Tagged: Eileen Atkins

Magic In The Moonlight

Summary: An uptight English magician (Firth), who prides himself on knowing the detail behind every popular illusion, reconnects with an old colleague while on tour in Europe. Intrigued by the story of a young spirit medium (Stone) who claims to be able to speak with the dead husband of a wealthy widow (Weaver), the pair travel to the sun-dappled coastal villa of the family to assist in unmasking this possible swindle. Set during the 1920s against a backdrop of the Côte d’Azur, glorious provincial mansions, garden parties and fashionable jazz joints,

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 28th August, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Woody Allen

Screenwriter: Woody Allen

Cast: Eileen Atkins (Aunt Vanessa), Colin Firth (Stanley), Marcia Gay Harden (Mrs. Baker), Erica Leerhsen (Caroline), Hamish Linklater (Brice), Simon McBurney (Howard Burkan), Catherine McCormack (Olivia), Jeremy Shamos (George), Emma Stone (Sophie), Jacki Weaver (Grace)

Runtime: 97 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Magic In The Moonlight review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #94

Stars(3.5)

 

Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s Magic In The Moonlight review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #94

Stars(3.5)

 

David Griffiths:

It seems like talented actor/director Woody Allen really is Mr. Teflon. The scandals that have plagued his personal life over the years would have been enough to bring other filmmaker’s careers crashing down around them. They would have become box office poison and eventually been shunned by film studios right around the world.

That certainly hasn’t happened with Allen though who has instead just merrily gone about his business churning out at least one film a year for as long as I can remember. The good thing about that though is that even with age the level of greatness he has managed to bring to each of his films has never dropped. Over recent years he has proved that with films such as To Rome With Love, Midnight In Paris and Vicky Cristina Barcelona which have all been absolute gems.

Now comes Magic In The Moonlight a film that sees Allen drag his audience make into the roaring 1920s as he tells the story of the talented yet seemingly perennially grumpy Stanley (Colin Firth) who is brought in to investigate the claims by a young girl named Sophie (Emma Stone) who says that she is able to predict people’s futures with her connection to the ‘universe.’

With a rich family, including young Brice (Hamish Linklater), believing every word that Sophie says and now giving her money for her services Stanley’s good friend Howard (Simon McBurney) demands that he investigates her.

Not only does Allen make sure the set design for this period is absolutely spot on but he has also delivered a film that almost feels like it was made back in these times as well. A time when filmmakers knew that a good script and some great acting were far more important to the audience then special effects or the like. In fact if Allen had filmed Magic In The Moonlight in the black-and-white you could have been excused for thinking the film was a re-born classic. Yes, this isn’t the kind of film that you want to watch in the latest multiplex cinema, to get the true beauty of this film you really need to hunt down the oldest theatre in your city and go watch it there.

Having praised Mr. Allen to high heaven though it is worth pointing out that Magic In The Moonlight is not one of his finest films, but then even an ordinary Woody Allen film is usually better than most films out at the time. Still Magic In The Moonlight does have all the things that a true Allen fan looks for his films – the witty dialogue, the big twist and an air of mystery that only the masters of old can manage to create.

But there is one big weakness with Magic In The Moonlight, and that is the romance element. It does work and despite some fears that whole idea of Colin Firth and Emma Stone coming together isn’t as gag worthy as what we had to sit through with Zeta-Jones and Connery in Entrapment, but the romantic element of the film seems to be the only reason that the last quarter of the film has been tacked on. Once the big reveal happens the romance seems unnecessary and as a result the ending of the film drags a little as all the suspense has already dissipated.

Just like all of Allen’s films though, he gets the best out of his cast. As usual Colin Firth is smooth and seems to enjoy the opportunity of delivering some of the catty lines that Allen’s script contains. At times it does feel like the screenplay has called upon Firth to almost parody the a 1920s gentlemen and he seems to do that well. He is also well supported by Emma Stone who seems to keep being able to silence her critics who cruelly suggest that she has better looks than talent. While she doesn’t exactly steal the show like she did in Easy A she again shows that she can move between comedy and drama in a heartbeat with ease.

Magic In The Moonlight is far from one of Woody Allen’s best films. The romance coming to the fore towards the end does let it down a little, but for the most part it does work. Just be warned that the film is aimed for an older demographic so if you are a little on the younger side this may not be the film for you.

Stars(3)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating: Magic in the Moonlight (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Magic In The Moonlight′: For our full Magic In The Moonlight review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #94. You can also read Dave’s Magic In The Moonlight review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Beautiful Creatures

Summary: A supernatural love story set in the South, Beautiful Creatures tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers: Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich), a young man longing to escape his small town, and Lena (Alice Englert), a mysterious new girl. Together, they uncover dark secrets about their respective families, their history and their town.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 21st February, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Richard LaGravenese

Screenwriter: Richard LaGravenese, Kami Garcia (novel), Margaret Stohl (novel)

Cast: Bryan Adrian (Billy), Eileen Atkins (Gramma), Camille Balsamo (Katherine Duchannes), Tiffany Boone (Savannah Snow), Beau Brasseaux (Caster Shades), Richard Brosnahan (Genevieve Duchannes), Leslie Castay (Principal Herbert), Lindsay Clift (Althea Duchannes), Milton Crosby (Earl), Viola Davis (Amma), Zoey Deutch (Emily Asher), Alden Ehrenreich (Ethan Wate), Alice Englert (Lena Duchannes), J.D. Evermore (Mitchell Wate), Lucy Faust (Juliette Duchannes), Andrea Frankle (Lila Wate), Kyle Gallner (Larkin Ravenwood), Sam Gilroy (Ethan Carter Wate), Cindy Hogan (Mrs. Asher), Jeremy Irons (Macon Ravenwood), Thomas Mann (Link), Margo Martindale (Aunt Del), Treston Miles (Emory), Gwendolyn Mulamba (Mrs. Snow), Lance E. Nichols (Mayor Snow), Philippe Radelet (Suttler), Randy Redd (Revered Stephens), Emmy Rossum (Ridley Duchannes), Robin Skye (Mrs. Hester), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Lincoln/Sarafine), Jackie Tuttle (Isobel Duchannes), Pruitt Taylor Vince (Mr. Lee), Justine Wachsberger (Justine Duchannes), Teri Wyble (Charlotte Duchannes)

Runtime: 124 mins

Classification:M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Beautiful Creatures’ Review: 

If you’ve seen all the publicity around ‘Beautiful Creatures’ you’ll know that it is supposed to be the replacement film for all of those who have been in mourning since both the ‘Twilight’ and ‘Harry Potter’ franchises have come to a close. The sad fact is however that ‘Beautiful Creatures’ is so bad that it doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the other films.

Based on the semi-successful series of novels by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl ‘Beautiful Creatures’ follows Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich – ‘Twixt’, ‘Stoker’) a young literature obsessed high school student who since the death of his beloved mother and dreamt of the day that he can escape from Gatlin, South Carolina instead of wasting his days away in a dead-water town with his best friend, Link (Thomas Mann – ‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’, ‘Fun Size’).

Then suddenly Gatlin is made a little bit brighter by the arrival of Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert – ‘In Fear’, ‘Ginger & Rosa’) who is sent to live with her mysterious uncle Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons – ‘Night Train To Lisbon’, ‘The Words’). The religious townsfolk have always been critical of the family for years believing that they practice in witchcraft and they instantly decide that Lena should leave especially after an incident that sees Emily Asher (Zoey Deutsch – TV’S ‘Ringer’, TV’S ‘Switched At Birth’) and Savannah Snow (Tiffany Boone – TV’S ‘Unmatchable’, TV’S ‘Suburgatory’) injured.

When Lena finally allows Ethan close to her he learns that she is a caster (fancy name for witch) but that she is scared that on her sixteenth birthday she may turn dark like the other females in her family, something that family members Sarafine (Emma Thompson – ‘Brave’, ‘Men In Black 3’) and Ridley (Emmy Rossum – TV’S ‘Inside’, TV’S ‘Shameless’) are counting on happening. And while it appears that it is written in stone that doesn’t stop Lena, Ethan, Macon and local ‘seer’ Amma (Viola Davis – ‘Won’t Back Down’, ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’) from trying to prevent it from happening.

It is surprising just how bad ‘Beautiful Creatures’ really is. It is obvious that Summit Entertainment wanted to re-create the success they gained with ‘Twilight’ and they have obviously directed screenwriter/director Richard LaGravenese (‘P.S. I Love You’, ‘Freedom Writers’) to make this film as similar to their blockbuster as he could. Sadly though this brings the film completely undone, the soundtrack and the leading lady that looks like she could be Kristen Stewart’s sister almost make the film seem like a parody.

Also adding to the parody feeling are some of the cheesy moments during the film that actually have the audience laughing at instead of with the film… actually some of those moments are so bad there may be a few groans as well as laughs. LaGravenese then drags the film down even further when he tries to introduce some ‘Dark Shadows’ style comedy into a film that really should have been a supernatural horror in the vein of ‘The Craft’.

Sadly the producers of ‘Beautiful Creatures’ couldn’t even get the casting right for the film. Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons pretty much embarrass themselves in roles that could really tarnish their careers while Alden Ehrenreich is far too old to be playing a teenage romantic lead. And as for Alice Englert well she shouldn’t be giving up her TV work anytime soon because her performance here certainly won’t be having Hollywood producers knocking on her door.

No matter how much of a fan of the genre you are ‘Beautiful Creatures’ is the kind of film that you really need to avoid. This is one of 2013’s shockers… Golden Razzie nominations are sure to follow.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Beautiful Creatures′: Check Episode #21 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Beautiful Creatures’. Dave Griffiths also has another review of ‘Beautiful Creatures’ available on the Helium Entertainment Channel.

Rating: 2/5

IMDB Rating:Beautiful Creatures (2013) on IMDb