News

REVIEW: There’s little ‘Magic’ in this ‘Moonlight’

REVIEW: There’s little ‘Magic’ in this ‘Moonlight’

Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in Woody Allen's "Magic in the Moonlight." Photo: Associated Press/Sony Pictures Classics, Jack English

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance | Run Time: 97 min | Rated: PG-13
Director: Woody Allen | Starring: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Hamish Linklater

By: George Wolf of Maddwolf.com

I don’t know how productive you’ve been this week, but Woody Allen finished three more screenplays before lunchtime on Tuesday.

The man just keeps cranking them out, which is good, because the sooner there’s another charmer like Midnight in Paris, the sooner we can just forgive the dud that is Magic in the Moonlight.

Allen continues the world traveling we’ve seen in his recent scripts, setting the latest in France near the end of the roaring twenties.

Master illusionist Stanley (Colin Firth) has agreed to help his old friend and fellow magician Howard (Simon McBurney) in the quest to expose a scam artist. A young cutie named Sophie (Emma Stone) has been passing herself off as a clairvoyant, completely captivating a rich American family living on the French Riviera.

It seems Howard has observed Sophie’s “gift” in action, and hasn’t been able to pick up on the tricks she’s employing, but Stanley, full of smug conceit, is confident he’ll expose her in no time.

The rest goes pretty much as you’d expect, which would be fine if the film delivered even a hint of what the title promises. There’s no magic here, regardless of how hard Stone and Firth try to muster it.

It’s more contrived than charming, more forced than fun. Character development is kept to the bare minimum, apparently to leave more room for banter that snaps loud and says very little.

Throughout his storied career, Allen has often played with different genres and styles of filmmaking, and even when the results fall short, the ambition is commendable. Magic in the Moonlight is his attempt to marry the wit of Noel Coward with the inspiration of George Bernard Shaw.

OK, worthy idea, but the result feels like he lost interest half way though.

So did I.

Verdict-2-0-Stars

Read more reviews by George Wolf and Hope Madden on Maddwolf.com.

Latest Headlines

in Music

PHOTOS: Joe Cocker through the years

AP02072004165_46

A look back on the legendary career of the "Up Where We Belong" hitmaker.

in Music

Legendary rocker Joe Cocker dead at 70

cocker

The raspy-voiced, Grammy-winning "You Are So Beautiful" singer has lost his battle with lung cancer.

in Music

Alice Cooper hosts star-studded Christmas show

alicecooper

Rocker served up a real Christmas treat to fans at his annual festive benefit last week

in Music

Rolling Stones thank fans for ’14 tour

23-overlay3

The group thanked fans and suggested there may be more shows planned for 2015.

in Music

Phil Rudd: ‘I want my job back’

philrudd

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd is determined to clear his name and return to the band after his upcoming court case.…