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Midnight in Paris

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Photos of Woody Allen's newest film -- starring Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard and possibly Adrien Brody, Kathy Bates and Michael Sheen -- have popped up here and here ... and apparently it's a period piece, set in the flapper era!

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midnight-in-paris-poster.jpg

I'm not much excited about the movie, but the poster's cool.

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It's funny that it never occurred to me that Owen Wilson would be the perfect protagonist in a Woody Allen movie, but it seems obvious upon watching the trailer.

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From Scott Foundas's [url=http://blogs.laweekly.com/stylecouncil/2011/05/woody_allen_midnight_in_paris.php?page=3]interview with Woody[/url]:

[indent]Now, at age 75, with a career as a comic, writer and filmmaker that spans a half-century, Allen himself has become an iconic part of American cultural lore -- something that gives him more than a bit of pause. "I was thinking with great horror the other day that, since I'm a known person, a hundred years from now someone will make a movie about New York in my time, and I will be, let's say, not an important character in it, but a peripheral character," he says. "Someone will go into Elaine's, and there I'll be, played by some schlemiel, because I'm conceived of as a schlemiel, and he'll have glasses on, and he'll be a gloom-ridden recluse who shivers at the thought of going out into the country -- some execrable exaggeration of what people think I am. And that will be my hell. If I'm ever in a work of fiction as part of the atmosphere, they'll be doing to me the same unjust things as when I show Ernest Hemingway sitting at a bar talking the way he talks."[/indent]
This gets me thinking, Woody Allen has already been portrayed as a character in someone else's quasi-nostalgic film that I know of, namely [i]Mr. Saturday Night[/i] (1992), in which there is a brief scene of Billy Crystal's character firing his comedy writers, one of whom he addresses as "Woody". And apparently [url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0685116/]the actor[/url] who played Woody in that scene has played him on a couple other occasions since then, too.

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[url=http://www.indiewire.com/article/friday_box_office_woodys_paris_is_burning_for_sony_classics/]Gadzooks![/url]

I've seen the preview a couple of times this week. The film looks mildly amusing, and the Cannes buzz has been positive. But what's with the outpouring of support for this film? Owen Wilson isn't a huge draw, is he?

Not that I mind. I'm just surprised. Edited by Christian

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I never knew Allen had this much optimism in him. Maybe it a brain tumor (you need to see the movie to get this.) In some ways this is a remake of [i]The Purple Rose of Cairo[/i] with literary and art allusions.

In the film Gertrude Stein tells Gil: You have a clear and lively voice; don't be such a defeatist. I'm sure Allen must have been told this a few times.

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My friend [url="http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/movies/2015216192_mr03midnight.html"]Moira Macdonald is gushing over this one in [i]The Seattle Times[/i][/url]:

[quote]Nostalgia — that sudden, ardent pang of longing for something that isn't around anymore — can sneak up on us all of a sudden, when we hear a static-filled recording of old jazz music or remember the taste of a meal from a restaurant long gone. Woody Allen's movies have always celebrated nostalgia, but his charming new comedy, "Midnight in Paris," actually creates it: It makes us happily remember the movies we thought Allen wasn't able to make anymore, even while the filmmaker reaches into the past to add one more great one to the list.

...

Why doesn't Allen make movies like this more often? Why doesn't anybody make movies like this anymore? "Midnight in Paris" — whether you're an English major thrilled by a Djuna Barnes reference, an old-time Allen fan happy to see a return to form, or just someone who's been waiting for a truly charming (and literate) and truly romantic comedy — is pure pleasure.[/quote] Edited by Overstreet

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The first few minutes of shots of various places in Paris must be Allen's version of [i]Paris, je t'aime[/i]. Actually very nice.

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[quote]...whether you're an English major thrilled by a Djuna Barnes reference...[/quote]
Moira Macdonald must hang out with more rarified English majors than I ever have, and I can't imagine anyone being "thrilled" about Djuna Barnes, but be that as it may, the movie does sound decent. Since I've never been to Paris, it will, in fact, have to create nostagia in me. But that's what art should do (as some A&F sigline used to imply). Edited by BethR

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Loved it. Wished it could have been longer (the finale seems a bit rushed). Would definitely watch this multiple times... I think I'd have to go back to [b]Crimes and Misdemeanors[/b] as the last Allen film I'd say that about.

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[b][url=http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/06/why_is_midnight_in_paris_such.html]Why Is Midnight in Paris Such a Huge Hit?[/url][/b]
Woody Allen's 42nd film Midnight in Paris moves into wide release today, and it's poised to be the director's biggest box-office hit in decades. After opening like a monster in six theaters a few weeks ago, Paris has steadily built into an even bigger word-of-mouth sensation, and it should surpass the $23 million grosses of Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Match Point soon (and Allen's 1986 benchmark Hannah and Her Sisters, which took in $40 million, could find its record under siege, too). . . .
Vulture, [i]New York[/i], June 10

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[quote name='Christian' date='21 May 2011 - 08:35 PM' timestamp='1306024547' post='252353']
[url=http://www.indiewire.com/article/friday_box_office_woodys_paris_is_burning_for_sony_classics/]Gadzooks![/url]

I've seen the preview a couple of times this week. The film looks mildly amusing, and the Cannes buzz has been positive. But what's with the outpouring of support for this film? Owen Wilson isn't a huge draw, is he?

Not that I mind. I'm just surprised.
[/quote]


[quote name='Peter T Chattaway' date='14 June 2011 - 04:49 AM' timestamp='1308041344' post='253834']
[b][url=http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/06/why_is_midnight_in_paris_such.html]Why Is Midnight in Paris Such a Huge Hit?[/url][/b]
Woody Allen's 42nd film Midnight in Paris moves into wide release today, and it's poised to be the director's biggest box-office hit in decades. After opening like a monster in six theaters a few weeks ago, Paris has steadily built into an even bigger word-of-mouth sensation, and it should surpass the $23 million grosses of Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Match Point soon (and Allen's 1986 benchmark Hannah and Her Sisters, which took in $40 million, could find its record under siege, too). . . .
Vulture, [i]New York[/i], June 10
[/quote]
I'm taking that job at Vulture.

Seriously, the movie writers don't have any idea about this? Looks like the blogger posted that question and left it to readers to supply the answer.

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Loved this film. It's the kind of film that would be demolished by hype and too-high expectations--it's a simple, unassuming, well-built film with lots of charm, nothing more--but is perfect viewing for a warm summer evening. Edited by Ryan H.

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[quote name='Ryan H.' date='18 June 2011 - 09:23 PM' timestamp='1308446606' post='254110']
Loved this film. It's the kind of film that would be demolished by hype and too-high expectations--it's a simple, unassuming, well-built film with lots of charm, nothing more--but is perfect viewing for a warm summer evening.
[/quote]

I don't know if I quite loved it, but I liked it a great deal. I agree that it's a simple film that does what it sets out to do well, but nothing more. I can get behind appreciating that.

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[quote name='Anders' date='18 June 2011 - 09:25 PM' timestamp='1308446752' post='254111']
[quote name='Ryan H.' date='18 June 2011 - 09:23 PM' timestamp='1308446606' post='254110']
Loved this film. It's the kind of film that would be demolished by hype and too-high expectations--it's a simple, unassuming, well-built film with lots of charm, nothing more--but is perfect viewing for a warm summer evening.[/quote]
I don't know if I quite loved it, but I liked it a great deal. I agree that it's a simple film that does what it sets out to do well, but nothing more. I can get behind appreciating that.[/quote]
I'm a pretty nostalgic guy, particularly for eras in which I've never lived, so the film has that connection with me. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS is not a great film, not really, but for summer fare, it's just what the doctor ordered.

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[i]Midnight in Paris[/i] has now grossed over $24 million, so it's official: This is Woody's top-grossing film in North America since [i]Hannah and Her Sisters[/i] (1986, $40.1 million), and the only other films ahead of it are [i]Manhattan[/i] (1979, $39.9 million) and [i]Annie Hall[/i] (1977, $38.3 million).

But [i][url=http://popwatch.ew.com/2011/06/23/woody-allen-midnight-in-paris-adjusted-for-inflation/]Entertainment Weekly[/url][/i] notes that, when you adjust for inflation (always a dubious proposition, but anyhoo), there are ten films of his that have grossed over $30 million in today's dollars:

[list][*]Annie Hall (1977), $134.8 million
[*]Manhattan (1979), $125.1
[*]Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), $84.9
[*]Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, But Were Afraid to Ask (1972), $83.3
[*]Sleeper (1973), $81.5
[*]Love & Death (1975), $77.2
[*]Bananas (1971), $56.4*
[*]Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), $36.1
[*]Interiors (1978), $35.0
[*]Stardust Memories (1980), $30.4[/list]
Interestingly, it seems that this list has been undisturbed since the '80s; i.e. NONE of Woody's films from the '90s, '00s or '10s have cracked it, at least not until now. But it seems like a safe bet that [i]Midnight in Paris[/i] will knock [i]Stardust Memories[/i] down a peg, at least.

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[quote name='Darrel Manson' date='29 May 2011 - 05:41 PM' timestamp='1306708866' post='252912']
I never knew Allen had this much optimism in him. Maybe it a brain tumor (you need to see the movie to get this.) In some ways this is a remake of [i]The Purple Rose of Cairo[/i] with literary and art allusions.

In the film Gertrude Stein tells Gil: You have a clear and lively voice; don't be such a defeatist. I'm sure Allen must have been told this a few times.
[/quote]

That struck me, too. I've not seen enough of Allen's most recent work (or, really, his work in general) to be dogmatic on this, but my impression is that he's gotten quite a bit more misanthropic over the years ([i]Match Point[/i], which I have seen, would seem to bear this out--and even it's lighter sister [i]Scoop[/i] is hardly sunny). If that's true, [i]Midnight in Paris[/i] is a sudden shift--positively glowing toward the end, with a humane sparkle even when it's dealing with Hemingway's views on death. Sure, the moral (if one wants to call it that) can be seen coming a mile away, but it resolves quietly and sincerely. I liked it quite a bit. Edited by NBooth

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[url=http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/movies/2011/06/paris-woody-allen-architecture.html]Richard Brody[/url] @ the [i]New Yorker[/i] comments on how Woody Allen's depiction of modernist Parisian artistes leaves out the one artform that, unlike the others, would have obliterated its predecessors: architecture.

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[url="http://www.midasandthemovies.com/2011/07/review-midnight-in-paris.html"]My review[/url]-- yeah, I fell for this one.

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[quote name='BethR' date='04 June 2011 - 06:25 PM' timestamp='1307226303' post='253228']
[quote]...whether you're an English major thrilled by a Djuna Barnes reference...[/quote]
Moira Macdonald must hang out with more rarified English majors than I ever have, and I can't imagine anyone being "thrilled" about Djuna Barnes, but be that as it may, the movie does sound decent. Since I've never been to Paris, it will, in fact, have to create nostagia in me. But that's what art should do (as some A&F sigline used to imply).
[/quote]
Saw the movie earlier this week & enjoyed it more than any Allen movie for a long time. The conceit of the many-layered historical city reminded me of my recent visit to London, which I guess is my Paris.

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[quote name='Lauren Wilford' date='13 July 2011 - 01:25 PM' timestamp='1310581505' post='255669']
[url="http://www.midasandthemovies.com/2011/07/review-midnight-in-paris.html"]My review[/url]-- yeah, I fell for this one.
[/quote]

Nice review; I like your thoughts on the "moral" of the story; if I had a major complaint, it was that we could see the "everyone wants to live in the past" stuff coming from the first time Owen Wilson opens his mouth. If (as you say) the real thrust of the film is toward "nostalgia for the present," the whole movie opens up as a far more intriguing experience (and one very much in the spirit of Dickens-by-way-of-Chesterton, which I can totally groove on).

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Looks like I missed linking to [url="http://decentfilms.com/reviews/midnightinparis"]my review[/url], here.

[quote]
Returning from a trip to Paris sometime in the mid-20th century, a federal judge named Frank A. Picard once told a friend named Charley Manes, “It was a wonderful trip. Paris is a grand place. But I wish I had made the trip 20 years ago.”

“You mean, when Paris was Paris?” Manes asked.

“No,” Picard replied, perhaps wistfully. “I mean when Picard was Picard.”

When Paris was Paris. When Picard was Picard. Ah, the old days. It seems the present is always overshadowed by a remembrance of lost or faded glory, some golden age before which present realities are poor and unsatisfactory substitutes.

Woody Allen fans know it well. Sure, they’ll admit, Allen cranks out a lot of unmemorable and even poor work nowadays — ah, but they remember when Allen was Allen. Every once in a while, perhaps, he comes out with a film that shows them he remembers, too.

[i]Midnight in Paris[/i] is such a film. It’s a nostalgic film about nostalgia — nostalgia for when Paris was Paris, for one thing. Even if you’ve never been to the City of Light, even if phrases like “the Lost Generation” and “la Belle Époque” hold for you none of the magic they do for Allen, the film makes you feel their power for his onscreen alter ego, appealingly played by Owen Wilson. For that matter, even if you aren’t an Allen fan — even if you aren’t convinced Allen was [i]ever[/i] Allen — [i]Midnight in Paris[/i] could almost make you nostalgic for the Allen that fans remember, or seem to.[/quote]

P.S. Hat tip to David Smedberg for helping me track down that opening anecdote! ([url="http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?showtopic=26764&st=0&p=254400"]Short-term parking link - will expire soon[/url]) Edited by SDG

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I really liked this one as well. While I agree with the reviews touching on the nostalgia in the film, what I pulled
out of it more, was a love for creativity and the arts.

It was everywhere, from the beautiful architecture in the city, to the wonderful soundtrack, to the portrayal of historical figures working on their projects.
The film even made gently falling rain seem like a work of art.

Of course it also looks at a writer who is attempting to write something worthy and memorable. To me there was a passion in this film. Edited by Attica

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I'm kind of mixed on it. It is a lot of fun to float through the night with Wilson, but I was really turned off by how easy it was to hate Inez. It's clear early on where they're going and the fact that Allen doesn't bother giving Inez anything more than enough to make her a shrew ruins any kind of conflict arising between Gil's (supposed) feelings for her and his love for Paris. The film wants us to appreciate our current situation, but not to the point where the important and potentially troubled relationships that take up most of our present-day lives might be considered in a balanced way, let alone salvaged. As much as I want to just float along with it, I think its attempt at sincerity rings false.

There was a tracking shot early on that reminded me of this [url="http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/2008/02/13/hands-and-faces-across-the-table/"]piece[/url] by David Bordwell. Allen's blocking in that shot is exquisite. Edited by N.W. Douglas

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