CAFE SOCIETY Movie Review by The Commander


2 (out of 4 stars) 
Woody Allen started out as a comedian in the ‘60s (hysterical comedy routines you can find all over YouTube) and later moved into writing, acting and directing feature films.
I've been a fan of his since the early 1960’s for such great movies as What's Up, Tiger Lily?, Take the Money and Run, Bananas, Sleeper, Annie Hall and Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex * But Were Afraid To Askall great comedic films.

His later movies, Midnight in Paris, Blue Jasmine, To Rome with Love, gravitated toward to the emotional and remembrance of his persona versus the comedic side.
Now 80 years old, he has presented us with his latest film, Café Society.  Once again, it's a look back at (his?) history with a vibrant display of the time gone by, with incredible clarity.  The depiction of the 1930’s and the incredible cinematography by award winner Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, Dick Tracy) brings to life an era which we disregard today.  It was an era of gangsters, high society, powerbrokers, lavish parties, and beautiful women.  It was the time of F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, and an era that are worthy of great novels.
The plot of the movie is simple.  Set in the 1930’s, a young man, Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg), who works in the Bronx at his uncle’s watch shop, moves to California in hopes of making it big with the help of his Uncle Phil Stern (Steve Carell) who is a major Hollywood player.  Obtaining a job as his uncle’s "gofer", he gets to hobnob with the rich and famous.  He falls in and out of love with his uncle’s secretary, Vonnie (Kristen Stewart), ends up returning to his Bronx home, and manages his older brother’s (Corey Stoll), club, “Ben Dorfman’s Nightclub”, where he gets swept up in the vibrant world of nightlife.  Surrounded by gangsters and high society, he ends up marrying one of his patrons, Veronica (Blake Lively).
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, but I have a few problems that greatly interfered with the film.

Woody keeps trying to insert himself into his films.  This time he becomes the narrator, but due to his age, his narration is monotone, mundane, and lacks the spark of when he was a younger man.
My second issue is the ending.  It falls flat on its face.  There were so many ways he could have ended it, but it looks like he fell asleep writing the ending.  Think of the film, Thelma and Louise.  Remember the ending?  They drive off a cliff into the sunset to their deaths.  Now imagine that same scene, if while trying to reach the edge of the cliff, they end up with two flat tires and stop dead in their tracks.  Big letdown for an ending, don't you think?
If you want to see a movie for the spectacular re-creation of the 1930’s, then by all means go see this movie.  While it was not shot in 3D and there are no special effects, it will look just as great on your home theater—so waiting is definitely an option.  Younger generations may have a problem with this movie, as it is slow, possibly boring, since they may not connect with the music, fashion, the core of the time period (no internet, computers, mobile phones, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).  After all, how many Millennials could imagine being attached to a wall just to talk on the telephone?  However, older audiences would love watching it, as it most likely brings back wonderful memories of days gone by.

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