Magic in the Moonlight

Director: Woody Allen
Year Released: 2014
Rating: 3.0

Cynical illusionist Stanley (Colin Firth) is summoned by an old friend (Simon McBurney) to investigate/debunk a crafty young mind-reader (Emma Stone) ... except she's so good he can't figure out her methods (leaving him wondering if she does, indeed, have 'special powers'). Allen has always had an interest in magic (recall the disappearing Mother in Oedipus Wrecks) so to see him returning to that is interesting - plus this has a leisurely pace and charming interactions between Firth and Stone - though it also revisits another uncomfortable Allen theme of older men seducing significantly younger women. Still, allowances need to be made for a 79-year-old filmmaker who has given so much to the medium - he's not going to change his ways now - and gives a nice spin on 'atheist' Firth's 'desire to believe': this one, though ignored when released and met with a critical yawn, is quite the sleeper (pun unfortunately intended).