Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cannes Coverage 2011: "Midnight in Paris"

Cannes has officially kicked off, and I'm wasting no time in getting to the main attraction. Midnight in Paris, the film releasing in May that I've been most anticipating, opened the festival on a pleasant note. I refrain from noting it as a high note, because that could easily be misleading. The majority of reviews I have read thus far have been positive, which is something of a relief for those worried that Woody Allen would be dishing out another failure. That being said, I don't detect the same sort of emphatic euphoria that many had for Vicky Christina Barcelona. That being said, if reviews aren't stellar, they are favorable.

Brad Brevet (Rope of Silicon): "Like any film dealing with the troubles of a writer, you look for connection to the screenwriter of the film and comparisons are easy to make as you can see where Allen's career itself was inspired by the writers Gil, and seemingly Allen, both hold in high esteem. Midnight in Paris is also not without Allen's jabs at portions of society that may ruffle his feathers. Republican Tea Party comments stirred laughter from all corners of the Cannes international audience and Michael Sheen playing the role of Paul, a pedantic know-it-all friend of Inez's, is a consistent source of amusement, and Sheen absolutely crushes the part."

Todd McCarthy (Hollywood Reporter): "For anyone whose historical and cultural fantasies run anywhere near those that Allen toys with here, Midnight in Paris will be a pretty constant delight.  As Allen surrogates go, Wilson is a pretty good one, being so different from the author physically and vocally that there’s little possibility of the annoying traces of imitation that have sometimes afflicted other actors in such roles.  Cotillard is the perfect object of Gil’s romantic and creative dreams; Kathy Bates, speaking English, French and Spanish, makes Stein into a wonderfully appealing straight-shooter, Sheen has fun with his fatuous walking encyclopedia role and McAdams is a bundle of argumentative energy in a role one is meant to find a bit off-putting. French first lady Carla Bruni is perfectly acceptable in her three scenes as a tour guide at the Rodin Museum, while Corey Stoll very nicely pulls off the trick of both sending up Hemingway’s manly pretentions and honestly conveying his core artistic values."

Guy Lodge (In Contention), Giving the film **1/2: "The most interesting and provocative read of the film is that its lapses into platitude and cliché are a wry reflection of Gil’s own emotional and intellectual limitations — none of which are expanded by a rushed happy ending that leaves an entire character’s strand flapping forlornly in the wind. But even the least generous take shouldn’t overrule the superficial pleasures of  this easy-to-take bauble, particularly after the mean-spiritedness of his last pair of features: jaunty, elegantly turned and styled to look like an antique music box, Midnight in Paris suggests that while the past (and occasionally even the present) may be a foreign country, some are happy just passing through."

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