Thursday, 2 October 2014

150W: Magic in the Moonlight

Short reviews for clear and concise verdicts on a broad range of films...


Magic in the Moonlight (Dir. Woody Allen/2014)

Woody Allen returns with his annual treat. Magic in the Moonlight imagines a stuck-up, pompous magician (Colin Firth), trying to debunk a psychic (Emma Stone). Unfortunately, a clear plot is muddled by irrelevant romance that only serves to illustrate the distaste towards Allen’s oeuvre. Firth is considerably older than Stone and their romance is forced from the outset. Supporting actors are underused and dull (except for Hamish Linklater’s serenading fool Brice, whose dreary voice perfectly personifies the desperate lover). Woody Allen has asked the question of faith many times before, and a scene whereby Firth prays to God is a memorable highlight. As always, it’s refreshing to hear Woody Allen’s cultured dialogue and refined choice of music on the cinema-screen. But upon the resolution to the central theme, the film loses its steam. A final fifteen minutes stretches the story too long and what could’ve been acceptable becomes gratuitous tosh.

Rating: 2/5

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Twenty Years on... The Top 10 Friends Episodes (1)

This continues a post begun last week.

It was originally written for Flickering Myth on September 22nd 2014 but will continue to run on the blog this week. And at number...
  1. The One Where No One's Ready (Series 3, Episode 2) -
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Completely self-contained and effortlessly acted by everyone involved - as if, at this very moment, all the actors completely understand their characters. Rewatching Series 3, it’s when Friends knew how good it was. The look and feel of the show changes dramatically. Notably, Joey’s hair is completely different. But this episode showcases the nuanced characteristics of each role. Monica, cut-up about Richard. Ross and his strict time-keeping. Joey and Chandler, playing off each other to great effect. “Could I be wearing any more clothes??”. The Ross and Rachel dynamic plays out, proving why they are so good – and bad – together.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Twenty Years on... The Top 10 Friends Episodes (2)

This continues a post begun last week...

It was originally written for Flickering Myth on September 22nd 2014 but will continue to run on the blog this week. And at number...
  1. The One with the Prom Video (Season 2, Episode 14) –
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There is a sense that Kaufman, Crane and Bright realised how much we loved dress-up Friends episodes after this one. Soon enough, we had The One with all the ThanksgivingsThe One with the Flashback and The One that Could Have Been Part I/II. Admittedly, these episodes are often the reason there are chronological inconsistencies, but The One with the Prom Video is a stand-out moment. Ross’ moustache (“Misster Kotter”) and the first appearance of fat-Monica and original-nose Rachel are for the books, but the backstory between Rachel, Monica and Ross is front and centre – and the realisation for Rachel as to how long he has loved her. The fact that Ross is playing the keyboard only hints at another brilliant episode later (The One where Chandler crosses the line in Season 4) when he plays his “sound”.

The countdown continues tomorrow ... 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Twenty Years on... The Top 10 Friends Episodes (3)

This continues a post from yesterday.

It was originally written for Flickering Myth on September 22nd 2014 but will continue to run on the blog this week. And at number...
  1. The One Where Ross Finds Out (Season 2, Episode 7) –
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Considering the entire first season has Ross hankering after Rachel. And then, starting the second season, they still aren’t together because of Julie. It is lovely when it finally happens. Then again, it doesn’t last long (in a show-running moment of genius, the next episode is The One with The List.) Ross - and his long face - leaning on the Central Perk door. Rachel, struggling to open the door. That music. Could be the most memorable moment of the entire ten series.

The countdown continues tomorrow ... 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Twenty Years on... The Top 10 Friends Episodes (4)

This continues a post from yesterday.

It was originally written for Flickering Myth on September 22nd 2014 but will continue to run on the blog this week. And at number...
  1. The One with the Morning after (Season 3, Episode 16) –
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We’ve established how Matthew Perry can’t sob. David Schwimmer though, really can. I’ve met some folk who despise this episode arguing it is too serious, but it is worth noting how the entire third season builds up to this. In fact, the ‘copier girl’ is mentioned within the first few episodes of the season. The jealousy over “Mark” is gradually built up until his unplanned/planned comforting of Rachel while Ross, the “dinosaur guy”, scores with the young thing all the boys fancy. The conflicted argument about whether they were “on a break”, begins here. As almost half of the episode relies on Jennifer Anniston and Schwimmer alone, it is a testament to their acting chops that it holds up. Ross, desperately seeking comfort in Rachel’s arms, remains a moment whereby you’d need a heart of stone not to crumble a teeny bit.

The countdown continues tomorrow ...