Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Guns, girls and bad guys. But a little different...

Skyfall
Release: 
23 October, 2012

Directed by 
Sam Mendes

Produced by:
Michael G. Wilson
Barbara Broccoli 

Written by:
John Logan
Neal Purvis
Robert Wade

Starring: 
Daniel Craig 
Javier Bardem
Judi Dench
Ralph Fiennes
Naomie Harris
Berenice Marlohe
Albert Hinney

Summary: A hard drive containing the details of all undercover NATO agents in terrorist organisations has been stolen. The task begins of hunting down the culprit. The search digs into the past of ‘M’, while the future of the British Secret Service is placed in jeopardy. As usual, Bond is called upon to save the day...

My Favourite Scene:
 When Bond meets the villain, Raoul Silva, there is the usual exchange of sly insults. However in this film, Silva attempts to push Bond beyond his comfort zone by caressing him and saying “there’s a first time for everything...” to which Bond responds “what makes you think this is my first time?”
I thought it was interesting to have one ultra-masculine character exhibit power over another through questioning his sexuality. However Bond just plays along... It was different to a typical power scene of weapons and pride-bruising and showed a different angle to the ‘ladies man’ Bond.

My Favourite Quotes: 
James Bond: “Everyone needs a hobby...”
Raoul Silva: “So what’s yours?”
James Bond: “Resurrection.”

Raoul Silva: “She sent you after me, knowing you’re not ready, knowing you would likely die. Mommy was very bad.”

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed Skyfall. It was entertaining, thought-provoking in parts and quite different to any previous Bond film. There was a definite feeling of it moving with the times. 

The usual, excepted sexism was somewhat absent in Skyfall. Bond’s agent with him at the beginning of the film in Turkey was a woman who was as powerful and destructive as him - although there was a scene in which Bond laughs at her losing both wing mirrors due to careless driving... The character of M became more heroic, although unable to defend herself. Although it is not fair to say this Bond film has eradicated all the misogyny evident before, it has most definitely progressed in changing the presentation of female  characters.

There was also a sense of Skyfall moving with the times as the idea of the Britain’s role in the world was challenged throughout. Many characters made remarks  concerning the Secret Service’s view of Britain as an Empire. There was even an inquiry into the actions of MI6. This portrayed a more political angle to the Bond film, and therefore made it more realistic. For once, it seemed that the Secret Service could be held accountable.
I also liked the villain. Rather than an outdated ugly, creepy man (which subliminally encourages people to believe anyone whose doesn’t look completely normal must be bad) Skyfall had a mentally-scarred ex-agent whose behaviour was driven by a sense of betrayal rather than a crazed thirst for world-power. 

Overall, I had quite high expectations for Skyfall because I’d heard very good things about it and it definitely met my expectations. Bond and M were far more interesting characters and the film was nothing like the formulaic Bond films of previous years. Skyfall is absolutely worth a watch. 

A

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Feel the Beat


On the Road
Released:
October 12th, 2012

Directed by:
Walter Salles

Produced by:
Nathanael Karmitz
Charles Gillibert
Rebecca Yeldham
Francis Ford Coppola

Written by: 
Jose Rivera
Based on Jack Kerouac’s novel ‘On the Road’

Starring:  
Garrett Hedlund
Sam Riley
Kristen Stewart
Amy Adams
Tom Sturridge
Danny Morgan
Alice Braga
Elisabeth Moss
Kristen Dunst
Viggo Mortensen

Summary:  ‘On the Road’ tells the story of young deep-thinking writer Sal Paradise and his relationship with the wild Dean Moriarty – the epitome of the Beat Generation. The pair embark on a journey across America with Dean’s lover Marylou - encountering various interesting people and events along the way. The group (whose only consistent members are Sal and Dean) manage to leave their mark wherever they go. The film follows scenes from the book that has not yet been writing – we see Sal begin to write in the final scene.

My Favourite Scene: An interesting scene in ‘On the Road’ is where Marylou is talking to Sal while driving, with Dean sleeping in the back of the car. Marylou is saying how she wants a normal life with a house and a baby, and that she knows Dean will leave her soon. Dean then wakes up grinning and says ‘I just had a great idea. You guys are gonna love it.’
This scene shows the impact of Dean Moriarty. While Marylou knows Dean will never give her what she wants and that he won’t stay with her, she still stays with him. This seemed to be the case with so many of the people Dean encountered. They knew that they would get nothing from him, and some even knew he would cause them pain in the end, but his free-spirit and approach to life was enough to want to keep him in their lives.
My Favourite Quotes:
Dean Moriarty: “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I do all these dumb things and think in all these distorted ways. And now I’m burning up.”

Sal Paradise: “The only ones for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

My Thoughts: After reading ‘On the Road’ (which is one of the best novels I’ve ever read) I was very interested to see how Salles’ would translate the journey into a film. In fact, while in San Francisco earlier this year I saw the car that was used in this film in the Beat Museum – which is definitely worth a visit if anyone ever visits San Francisco! I bought tickets to watch the UK premiere of the film at the British Library and left disappointed, but reminded of the essence of the Beat Generation.

 I definitely felt that ‘On the Road’ powerfully displayed the way of life of the Beat Generation. It portrayed the free-spiritedness and love of experiencing life that makes them such a fascinating group of people. However it also showed how easily this can damage. Dean Moriarty (based on Kerouac’s friend Neal Cassady) felt absolutely no responsibility towards anyone. In the end, neither of his wives could deal with his one-sided view of sexual liberation. Indeed much of the behaviour in the film shows a distinctly repressive attitude towards women. Dean felt that it was fine to leave his wife to care for their child while he and Sal went out for the night. Although there were women involved with the creation of Beat philosophy and literature, they remained marginalized and insignificant in comparison.
As always, a film which has been made out of a book can never meet expectations.  I felt that some very significant elements of the novel were missing. In the novel, the scenes seemed to mould together and create a world. The film didn’t quite have the same effect. Much of it felt repetitive and directionless. However many would say that this echoes the spirit of the drifting journey in ‘On the Road’. I did feel that a strong part of the film was the way in which jazz music was used in the evocation of the Beat Generation, as was the presentation of a 1950s America of ‘Jitterbugging’, bebop and open roads rather than freeways. 
Overall, I couldn’t help but feel that this film dragged on (I subsequently discovered that it had been cut by 15 minutes following the Cannes premiere!) I think it would have worked better if Salles had adapted the novel more – telling the story of Sal’s journey in a different way. This would have made it more interesting. The story works well in the world created by the novel, but not so much as a film.  I found ‘On the Road’ entertaining but not inspirational.
B

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The ultimate protest

Hunger
Released:                           
15 March, 2008

Directed by: 
Steve McQueen

Produced by:
Laura Hastings-Smith
Robin Gutch

Written by: 
Enda Walsh
Steve McQueen

Starring: 
Michael Fassbender
Liam Cunningham

Summary: ‘Hunger’ follows the lives of imprisoned members of the IRA, including Bobby Sands, as well as a guard at the Maze Prison in 1981 Belfast. The film leads to the hunger strike which brought the IRA head-to-head with Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and resulted in the death of ten IRA members.

My Favourite Scene: The main scene in ‘Hunger’ is a 15 minute conversation between Bobby Sands and a priest (Father Dominic Moran). In this scene, Sands tries to justify his decision to  call a second hunger strike and the priest attempts to make him change his mind.

This entire scene is shot from one angle. We only see the two figures, but not their facial expressions. This makes the scene focus on the words of the characters, which I found interesting. Rather than watching them, I found myself listening to the words and making a mental picture instead. This was the one scene that actually explained the motivations behind the actions in the film.

My Favourite Quotes: 
Bobby Sands: (referring to When you’re hung from a cross you’re gonna say anything. Jesus offers him (the thief being crucified next to Jesus) a seat next to his daddy in a place called paradise, you’re always gonna put your hands up and have a piece of that.
Father Dominic Moran: Aye. Even when it’s nailed to your cross.
 
Father Dominic Moran: (In reference to smoking pages of the Bible as cigarettes) Anyone work out which book is the best smoke?
Bobby Sands: We only smoke the Lamentations. A right miserable cigarette.

My Thoughts:  Having studied this period in history, I was interested to see how McQueen was going to present the IRA’s struggle. Watching ‘Hunger’ reminded me of the strife that took place but I also felt that it was quite lost as a film. I think unless one has some knowledge of the events in Northern Ireland, it would be quite difficult to understand what was happening!

‘Hunger’ raised the issue of prison conditions and the treatment of, debatably, prisoners of war. This problem is one that resurfaced recently with ‘Abu Graib’ prison in Iraq.  This film only proves the words of documentary-maker Michael Moore: “Immoral behaviour breeds immoral behaviour”.  ‘Hunger’ is most defiantly thought-provoking and shocking – with many scenes being extremely difficult to watch.

However I thought it lacked any sort of direction. With the exception of the 15 minute conversation between Bobby Sands and the priest, the film was more like an assortment of scenes with artistic angles. This did make the film interesting to watch and a change from the so many films that require no effort. However many scenes were far too long, and came across as pretentious. I spent much of the film wondering when the plot or structure was going to be made clear.

‘Hunger’ reveals a gruesome struggle for Irish independence that resurfaced in the late 1960s and continued until the signing of the ‘Good Friday Agreement’ in 1998 . The film brought to light many issues and provoked a debate amongst my family about hunger striking and Margaret Thatcher’s approach. Many of the scenes of how the prisoners were treated left me intrigued as to what the British government actually did. Although ‘Hunger’ was shocking and interesting, I was left confused about what McQueen was actually trying to say.
B-

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Breaking barriers in San Francisco


Milk
Released: 
26 November, 2008

Directed by 
Gus Van Sant

Produced by:
Dan Jinks
Bruce Cohen 

Written by: 
Dustin Lance Black

Starring: 
Sean Penn
Emile Hirsch
Josh Brolin
Diegro Luna
James Franco

Summary: Milk’ tells the story of how Harvey Milk became the first openly gay elected official in the US. The film illustrates his journey as a gay rights activist through the 1970s, as well as his battles against political activist Anita Bryant and politician John Briggs. ‘Milk’ incorporates Harvey Milk’s political and personal relationships – including those with his partners Scott Smith, Jack Lira, and his murderer and fellow City Supervisor, Dan White.

My Favourite Scene: A particularly thought-provoking scene in ‘Milk’ was the one in which Harvey is discussing the murder of a man he knew with a San Francisco police officer. The officer shows complete disinterest and is not concerned with the murder. He also disrespectfully calls his partner a prostitute. The scene ends with Milk saying ‘There’d be a dozen witnesses if they thought you boys had any real interest in protecting them.’ 

I felt that this scene illustrated the struggle gay men had to face at the time. The bigotry is actually seen in those who should be protecting them. The gay community in San Francisco face opposition from the police throughout the film. I thought this scene was very powerful in showing just how isolated many must have felt. The interesting camera angle added to this feeling, as the scene was shot in the reflection of a car wing-mirror.

My Favourite Quotes: 
Dan White: Society can’t exist without the family.
Harvey Milk: We’re not against that.
Dan White: Can two men reproduce?
Harvey Milk: No, but God knows we keep trying.

Harvey Milk: Politics is theatre. It doesn’t matter if you win. You make a statement. You say, ‘I’m here, pay attention to me’.

Harvey Milk: Anita Bryant has already said that the Jews and the Muslims are going to hell, so you know she has a shopping list.


My Thoughts: Earlier this summer I had the opportunity to work shadow with the San Francisco Chronicle for a week. While I was in the city I stayed with my uncle in the Castro area. It was here that I saw the Harvey Milk Plaza. I hadn’t actually known about Harvey Milk until then, and so decided to watch ‘Milk’. I found this film really interesting and enjoyable. Sometimes when one lives in a country where issues such as gay rights have progressed so much, it is easy to forget how different it once was. However it alsoreminds us we still have a way to go.

Something I really liked about ‘Milk’ was the incorporation of real footage, from police storming bars in the Castro to Anita Bryant talking about her beliefs. I think that the use of footage in this way reminds the watcher that these events actually took place. I did think that the film was slightly structurally confused. I find that it’s usually the case when the majority of a person’s life has to be squeezed into a film that it’s difficult for each part or character to be fully developed. I felt that Harvey and Scott’s relationship, as well as his and Jack’s, were lacking. However as Gus Van Sant chose to tackle both political and personal issues, this is to be expected.

A thought-provoking element to the film was Milk’s relationship with his murderer Dan White. Throughout the film it is suggested that Milk believed White was gay himself. The film conveys White’s conflicting feelings of Dan’s friendship with Harvey but also of his jealousy at Harvey’s success and popularity. The film presented their relationship in a very interesting way. 

‘Milk’ displays the fight of one man to change lives and portrays that, although the fight is not always easy, it is necessary. Despite not standing out in the way it portrays Harvey Milk’s life, the incredible story alone makes this film very watchable and reinforces the importance of standing up to make a difference, even if one is alone.

B

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Batman Fights His Final Battle

The Dark Knight Rises

Release: 
16 July, 2012

Directed by 
Christopher Nolan

Produced by:
Emma Thomas 
Christopher Nolan
Charles Roven

Written by: 
Christopher Nolan
Jonathan Nolan

Starring: 
Christian Bale
Michael Caine
Gary Oldman
Anne Hathaway
Tom Hardy
Marion Cotillard
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Morgan Freeman

Summary: Gotham is being over-run by a group calling themselves the ‘League of Shadows’, headed by criminal Bane. Bruce Wayne goes against the advice of those around him and decides he must return as Batman to once again protect his city. With the help of Catwoman, he fights the terrorist group. However, his task is a far more difficult one this time. 

My Favourite Scene: I found one scene hilarious because it was just so ridiculous. Bane orders a scientist to turn an object which ensures sustainable-energy into a nuclear bomb. The guy walks up to it and after about two minutes of fiddling around with some equipment says something like ‘okay you now have a nuclear bomb’. I loved this scene but not because it was good, because it was so stupid. It highlights just how unrealistic this film was.

My Favourite Quotes: 
Selina Kyle:
“There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.” 

Alfred (to Batman/ Bruce Wayne): “I always knew there was nothing here for you, expect pain and tragedy. And I wanted something more for you than that. I still do.”

My Thoughts: Something I didn’t like about this film was Catwoman’s character. It’s probably to be expected with a film like Batman that the female character, Selina Kyle (Catwoman) is going to be over-sexualised. It seems we haven’t come that far in terms of feminism in these sorts of films... It reminded me of a 1960s James Bond film. In some ways it’s good to have a strong, powerful female, in the same league as Batman, but I don’t understand why it’s necessary for Anne Hathaway to be walking and posing seductively in almost every scene she’s in. It may sound over-the-top but I feel like it sends out the message that in order to have any chance of success, women have to be overly-sexual.

Another issue with the film was Bane. His just seemed a ridiculous, almost stupid character. The mask made his voice sound hilarious. Unfortunately when following a brilliant character like Heath Ledger’s Joker, requires being really impressive and Bane just didn’t hit the mark.

Another problem for The Dark Knight Rises was their attempt to incorporate political issues. The ideas of corruption and revolution were apparent throughout, which did help to make the film interesting to an extent. However, when a city is threatened with a nuclear attack it’s surprising that no other countries attempt to intervene and prevent it. If a film is trying to say something about revolution, the rest of the world would need to be involved in the film - rather than a simple video from the US President (which seemed like a bit of a cop-out)!

Overall, while The Dark Knight Rises was interesting and exciting in parts, I found it rather tedious to watch. It was over-long, over-complicated and actually quite ridiculous. When a film becomes completely separate from anything that could happen in reality, it just seems silly. This film just couldn’t compete with its predecessor, The Dark Knight, and for me, failed to stand up to its expectations. 

C-

Sunday, 8 July 2012

War through words.


The Help
Released: 
August 10, 2011 
Directed by: 
Tate Taylor
Produced by:
Chris Columbus
Michael Barnathan
Brunson Green
Written by: 
Tate Taylor
(Based on the book ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett)
Starring: 
Emma Stone
Viola Davis
Octavia Spencer
Bryce Dallas Howard
Allison Janney
Jessica Chastain

Summary: Set during the time of the African-American Civil Rights movement in the deep South, ‘The Help’ tells the story of an aspiring journalist (Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan’) who becomes isolated from the group of superficial women in her community. Skeeter is affected by the injustices she sees within lives of black people, especially in terms of maids raising white children. With the help of two maids, she starts to compile stories of their experiences in a hope to expose the racism in society. 
  
My Favourite Scene: I really liked the scene in which Minny visits Celia Foot regarding a position as a maid. Celia is clearly out of her depth in the kitchen, saying ‘I guess I got some learning to do’, to which Minny replies ‘you sure do’.   Their introduction shows the beginning of a friendship between the fiery Minny and ditzy Celia. 
Although I’m not sure Minny would have been quite so forward and impolite to her future employer... I still think this scene is very good. The character of Celia is an isolated and fragile one. We already know that the white, female community do not accept her and she is hiring a maid without her husband’s knowing, to make him think she can ‘do it on [her] own’. Celia is excluded from her community, in the same way that black people were excluded from white society. Their friendship conveys that even with society’s boundaries, unions can form and people rely on each other regardless of race. 
My Favourite Quotes: 
Aibileen Clark: 18 people were killed in Jackson that night. 10 white and 8 black. I don’t think God has colour in mind when he sets a tornado loose.
Aibileen Clark: (to Elizabeth’s daughter Mae Mobley Leefolt) You is kind. You is smart. You is important. 
Eugenia 'Skeeter' Phelan: (referring to her mother’s earlier comments) You know, last time I had an almond, I stopped likin' men.
Rebecca: Oh, my lord!
Eugenia 'Skeeter' Phelan: Oh no! Rebecca, it's fine. There's a special root tea for that now.

My Thoughts: A theme which I found particularly powerful in ‘The Help’, was the meaning of family. The film illustrates that family, rather than being connected to blood ties, is whoever loves, understands and raises you. The white children see their maids as their true mothers, rather than their mothers by blood. Mae Mobley Leefolt tells Aibileen Clark ‘you my real mama, Aibi’. Although I do not think such a young child would be able to understand what a ‘real mama’ means, this shows that children recognise who truly care for them.
I also felt that ‘The Help’ was a good film because it used comedy in a clever way. Considering the subject matter, comedy was avoided when it would have been inappropriate. However there were some serious moments which used comedy, and still managed to be hard-hitting. Such as when Minny Jackson (believing Celia’s Foot’s husband was going to attack her) threw her shopping everywhere and grabbed a long branch to defend herself.
The only criticism I would have of this film is that it all seemed a little polished and unrealistic. It would probably have been more of a struggle and with perhaps more violent consequences for some. ‘The Help’ is a feel-good film, which slightly undermined the profundity. However it is still a very entertaining and thought-provoking film.
I really enjoyed ‘The Help’ because it intertwined so many important issues. Of course there is the theme of race, but also friendship, loyalty and courage in the face of opposition. It proves that the smallest idea can form something extremely important, and that the power of words should never be underestimated. The maids in this film could not physically rebel, but through telling their stories in a book, managed to change their community’s thinking and break down the control of those employing them. 
A

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Three lives, changed by one woman.


The Hours
Released: 
25 December, 2002
Directed by: 
Stephen Daldry 
Produced by: 
Robert Fox
Scott Rudin

Written by: 
David Hare 
(Based on ‘The Hours’ by Michael Cunningham)
Starring: 
Meryl Streep
Julianne Moore
Nicole Kidman

Summary: ‘The Hours’ focuses around the lives of three women and the significance of Virginia Woolf’s ‘Mrs Dalloway’. The first woman is Woolf herself, who is attempting to write a first draft of the novel, while battling her feelings of depression. The second is a housewife, Laura Brown, living in 1940s Los Angeles – who believes she is far from adequate. ‘Mrs Dalloway’ drives Brown to reconsider the life she is leading. Finally, Clarissa Vaughan is living in modern-day New York, caring for her former lover who is dying of Aids – Richard Brown. Vaughan is throwing a party for Brown in recognition of his recent poetry prize, echoing the character of Clarissa Dalloway. All three women must confront their inner demons and deal with a form of suicide in their lives.
My Favourite Scene: A particularly memorable scene for me, was when Virginia’s sister’s children find a dead bird and decide to make it a grave for fun. Angelica is left behind and stays talking with Virginia. She questions her on death and what follows it. Virginia seems to recognise a similarity between her niece and herself - with Angelica saying ‘I don’t remember where I came from’ and Virginia replying ‘Nor do I’. After Angelica leaves with the others, Virginia remains a little while longer, laying down on the earth next to the bird.
The pair, although many years apart, seem to share a similar outlook on life in the moments they spend together with the dead bird. Angelica concludes that it looks very peaceful, and this portrays a side to the child, absent from her siblings. Although it would just be curiosity to ask the innocent questions Angelica does about death, she seems to reflect upon the event differently to the others. The connection between the two is rather touching and is clarified when Virginia’s sister says ‘Are we finished? Is the bird funeral complete?’. She simply does not reflect on issues in the same way her sister and daughter do. Although it isolates the pair, their world also appears a calm and interesting one - in comparison to those around them.
My Favourite Quotes: 
Clarissa Vaughan: You don’t have to go to the party, you don’t have to go to the ceremony, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You can do as you like.
Richard Brown: but I still have to face the hours, don’t I? I mean, the hours after the party, and the hours after that…
Virginia Woolf (to her sister who has arrived early): Leonard thinks it’s the end of civilization: People who are invited at 4 and arrive at 2:30.
Virginia Woolf: You cannot find peace by avoiding life, Leonard.
My Thoughts: I liked the way Daldry interweaved the three lives, showing the connections between them. The film reflected, not only the importance of Woolf’s work, but that the feelings of isolation are apparent in every time period and generation.
A criticism I would have of the film was of the relationship between Laura Brown and her young son. There were a couple of moments in their scenes when he seemed to be understanding of her suicidal state of mind – violently screaming when she leaves him to drive away alone, and proving her with comfort when she seems upset. While this made for a seemingly strong relationship in the film, I do not think that a boy of his age would have been able to notice the subtleties of her behaviour. I thought this element to the film was quite unrealistic.
I felt that overall ‘The Hours’ was a moving and interesting film. I was especially impressed with the script, which offered some very memorable thoughts and provided a powerful insight into the mind of Virginia Woolf. The film has been criticised for its being dark and depressing. However depression and suicide are the important, recurring themes in the film - and it is difficult to see how it could be changed. In some ways, there is a comforting message in the similarities in the three separate lives because it illustrates a connection between them - although they are alone in their own lives, they are together in their emotional state. 

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Gil discovers himself, with a little help from Ernest Hemingway...

Midnight in Paris
Released:                           
10 June, 2011

Directed by: 
Woody Allen

Produced by:
Letty Aronson
Stephen Lenenbaun
Jaume Roures

Written by: 
Woody Allen

Starring: 
Owen Wilson
Rachel McAdams
Marion Cotillard
Kathy Bates
Adrien Brody
Carla Bruni
Michael Sheen

Summary: Gil and his fiancĂ©e, Inez, are in Paris with Inez’s parents. Gil, a successful Hollywood scriptwriter, is attempting to write his first novel – where his passion lies – and is completely taken up with the city. Inez on the other hand, cannot understand what is so beautiful or amazing about it. The couple bump into her old friends Paul, who happens to be pretentious and his partner Carole. While Inez is taken up with Paul’s ideas, Gil begins to discover just how amazing Paris is - when, at midnight, he finds himself going on adventure after adventure with the writers and artists from the past whom he most admires. Things begin to make sense for Gil, as his novel develops with help from the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein.

My Favourite Scene: I think a particularly good scene was the one in which the two couples visited an art gallery and a painting by Pablo Picasso, which turns out to be the same one him and Gertrude Stein were discussing the night before – with Gil present at the conservation. So, when Paul beings to expound his knowledge of the painting and artist, Gil jumps in with an incredible understanding of it – causing Inez to ask: “what have you been smoking?”

This scene was entertaining because for the first time in the film the pompous, irritating Paul has been silenced by an impossible knowledge of the background of the painting from Gil. Of course, what is so amusing is that it is only the audience who know why Gil knows so much. It almost seems as if he must have spoken to those who painted and influenced it, which he obviously had. His final line: “She was an absolute volcano in the sack”, before causally walking off, leaves the others looking clearly perplexed. It was nice to see the annoying Paul and Inez, who is extremely impressed with him, silenced for once!

My Favourite Quotes: 
Inez: You always take the side of the help. That’s why Daddy says you’re a communist.

Gil: Can you picture how drop dead gorgeous this city is in the rain? Imagine this town in the ‘20s. Paris in the ‘20s, in the rain. The artists and writers!
Inez: Why does every city have to be in the rain? What’s wonderful about getting wet?

Gil: It’s understated but elegant. That’s what you always say.
Helen: Cheap is cheap. That’s what I always say.

My Thoughts:  As a bit of a Woody Allen fan, I was looking forward to what he would do with ‘Midnight in Paris’ and it has to be said that it was a little disappointing. Firstly, the characters all appeared to be cameos – and so were predictable in their behaviour. Overall, it seemed the film itself was not so original. The idea of a couple, not fit for each other, visiting a romantic city and one of them finding themselves, rings every much of ‘Vicky Christina Barcelona’. I very much enjoyed that film, but was expecting Woody Allen to do something different with his next.


As ever, he delivered a very intelligently witty script. If there was something not so predictable about the film, it was the script. I also think that there were so profound-(ish!) moments. Gil’s realisation that we will always be thinking another time period is better than the one we are currently in, was quite interesting and I liked the overall idea of the film, that by the end Gil had found what he needed – in Paris and the writers who inspired him.

However, the almost Cinderella-style idea of escaping in a carriage to a past time seemed a bit… well, naff. There were parts which seemed quite shallow and for a director like Woody Allen, I would have expected something deeper. It appears that he is moving closer and closer to the mainstream rom-com style of film that he managed to brilliantly miss with ‘Annie Hall’. The neat dĂ©nouement ending was something I like ‘Vicky Christian Barcelona’ not having!

Overall, there were some humourous moment and the film was well-scripted. However it seemed a little shallow with one-dimensional characters. I enjoyed it, but felt that it lacked the depth Woody Allen is so good at producing. The film was pretty much a copy of ‘Vicky Christina Barcelona’ and has only helped in convincing me that I preferred his older work.

B