FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: A few nights ago, I saw “Midnight in Paris,” which stars Owen Wilson (Cars, Bottle Rocket), Rachel McAdams (Doctor Strange, The Time Traveller’s Wife), Marion Cotillard (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises), Kurt Fuller (Wayne’s World, The Pursuit of Happiness), Mimi Kennedy (Dharma & Greg [TV series], Due Date), Michael Sheen (Kingdom of Heaven, Passengers), Nina Arianda (Florence Foster Jenkins, Tower Heist), Corey Stoll (Ant-Man, The Bourne Legacy), Tom Hiddleston (Thor, The Night Manager [TV Mini-Series), Alison Pill (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Milk), Kathy Bates (Titanic , Misery), and Léa Seydoux (Spectre, The Grand Budapest Hotel). It is written and directed by Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Manhattan). During a vacation in Paris with his fiancé Inez (McAdams), Gil falls in love with the city, drawing inspiration from it for a book he is writing. He dreams of living in Paris, specifically during the golden age of the 1920s, however Inez thinks differently, and they find themselves a ways apart at night. While she’s out dancing, Gil walks the city, and soon stumbles upon a street corner which transports him back into 20’s Paris. There, he meets famous individuals and learns more about true love and his work.
Among the many big directors I have yet to watch a film from, Woody Allen stands out (barely, but he does). Besides his voice work in “Antz,” I have unfortunately missed out on his work, especially when it comes to his style of walking-and-talking in cinema. “Midnight in Paris,” however, loomed a larger shadow for me than Allen. I’ve been wanting to see this for a long while, particularly because of its cinematography, color tones, setting, and cast. Say what you will about Owen Wilson; I enjoy watching the guy. Not much was riding on this release, though I wanted it to turn out great, and in the end I received what I wished for. If you are a lover of dialogue-driven films with a beautiful locale and theme, then you will have fun with this. It’s an aesthetically pleasing feature with a concept that is strange, yet so common. Picking apart the story, we have a script writer named Gil who fantasizes of living in 1920s France. It’s the time where all of his literary heroes reside, including F. Scott Fitzgerald (Hiddleston) and Ernest Hemingway (Stoll). Oddly enough, these fantasies and desires come true when he is transported through time and comes in contact with the novelists he looks up to. Some may call this sci-fi, yet it is on a more subtle level than that, where the concept is consumed by its theme. Why this movie speaks to me is how I connect with Gil and his problem. Heck, a lot of people can relate to this guy. There’s not a moment in my life that goes by where someone is reminiscing on the past, whether it is their own or not. 80’s films are all the rage nowadays and people my age sometimes dream of living during that time, wishing for the “Breakfast Club” or “Ferris Bueller” lifestyle. I’m guilty of this, as I look into the past quite a bit. It always seems like it was a simpler time, and that is what Gil likes to think about 20’s France. Making this fantasy a reality was rather intriguing and entertaining to watch. I enjoyed the dialogue shared between Gil and his newly acquired, famous friends, especially when comparing his interactions with them and his friends in the present. The acting that took place in these scenes were great; not that Oscar-worthy, though highly enjoyable. Owen Wilson definitely had one of his best roles in this and truly shined amongst his cast. I found myself heavily engaged with what was said onscreen, and it wasn’t even because it was philosophical. It was simply interesting, and following this trail of where Gil would end up was fun. Studying the aesthetics of this film in particular, there isn’t much I can stress aside from what I’ve already stated. Paris in this was immensely beautiful, and the cinematography that brought it to life was amazing. I liked the orange and yellow color tones of this release, as it reminded me of a Wes Anderson movie, and the score used to breathe life into the setting was done really well. The look and feel of this flick is probably the best part of it, though the concept isn’t far behind. When I think of Woody Allen and his criticism in the film world, I don’t think much. I didn’t expect him to do greatly in this feature, however he blew me away. This isn’t an above-and-beyond film, though it is a special one. It may bore people because of how heavy it is in dialogue, though anyone looking for a good story should check this out. There isn’t much wrong with it, besides a few dry spots and the ending. How this movie concluded wasn’t necessarily terrible, though it didn’t pack as much of a punch as I thought it would. Having seen it, I could’ve predicted it, however I subconsciously didn’t see it ending up the way it did. Without mentioning spoilers, it just doesn’t hold as much weight as the concept lets on. I will say that it was satisfying, though, and didn’t leave me frustrated. If it were terrible, then I wouldn’t have given it as high of a score as I did. As I stated above and throughout this review, if you are into intriguing story concepts with beautiful aesthetics, check this one out. It is definitely one to remember. FINAL SCORE: 93%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: