Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Jonathan Goes To the Movies: Midnight In Paris

This week is dedicated to the best movie i've seen so far of 2011. Enjoy my review of Woody Allen's latest flick, and how I have become a convert to the Church of Allen.

Save for Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Hollywood Ending, i'm relatively new to Woody Allen. The cast - Marion Cotillard (who won the Best Actress Oscar for La Vie En Rose), Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls, Sherlock Holmes), Kathy Bates (About Schmidt, Revolutionary Road), Tom Hiddleston (who played the cunning, backstabbing brother, Loki, in Thor), etc. - made me want to watch this movie, so I came into Midnight In Paris with an open mind. The first scene - three minutes of wordless dialogue, just Allen showing us the city of Paris, France at different parts of the day - had me hooked. Then the movie itself get rolling when Gil (Wilson) and her bitchy fiancee Inez (McAdams) get into another argument about his work - Gil wants to write a novel about Paris, circa the 1920's, the main character believes that those times are light years better than the present time he lives in right now - instead of turning out crap screenplays for Hollywood studios - which leads inevitably into a rather hilarious jab at the Tea Party, the first of a few Allen throws in the movie as Inez's parents John (Kurt Fuller) and Helen (Mimi Kennedy) don't like the fact he wants to throw away what they see as a successful career in the movie business for being an author, and him being a liberal even less.

The Paris vacation takes a turn for the worse as Inez runs into one of her friends, Paul (Michael Sheen), a tool who sees himself as an intellectual. Inez is fascinated by Paul's "knowledge" of the history of Paris, whereas Gil can't stand the man. Just as the trip heads south, Gil takes a stroll back to his hotel, gets lost, and winds up taking a ride with party-goers dresses as if they're from the roaring 20's, which Gil quicky realizes they are, as he is transported to Paris in the 20's. On these midnight trips through time, he comes face to face with his idols: F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston), and his wife Zelda (Alison Pill); Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody), and Ernest Hemmingway (a hilarious Corey Stoll), to name a few, and the beautiful Adriana (Cotillard), whom Gil becomes quickly attracted to during his midnight trips through time.

Somewhere along Midnight In Paris, I couldn't stop smiling at what I was looking at on the screen. I couldn't stop grinning and loving every single frame of this sweet, delightful romantic comedy Woody Allen has crafted. By the end, a goofy grin was slapped on my face, one that took hours to wear off. This was a beautiful, sweeping, and hilarious love letter to the city of Paris, France; to the writers and artists of the roaring 20's, most of them, I suspect, are favorites in the mind and soul of Allen; to the days of walking in the rain, roaming the streets of this majestic city without an umbrella; to the music that plays in a local cafe, on in your head as you walk about the city; and to youth itself, full of life and fresh idealism about how the world should and can be. I waked in a newbie, but after 90 minutes, I left a converted fan of this amazing filmmaker. Simply put: this is the film to beat in 2011.

**** stars out of ****

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