WOODY WEDNESDAY Cafe Society Woody Allen’s latest is an unfocused, wistful glance at both old glamour and the afterlife. Alissa Wilkinson/ July 14, 2016

Café Society – Official Movie Review

XXXXXXXXXXX

 

Cafe Society

Amazon Studios
Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart in ‘Cafe Society’

Woody Allen has come under concentrated fire in the time since his (very bad) last movie, An Irrational Man. I don’t want to ignore or downplay the allegations of abuse brought against him by some of his children. (If you’re baffled, here’s a New York Times article from the Cannes Film Festival.)

But I believe works of art are both generated by and stand apart from their creators, and this year’s Allen film is Cafe Society. Allen is the very definition of prolific; by my reckoning, he’s made a movie every year, since I’ve been born. The last truly great one was 2013’s Blue Jasmine.

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart in 'Cafe Society'

Amazon Studios

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart in ‘Cafe Society’

So what is there to say about Cafe Society? It stars Kristen Stewart—and if you’re still scoffing at Stewart post-Twilight, the time to stop has long since past. Stewart is a critical and audience darling for a reason: she can do anything, from art film to mainstream movies, and in Cafe Society she works wonders with a pretty thin script. She lives and breathes, and everyone else on screen—including Jesse Eisenberg, the film’s ostensible protagonist—seems shot in monochrome by comparison.

In some ways Cafe Society is a movie about nothing, a paean to Old Hollywood glamour that has the unfortunate luck to come out the same year as a much better film about the same thing, the Coen brothers’ delightful Hail, Caesar! There is a love triangle between Bobby (Eisenberg) and Vonnie (Stewart), who’s also having an affair with Bobby’s uncle/big-time Hollywood agent (Steve Carell). That’s just the start of the story, and after the fallout, it continues apace.

But the best scenes in the film belong to the cast of Bobby’s New York Jewish family members, and one scene in which his parents discuss the afterlife is just about worth the price of admission. Judaism doesn’t have an afterlife; Bobby’s gangster brother Ben (Corey Stoll), faced with the electric chair, converts to Christianity for its promise of an afterlife, to the consternation of his family.

Blake Lively in 'Cafe Society'

View Larger
Amazon Studios

Blake Lively in ‘Cafe Society’

Maybe the buoyancy of those scenes in particular distracted me from whatever Allen’s point is, if he had one at all. But he’s an old man these days, and he’s been contemplating his mortality for a long time. So maybe I’m not crazy: I think Cafe Society is really a bittersweet contemplation of the idea of an afterlife—a peculation supported by the fact that most of the film, shot by Vittorio Storaro, is bathed in a glow that’s both nostalgic and downright heavenly. The movie is about the choices we make, and how they limit what happens in the future.

And what’s the afterlife, if not that?

Alissa Wilkinson is Christianity Today’s critic at large and an assistant professor of English and humanities at The King’s College in New York City. She is co-author, with Robert Joustra, of How to Survive the Apocalypse: Zombies, Cylons, Faith, and Politics at the End of the World. She tweets @alissamarie.

Café Society Official International Trailer #1 (2016) – Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart Movie HD

Review: ‘Café Society’ is minor, enjoyable Woody Allen

Related posts:

WOODY WEDNESDAY “CAFÉ SOCIETY” AND “LIFE, ANIMATED” REVIEWS Woody Allen’s newest film, and a documentary about how a boy with autism connected with Disney movies. By Anthony Lane

“CAFÉ SOCIETY” AND “LIFE, ANIMATED” REVIEWS Woody Allen’s newest film, and a documentary about how a boy with autism connected with Disney movies. By Anthony Lane Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart in Woody Allen’s new movie.ILLUSTRATION BY BEN KIRCHNER The new Woody Allen film, “Café Society,” is set in the nineteen-thirties—you know, that far-off land […]

WOODY WEDNESDAY ‘Cafe Society’ review: Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg enliven otherwise dull nostalgia by Michael PhillipsContact Reporter Chicago Tribune July 7, 2016

‘Cafe Society’ review: Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg enliven otherwise dull nostalgia  by Michael PhillipsContact Reporter Chicago Tribune July 7, 2016 There’s not much to “Cafe Society,” but for a while now Woody Allen has been getting by with not much happening at the keyboard. Thanks to the warm, glowing light lavished on the film by cinematographer Vittorio […]

WOODY WEDNESDAY ‘Café Society’: Designing 1930s Hollywood for Woody Allen The new film, with Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, is full of lavish set designs By DON STEINBERG Updated July 6, 2016

CAFE SOCIETY – Red Carpet – EV – Cannes 2016 ‘Café Society’: Designing 1930s Hollywood for Woody Allen The new film, with Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, is full of lavish set designs By DON STEINBERG Updated July 6, 2016 7:11 p.m. ET 3 COMMENTS Re-creating opulent 1930s Hollywood and post-Prohibition New York for Woody […]

WOODY WEDNESDAY ‘Cafe Society’: Cannes Review 5:09 AM PDT 5/11/2016 by Todd McCarthy

Woody Allen on Retiring and Childhood Memories / Cannes 2016 Café Society Published on Jun 4, 2016 Short clip from an interview with Woody Allen in occasion of the world premiere of his film “Café Society” at the Cannes film festival 2016. ‘Cafe Society’: Cannes Review 5:09 AM PDT 5/11/2016 by Todd McCarthy Woody Allen’s […]

WOODY WEDNESDAY Review of Cafe Society Woody Allen’s latest movie

New cast interview Café Society in Cannes Published on May 24, 2016 Subscribe on my Channel :* Cannes Film Review: ‘Café Society’ Owen Gleiberman Chief Film Critic @OwenGleiberman Editions: Subscribe Today! Film TV Digital Contenders Video Dirt Jobs More Sign In Home Film Reviews Cannes Film Review: ‘Café Society’ Owen Gleiberman Chief Film Critic @OwenGleiberman […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 34 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Picasso and Solomon both had an obsession with the issue of their impending death!!) )

Both Solomon in Ecclesiastes and Picasso in his painting had an obsession with the issue of their impending death!!! Picasso in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS   Pablo Picasso: Self-portrait Facing Death (1972) Does anyone not know the name Picasso? Based on sales of his works at auctions, he holds the title of top ranked […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 33 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Picasso painted his worldview but he couldn’t stand the loss of humanness!!! )

Picasso was a genius as a painter but he deliberately painted his secular  worldview of fragmentation on his canvas but he could not live with the loss of humanness and he reverted back at crucial points and painted those he loved with all his genius and with all their humanness!!! Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) and […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 32 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Just like Solomon in Ecclesiastes Picasso’s women mostly considered suicide or accepted nihilism )

Just like Solomon in Ecclesiastes Picasso’s women mostly considered suicide or accepted nihilism and  Woody Allen alludes to this in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS when Adriana tells her own story: GIL PENDER: No, you do! How long have you been dating Picasso?My God, did I just say that?Pardon?I don’t mean to…I didn’t meanto pry…. Were you born in […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 31 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Picasso just like Solomon in Ecclesiastes slept with many women but ended his life bitter against all women )

_ Just like Solomon Picasso slept with many women. Solomon actually slept with  over 1000 women ( Eccl 2:8, I Kings 11:3), and both men ended their lives bitter against all women. Pablo Picasso: Midnight in Paris Woody Allen made it known that his pessimistic view on life started at a young age when he […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 30 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Ernest Hemingway 18th part Summing up Hemingway’s life )

_   Summing up Hemingway is not as hard as I thought it was going to be. Hemingway was nihilistic in that he understood the problem of modern man UNDER THE SUN without God in the picture just like Solomon did in the Book of Ecclesiastes. MICHAEL NICHOLSON in the article below does a great job of […]

_________

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: