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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(007) SPECTRE (transfer) review

These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.

I wouldn’t call myself a die-hard James Bond fan. I think I’ve only seen a few in my life, GOLDFINGER, a few from Pierce Brosnan’s tenure, nothing from Roger Moore, George Lazenby, or Timothy Dalton… by extension, I never even heard of David Niven, so I have not seen the first CASINO ROYALE (1967). But, I can definitely say that I’m a fan of Daniel Craig’s James Bond… which may not say much considering how many of these films I haven’t seen, but I do love a gritty and hardcore action movie, and what with a resurgence of spy films, I like that sub-genre as well. I loved SKYFALL (2012), of course, thinking it’s the best Bond film, so I had high hopes for this. Did it meet my expectations?

Starring: Daniel Craig (STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS [2015], THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO [2011], and DEFIANCE [2008]) and Christoph Waltz (THE LEGEND OF TARZAN [2016], BIG EYES [2014], and DJANGO UNCHAINED [2012]). In support: Léa Seydoux (THE LOBSTER [2016], BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR [2013], and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL [2011]), Ralph Fiennes (THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE [2017], KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS [2016], and THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL [2014]), Ben Whishaw (IN THE HEART OF THE SEA [2015], SUFFRAGETTE [2015], and CLOUD ATLAS [2012]), Naomie Harris (MOONLIGHT [2016], NINJA ASSASSIN [2009], STREET KINGS [2008], and the upcoming JUNGLE BOOK [2018]), and Dave Bautista (HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN [2011], GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY [2014], TV show CHUCK, and upcoming films BLADE RUNNER 2049 [2017] and ESCAPE PLAN 2: HADES [2018])

Directed by Sam Mendes (SKYFALL [2012], REVOLUTIONARY ROAD [2008], and JARHEAD [2005]). Co-written by: John Logan (HUGO [2011], SWEENY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET [2007], THE AVIATOR [2006], and the upcoming ALIEN: COVENANT [2017]), Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (CASINO ROYALE, JOHNNY ENGLISH [2003], and 007 THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH [1999]), and Jez Butterworth (BLACK MASS [2015], GET ON UP [2014], and EDGE OF TOMORROW [2014]). Composed by: Thomas Newman (FINDING DORY [2016], BRIDGE OF SPIES [2015], and THE IRON LADY [2011]). Cinematography by: Hoyte Van Hoytema (INTERSTELLAR [2014], HER [2013], THE FIGHTER [2010], and the upcoming DUNKIRK [2017]) 

(SUMMARY)

James Bond (Daniel Craig) comes full circle when he meets the “author” of all of his problems since the events of CASINO ROYALE.

(REVIEW)

I’m… conflicted. I’m not even sure where to start.

Heads up, most of my problems are loaded with spoilers so you might have to scroll down a lot before you get the non-spoiler stuff.

***SPOILERS***

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Okay, let’s back-track to the trailers and what they show. We are basically told that Waltz’s character has been the reason why Bond’s life has been the way it’s been since the events of CASINO ROYALE (nearly a decade ago). The expectation is that this is a villain who knows Bond like the back of his hand. While certainly Oberhauser gives that impression at first, the whole time he’s a dude with daddy issues. Yes, it’s revealed that when Bond lost his parents, Bond was taken in by a man and his son. The son was Oberhauser… so as kids, they were both brought up to treat each other as brothers… and Bond and his dad got really close to the point where he plotted both of their deaths, legit killing his own dad, and… grows up to create Spectre and pour a gallon of hell on Bond…? Seriously, writers, Mendez, when did you green-light the worst Bond villain? You’re making Talia al ghul from DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012) look sinister.

There is SO much wrong with the history between Bond and Oberhauser. First off, Bond, you didn’t recognize him?? He was essentially your brother as a kid and those older pictures of Waltz is CLEARLY him. You had to do research and look him up and shit to know who he was?? EVEN THEN, he had to TELL YOU who he was for the connection to sink in??? Yeah, no. Calling bullshit on that one.

Also, I love Waltz, he’s a tremendous actor, but every time I see his face on screen, he looks like he’s about to give a cheesy maniacal laugh. He… man, just looks silly. This was not his best performance and I really don’t want to blame him for it, which means all that’s left is bad writing or bad directing. Mendez directed [007] SKYFALL, so I want to blame bad writing. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have been co-writing 007 films since THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH… which probably explains a lot, since Brosnan’s last two Bond films were considered his worst… but that’s also weird to say because they co-wrote CASINO ROYALE (2006) and SKYFALL… how do you have a career this jumbled in good AND bad work?! Not sure who John Logan is (aside from being the third credited writer for both SKYFALL and SPECTRE), but I’m assuming he had very little input on these movies. Maybe… studio executives got their paws on it? Who the hell knows what happened, all I know, this was a terrible villain. Memorable in all the wrong ways.

One other thing I wanted to address and rant about was the style the Craig-Bond films have become too “Jason Bourne.” Honestly, I don’t think even Jason Bourne did it’s style first, similar to how THE MATRIX (1999) wasn’t the first to use slow-mo. They were just the movies that did it either right, or popularized it. I don’t think that was the case for the better Craig-Bond films, or at least, I didn’t see those connections. The only thing that I will say, however, that there was a shameless copy of another great spy movie that came out earlier this year: Bond, from what I’ve seen, always kills his villains. But this movie has him spare Oberhauser’s life at the end. That is definitely a shameless rip-off from MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION (2015), another spy franchise whose villains always die but the villain is alive at the end of the film. Now, I’m sensing that not only is Hollywood out of ideas, but so are Bond films. How did it come to this?

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***END SPOILERS***

Non-spoiler-related, I didn’t like Madeleine, even though I think Seydoux herself is a fantastic actress. She’s the bad-ass written badly. While she’s not annoying per se, she’s constantly raving about how she can take care of herself, but she’s always in need of saving and doesn’t really showcase how much of a bad-ass she is with the exception of ONE scene she shoots Hinx… only to get punched one time and knocked out of the fight almost as fast as she entered it. What a waste of a perfectly talented woman. Seydoux, I hope you keep finding high-profile and well-known work. You deserved better than this.

I do enjoy the humor, the writing is MOSTLY good, the action is exciting and hard-hitting, but I just can’t get past the poorly-written female lead, the atrociously-written villain and Waltz’s awkward acting, and rehashed plot-lines (how many times has Bond’s bosses told him that he’s suspended from duty?). This was a fairly messy film to say the least.

Not the worst I’ve seen all year, not even bad when Waltz isn’t on screen, but… what a disappointment.

A weak 3/5

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