MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (2013)
Woody Allen is a great filmmaker and has produced more than enough classics to cement his legacy. So, if he has been coasting on auto-pilot for the last 20 years or so, I can’t fault him. He has quite the legacy of work. Sadly the man is more renown these days for his personal life choices than his filmmaking and by-the-numbers flicks like this won’t help. Newest Allen flick is set in 1928 and tells of Stanley (Colin Firth), a British master illusionist who is also a stuffy elitist and eternal skeptic. Stanley is called upon by his friend Howard (Simon McBurney) to join him in the French Riviera to help him debunk a psychic medium named Sophie (Emma Stone) that has become involved with some rich friends. Stanley is eager to prove the pretty Sophie for the gold-digging fraud that he believes she is, but finds himself falling in love with her instead.
Simply this is a boring movie. It’s dull and hopelessly cliché and lacks the charm of Allen’s better romantic comedies for which he is famous for. The performances in general are stuffy and lack any real passion. I was never a big fan of Colin Firth to begin with, but here his acting is like watching paint dry. As for Stone, I am a huge fan and it was painful to watch her flat and uninspired performance. She’s very-by-the-numbers here and there is literally no chemistry between her and her leading man. The scene where they finally kiss actually made me uncomfortable, because neither looked like they really wanted to do it. I can look past Allen’s creepy indulgences for dating his former girlfriend’s adopted teenage daughter, but making Emma Stone boring to watch…that’s a hard thing to forgive.