Quick Fire Review: Magic In The Moonlight

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Here’s The Trailer

Who is in it?

Colin “I really am rather posh” Firth, Emma “I really am rather quirky” Stone, Dame Eileen “Can anyone look at her without remembering that she turned down Colin Farrell for a jump” Atkins, Simon “Hey it’s That Guy” McBurney  and a highly competent supporting cast including Oscar nominees Marcia Gay Harden and Jackie Weaver as a stunning, blonde widow.

What is it about?

A reknowned magician and debunker of fraudulent mediums struggles to unmask a charming mystic in the South of France

Why did I want to watch it?

The inevitable Oscar nomination (screenwriting) and my friend is a huge fan of Woody Allen.  Otherwise I might have been happy to wait for the dvd.

Did I like it?

It was whimsically charming, and a very nice way to spend a Sunday.

Should you watch it?

This lifted my spirits in a way I hadn’t expected. I giggled a lot during the film and after Blue Jasmine this was a welcome relief.  The comedy is in the deft performance by Colin Firth’s austere and arrogant Stanley and his interplay with Emma Stone’s engaging Sophie.  Also some truly terrible ukulele playing is played for laughs in the most delightful way.  It won’t go down as anything extraordinary but it’s certainly not terrible.

Does it pass the Bechdel Test?  http://bechdeltest.com/

It does, several times, my favourite probably being all the exchanges between Sophie’s highly calculating mother and the contrastingly trusting  Mrs Cattlidge.

Other films it reminds me of:

Easy Virtue & The Importance of Being Earnest. Well they both star Colin Firth and are set in the 20s.  Woody Allen is clearly trying to evoke Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward and is quite successful to a degree.  I thought it would remind me of Midnight in Paris but that was a more raucous affair, this was very restrained.

Watch this instead/as well/before/after:

An Ideal Husband.  By far and away my favourite 20’s set farce has to be the 1999 film led by an inimitable Rupert Everett.

ELC

Quick Fire Review: Blue Jasmine

Blue Jasmine

Here’s The Trailer

Who is in it?

Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Louis CK, Bobby Canavale, Peter Saarsgard, Alec Baldwin – it’s a pretty intimate cast for a Woody Allen movie.

What is it about?

Once wealthy Upper East Side society wife Jasmine goes to live with her more modest living sister in San Fransisco and the story of her financial and psychological demise unfolds.

Why did I want to watch it?

I love Cate Blanchett and enjoyed Midnight In Paris the preceding Woody Allen film, so I thought this was worth a try.

Did I like it?

Yes, I was entertained for a couple of hours, but I think people’s reactions to the character of Jasmine will affect their enjoyment.  The stark contrast between Jasmine’s life of luxury and the life she is forced to lead makes her somewhat sympathetic, especially her relationship with her horrible boss at the job she takes. That said the woman is the living embodiment of the idle rich stereotype so there is still some ground to be made up.   It’s clear she is completely unsuited to the real world and that breeds for some very dark comedy.  The yin/yang is highlighted further by the antics of her fun loving, carefree sister Ginger and the men in her life.  Any troubles she has are definitely not helped by the arrival of Jasmine back in her life.

Should you watch it?

It’s good but not unmissable.  Cate Blanchett does damaged socialite very well, and the cast are all good value.  In particular Blanchett’s portrayal of mania and mental instability seemed pretty realistic.

At some point I’ll have to compile an Allenometer based on how neurotic the central characters are and how kooky the story is – this is an enjoyable film but more woody allen than WOODY ALLEN!

Other films it reminds me of:

I remember coming out of Somewhere by Sophia Coppola feeling like I enjoyed the film but the central character was too flawed to like.  I was slightly more emotionally invested in Jasmine and felt a little sorry for her, and a little haunted by how she would end up.

Watch this instead/as well/before/after:

This is on my Oscars bait list (Best Actress & Screenplay certainly). Since Sandra Bullock is the other current Best Actress frontrunner, I will be watching Gravity to compare performances.

ELC