it, or tiresome, as I personally found it. It was an indulgent, insipid and far too twee escapade of cinematic concept to carry any real weight or interest. Whereas in "The Purple Rose of Cairo" Mia Farrow lit up the screen with a genuine sense of wonder and excitement and the audience was carried along on the journey with her, here we have knowing nods and winks and anaemic characterisations of cultural icons from the past. Yes we get a nice message about the limits of nostalgia but this is hardly revolutionary fare. It's all just a little bit dull and pointless and unnecessary. I felt myself wishing that I was watching the luminous Marion Cotillard, who plays Gil's love interest, being directed in a film where there would be the energy available to match the heights of her capability as an actor, as Woody is no longer that man. What he managed with Diane Keaton, Mia Farrow, Alan Alda, et al, is a thing of the past. Woody has his pick of actors to work with, he's directing films around the world, but it's all superfluous, as he has nothing new to say. He hasn't for a while now.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Crumbs of a time

4/10
Author: (otto_schitburger@yahoo.com) from Düssledork
4 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A time. And its crumbs. Nothing more. Game of testify and irony, pieces of lost memories and joy to describe, not very bad, Communism. The details are not important. The exaggeration is only for taste. It is not a documentary. But an exercise to say truth in soft way. So, it is nice and amusing. A form to imagine a death world who lives in every slide of Romanian reality. A story about people in the skin of totalitarian regime. A masterpiece if compare it with Autobiografia lui Nicolae Ceaușescu. With small ambitions and great sense of ridiculous. With desire to amusing and rediscover years when to survive was the first preoccupation. And title of one talented sugar daddy director. That is all.!

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