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September 5th, 2014

Movie Review - Magic in the Moonlight

Magic in the Moonlight



Starring: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Eileen Atkins, Simon McBurney, Jacki Weaver, Erica Leerhsen, Jeremy Shamos, Hamish Linklater, Marcia Gay Harden, and more.


Directed by: Woody Allen, Written by: Woody Allen Cinematography by: Darius Khondji


Premise: A fellow magician asks Stanley, aka Wei Long Soo, to come with him to the south of France to help debunk a psychic who's ingratiated herself with a friend's family. Exposing fake mediums being one of his hobbies, Stanley agrees. Yet Sophie turns out to be very different from what he was expecting. And her powers seem to actually be the real thing - throwing his beliefs about life entirely topsy-turvy. (Rated PG-13)


Review:


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Colin Firth is delightful as the egotistical, genius, and magician, Stanley. He does a fabulous job of being the arrogant disbeliever while charming the audience at the same time. Emma Stone was a lot of fun as Sophie, who is the almost polar opposite of Stanley. Eileen Atkins as Aunt Vanessa gave as good as she got. It was a blast watching her steer her nephew along. Seeing Jackie Weaver again, as bubbly as ever, was an extra treat. Hamish Linklater just made you feel sad for poor, besotted, ukulele playing Brice.


2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: A lot of subtle effects - from the beginning with the amazing skills of Wei Long Soo, to the floating candle, or the fast moving lightning storm. The special effects department did some lovely work.


3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: I tend to have coincidences or 'runs' of similar things and this film landed in my current trend of things to stumble into in the form of both the 20's and magic. (Hubby and I had just this week watched the Houdini special on the History Channel as well as episodes of Poirot.) In many ways Stanley is a British Houdini - they even mentioned how he got his start as an escape artist. Another aspect related to Houdini was how he spent a lot of time after his mother's death seeking a true medium - and exposing all those who were fakes. Houdini's intent (and Stanley's secret hope) to find a real medium through whom he could contact his parent.


Wei Long Soo even did the disappearing elephant trick!


The film's story is pretty straight forward, but does have some lovely unexpected twists. It plays a lot with expectations and assumptions, even the blindness of narrow mindedness. But what makes the film a true treat is the witty repartee between Sophia, Stanley, and others as well as the giant verbal blunders by Stanley when speaking to Sophia. Watching the Aunt work her own brand of magic was also highly entertaining.


4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: From the theater in Germany to the lovely gardens, and the coast of southern France, the locations definitely set the stage. By adding in all the great Jazz and 20's music, it was easy for the audience to be transported back to 1928.


Conclusion: "Magic in the Moonlight" is a nice, quirky romance with an odd but fun cast of characters. The verbal fencing, especially towards the end, made it very fun to watch.


Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Novels


JEWEL OF THE GODS

(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!


Excerpt:
"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."





INNER DEMONS

(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!


Excerpt:
The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."



THE PRICE OF MERCY

(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Excerpt:

Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.




CROSS-EYED DRAGON TROUBLES
(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”

Excerpt:

“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.



WILLING SACRIFICE
(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”

Excerpt:

Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”



IN THE SERVICE OF SAMURAI
(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”

Excerpt:

Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.



VASSAL OF EL
(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”

Excerpt:

Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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