Sunday, July 31, 2016

Cafe Society

Movie Name: Cafe Society
Year of Release: 2016
Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Ken Stott, Jeannie Berlin, Corey Stoll, Anna Camp, Sheryl Lee, Paul Schneider, Douglas McGrath, Tony Sirico
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Woody Allen's yearly film is upon us, this time going by the title "Cafe Society". The film focuses on Bobby Dorfman, a young jewish man, just arrived in Los Angeles of the 1930s, from Brooklyn. Bobby wants to do something different with his life, besides working in his father's jewelry business. His two other siblings have their own fulfilling lives, particular Ben, who is a well known gangster in the area. Upon arriving in LA, Bobby looks for the help of his uncle Phil, a well respected talent agent to the stars. After a few false starts, Bobby finally starts his job as his uncle's assistant, and begins to meet all sorts of interesting people in the business. He's immediately captivated by the lovely Vonnie, Phil's secretary. However, Vonnie has a boyfriend, something that doesn't prevent Phil from developing feelings for her. When Vonnie's relationship tumbles, Bobby sees an opportunity to pursue her romantically, but the old boyfriend comes back, much to his surprise, particularly when he discovers who the person is.
"Cafe Society" is one of Woody Allen's better films from his latest crop. While not as fantastic as "Blue Jasmine", it still has an effortless charm and ease that almost puts it on par with what he did with "Radio Days" for instance (and that film came out in 1987). The film successfully captures the atmosphere of the old Hollywood, with the trendy clubs, while also capturing the gangster life of New York in the 30s. The film benefits from a fantastic cast with solid performances, particularly Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Parker Posey and Ken Stott, all of whom create characters that have charm, ease and a nicely attuned sense of humor. The cinematography from the fantastic Vittorio Storaro is radiant and stunning (why isn't this man working more?), and the production design of Santo Loquasto impeccable (he's been working with Woody Allen since "Radio Days"). A very good film worth watching.