Saturday, June 25, 2011

Woody, 'Scoop' and 'Midnight in Paris'

Sorry I haven't ducked in for awhile. Things have been kinda crazy.

Gotta tell you about a couple of films I've seen lately. Good stuff. Lots of fun.

A couple of Saturdays ago, my friend Matt Shelton and I caught the delightful new Woody Allen film "Midnight in Paris," starring Owen Wilson as Gil, a shameless dreamer in love with 1920s Paris. The ever-fetching Rachel McAdams plays his bitch of a fiancee Inez (sorry, but there's no other way to say it) who is most concerned with becoming a member of upper class California society.

I don't want to give much away, because the film's plot is basically a spoiler, but this has to be the best flick I've seen in several years. Whatever else you might think about him -- and God knows there's plenty to think -- Woody Allen makes consistently smart movies. Even the obnoxious people sitting around us at Downtown West (one guy showed up late and actually shined a flashlight into our faces) couldn't ruin it.

If you want to go see that rare film that won't require mental flossing after screening it, run don't walk to your nearest multiplex for "Midnight in Paris." And if you love old-fashioned movie making in the best sense of what that means, or majored in English or creative writing in college, you'll really love it.

Woody has been on something of a roll of late. I watched "Match Point" when I was laid up with kidney stones back in '06 and also loved Woody's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," both starring that lovely Scarlett Johansson, a couple of summers later.

Tonight I'm catching up with "Scoop," released in between those two, again starring Scarlett, this time as a budding reporter visiting London, who stumbles into what might be the scoop of the title when a dead reporter (Ian McShane) tells her the identity of a serial killer while she's in the midst of a magic act perpetuated by Woody's Sidney Waterman. Off to hunt the guy, Scarlett subsequently falls in love with him -- the aristocratic Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman).

I love Woody's hilarious one-liners ("I was born into the Hebrew persuasion but when I got older I converted to narcissism") and engaging characters.

Perfect way to unwind after work on a Saturday night.

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