SEE! Cardboard cutouts of famous literary people!
SEE! A static camera, misfired jokes, uneven acting and recycled themes!
SEE! Kathy Bates playing Gertrude Stein as-- Kathy Bates!
Yes, I'm talking about the well-hyped Woody Allen flick, "Midnight in Paris." It's a nice little movie, I guess. But-- A-minus or Four-Star reviews? Something's going on here.
For much of the film, "Midnight in Paris" plays like a classic movie "Bomb." At times it's so bad it's embarrassing. Star Owen Wilson has no discernible personality or talent. He spends the time either moping about himself or waving his hands around. Through his characters Woody Allen declaims about how wonderful Paris is, but other than a moment or two, he doesn't make us feel it. Throughout he uses Gunsmoke-era TV camera setups. Any other director would be hammered for this and for the lethargic pace. The realization hits that Woody never advanced as a director. (If anything he's gone backward.) He's not a director. He's a writer-comedian who directs.
The film is surely no better than the recent "Atlas Shrugged" movie which was savagely attacked by film critics. But then, this one is by Woody Allen. One of them. The movie takes place among the smug and the affluent, a privileged class of dilettantes able to float above the hectic drama of the world.
For sensing the Twenties, I'd recommend the several literary memoirs about the period from the likes of John Glassco and Robert McAlmon. Or rent a movie from the Eighties called "The Moderns."