‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ 2008

Vicky and Cristina, these two young Americans spend a summer in Spain and meet a flamboyant artist and his beautiful but insane ex-wife. Vicky is straight-laced and about to be married. Cristina is a sexually adventurous free spirit. When they all become amorously entangled, both comedic and harrowing results ensue.

“Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is typical of a lot Woody Allan’s mid-range work. It involves affluent characters at various levels of sophistication, involved in the arts and the intrigues of love. They’re conflicted about right and wrong. They’re undoubtedly low-level neurotics. In addition, they are attractive, amusing and living lives we might envy — in this case, during a summer vacation in Barcelona.

 

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‘Midnight in Paris’ 2011

This film is sort of a daydream for American lit majors.  Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) are officially in love, but maybe what Gil really loves is Paris in the springtime. He’s a hack screenwriter from Hollywood who still harbors the dream of someday writing a good novel and joining the pantheon of American writers whose ghosts seem to linger in the very air he breathes: Fitzgerald, Hemingway and the other legends of Paris in the 1920s.

Some audience members might be especially charmed by “Midnight in Paris.” They would be those familiar with Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, and the artists who frequented Stein’s famous salon: Picasso, Dali, Cole Porter, Man Ray, Luis Bunuel and Tom Eliot.  Allen assumes some familiarity with their generation, and some moviegoers will be mystified, because cultural literacy is not often required at the movies anymore.

This is Woody Allen’s 41st film. He writes his films himself, and directs them with wit and grace. I consider him a treasure of the cinema. Some people take him for granted, although “Midnight in Paris” reportedly charmed even the jaded veterans of the Cannes press screenings. There is nothing to dislike about it. Either you connect with it or not. – Roger Ebert