Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Joel interviews the MIFF team to find out what's in this year's program announcement! Click to listen to our special SWITCHCast ep now.x
review, Café Society, Café, Society, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Corey Stoll, Jeannie Berlin, Ken Stott, Anna Camp, Paul Schneider, Woody Allen, Drama, Romance film rating

CAFÉ SOCIETY

★★★

A TALE OF TWO CITIES

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Charlie David Page
16th October 2016

Welcome to part number 47 in Woody Allen's series on romantic films of the world's cities: 'Café Society'. This time around he kills two birds with one stone by taking on both Los Angeles and New York in the same story. Sure, we're taken back to the swingin' 1930s, but is this yet another - and much less interesting - 'Midnight In Paris'?

Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg, 'Now You See Me 2', 'Batman v Superman') moves from Hollywood after growing bored of New York. Lured by the glitz and glamour, he instead finds Tinseltown shallow and vein, and is ready to throw it all in - until he meets Veronica (Kristen Stewart, 'Clouds of Sils Maria', The 'Twilight' Saga), who prefers the name Vonnie. The two hit it off, and after much persuasion from Bobby, start a relationship, but their love is torn apart by stronger forces. Jesse moves back to the Big Apple to manage his brother's high-end nightclub, and succeeds liberally. One night, he meets another Veronica (Blake Lively, 'The Shallows', 'The Age of Adaline') - a stunning blond (and recently divorced) bombshell. When she falls pregnant the two are married and live happily - until Vonnie comes back into Jesse's life. Is he over her, or does the flame still burn for his first true love?

WATCH: 'CAFE SOCIETY'
WATCH HUNDREDS OF UNIQUE FILMS
SWITCH
WATCH

What is lovely is to see both LA and New York in a new light. Whenever we're in Hollywood, it's literally glowing - everything's coloured with a sunny orange hue - while New York is bathed in blues. Accompanying this is cinematography by Vittorio Storaro ('Apocalypse Now', 'Last Tango In Paris') as close to film as you will find these days with digital cameras.

However, that's the sum total of the film's assets. Eisenberg is a bit flat, and there's very little charisma between him and Kristen Stewart. Blake Lively does what she does best - playing her usual flirtatious self - yet she's relegated to a bit part with little to do other than portray the shadow of the original Veronica. The only one who seems to be having much fun is Steve Carell, yet his character is so unlikeable, so it's difficult to fully enjoy his performance.

Eisenberg is a bit flat, and there's very little charisma between him and Kristen Stewart.

There's no disputing Woody Allen's ability to create nostalgia. The attention to detail to return us to the 1930s is refined - costumes, hair, make-up, sets and locations all get the gold star treatment. It's a shame the same level of detail couldn't be placed into the writing of the script. What we have, in the end, is barely more than boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy meets other girl with the same name. It's not complex or nuanced, and the crackling Woody Allen wit of the past is dialled well down.

For a movie that spends a good portion of its time looking back at the golden age of Hollywood, 'Café Society' insists on being a very anti-Hollywood film. There's no closure, not everything resolves itself, and there's no fairytale ending. You could argue that these are typical Woody Allen tropes, yet I was considerably dissatisfied with what we are presented with. You can't be sold a film about romance without the chemistry. Similarly, you can't leave a story unresolved when its flimsy structure is the only purpose for the film's existence. This is no 'Midnight In Paris'; in fact, it's far from it. If you're keen for some true nostalgic Hollywood, best wait for 'La La Land'.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 20/10/2016
RUN TIME: 1h 36m
CAST: Jesse Eisenberg
Kristen Stewart
Steve Carell
Blake Lively
Parker Posey
Corey Stoll
Jeannie Berlin
Ken Stott
Anna Camp
Paul Schneider
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Woody Allen
PRODUCERS: Letty Aronson
Stephen Tenenbaum
Edward Walson
www.cafesocietymovie.com
cafesocietyfilm
cafesocietyfilm
cafesocietyfilm
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
Who the hell is Bloodshot? - A primer on Vin Diesel's superhero
TRENDINGWHO THE HELL IS BLOODSHOT?A primer on Vin Diesel's superhero
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
The World at War - The landmark documentary series restored in high definition
TRENDINGTHE WORLD AT WARThe landmark documentary series restored in high definition
Malila: The Farewell Flower - Contemplating love and loss
TRENDINGMALILA: THE FAREWELL FLOWERContemplating love and loss
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two - New villains, same problems
TRENDINGBATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, PART TWONew villains, same problems
Buckley's Chance - Not worth a chance
TRENDINGBUCKLEY'S CHANCENot worth a chance
Calm with Horses - A savage and sensitive Irish crime drama
TRENDINGCALM WITH HORSESA savage and sensitive Irish crime drama
Shiva Baby - A comedy of discomfort
TRENDINGSHIVA BABYA comedy of discomfort
The Glass Room - Stunning yet soulless
TRENDINGTHE GLASS ROOMStunning yet soulless
Some Kind of Heaven - A bizarre lens into a Floridian retirement village
TRENDINGSOME KIND OF HEAVENA bizarre lens into a Floridian retirement village
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
The Swallows of Kabul - Unflinching and gorgeously animated
TRENDINGTHE SWALLOWS OF KABULUnflinching and gorgeously animated
Cerulean Blue - Promising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
TRENDINGCERULEAN BLUEPromising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
2:22 - Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
TRENDING2:22Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
Birds of Prey - I'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
TRENDINGBIRDS OF PREYI'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
La Dolce Vita - Not as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
TRENDINGLA DOLCE VITANot as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!