News

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

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

Photo: YouTube

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.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: May 22

Fresh
rogers

A look at the news that made Hollywood history in years past.

in Local

Fire in Mount Vernon, Wash., building damages 3 businesses

fire truck back

Authorities say a stubborn fire has caused significant damage to three businesses that share a downtown Mount Vernon, Washington, building.

in Local

Oso store near mud slide in danger of closing

Tayler Drayton, 16, finishes painting words of support on a bus stop for those affected by a deadly mudslide nearly two weeks earlier nearby, Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Oso, Wash. More than a dozen people are listed as missing and 30 bodies have been found in debris from the March 22 landslide that broke off a steep hill, roared across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River and buried a community at Oso, about 55 miles north of Seattle.

The owner of the Oso General Store is struggling to keep her business afloat just three months after opening.

in Local

Senate policy may reduce partisan squabbling on social media

A sidewalk outside the Legislative building is bustling with people on the first day of the 2014 session of the Washington state Legislature, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.

A new Senate policy is attempting to reduce lawmakers' partisan squabbling on social media sites such as Twitter.

in Local

WSU researcher says drought could get worse

generic water sunset

Drought conditions in Washington that prompted Gov. Jay Inslee last week to declare an emergency are likely to grow worse.