Monday, February 18, 2019

Monday Musings: Magic in the Moonlight/Main Street

Photo via IMDb

First up, Magic in the Moonlight (2014/PG-13). I wanted to like this, as I love Firth especially in period costume roles. But, I couldn't get past the first half hour of this movie, despite Firth, Emma Stone, and the always wonderful Eileen Atkins. Atkins is as natural and as wonderful as ever, but Firth seems wooden, and Stone dull. And there's the obvious trajectory of the plot--Firth, though shown happy with his partner in the beginning, will fall in love with the twenty-eight-year younger Stone. Those are two big nos for me in a movie or book. There needs to be much more compelling writing to pull those off for me. Billed as a romantic comedy, this movie struck me as neither comic nor romantic. I suppose it's past time to give Woody Allen movies a pass.

Photo via IMDb

Next up is Main Street (2010/PG), which I managed to finish. Maybe because I had no expectations coming into this movie, or maybe because it didn't have any of the above-mentioned "no"s for me, I was able to watch the whole movie. It has a great cast, including Patricia Clarkson, Amber Tamblyn, Orlando Bloom, Ellen Burstyn, and, of course, Colin Firth, but overall the directing and screenplay are disjointed. Also, I can't get behind Firth doing an American accent; it was just too weird for me. Here are my thoughts: Ellen Burstyn is marvelous--the way she captures emotions in her expressions and movements. A surprise is Tom Wopat as Mary's father--he's so natural and comfortable in his role. There are some other surprises, but mostly not in a good way, like what seem to be inconsistencies and some of the characters' actions being unrelatable and confusing, as is the director's use of close-ups too often, cutting off characters' heads (or part of them) with the way he frames shots. The ending left me unsatisfied and slightly confused--the characters don't seem to have their changes of hearts on screen, so we don't follow them through their decisions, which creates emotional distance. The whole movie felt very inconsistent, and while I wanted to like it, I couldn't, despite the talented cast.

I'm not sure what I'll watch for Wednesday, but coming soon is commentary on Pride and Prejudice (1995).  

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