(...) as the stars roam those gardens and vistas in their jaunty flapper couture, the story feels shapeless, un-tailored, defiantly off the rack.
Magic in the Moonlight's mystery is pedestrian and predictable, and its lovers -- Colin Firth and Emma Stone -- fall for one another for no reason other than they happen to be the leads in a Woody Allen movie. Everyone declaims the film's meager themes, as if we're watching the actors' what's-my-motivation? prep work rather than their final performances. Even Stone and Firth speaking Allen's lumpish dialogue is something like getting down a mouthful of oatmeal. Occasionally, an actor will shape a line with the hopeful sharpness of a joke, which suggests that someone on set may have been telling them that the film is a comedy. (...)
At one point, midway through, Stanley becomes convinced she does have some ability to contact a spirit realm, which for him means science can no longer be trusted and that maybe there is a God, and on and on. He calls a press conference to announce this and introduce her to the world; it's the movie's biggest laugh, as, for some reason, the reporters questions are all directed at him.
Such uncertain, ill-considered scene craft is a hallmark of Allen's late-late period. But I can say this for that sequence: It's the one thing in Magic in the Moonlight that doesn't feel dispiritingly familiar. Allen's habitual productivity -- a movie a year, whether he has something to say or not -- has made his films something more like rituals than events. Last year in these pages Stephanie Zacharek compared going to see Allen's annual offering to checking in on an elderly relative you hope is having a good day. A trick I've picked up is always to try to get such a relative to tell a story you haven't heard before. Is it too much to ask the same of one of the world's most distinguished filmmakers?
- åh, ja, tristhed over auteurundergang! Her et klip fra en. så vidt jeg husker, god, flosset Allen-film, Deconstructing Harry, med en ulykkeligt utydelig ROBIN WILLIAMS, som nu forbandet nok er helt væk: