The Reel Deal


Quick Takes on Three Films

Film Insight by Tyler Malone

June 2011


Reel Rating: 5 out of 5

Midnight in Paris is the finest Woody Allen film in years. Now, before I go any further, perhaps it is best if I admit that it’s a bit unfair for me to review Woody Allen’s new film Midnight in Paris because it was custom built for me: Seriously, a movie about a struggling novelist obsessed with 1920s literati? Come on! This has me written all over it! You’re just trying to get a PMc Mag 5-Reeler aren’t you, Woody? In fact, Midnight in Paris is so me that before I even saw the movie multiple people told me the main character reminded them of yours truly. But it isn’t just that the material is right up my alley that makes me want to claim that this is the finest Woody Allen film in years, it is the fact that it actually is the finest Woody Allen film in years. Yeah, yeah, I know, for the last twenty years almost every film Woody Allen has released–and he releases about one a year–has received praise in the form of: “This is the best Woody Allen film in a decade!” Often Woody Allen films are either overrun with Allen-eccentricity or are strangely lacking even the slightest hint of it, this film, like many of Allen’s classic films, finds a midway point between those two poles. With Owen Wilson in the “Allen” lead role, we get a quirky character whose comedic style is half Allen schtick and half Wilson schtick, and surprisingly those styles of comedy mesh well. The premise, where a writer obsessed with a grass-is-always-greener past (specifically 1920s Paris) and through some unexplained magic is able to travel to 1920s Paris and meet the artists and writers he idolizes that populated it, is one of Allen’s most original in quite some time. This film is easily up there with Allen’s best (but then I claim What’s Up, Tiger Lily? is up there too, so what do I know?).


Reel Rating: 3.5 out of 5

X-Men: First Class isn’t exactly a return to form for the X-Men franchise, because it isn’t anywhere near the quality of the first two X films, but it is definitely better than the most recent two: X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (which were both pretty atrocious). It sits squarely in the middle of X quality. The scenes that feature Michael Fassbender as a vengeful pre-Magneto are wonderfully chilling. He and James McAvoy do phenomenal jobs as friends-turned-foes Magneto and Professor X. The younger cast is hit-and-miss, as is the writing (which barrels through some scenes it should linger on, and lingers on some scenes it should barrel through, or delete altogether). But overall, though X-Men: First Class may be more second class than first, it is an enjoyable film.


Reel Rating: 2 out of 5

While watching The Hangover: Part II I was reminded of Gus Van Sant’s shot-for-shot remake of Psycho. Did they really have to copy their original formula that closely? Were they really that worried that if they didn’t adhere to the original idea that no one would care about these characters? The Hangover: Part II might not be shot-for-shot the same as the original, as Van Sant’s Psycho was, but it is pretty much joke-for-joke a remake of the original. Over half of the gags in this second Hangover were reminiscent of ones from the first. Worse, the jokes weren’t as funny the second time around. Everything is just a rehash of what’s been done better before. The problem with Gus Van Sant’s Psycho wasn’t that it was terrible. It wasn’t. The problem was that it was unnecessary, superfluous, forgettable, etc. It left you questioning: “Why did I spend my time watching that when I could have just rewatched the perfect original?” The Hangover: Part II left me with a similar sentiment. It was entirely watchable, and even admittedly got a few laughs out of me, but by the end, I just wished I had rewatched the original, or gone to see Bridesmaids again. Both the original Hangover and Bridesmaids are better movies and garner more laughs than this, the Bangkok Dangerous of buddy-comedies. That said, Zach Galifianakis can always get me to chuckle.

Midnight in Paris is a film written and directed by Woody Allen. It stars Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Kathy Bates and Marion Cotillard. A romantic comedy about a family traveling to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple forced to confront the illusion that a life different from their own is better.

X-Men: First Class is a film directed by Matthew Vaughn and written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, based on a story by Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer, based on characters created by Stan Lee and others at Marvel Comics. It stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Kevin Bacon. In 1962, the United States government enlists the help of Mutants with superhuman abilities to stop a malicious dictator who is determined to start world war III.

The Hangover: Part II is a film directed by Todd Phillips, and written by Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong, Todd Phillips, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. It stars Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms. Two years after the bachelor party in Las Vegas, Phil, Stu, Alan, and Doug jet to Thailand for Stu’s wedding. Stu’s plan for a subdued pre-wedding brunch, however, goes seriously awry.

Written by Tyler Malone

Image Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Design by Jillian Mercado

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