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Blu-ray Review Magic in the Moonlight Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Richard Gallagher, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    XenForo Template Magic in the Moonlight Blu-ray Review

    Woody Allen celebrated his 79th birthday a few weeks ago, but advancing age has not slowed him down a bit. He continues to write and direct a new film each year, and for his follow-up to the highly praised Blue Jasmine he returned to Europe to make a romantic comedy, Magic in the Moonlight. It is not as serious as Blue Jasmine and the humor is amusing rather than laugh out loud, but the film boasts outstanding performances, witty dialogue, and gorgeous cinematography.

    Posted Image


    Studio: Sony

    Distributed By: N/A

    Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

    Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1

    Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, French 5.1 DTS

    Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French

    Rating: PG-13

    Run Time: 1 Hr. 37 Min.

    Package Includes: Blu-ray, UltraViolet

    Standard Blu-ray Case

    Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

    Region:

    Release Date: 12/16/2014

    MSRP: $34.99




    The Production Rating: 3.5/5

    You're still a perfectionist, a snob, a genius, with all the charm of a typhus epidemic.Magic in the Moonlight opens in pre-Nazi Berlin in 1928. Stanley Crawford (Colin Firth) is an acclaimed but arrogant illusionist who, under the stage name Wei Ling Soo, performs as a Chinese magician. He makes an elephant disappear and a woman is sawed in two, but in his signature illusion he steps into a sarcophagus, and a few seconds after it is closed he spins around in a chair on the other side of the stage and triumphantly faces his delighted audience.Afterwards, in his dressing room Stanley receives an old friend (and apparently his only friend), Howard Burkan (Simon McBurney). Howard also is a magician, although he has never achieved the same level of fame as Stanley. it turns out that Howard has a request to make. He is a friend of the Catledge family, the head of which made millions in the coal business in western Pennsylvania before he died. The family is vacationing in a villa in the south of France, and Mrs. Catledge (Jacki Weaver) has fallen under the spell of a beautiful young psychic, Sophie Baker (Emma Stone). Sophie, who has been traveling around Europe with her mother (Marcia Gay Harden), has convinced Mrs. Catledge that she can set up a seance during which the matriafch can communicate with her late husband. In the meantime Brice Catledge (Hamish Linklater), the male heir to the family fortune, has fallen in love with Sophie, trying to woo her with off-key serenades and the promise of vacations in exotic lands. Howard is convinced that Sophie is a charlatan, but he has been unable to prove it. Stanley, on the other hand, has made a second career out of exposing phony psychics.Stanley, supremely confident that he will be able to figure out Sophie's trickery during the seance, agrees to postpone a vacation to the Galapagos Islands with his fiancée, Olivia (Catherine McCormack). He accepts the challenge in part because it will give him an opportunity to visit his beloved Aunt Vanessa (Eileen Atkins), who lives near the Catledges.When Stanley arrives at the Catledge villa, using a false name to keep his true identity a secret, he immediately confirms Howard's assessment that he has all the charm of a typhus epidemic. He cannot help but notice Sophie's doe-eyed beauty, but he immediately and sarcastically makes it clear that he does not believe that she has psychic abilities. Stanley fancies himself a thoroughly rational man who flatly rejects any beliefs which cannot be confirmed by science. However, he is taken aback when Sophie disarmingly feels "vibrations" about Stanley which allow her to discern things about him about which she could not possibly have prior knowledge. As he spends more time with Sophie he not only begins to believe in her, he comes to the realization that he wants to believe in her.Colin Firth dominates the film with his believable performance as a brilliant but conceited jerk who has no idea how to relate to other people. Emma Stone is charming as Sophie, who proves to be more than a match for the overbearing Stanley. A standout among the supporting actors is Eileen Atkins as Aunt Vanessa, who loves Stanley but is all too familiar with his personal foibles. She and Colin Firth have a couple of delightful scenes together.Magic in the Moonlight is far from Woody Allen's funniest film, but I expect that most of his fans will find it to be a pleasant way to spend 97 minutes.


    Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    This 2.39:1 1080p presentation, which utilizes the AVC codec, is another typically first-rate Blu-ray transfer from Sony. The beautiful cinematography is by Darius Khondji, who also filmed Midnight in Paris and To Rome With Love for Woody Allen. Unsurprisingly, the color palette is similar to the look of those films, which is to say that it is warm and bright. The image is properly framed, and the picture is highly detailed with no evidence of digital manipulation. Black levels are solid and shadow detail is very good. All of the exterior scenes were shot on location in France, which adds to the film's appeal.



    Audio Rating: 4.5/5

    The lossless 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack is excellent, considering the fact that Woody Allen never does much with the surround channels. He prefers to use music rather than sound effects for emphasis and mood, and such is the case with Magic in the Moonlight. The evocative musical soundtrack, which includes vintage recordings by such artists as Bix Beiderbecke, Paul Whiteman, and Leo Reisman, is beautifully rendered. All of Allen's dialogue is clear and understandable, although English, English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles are available.


    Special Features Rating: 2.5/5

    The extras on this Blu-ray disc are modest and mildly entertaining."Behind the Magic" is am 11-minute featurette in which Colin Firth. Jacki Weaver, and Hamish Linklater talk and joke about their experiences making the film with Woody Allen. Jacki Weaver is very funny and seems like a lot of fun. Woody Allen is briefly seen in a still photo which shows him conferring with Firth and Emma Stone on the set."On the Red Carpet: The Los Angeles Film Premiere" runs for a bit under three minutes and includes comments by cast members and film critic Leonard Maltin.Also included are the film's theatrical trailer and an UltraViolet code.


    Overall Rating: 3.5/5

    Magic in the Moonlight is far from Woody Allen's most memorable film, and it is lacking side-splitting laughs, but it is a gorgeous looking movie and contains enough of Woody's wit to please most of his fans.


    Reviewed By: Richard Gallagher


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  2. Vahan_Nisanain

    Vahan_Nisanain Supporting Actor

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    Why are people complaining about the age gap between the two leads? Nobody complained about the age gap in Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not.

    Or is it because of Mia Farrow reopening the allegations last January?
     
  3. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I'm sure Woody Allen's involvement sure doesn't help but a 30 year (?) age gap between an older man and a young woman is going to raise eyebrows whoever is involved.
     
  4. Richard Gallagher

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    There have been lots of May-December marriages in show business. To name just a few:

    Harrison Ford is 22 years older than Calista Flockhart.Cary Grant was 33 years older than Dyan Cannon.Carlo Ponti was 22 years older than Sophia Loren.Michael Douglas is 25 years older than Catherine Zeta-Jones.Warren Beatty is 21 years older than Annette Bening.John Derek was 30 years older than Bo Derek.Frank Sinatra was 29 years older than Mia Farrow.
     
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  5. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    I think that many women are fed up that a man at 60 can be a romantic lead with a 30 year old women, but not vice versa. Good roles for women after 40'are hard to come by. I think that's part of the attitude. I can't blame them.
     
  6. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Yes but out of those examples, how many of the modern examples (say the last 30 years) involve a man in his 50's and a woman in her 20's? If Emma Stone and Colin Firth actually started dating tomorrow, people would barf not because of the gap in age but because she's in her 20's and he's in his 50's.
     
  7. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    James Woods was about 59 years old when he began dating Ashley Madison, who was 20 or 21. They stayed together for six years.

    Warren Beatty was 54 when he married Annette Bening in 1992. She was 33.

    Michael Douglas was 56 when he married Catherine Zeta-Jones in 2000. She was 31.

    Nicholas Cage was 40 when he married Alice Kim in 2004. She was 20 years old at the time.

    Kelsey Grammer was 56 when he married Kayte Walsh in 2011. She was 29 or 30.

    Edward James Olmos was 55 when he married Lymari Nadal in 2002. She was 24.

    It happens more often that you think, and I doubt that most people barf at the idea.
     
  8. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    And it certainly aint nobody's business.
     
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  9. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    Who cares.

    Its about time to let it go with Allen and his younger wife.We know it's a theme in many of his movies as well as his personal life.
    Anyway this movie wasn't anything special for Allen. It looked gorgeous.Some of the scenes had amazingly colorful sunlight and I loved the way it looked.I felt like I saw the story somewhere before but it didn't matter to me.
    Woody Allen makes a movie that's always worth seeing.

    3.5/5
     
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  10. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    I agree. When I watched the film I never gave a thought to the age difference, which is why I didn't mention it in the review.

    Woody and Soon-Yi just celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary a few days ago and she is now 41 years old, so I think it is time to acknowledge that it was been a successful union.
     
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