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Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy Disappear into ‘Eleanor Rigby’

Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy Disappear into ‘Eleanor Rigby’

Screens: “If you’re going to start, you might as well start big,” an ambitious person once said. Ned Benson must have been paying attention, because for his first... By Cameron Meier 9/17/2014
The Permanent Gangsta Status of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy

The Permanent Gangsta Status of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy

Music: Prodigy, better known to ’90s rap aficionados as the prodigious half of Queensbridge duo Mobb Deep, has made a successful career operating on... By James Courtney 9/17/2014
Lt. Governor Race: the \'Luchadora\' vs. the Tea Party radio host

Lt. Governor Race: the 'Luchadora' vs. the Tea Party radio host

News: A few Saturdays ago, I spent several hours hanging around a Texas Realtors Association conference in San Antonio, trying to catch state Sen. Dan Patrick... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta 9/17/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013

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Woody Allen’s Casual Misogyny in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’

Photo: Courtesy Sony Picture Classics, License: N/A

Courtesy Sony Picture Classics

So it has come down to this: Woody Allen has made a movie that is so bland, derivative of his earlier work and completely lazy that it’s possible to wonder just what it is the man believes. Is he, like Magic in the Moonlight’s Stanley Crawford (Colin Firth) so immersed in his own ideas that even the slightest alteration of personal habits makes for, at best, an uncomfortable experience and at worst, horrific and tortured drudgery?

Or is he like Sophie Baker (Emma Stone), bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to take the world on its own terms? If you’ve seen more than two Woody Allen films, you know the answer: He’s immersed in his own world at the expense of everything else, and he’s for damn sure not facing the world on its own terms.

Of course, why should he face the world on its own terms? This is the man who made Annie Hall, and Manhattan, and Bullets Over Broadway, and Match Point. These are movies that will go down in history as some of the best, or at least the best of Allen’s oeuvre.

But in dealing with Allen on his own terms, one also has to sift through the dregs, such as Bananas, and Scoop, and Curse of the Jade Scorpion, and Anything Else, and Mighty Aphrodite. One could make the argument that Allen has made so many movies—and so many good movies—that his repetitive themes may be overlooked, even when those themes are repeated so often they become dull. Seriously: How about instead of a movie a year (which all but guarantees a share of clunkers, such as the recent Blue Jasmine, which has nothing resembling a human being, except maybe Andrew Dice Clay’s character), we alternate years and let the cream rise to the surface?

And that brings me to Magic in the Moonlight, which isn’t so much fresh cream as it is rotten curds. One taste guarantees death, or at least a very unpleasant couple days near the toilet. Worse yet is that it’s dressed up to be whimsical and silly, but it’s moldy and ugly.

Take, for example, the yellowface. Stanley, a famous magician, performs nightly in character as Wei Ling Soo, which is presumably a reference to William Robinson, a magician who performed as a character named Chung Ling Soo. Magic in the Moonlight takes place sometime after the Great War but before World War II, so sure, yellowface was common, or at least not considered in poor taste. But guess what? It’s 2014, and it’s in really poor fucking taste. At least Wei Long Soo doesn’t speak in character in the movie.

Then there’s one of Allen’s favorite tropes, the May-December romance. As of this writing, Firth is roughly 53 and Stone about 25. Ginormous age disparities have been all over the movies since forever, but it’s particularly creepy given Allen’s history of marrying his ex-girlfriend’s adopted daughter, whom he knew when she was a teenager.

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