Woody Allen, a Roman General and a Polynesian chieftain: movies (#SFWApro)

I liked MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (2014) better than a lot of Woody Allen’s 21st century movies, though it didn’t bowl me over as much as Midnight in Paris either. Colin Firth plays a 1920s fake Chinese magician (based on Chung Ling Soo I presume) who uses his skills to prove medium Emma Stone is nothing but a fake; when it appears she’s the real deal, Firth for the first time in his life has hope there’s a higher power watching over us, as well as falling in love with her. Watchable, but the romance felt completely unconvincing. “One of the kindest, gentlest local priests said that Stanley was the only child in the neighborhood destined for hell.”

TITUS (1999) was Julie Taymor’s adaptation of Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s story of a general (Anthony Hopkins) whose blood feud with Roman queen Jessica Lange leads to increasingly high body counts and grotesque deeds of revenge on both sides (all rights to image remain with current holder). This was Shakespeare’s first tragedy, and solidly in the tradition of Elizabethan revenge plays (Silence of the Lambs would be an obvious double bill) — one of my Shakespeare reference books describes it as a rookie playwright turning out something he knows will give him a solid hit (audiences of that day loved gory revenge plays). That makes it one of Shakespeare’s more controversial plays as scholars split whether it’s an embarrassing anomaly in the canon or holds the seeds of future greatness (there are obvious resemblances with Hamlet and King Lear for instance). Still this version certainly worked for me. “If in all my life I did one good deed, I do repent it.”

MOANA (2016) is a Disney animated fantasy in which a Polynesian chieftain’s daughter (“I’m not a princess!”) sets out to end the darkness slowly blotting out her world by restoring the heart of the mother goddess stolen by demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson). This was nicely done, with a good setting and I really like the lead character; at the same time it felt too much like a standard Disney fantasy to really hook me. “We never go beyond the reef.”



Filed under Movies

3 responses to “Woody Allen, a Roman General and a Polynesian chieftain: movies (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: The English gentry and irrational people, or did I just repeat myself? TV and movies (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Context and culture (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: Piranhas and Prospero, Dad’s Army and Darlene Love: movies and TV | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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