Blog Archives

Magic in the Moonlight

MV5BMTQ3NDY5NjIwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjQ2ODkxMjE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Simon McBurney Here is Woody Allen’s annual rom com. It opens in Berlin in 1928 with famous magician Stanley, played by Colin Firth. His childhood friend and fellow magician, Howard, arrives at his show to offer Stanley an interesting proposition.

Stanley is to accompany Howard to the south of France where his friends are being ‘wooed’ by an American spiritualist. Stanley’s job is to unmask Sophie Baker (played by Emma Stone) as a fraud. He is best suited to this job because he is an outspoken opponent of spiritualists and fortune tellers, being strictly driven by rational thought, logic and common sense.

Sophie undoes Stanley’s rationality very quickly. She shows him that life has more magic and mystery to it than he will admit. As he embraces life and finds himself very happy, will the biggest sceptic in the world be won over by Miss Baker?

Emma Stone does a very convincing job being charming, but I think the script was a bit limiting for Firth. Excellent performances from veteran actors like Eileen Atkins and Australian Jacki Weaver.

Woody Allen is pretty ‘hit and miss’ these days. He has a cracker of a film like Blue Jasmine one year, and then he has a regular ‘Sundayafternoon-teaandbiscuits-lovethedresses-kissColinFirth-goodbutnotgreat’ movie like this one. It’s a bit slow in places and doesn’t contain the rapid dialogue that Allen fans love, but it’s still enjoyable and worth a watch.

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Crazy Stupid Love

Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone

Cal (Carell) and Emily (Moore) have been married for 25 years. Emily asks for a divorce, revealing that she’s been unfaithful – something Cal didn’t expect to hear. Unable to work out how to be successfully single, Cal meets Jacob (Gosling) in a bar. Jacob takes him under his wing and shows Cal how to pick up chicks. Jacob is a top gun lothario and is willing to share his secrets. Cal becomes a great student reclaiming his lost manhood.

Eventually, however, Jacob meets the girl that makes him want to change his ways (Hannah, played by Stone), leaving Cal to negotiate the womanising scene solo. Typically it all falls apart as true love dominates over casual sex.

I love Emma Stone – she and Julianne Moore made this movie likeable. There is an element of the bromance in this flick as Cal and Jacob develop a relationship. There are love interests all over the shop which are supposed to tie in together, but the major criticism of this movie is that they didn’t fit together smoothly. Apart from that, there is a lot of humour and great ‘bit’ parts. This is definitely one of the better romantic comedies of 2011.

Easy A

Emma Stone, Penn Badgley

Stone plays Olive, a high school girl with a fairly low profile. When a rumur gets out about how she lost her virginity, she enjoys a lot of attention from the whole school. The attention starts to turn sour when the rumors escalate. However, she decides to use her new promiscuous status to her social and financial advantage – she starts charging for fake sex.

Olive finds that her situation somewhat mirrors Hester in “The Scarlet Letter” which she is studying in English. By being overtly sexual, she is labelled an outcast. So she plays with this parallel until she takes it too far – her reputation is in tatters, she loses her best friend, and no-one wants to date her. Stone (see Zombieland) does a brilliant job in this role.

There are great supporting roles by people like Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci as Olive’s hip parents, as well a Lisa Kudrow and Thomas Haden Church as her teachers. Rom com themes are shelved when we enter the high school arena, this is a realm that has themes all of its own – best friends, relationships, peer pressure, being cool, how to get it all together, how to survive. Never fear, all works out in the end. This is an enjoyable film, but probably for the younger amongst us.  I might get a hold of “The Scarlet Letter” though.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Mattew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Michael Douglas, Emma Stone

Beautiful, successful, womanising Connor Mead threatens to ruin his brother’s wedding with his overt cynicism of relationships and marriage. His dead uncle (Douglas) visits him to tell him that he will visit girlfriends past, present and future in order to learn something about himself and love. During this lesson, Connor finds that the one woman he loves, and always has, is the one he may lose.

Here is another film to add to the list of ‘bad boy makes good’ movies. McConaughey and Garner do a good job with their roles, as do Douglas and Stone. But it’s not a pick of the bunch.

There should probably be another romantic comedy theme to add to my list of common themes – films about men who behave badly at weddings. Or perhaps, films about men who are dubious about love and marriage but as it turns out it’s only because they had their heart broken. Oh the lists can go on and on!!

 

Zombieland

Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin

The US has become a virus-ridden country. Only a few people have survived being turned into flesh eating zombies. Our protagonist, Columbus, is a young college student with a lot of hang ups and phobias. He’s a loner with a long set of rules that save him from being turned into a zombie. And he wants to find love – well he did before he had to dodge zombies to stay alive.

Woody Harrelson plays Tallahassee, who has his own very different set of rules and when he meets Columbus, they team up to cross the country together. They eventually meet some sisters on their own mission. After a number of deceptions, the four travel together. In the end, they help each other with their missions and there is even the chance for love.

I don’t like gore and guts. I like comedy and romance. So why do I like this movie? The gore and guts are just props for a classic rom com.

This is a pretty funny movie and very cleverly made. There’s a great scene with Bill Murray that really makes the flick. You do have to ignore the violence, it’s not against people, it’s against zombies. That said, you get used to it as the movie goes along and you notice the romantic sub-plot more than the killings. Great film, you have to watch it but maybe not with little kids.