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Jason Johnson and Joanne Soh
Friday, Aug 15, 2014

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Magic in the Moonlight: A Mars vs Venus review

The Straits Times | Jason Johnson and Joanne Soh | Friday, Aug 15, 2014

Magic In The Moonlight starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone.

A Mars look

By Jason Johnson

This flick looks like a million bucks, but I just wish everyone would just shut up.

With its exotic period setting, Magic In The Moonlight is visually beautiful. But the incessant nattering gets on my nerves.

The explanation for the verbal diarrhoea is, of course, that Allen wrote and directed the picture.

Neurotic babbling is his thing.

He's got Firth going on and on about how he hates spiritualism and lives by logic.

Then after he meets the medium, he won't shut up about how his whole world has changed.

Allen's pseudo-intellectualism has always been annoying, the way he name-checks philosophers and such.

A lot of us go to college, and then we move on.

That being said, I still loved the movie.

There's a scene where Firth and Stone take shelter from a storm in an observatory.

When the rain passes, they look out through the dome at the moon and stars.

These are the sort of moments for which I keep watching all these dumb movies.

Also, Stone is stunning -her eyes have never looked brighter; her skin has never looked creamier; her wardrobe is beyond gorgeous.

I also just love the idea behind her character, this mystical girl who wins over a hardened cynic.

This is a must-see for the romantics among us.


 A Venus look

By Joanne Soh

I'm no expert in Woody Allen movies.

Many debate about how similar his characters are and argue over the moral of his stories.

I don't really care. I enjoy his movies because they offer a form of escapism. After all, isn't that the purpose of movies?

Magic is by no means a great Allen film like his classic Annie Hall, or the recent Blue Jasmine. It's not one of his worst either.

This will probably sit in the middle of his long career that spanned over 40 years.

While it's ironically not as magical as Midnight In Paris, Magic does have its own quirky charm.

Setting the movie in the French Riveria of the decadent 20s helped too.

Oh yes, and casting Stone as the central figure is a big plus.

Allen really knows how to make his female characters remarkable.

Stone - and those huge blue eyes - lit up the screen, and she exudes a charm that's rather magnetic. It's easy to see why the men fall for her.

Firth is another plus. Playing the uppity Stanley comes across naturally for Firth, who has perfected such roles since his Pride And Prejudice days.

What's not working for me is the chemistry between him and Stone.

Alone, both are great; and they are delightful when they engage in verbal sparring. But as a romantic couple, they lack that magic spark.

Blame it on the age gap (or crevasse in this case), which is a cause of much distraction.


Movies

Starring: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Simon McBurney, Marcia Gay Harden

Director : Woody Allen THE SKINNY: Stanley (Firth) is a stage magician who debunks fake mystics in his free time. He ends up meeting his match in Sophie (Stone) a beautiful medium whose ability to speak to the dead seems legit. Stanley is gobsmacked by the revelation that spirits are for real, and his grumpiness melts away. His relationship with Sophie also becomes very personal.

Rating: PG

The consensus: Even if you aren't an Allen fan, the charm of Emma Stone makes this worth a watch.

This article was published on Aug 13 in The New Paper.


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