Quick Netflix review: MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (2011)

Starring: Owen Wilson (CARS 3 [2017], ZOOLANDER 2 [2016], ANACONDA [1997], and SHANGHAI DAWN, no release date announced), Marion Cotillard (ASSASSIN’S CREED [2016], THE DARK KNIGHT RISES [2012], and INCEPTION [2010]), and Rachel McAdams (DOCTOR STRANGE [2016], MORNING GLORY [2010], THE NOTEBOOK [2004], and the upcoming SHERLOCK HOLMES 3, no release date announced).

In support: Corey Stoll (GOLD [2017], CAFÉ SOCIETY [2016], ANT-MAN [2015], and the upcoming FIRST MAN [2018]), Kathy Bates (BAD SANTA 2 [2016], TITANIC [1997], and TV show AMERICAN HORROR STORY), Michael Sheen (NORMAN [2017], PASSENGERS [2016], UNDERWORLD [2003], and the upcoming BRAD’S STATUS [2017]), Tom Hiddleston (KONG: SKULL ISLAND [2017], I SAW THE LIGHT [2016], THOR [2011], and upcoming Marvel films THOR: RAGNAROK [2017] and AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR [2018]), and Léa Seydoux (THE LOBSTER [2016], 007 SPECTRE [2015], and BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR [2013]).

Writer/Director: Woody Allen (CAFÉ SOCIETY, IRRATIONAL MAN [2015], MIGHTY APHRODITE [1995], and the upcoming WONDER WHEEL [2017]). This film does not have a composer. Cinematographer: Darius Khondji (THE LOST CITY OF Z [2017], THE IMMIGRANT [2013], and THE RUINS [2008]).

(SUMMARY)

Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is on vacation in Paris, trying to find inspiration to complete the novel he’s writing. Though inspiration is slow, he’s quickly fallen in love with Paris and is even considering to move there. His feelings are not shared by his prickly fiancé Inez (Rachel McAdams), and the two butt heads constantly. One night, strolling through the streets of Paris, he ends up lost, but the most bizarre thing happens to him at midnight. He’s picked up by an old fashioned car and somehow finds himself in the 1920’s, meeting all of his historical icons, like Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), Pablo Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston), and even finds possible romance with the beautiful Adriana (Marion Cotillard), a mistress of Picasso.

(REVIEW)

I was surprised by how much I fell in love with this movie.

On top of being Wilson’s best performance I’ve ever seen in his library, it’s a truly gorgeous film just to look at, making the cinematography just as much the star as the actual characters the story follows. Already I love fantasy films and have a soft spot for rom-coms, and it’s not very often that the two are combined and leave this kind of an impact. While I can’t attest to the accuracy of the film using these historical people in Paris at the exact same time, but I doubt I’m supposed to take all this very literal. It’s a fantasy film after all and more of an appreciation of times long gone and a story that challenges a man to assess his relationship and what he wants for himself. At least, that’s what I got out of it. All I can tell you is that I got sucked into the style, the music, the aesthetics of it all, as well as the phenomenal chemistry between the actors, the comedy, and the romance. It’s a gorgeous film to be sure and I’m sad it took me this long to see it.

My honest rating for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS: 5/5

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GOLD review

Oh boy… I feel pretty mixed about this. On the one hand, I really like Matthew McConaughey. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he’s come a long way since his 90’s rom-com years and has been in some solid movies over the last decade. Some of them have been down-to-earth roles, and others have been quirky. This feels like a step back in a way, and I’m not entirely sure why. I mean, his look in the film is great. This down and out guy who wants to get rich and all his schemes go south until he hits the mother-load of gold and gets what he wants… only for it to go south again somehow. Yeah, I feel like I’ve seen movies like this before… like, a lot. Honestly, maybe the story doesn’t interest me so much as the talent.

Speaking of which, let’s dive in. McConaughey stars and, I won’t lie, he looks like he’s going to be a lot of fun. Probably not in a “genuinely good role” kind of way, but like he’ll chew the scenery in a glorious fashion. I think if nothing else, I might enjoy his performance. But who really caught my eye, and arguably the very reason I’m seeing this movie at all, is the inclusion of Bryce Dallas Howard. I’ve been a relative fan of hers ever since M. Night Shyamalan’s THE LADY IN THE WATER (2006). Say what you want about the film, for some reason she stuck in my mind and it’s been a slow, uphill climb from there. SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007), TERMINATOR SALVATION (2009), TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE (2010), this woman has never really been given the time of day to show off the talent I believed she had. Then finally, she was given a great opportunity in JURASSIC WORLD (2015), where I think she was good. Yes, not the best directed or structured film, but I thought she did well with what she was given. And then… PETE’S DRAGON (2016) happened. A role that made me cry and helped cement that film into my number three spot on my top ten favorite films of 2016. Now… I’m a hardcore fan of Howard, and she’s become that name that will guarantee my ass in a seat at the cinema, right alongside Kate Beckinsale. Love her, can’t wait to see what she brings to this movie. Finally, Edgar Ramírez. I really want to like this guy. He seems like a solid actor, but he always gets shoved into movies that I haven’t liked or haven’t been a good springboard for him. POINT BREAK (2015), and both 2016 films THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN  and HANDS OF STONE. I hope I get to see him in something that I will like, and I sure hope to enjoy him here. Other talent includes Corey Stoll (CAFÉ SOCIETY [2016], ANT-MAN [2015], and TV show THE STRAIN), Toby Kebbell (A MONSTER CALLS [2016], FANT4STIC [2015], and DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES [2014]), Craig T. Nelson (GET HARD [2015], THE PROPOSAL [2009], and THE INCREDIBLES [2004]), Rachael Taylor (THE LOFT [2014], TRANSFORMERS [2007], and TV show JESSICA JONES), and Bruce Greenwood (STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS [2013], FLIGHT [2012], and SUPER 8 [2011]).

Now for behind the scenes. Directing is Stephen Gaghan, known for SYRIANA (2005) and ABANDON (2002). Co-writing the screenplay is Patrick Massett and John Zinman, both known for writing LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (2001) and a few episodes of TV shows CAPRICA and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. Composing the music is Daniel Pemberton, known for STEVE JOBS (2015), THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (2015), and THE COUNSELOR (2013). Finally, the cinematographer is Robert Elswit, known for MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION (2015), NIGHTCRAWLER (2014), and THE TOWN (2010).

Overall, I can’t say if this will be a good film or not, but I’m excited to see what the actors bring to the table.

This is my honest opinion of: GOLD

(SUMMARY)

Based on true events. Set during the late 80’s, early 90’s, Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) is a prospector who is down on his luck, desperate for a lucky break. He soon learns of a geologist, named Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramírez) who is just as hopeful, but no one will finance his sites. Kenny, pawning the last of his most valuable possessions, gets the money together and the two head into Indonesia to start digging, Despite a long time of setbacks, they eventually strike a huge gold deposit and become filthy rich. But as their wealth grows and more businesses want a piece of his findings, the more those businesses take advantage of him, leading to one of the biggest mining scandals of all time.

(REVIEW)

This might be a short review because… well, the movie is pretty boring.

It doesn’t start off bad. McConaughey is consistently really good in the movie and gleefully chews the scenery. Even the story isn’t executed horribly. I mean, you can guess this movie from the trailer alone. It’s a down-on-his-luck dude who wants to be rich, gets rich, and loses it all. The entire movie, in retrospect, is in the trailer. But still, McConaughey’s performance is still entertaining enough to get through the first act. I did enjoy his chemistry with Howard and Ramírez, but as soon as the first act ends, the movie quickly goes downhill.

Nearly everything about the second act is all about business talk. Corporations trying to get a piece of Kenny’s wealth and contract deals and this and this and it’s absolutely uninteresting. Maybe this is because I don’t understand business-talk like that, so if you’re savvy in that department, then I assume you’ll do fine, but as for me… I was dozing off. And if it’s not being boring, it’s being painfully unoriginal. As Kenny becomes wealthier, he starts to be an asshole to his longtime girlfriend Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard), whom leaves him and he starts having an affair with another woman right after and… yeah, THE FLINTSTONES (1994) and CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD (1998) did that, both bad movies… minus the affair stuff. It’s contrived and, as I said, uninteresting.

In the end, the business stuff hardly seems like it really had any impact on the story. I mean, we learn that Michael was sprinkling gold dust on the rocks they were finding to give them the impression that they were real gold and now investors lost a shit-load of money. That seems like where the real conflict is, but it doesn’t arrive until the third act. So… why do we need to care about these corporate big-wigs when they didn’t contribute to the conflict in any meaningful way? It’s entirely possible I missed something during all that business-talk in the second act, but even if I did, that doesn’t make it any more interesting.

To put the final nail in the coffin, the story presented here is ridiculously fabricated, all in the name of “appealing to American audiences,” so names and details were changed. I won’t have any idea why, so it’s hard for me to invest in a story that seems more interested in flashy dramatics, rather than inform the public of what happened. Hell, I think the creators even denied that this movie is connected to the Bre-X mining scandal. So… why not make a completely fictional story? I myself only did a half-assed search on Wikipedia and I can see what changes they made two minutes into reading the page. Link below:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bre-X

Overall, I didn’t like this movie. I liked McConaughey, I liked Howard, despite how underutilized she was, and even the story isn’t a bad idea. But it’s delivered in such a bland and snooze-inducing way that it’s hard to get engaged. If you’re a fan of McConaughey’s work, that might hold you over for awhile. But if you wanted a little more depth, then I might not recommend this flick to anyone. I won’t say it’s horrible, I’ve seen worse, but there’s nothing here that makes it good.

My honest rating for GOLD: a weak 3/5

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