Review: Midnight In Paris (2011)

Woody Allen’s 41st film, Midnight In Paris is a light-hearted comedy set in the city of love: Paris, marks somewhat of a return to form for the exalted writer-director. Though not without its flaws, it’s a charmingly low-key affair that exudes a certain level of enjoyment that’s been missing since the critically-acclaimed Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

Gil (Owen Wilson), a successful Hollywood script writer experiencing a mid-life crisis, and his fiance, Inez (Rachel McAdams), travel to Paris with Inez’ wealthy, conservative parents. After realising how little in common he has with his prospective family, Gil heads off into Paris alone, where he not only Continue reading “Review: Midnight In Paris (2011)”

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DVD Releases: July 11, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles

Director: Jonathan Liebesman

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez and Bridget Moynahan

Fair Game

Director: Doug Liman

Starring: Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Sonya Davison

Animal Kingdom

Director: David Michôd

Starring: James Frecheville, Guy Pearce and Joel Edgerton

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

Director: Woody Allen

Starring: Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins and Naomi Watts

Ironclad

Director: Jonathan English

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Jason Flemyng and Brian Cox

Essential Killing

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski

Starring: Vincent Gallo, Emmanuelle Seigner and Zach Cohen

That’s What I Am

Director: Michael Pavone

Starring: Ed Harris, Chase Ellison and Molly Parker

My Dog Tulip

Director: Paul Fierlinger and Sandra Fierlinger

Starring: Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave and Isabella Rossellini

Auschwitz

Director: Uwe Boll

Starring: Arved Birnbaum, Uwe Boll and Nik Goldman

 

Review: You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, writer/director Woody Allen’s fortieth feature film, is tale of chicanery, infatuation and disappointment, and reunites one of the world’s best directors with the beautiful city of London.

The film follows a pair of married couples, Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) and Helena (Gemma Jones), and their daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) and husband Roy (Josh Brolin), as their passions, ambitions, and anxieties lead them into trouble and out of their minds.

After Alfie leaves Helena to pursue his lost youth and a free-spirited call girl named Charmaine (Lucy Punch), Helena abandons rationality and surrenders her life to the loopy advice of a charlatan fortune teller.

Unhappy in her marriage, Sally develops a crush on her handsome art gallery owner boss, Greg (Antonio Banderas), while Roy, a novelist nervously awaiting the response to his latest manuscript, becomes moonstruck over Dia (Freida Pinto), a mystery woman who catches his gaze through a nearby window.

Though not Allen’s strongest material, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger still has a solid story, blending the ups and downs of each relationship, and highlighting the hypocrisies of marriage. Allen clearly still has a way of letting his stories unfold in an eloquent and timely manner.

Through the unstable characters’ troubled relationships, Allen not only examines how people deal with mortality but also how we cope with life, love and existence in general.

The film, however many life-altering questions it brings up, ends just when complications set in, which not only makes you wonder how invested Allen really is with the characters’ lives, but also makes it harder to empathise with their troubled being.

The characters, from Jones’ Helena neurotic to Brolin’s anguished Roy, feel more like puppets rather than human beings with natural instincts, human emotions and comprehensible senses. They all come over as extremely egocentric and have little to offer in the way of benevolence to their counterparts.

Jones leads the cast perfectly with her portrayal of Helena. Watts, Brolin and Hopkins fail to break free of their limited dialogue and uncoloured characters, and, the shamefully wasted trio of Punch, Friel and Banderas who, despite having the most interesting on-screen personaes, are not given enough time to thrive amongst their equally underused counterparts.

While the acting isn’t up to the heights of Vicky Christina Barcelona, Annie Hall or even Match Point, it’s impressively low key enough to be a joy to watch.

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger is by no means Allen’s best film, but it’s also not his worst. It’s well-plotted, beautifully directed, contains some mildy humorous moments and isn’t short of talented actors.

It’s irritating, then, that it’s let down so wrongly by glorified scenery, under-developed characters and a script that seems to foolishly avoid dramatic impact.

Cinema Releases: March 18, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer

Director: Brad Furman

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei and Ryan Phillippe

Submarine

Director: Richard Ayoade

Starring: Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige and Sally Hawkins

Route Irish

Director: Ken Loach

Starring: Stephen Lord, John Bishop and Najwa Nimri

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

Director: Woody Allen

Starring: Gemma Jones, Pauline Collins and Anthony Hopkins

Anuvahood

Director: Adam Deacon and Daniel Toland

Starring: Adam Deacon, Femi Oyeniran and Jazzie Zonzolo

Benda Bilili!

Director: Renaud Barret and Florent de La Tullaye

Starring: Maria Barli Djongo, Renaud Barret and Cubain Kabeya