Sunday, August 03, 2014
"Magic in the Moonlight": Woody Allen still on the loose (and the comedy won't "do me")
“Magic in the Moonlight” is a rather wacky, hysterical period comedy by Woody Allen, which begs for the “Do Me” part. There’s a tangential reference to some other films about magic, especially “The Illusionist” and even “The Prestige”.
Colin Firth plays a performing musician Stanley in the late 1920s, who gets invited to an estate near the French Riviera by a colleague Howard Burkan (Simon McBurney) to “investigate” the powers of a young female psychic Sophie (Emma Stone). Sophie is chased by a rather cute Brice (Hamish Linklater), who, in a later scene, looks about as smooth-skinned and girlish as possible himself when in bathing gear.
Stanley does take Emma on a road trip, demonstrates his mechanical incompetence when a 20's car breaks down, but takes her to an observatory where they see the stars when the storm clears. How romantic, in the moonlight! Later, there is an episode about Stanley’s aunt getting hit by a car, and a silly conclusion with a marriage proposal, that would test all the role-playing stereotypes that were forced on me in my own NIH days. But he never has a reason to debunk Emma, who can move candles through the air and do séances. (I tried an Ouija board once in the 1970s, and it seemed to work.)
The official site is here (Sony Pictures Classics).
I saw this at the AMC Shirlington in Arlington VA before a fair Sunday afternoon crowd that found it funny.