HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Twitter:
@digby56
@DavidOAtkins

emails:
Digby:
digbysez at gmail
David:
isnospoon at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic
Common Dreams
AmericanPoliticsJournal
Smirking Chimp
CJR Daily
consortium news

Blog-o-rama

Eschaton
BagNewsNotes
Daily Kos
Political Animal
Driftglass
Firedoglake
Taylor Marsh
Spocko's Brain
Talk Left
Suburban Guerrilla
Scoobie Davis
Echidne
Electrolite
Americablog
Tom Tomorrow
Left Coaster
Angry Bear
oilprice.com
Seeing the Forest
Cathie From Canada
Frontier River Guides
Brad DeLong
The Sideshow
Liberal Oasis
BartCop
Juan Cole
Rising Hegemon
alicublog
Unqualified Offerings
Alas, A Blog
RogerAiles
Lean Left
Oliver Willis
skippy the bush kangaroo
uggabugga
Crooked Timber
discourse.net
Amygdala
the talking dog
David E's Fablog
The Agonist


Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014 05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014 06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014 07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014 08/01/2014 - 09/01/2014 09/01/2014 - 10/01/2014 10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014 11/01/2014 - 12/01/2014


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Saturday, June 11, 2011

 
Saturday Night At The Movies


The purple prose of Paris

By Dennis Hartley


















Oh, Dr. Drew-please help me. I’m a wreck. This is only the first line for my review of Midnight in Paris, and already I’m feeling defensive. Why is that? When will I be able to sit down and write a critique of a Woody Allen movie without feeling obliged…no, strike that…DUTY-bound to suffix any superlatives with a qualifier like “…in years”. You know-as in, “This is Woody Allen’s best film-in years!” Why can’t I just say something like, “This is a great film”? Is it the vacillating quality of the director’s work over the last two decades? Or is it me? Am I stuck in the past? Have I become one of those sniveling little fan boys that Woody parodied in Stardust Memories-you know, wringing my hands over the fact that his recent work is nothing like the “earlier, funny films” he made in the days of my golden youth? I mean, neither Woody nor yours truly are spring chickens any more, if you know what I’m saying. Can’t I be willing to allow an artist’s oeuvre to grow and mature over time as does the artist himself? Wait-what’s that ringing in my ears? I feel a little nauseous. God, I hope it isn’t a brain tumor. Jesus! Uh- Dr. Drew? Dr. Drew?

OK, we seem to have lost our connection. While the studio techs are re-establishing the call, I’ll continue with the thing you came here for-the actual movie review. Woody Allen continues the 6-year (and counting) European travelogue that began in England (,
Cassandra's Dream), trekked south to Spain (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) then after a respite in N.Y.C. (Whatever Works) headed back to the U.K. (You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger) before settling in the City of Light for this charming romantic fantasy. Allen opens the film Manhattan style-with a montage of iconic Paris landmarks (strikingly captured by The City of Lost Children DP Darius Khonji and co-cinematographer Johanne Debas). We are quickly introduced to the protagonist/Allen avatar, a financially successful but artistically unfulfilled Hollywood screenwriter named Gil (Owen Wilson).

Gil is engaged to an attractive young woman named Inez (Rachel McAdams). The two of them have “tagged along” with Inez’s parents (Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy) who are in Paris on a business trip. Gil and Inez view Paris from differing perspectives. Inez is excited about the shopping and all of the standard tourist attractions, plus the fact that her bubbly friend Carol (Nina Arianda) is also in town with her boyfriend Paul (Michael Sheen), a pompous art professor who has been invited to speak at the Sorbonne. Gil, on the other hand, is one of those nostalgia junkies who tend to wax melancholic about “being born at the wrong time”. To be sure, part of him does appreciate being alive in the 21st century, where he currently shares a house in Malibu with his lovely fiancée-but if he had his druthers, he would gladly surrender all the Hollywood trappings to make Paris (the perfect environs for him to polish the draft of his first novel) his new home. In fact, if he pushed the fantasy to its limits, Paris in the 1920s would be ideal; a time and place where he might have consorted in quaint Left Bank cafes with the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Eliot and Stein. Meanwhile, Inez and her parents roll their eyes and hope Gil’s romanticized musings about becoming an ex-pat are just a silly phase he’s going through.

Gil, intoxicated by the Parisian vibe, continues to daydream about the Lost Generation as Inez drags him to all the perfunctory tourist stops, accompanied by Carol and Paul. To Gil’s chagrin, Inez appears to be enraptured by Paul’s windy professorial pontifications about the various landmarks that they visit (at one point, he self-importantly “corrects” a French tour guide on some trivia regarding a Rodin sculpture). While Inez admires his “brilliance”, Gil sees Paul for what he really is-an insufferably arrogant pedant (pseudo-intellectuals have been one of Allen’s pet targets over the years; in a later scene where Gil finds himself in a position to render the ever-chattering Paul stymied, I was reminded of that classic “I happen to have Marshall McLuhan right here” moment in Annie Hall).

One evening, after the two couples have wined and dined, it’s suggested that they all go out dancing. Gil has done a little more wining than dining, and opts instead to take a head-clearing, late-night stroll back to the hotel, leaving a less-than-pleased Inez on her own to go out partying with Carol and Paul. It’s not long before Gil finds himself lost in the labyrinth of Paris’s narrow backstreets. As he stops to rest and get his bearings, the bells begin to toll midnight. At that moment, a well-preserved vintage Peugeot Landaulet pulls up, seemingly out of nowhere. A lively group of well-oiled young partiers invite him to hop on in and join their revelry. With a “what the hell” shrug, Gil accepts the invitation. Now, so I don’t risk spoiling your fun, I won’t tell you much more about what happens next. I will even suppress the urge to insert a smartass reference to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang right about now (damn my OCD…I think I just did). Let’s just say that this is to become the first of several “transportive” midnight outings that will change Gil’s life.

Allen re-examines many of his signature themes-particularly regarding the mysteries of attraction and the flightiness of the Muse. He also offers keen insights about those who romanticize the past. Do we really believe in our heart of hearts that everything was better “then”? Isn’t getting lost in nostalgia just another way to shirk responsibility for dealing with the present? At the top of the post, I made a tongue-in-cheek analogy between Allen’s “earlier, funny films” and the “days of my golden youth”. Were Woody’s movies really “funnier” then-or do they function as portals back to a carefree time when I still had my whole life ahead of me? Lest you begin to think that this is one of his more Bergman-esque excursions-let me assure you that it’s not. It’s romantic, intelligent, perceptive, magical, and yes…it’s very funny. There’s a fantastic supporting cast, including Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates and Adrien Brody. In fact, I will say this without qualification: This is a great film. Never mind, Dr. Drew…I’m cured! Dr. Drew?


.


Search Digby!