Midnight in Paris stars Owen Wilson who plays a Woody Allen style character named Gil Pender who, with his fiancée (Rachael McAdams), travels to Paris for pleasure but Pender is distracted by the fact he can’t seem to finish his novel. Pender is hoping that Paris will give him inspiration in adding the final touches to his novel and it does in a rather peculiar way via some magical vehicle transportation carriage which every midnight takes Gil off to a place of high intellectual vibe.
Midnight in Paris is being regarded as one of Woody Allen’s best films for quite some and this does indeed contain an element of the truth as Midnight in Paris is delightfully entertaining. Firstly Paris looks stunning and with a jazzy score it sounds equally brilliant. Of course any old idiot can make Paris look good, just take a picture and you’re done, but cinematographer Darius Khondji captures not only Paris’ beauty but its heart. The opening five minutes are images of Paris’ famous landmarks but they are nothing more than images of tourist destinations that seemed to be stitched together rather clumsily but this remains the only visual flaw, it’s an attempt to be artsy which failed and it also serves no actual purpose. The city of Paris looks exceptional at midnight as Pender wonders round the city as Paris glitters in the midnight rain. Pender’s midnight strolls are an attempt to mull ideas about in his head, allowing the city to give him inspiration and by chance he finds the greatest inspiration of all.
Owen Wilson is fantastic as Gil Pender, likeable, wittily charming and enthusiastic also Adrian Brody makes a fantastic and amusing cameo. Rachael McAdams provides decent support but we do wish we were back in the odd world that Pender travels to as the slightly melodramatic moments between Gil and Inez (McAdams) are a tad annoying and far less interesting than Pender’s midnight strolls and flirtations. Allen’s script is witty and wonderfully written as the script plays as sweet and amusing. There are many highlights of Allen’s gift for smart comedy with ‘Say hello to Trotsky’, Adrian Brody's dialogue and a missing detective being examples of his talent. Midnight in Paris works best when you have very little knowledge of the plot, so when you find out where Gal goes at midnight is it a pleasant surprise. Midnight in Paris is a surrealistic, almost whimsical trip around Paris at midnight and Owen Wilson makes for amusing company.
Many of the names mentioned here should ring a bell in the mind; even the wife of the President of France gets a role as a tour guide. Allen’s story evokes themes of modernism and nostalgia and due to Owen Wilson’s charming central performance the film is a delight. A superb script and splendid visuals make Midnight in Paris one of the best films of the year. Is it a classic among the likes of Manhattan and Annie Hall? No it isn’t but Midnight in Paris, despite a bad start, is great fun.
Jonah Hill can be a funny guy on occasions (Superbad is a good example) but here he is just terrible but yet he is not the worst thing about this film. Noah is an unemployed lazy slob who has just been suspended from collages and, after pressure from his mother, agrees to babysit Mrs. Pedulla’s three children. One of them, the teenage boy (Max Records), has anxiety issues, a young girl (Landry Bender) who is a six year old Kim Kardashian and one blows stuff up (Kevin Hernandez), an impossible job for a good babysitter let alone the world’s most useless babysitter. However, in a positive note, Noah’s girlfriend (or so Noah says) agrees to have sex with him as long as Noah brings her some drugs. So Noah takes the kids with him to all kinds of places that they should not be at to get the drugs, however all does not go well. I know comedies are not supposed completely entirely believable but The Sitter takes a lack of believability to a whole new level so that it is impossible to accept. Do I really believe a bar would allow those kids in the premises? Do I really believe that characters would turn up out of the blue at that right moment? No I do not; The Sitter is one of the most stupid movies of the year and not Anchorman stupid (and being Anchorman stupid is a good thing). Jonah Hill is terrible in the lead role and Ari Graynor is equally as dire as Noah’s ‘girlfriend’. Sam Rockwell (who is a much better actor then this) is just awful as a drug dealer who Noah gets into trouble with. Though not all blame can be placed upon the actors, they had an impossible mission to get anything with the garbage that they were provided to work with. Director David Gordon Green directs his second utterly witless comedy in a year but manages to do an even worse job with The Sitter than he did with Your Highness. To make matters worse The Sitter has as many black, Hispanic and homosexual stereotypes as you could possibly imagine so that it could be offensive to some. However there is one good joke about The Shining, so it’s not all bad and also, mercifully, the movie is only 80 minutes long. Thank god.
A Separation is a thoroughly engrossing Iranian drama about the hypocrisy of Iranian society; it is also a film about faith, religion, trust and justice. Simin (Leila Hatami) wishes to take her daughter (played by Sarina Farhadi) to the United States in order to gain better prospects for her daughter’s future but Simin’s husband, Nader (Peyman Moadi), refuses to go saying that he must take care of his father, (who has Alzheimer's disease). Thus Simin plans to take her daughter with her but Nader refuses to give his consent to his daughter moving to the US so the couple separate. A Separation is faultlessly acted, the performances are out of his world brilliant but so grounded into reality that they are convincing, powerful and absorbing. Across the board the performances are outstanding, from the sensitive performance of eleven year old Sarina Farhadi to Shahab Hosseini hot headed and short tempered husband of the maid who ‘cared’ for Nader’s weak and seriously ill father. There are also two further stunning performances from Leila Hatami and Peyman Moadi (as husband and wife) but not forgetting Sareh Bayat’s tremendous performance that deserves just as much acclaim. Asghar Farhadi writes a superb script that releases every detail with perfect timing resulting in a story that is utterly gripping, and furthermore Asghar Farhadi’s direction is flawless. You are unlikely to see a film that is faultlessly made as this one all year. A Separation is a social commentary of Iran’s fragmented society which is intelligently written and containing masterful performances thus making A Separation one of the best films of the year.
Quite sexual these vampires are aren’t they? Fright Night is a remake of the 1985 cult classic; the 2011 remake concerns Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) who is alerted to the disappearance of his classmates by his friend, Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who believes that Charley’s new next door neighbour is a vampire. Charley is initially sceptical of such balderdash but it turns out that this balderdash is not balderdash at all. Fright Night may not live up to the ‘fright’ part of its title but it’s mostly good fun. Fright Night works better as comedy than a horror as Twilight is the butt of the jokes again as it always is in so many films. Featuring superb performances from Colin Farrell, who gets the balance just right between charming and menacing, and David Tennant is also outstanding as the expert on all that is vampires Fright Night is mostly well acted. It’s never really scary but it does have a degree of tension and it is also entertaining despite losing some pace in the plot as it approaches the final act. Russian born Anton Yelchin makes a good lead but there are one too many stereotypes of nerds and jocks that are a tad annoying, however Fright Night is still very good fun perhaps I enjoyed it more than most because I have yet to see the original. I should be ashamed of myself...