Café Society reviews

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Re: Café Society reviews

Postby Sabin » Mon Aug 08, 2016 1:39 am

I agree. This one could've been something. The best thing you can say is it's not aggravatingly lazy, merely intermittently irritating. One gets the impression that Woody Allen enjoys coming up with old Hollywood references more than anything else. It's also a gorgeous film, almost distractingly striking in a way the film doesn't entirely support. There's much more energy in the camera movements than the script, which just took me out.

I liked the film more as it went along because A) the pace just picks up and it speeds through life, and B) it became clear it had something to say about (I'm going to be charitable here) how the dreams of our youth serve as gateway to the compromise that will be the rest of our lives. There are incredibly thin parallels with the rest of the film (especially involving Cory Stoll's mobster brother) and it botches an opportunity to dovetail the choices that Steve Carell makes at the end of his life with the choices Jesse Eisenberg makes at the start of his. This is a shame because this is absolutely a film that a filmmaker makes at the end of his life trying to say everything he can about life and love and what it all means. Café Society is the work of a guy who doesn't have anything left to say -- because if he did, this would've been so much better.
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Re: Café Society reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Aug 06, 2016 2:37 pm

Cafe Society is the first Woody Allen movie since, maybe, Husbands and Wives that had the stuff to be a major film.

It is emphatically NOT that film, because of a multitude of failings. There are characters (the gangster brother, the philosopher brother-in-law) who are barely beyond stick figure conceptions. There's a device (involving a letter) so leadenly obvious it feels like something from the Ibsen era. There's narration that's, alternately, redundant to what we're seeing on the screen, or too quick to summarize something we'd rather see fully dramatized. There's a general sloppiness to the dialogue -- I found myself mentally editing lines, shifting or removing words to make the scenes play more sharply. Some of the scenes are fairly poorly acted. (An example of the last two things at once: an early scene with a hooker that's interesting in conception, but feels like it needs both a dialogue polish and better-directed acting.) And there's, undeniably, a family resemblance to Crimes and Misdemeanors in the whole project.

And yet...and yet...I found the central subject matter -- the Eisenberg/Stewart relationship -- truly compelling. Most of their scenes together are the best, freshest things in the film, and the longer the film went on, the more I felt there was a real idea here. It would have required a major rewrite to make the film work -- better-developed characters; elimination of the narration; significant scene rewrites -- but the central concept was, by me, worth devoting that time to. Put it this way: this film isn't close, on the success scale, to Midnight in Paris. But Midnight in Paris had nowhere near the possibilities this one did.

Warning: it may be that my writer's training makes me more susceptible to something like this: seeing the potential in a failed execution, enough that I like a film more than most would. There've been a few other films that have hit me this way, and when I've steered friends to them, their near-universal reaction has been, Why did you send me to that awful movie? So I can't promise that anyone else will react as I did: seeing this as evidence that Woody Allen may yet have the makings of another major film in him, even if this one falls short.

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Re: Café Society reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Wed May 11, 2016 1:27 pm

No surprise here. It was announced a week ago that Gleiberman was the new Chief Film Critic for Variety and that his first assignment would be covering the Cannes Film Festival.
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Café Society reviews

Postby Sonic Youth » Wed May 11, 2016 1:09 pm

Yes, Owen, but you forgot the most important thing. Is the film a B or a B-? ... 201771214/

I must admit, I posted this not for the movie itself (of which I have only marginal interest), but because of the reviewer. This is Owen Gleiberman's first review for Variety in what I assume is a permanent gig. Did this take anyone else by surprise?
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