Tag Archives: Owen Wilson

Midnight in Paris

In this charming romantic comedy, legendary director Woody Allen focuses his lens on an engaged young couple whose experiences traveling together in Paris make them begin to question the kind of life they want to live.

Rating: 8 out of 10

There are few scribes like Woody Allen. And while you can point to his typical formula in this film — his constant scratching at the subject of love and finding happiness — there is a wealth of imagination and creativity. He certainly hasn’t lost his touch.

Allen wrangles an immensely talented cast with a script that weaves time travel, humor, romance, and beautiful cinematography of Paris. It’s absolutely sublime.  Owen Wilson plays a typical Allen character, a writer in a relationship he’s not really satisfied with in search of a deeper existence. Rachel McAdams plays his fiancee, a tart who doesn’t really like Wilson’s artsy, eyes-open-wide view of the world. At midnight, Wilson takes a stroll and is somehow transported back to the ’30s. While he’s there, he meets the legends of the time in writing and music, along with Adriana, a flapper girl played by the enchanting Marion Cotillard.

What follows is a series of Wilson popping back and forth between decades, trying to figure out his relationship, pursue Adriana, all while working on a novel and dealing with his crazy, annoying future in-laws. And in the background, that constant yearning for a greater, more meaningful life. This is a wonderful script by Allen, who won the Academy Award for his efforts. “Midnight in Paris” stands tall in Allen’s collection of incredible films.

How Do You Know

Feeling spurned after being cut from the national team due to her age, newly single softball player Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) finds herself in the middle of a heated love triangle, as a professional baseball player (Owen Wilson) and a business executive (Paul Rudd) compete for her affections. Jack Nicholson co-stars in this athletically minded romantic comedy from acclaimed writer-director James L. Brooks (As Good As It Gets).

Rating: 5 out of 10

“How Do You Know” has a few unfortunate pitfalls. It’s billed as a comedy and the actors are usually comedic, so obviously you go in thinking it’ll be funny. But it’s really more of a drama with humorous moments. I still liked it, though. It’s probably a little too long, and maybe they go into each story a little too much. I think that’s the problem with stories like this. There are three leads (plus Jack Nicholson!) and way too much going on. It could have been a television show.

To turn this back into a comedy I think it mostly needed focus and editing. The Owen Wilson character, although funny, could have been cut out altogether, or at least made to be more of a sidenote. And Reese Witherspoon, who plays an aging (31) women’s softball player who’s about to get cut from the team, could have been fired in scene one instead of dragging it out.

The actors are still really good, especially the scenes with Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

It is the story of one Mr. Fox (George Clooney) and his wild-ways of hen heckling, turkey taking and cider sipping, nocturnal, instinctive adventures. He has to put his wild days behind him and do what fathers are supposed to do best: be responsible. He is too rebellious, too wild, and he’s going to try one more big score on the three nastiest, greediest farmers in the county. It is a tale of crossing the line of family responsibilities and midnight adventure, the friendships and awakenings of this country life that is inhabited by Fantastic Mr. Fox and his friends, and ripping off the man. Directed by Wes Anderson (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Rushmore).

Rating: 8 out of 10

The great English actor Peter Ustinov (who won Academy Awards for his roles in Spartacus and Topkapi) once said good characters have contradiction. Every villain has to have a heart and every hero has to be a sinner.

Mr. Fox is a thief at heart. He tries to be a newspaper man after giving up his life of crime for his pregnant wife, but the itch never goes away. But at the same time, we root for him, and this is where Wes Anderson succeeds.

Anderson put together a great cast — George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, and Adrien Brody — who bring a brevity about being the voices of animals while not selling the characters short of being charming, villainous, or even sad.

This is a movie that children will enjoy — there’s no foul language or overt violence — but adults will be far more entertained by the subtle and not-so-subtle character development, jokes and gags that only we can get. This is a light-hearted story that is very enjoyable, stylish and witty beyond it’s simplistic stop-motion animation. This is a very smart film and I give Anderson a great deal of credit.