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Notes from 7 blog: Allen’s latest just one of many movie picks

Fri., Aug. 15, 2014, midnight

Simon McBurney as Howard Burkan, Eileen Atkins as Aunt Vanessa and Colin Firth as Stanley in a scene from the film “Magic in the Moonlight,” the latest release from director Woody Allen.
Simon McBurney as Howard Burkan, Eileen Atkins as Aunt Vanessa and Colin Firth as Stanley in a scene from the film “Magic in the Moonlight,” the latest release from director Woody Allen.

(Posted Tuesday) I remember when Woody Allen films never received a first-run release in Spokane. Or, rather, their Spokane first runs occurred long after the rest of the country had screened them. And sometimes they never opened here at all. Let’s be thankful that era has passed, since it gives us the opportunity to see “Magic in the Moonlight” when it opens Friday.

Allen’s newest work is one of seven films that open this week, which makes it the second week of multi-movie premieres.

The week’s openings are as follows:  

“Let’s Be Cops” (opened Wednesday): The trailers for this offbeat comedy, which has two guys (Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr.) getting off by pretending to be police officers, seem hilarious. But director Luke Greenfield gave us Rob Schneider’s 2001 comedy “The Animal.” So muting your expectations may be a safe bet.

“The Giver”: It’s taken more than 20 years for Hollywood to bring Lois Lowry’s Newbery Award-winning 1993 novel to the big screen. It will be interesting to see whether director Philip Noyce (“Rabbit-Proof Fence”) is able to avoid Hollywood’s cookie-cutter stylistic tendencies. The trailer, which is full of pretty young faces (including Taylor Swift), would seem to say not.

“The Expendables 3”: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, etc., return. Question: How many times can an “expendable” survive before becoming labeled “intrinsic”?

“Magic in the Moonlight”: Allen’s newest has Colin Firth playing a magician charged with unmasking a spiritualist fake (Emma Stone). Reviews are mixed to good for what is a blend of the downbeat with romantic fluff. But beware: Rex Reed gives it a top rating.

“What If”: Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan play friends who mull whether it’s possible to blend friendship and love. Based on a stage play by T.J. Dawe, so you know there’ll be lots of talking.

And at the Magic Lantern:

“Rich Hill”: This hard-hitting documentary focuses on three teen boys who cope with all the trappings of poverty – anger, frustration, want, a lack of good parenting, etc. Stylistic but ever-so depressing.

“Mood Indigo”: Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) gives us this love story (based on a novel) about a wealthy guy (Romain Duris) who wants to cure his lover (Audrey Tautou) from a curious ailment involving a flower growing in her lungs. Is this death by whimsy?

Enjoy. 

Dan Webster

Williams remembered

(Posted Monday) Like a lot of kids growing up in the late 1970s, I loved “Mork and Mindy.”

Can’t help it. Still do. (Safe in the knowledge that photographic evidence of myself wearing rainbow suspenders and a T-shirt that said “Nanu Nanu” is long gone.)

That I’d gone on to love “Mork” star Robin Williams in so many films (“Moscow on the Hudson,” “The World According to Garp,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Dead Again”) I thought was proof that he was supremely talented – and I had good taste.

So when Robin Williams’ office called me at the appointed time on Jan. 8, 2013, for a 10-minute interview with the Oscar winner, I was a bit nervous. What do you ask Robin Williams? Especially when you only have 10 minutes? We stuck to the script – he was calling to talk about his tour with fellow comedian David Steinberg, in which the two longtime friends got on stage and just talked. I can only imagine the show at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox was amazing – I couldn’t make it. But I hung on to the recording of our brief telephone conversation. Listening to it again, I’m reminded of what a funny guy he was. His death at age 63 is a real loss.

You can hear some clips from that 2013 interview over at the 7 Blog ( http://www.spokane7.com/blog/).

Nanu nanu.

Carolyn Lamberson



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