Sunday, May 10, 2015
JEFF OF THE CINEFILES & UNFINISHED BUSINESS : HALL OF FAME: FILE #39: MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (2012)
Written & Directed By: Woody Allen
Cinematography By: Darius Khondji
Editor: Alisa Lepselter
Cast: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Coitllard, Corey Stall, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Tom Hiddleston, Michael Sheen, Kurt Fuller, Mimi Kennedy, Nina Arianda, Lea Seydoux, Carla Bruni, Allison Pill, Gad Elmaleh
Gil and Inez travel to Paris as a tag-along vacation on her parents' business trip. Gil is a successful Hollywood writer but is struggling on his first novel. He falls in love with the city and thinks they should move there after they get married, but Inez does not share his romantic notions of the city or the idea that the 1920s was the golden age. When Inez goes off dancing with her friends, Gil takes a walk at midnight and discovers what could be the ultimate source of inspiration for writing. Gil's daily walks at midnight in Paris could take him closer to the heart of the city but further from the woman he's about to marry.
Woody Allen's first film to gross over $100 million worldwide.
This works as a film even though no one really speaks like his characters you wish more do, he'll you wish you do.
This is a film that has to be made with a singular vision with a measured touch. It is slight and unassuming enough to feel light and romantic with no pressure. So that the movie can move forward at it's own Leisurely pace. While getting to it's point and getting a chance to indulge in it's quirky characters, beautiful locations, inspired visuals and general high class/artistic atmosphere.
It's not a film by committee or collaboration. It's the creation of an artist who has a voice, but isn't screaming what he has to say and more or less is letting the work speak for itself. Even if it doesn't have too much to say.
As ways it has an all star cast that seem to be there for no rhyme or reason. When I was a young film fan I used to believe he just got celebrities to appear in his film and then wrote the roles around them. How naive I was. He cast here is inspired and eclectic.
Rachel McAdams has a thankless role that she has little to work with and you never are sure why Owen Wilson's character fell for her other than her looks, but she is filmed to showcase her natural beauty, but no sex appeal that would show Wilson's character not seeking a fiancé with similar ideals. It might be that since his character feels like a sell out in his career surpassing his desire for a more fulfilling artistic deep like he sold out to make passionless, but financially rewarding screenplays. So it might be the same when it comes to his life instead of undoing a girl who shares interest and passion for the more intellectual side of life. He goes for a cultured and beautiful women who more expects to be a trophy wife. People forget that woody Allen is one of the few filmmakers of the old school. Who was an early adapter of special effects surprising, considering the films he makes. ZELIG used the effect of mixing modern actors into historical archived film to look like the actors are interacting with historical figures.
Here Allen uses time travel As a plot device, but doesn't get too bogged down in the details. How is it possible? The danger of messing with the past, using it to poke jokes, teach those in the audience who don't know the historical figures a bit about them and for those of us who do poke some fun at them. Also introducing a love story that doesn't turn out the way we expect.
The time travel device is simple. So that he has no real big secret or device desired with someone hunting for it to so nefarious things. No villains, just people.
I truly admire Owen Wilson for being a good believable Allen surrogate, but also pulling off the character and humor effrortlessly and making it his own. Seeming like one of the type of characters he normally plays in Wes Anderson films. --This film truly sands as a testament to romance and art. Showcasing the classic Paris of legend and giving a view of modern day Paris that whole locations here stayed the same. So has the soul of the city. Instead of battling itself in stereotypes it, keep it's cool and it's the Americans who for the most part don't realize or appreciate it's beauty.
The film is charming and more of a welcome return for Woody Allen as it is understated and more a subtle crowd pleaser with equal parts unassuming comedy and romance Corey stall is a stand out as Ernest Hemingway as well as Adrien Brody as Salvador Dali in a cameo that in itself becomes a perfect example in surrealism and the absurd
Corey Stoll was understandably nervous about playing not only the famous Ernest Hemingway, but also this particular version of Hemingway. Adding to that the fact that Woody Allen doesn't rehearse, when Stoll had to do his first scene, which coincidentally is Hemingway's apparition on the movie, with the big monologue, he didn't know whether or not he was doing the right choices as an actor. When the scene was shot, Allen made him at ease because he told him: "That was perfect. That was exactly what I wanted". Allen is known for not giving much compliments to the actors, arguing that the fact that he casted them proves he trusts their talent.
Owen Wilson is surprisingly good as the Woody Allen type Character surrogate. Bit you wonder why his and McAdams are together. It's obvious he likes her, but why does she like him other then he has money. Wilson seems more energetic in this film then in any ion he has been in.
He keeps the tradition of all star casts. Not as many and doesn't feel the need to find a reason for them or have them just appear for nothing. Most of the stars who play in this film are more like cameos. Some stick around longer and play full supporting roles, most though are cameos.
Woody Allen has fun playing with literary icons and having fun with them and they're personalities. Director Woody Allen attempted to shoot the film in Paris in 2006, but abandoned the project as it was too expensive. In this version, the lead would have been played by David Krumholtz. (As mentioned on the KNOCKED UP DVD extras)
The film isn't as good as his classics, but better then the recent films he had made up to that point. It's Like being happy your grandfather kept down his cottage cheese lunch? Or actually impressed that he pulled it all together. The film isn't just happy it's not terrible.
Allen doesn't spread the material between the characters. He highlights a straight man surrounded by crazy iconic characters as comedic archetypes of the modern day.
The film goes for an old school woody Allen feel. It seems more open and hopeful of Though It has a ensemble cast. The film revolves around one character, the lead and his adventures. Though not as physical and witty. This film is simple cultured and fun. It feels classy, not classic Allen, but a comeback. His best film since VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA.
With four nominations (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Art Direction and Best Original Screenplay), this picture is the most Oscar nominated Woody Allen film since BULLETS OVER BROADWAY which got seven Oscar nominations.
His films used to have stars in the roles that were rich bit over the years the roles seemed to be caricatures and cameos based on who wanted to work with him making me wonder if the roles were more dressing then necessarily intergral. It seemed he would write their roles only to fit the demand Of stars who wanted to work with him. Even though I seems like bigger ranked stars were willing to take small roles based on his legend. Like a comedic Robert Altman. --The film isn't as witty as his other films. This one also doesn't have as many one liners and focuses on the situations and scenes.
Using France as a setting, it's such a beautiful location lush, rustic and perfectly minor sleepy lighted.
Gad Elmalah plays a small supporting role and he seems there only for the European box office as he is a French movie star and is instantly recognizable to the European audience. It seems to be woody Allen showing a respect for them letting him use their country as a backdrop and including their industry stars with his American film.
Carla Bruni, Who plays the tour guide at the Rodin Museum, was also the First Lady of France at the time of filming (she has been married to then-President of France Nicholas Sarkozy since February 2008).
It only backfires slightly as it seems an interesting ideas, yet is dropped quickly without really being explored or having anything done with it. Except to show others can travel to the past and to get a glimpse of what they experience. Someone who isn't romanticizing the era, this film is more of an adult fairy tale with some reality thrown in.
While it has it's quirky enjoyable moments. It also has a gentle fun laid back sense and mood about it.
A film where of course the hero is a bohemian like intellectual. In most Woody Allen films to me the characters have time to pontificate or their problems. Which usually have to do with relationships because they all have fantasy careers most of the audiences for his films dream of. They never have real 9 - 5 jobs or careers most of the world has no random cubicle dwellers.
His films while both comic and achieving emotional latitudes I can identify with are more fantasy then realistic. Some of the audiences who see his films probably identify with these characters, but a lot of them don't bit sill love and identify with the films or characters as I get older. I find people who usually enjoy classic films enjoy his work and the stars of them.
Though this isn't the first time he has flirted with science fiction and fantasy or effects to a point. Here like the film it comes off more as magical due to it's subtlety.
It's a charming film worth seeing. A proud addition to the home library.