Midnight in Paris

   Director: Woody Allen, Hopscotch, Rated PG, 94 mins

Multi-award winning filmmaker and writer Woody Allen (Annie Hall) has really excelled in his wonderful direction of his beautifully written romantic fantasy filmed in France in one of the world’s most romantic cities (including the impressive Palace of Versailles) with a charming storyline that can best be summed up as making the most of life in the present while having the opportunity to experience the Parisian past.
   This is exactly what happens to American writer Gil Pender (perfectly played by Owen Wilson - Night at the Museum) who accompanies his annoying fiancé Inez (Rachel McAdams - Sherlock Holmes) together with her parents John (Kurt Fuller) and Helen (Mimi Kennedy) on a holiday to Paris.
Midnight in Paris
   Once there and in order to gain inspiration for his novel, Gil wanders off but around midnight something magical and mystical begins to happen.
   He is suddenly offered a ride in a vintage car into the past lives of some notable Parisians - coming face to face with some of the famous artists, painters and writers of the 1920’s that he admires so much such as Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody), Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), Pablo Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo), Cole Porter (Yves Heck), F.Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston), Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) - and the delightful partner of Picasso, Adriana (delightfully played by academy award winning actress Marion Cotillard) with whom Gil falls for during his sojourns into the past.
   It is therefore not surprising to glean from this magical movie that the wonderful Wilson could actually be portraying Allen himself as the budding writer who has always been inspired and had a great passion for Paris, accounting for the pictorial postcard landmarks being shown in the movie’s opening scenes.
   The picturesque Parisian shots are cleverly complemented by Allen’s inclusion of different time periods and the performances of Wilson and Cotillard, not to mention the assembling of a great cast especially a number of well known stars to portray some of his famous artists including Bates as Gertrude Stein, Brody as Salvador Dali-as well as the pleasing performance of the French President’s wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy as the museum guide.
   With some 50 movies under his directing belt, Allen’s marvellous movie would certainly have to be one of his best.

VIC'S VERDICT:       4½ Rubber Stamps

DVD Review

Cars 2

   Release Date: 9 November 2011
   Directors: John Lasseter and Brad Lewis, Walt Disney Pictures, Rated PG, 113 mins

Director John Lasseter returns for the next instalment of his award winning animated automobile movie Cars together with his two main car characters Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) and his incomparable tow truck friend Mater (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy).
Cars 2
   This time round, both Lightning McQueen and Mater head overseas to compete in the first ever World Grand Prix race but on the road to the championships go off track as Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own, becoming involved in a top secret mission orchestrated by British super spy Finn McMissile (voiced by Sir Michael Caine).    Mater is soon led on an explosive chase through Japan and Europe closely followed by his friends.
   Even Australia’s V8 super car driver Mark Winterbottom gives this sequel a real Aussie flavour, making a cameo appearance as the car character Frosty and appropriately decked out in Aussie colours.
   With all the excitement and speed as the original, Cars 2 is a fantastic fun ride that the whole family will enjoy not to mention some great chase scenes involving international racers and menacing villains.
   Together with some bonus features included in both Disney’s Blu-ray and DVD editions this is definitely one car worth driving!
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps

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