There's a New Woody Allen Movie, and it Looks a Lot Like Another Woody Allen Movie...
Woody Allen is working on yet another movie, and this one will sound familiar. It's called Magic in the Moonlight , is set in the South of France, and the first picture from the movie looks like it's set in the 1920s or 1930s (if you're not getting the Midnight in Paris vibes already, I don't know what to tell you). Emma Stone and Colin Firth will star as well as Marcia Gay Harden, Eileen Atkins, Hamish Linklater, Simon McBurney and Jacki Weaver.
If you make over 40 movies, you're bound to re-tread on some territory eventually. But in Allen's case, he's done it so frequently that his movies are practically a genre in and of themselves. There's the trademark Woody Allen stand-in; the existentialism and nihilism with at least a dash of screwball comedy; the fear of sex, fear of commitment, fear of death, and unbridled neuroticism. Oh yeah, and don't forget all the white people (including a few great female characters).
But this isn't the first movie that has faint (okay, in this case, they're not that faint) echoes of another Woody Allen movie. Here's a few of the Woody Allen mini-genres:
See: Midnight in Paris, Radio Days, Sweet and Lowdown, Zelig, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Shadows and Fog, Bullets Over Broadway
No one loves the jazz age more than Woody Allen. It's the setting for many of his movies, the age of flappers and burgeoning literature and music scenes. There's a wistfulness in depicting some of these settings, but this kind of nostalgia is depicted differently in each movie. Radio Days really focuses on this golden-age remembering, while the entire ending Midnight in Paris lampooned that sort of thinking.
See: Manhattan Murder Mystery, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Scoop, Bullets Over Broadway, Small Time Crooks, Shadows and Fog
These movies can't be defined by the narrative that moves them along, whether it be a kind of noir, a mobster flick, or a murder myster. Rather, they're comedy movies whose jokes are tied together by the plot motivation of crime. And of course, putting any Woody Allen surrogate in a hotbed of crime provides comedy all on its own.
See: Bananas, Love and Death, Sleeper, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex*(*But Were Afraid to Ask)
These films come from an earlier period of Woody Allen, when he was seen as more of a comedian than a filmmaker. These films take place everywhere from Napoleonic Russia to the future, and have a screwball feel, as well as obscure references and strange sequences (like the dream sequence in both Bananas and Love and Death).
See: Crimes and Misdemeanors, Match Point, Cassandra's Dream
These films all borrow from another in some way. Match Point takes half of the plot of Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Cassandra's Dream borrows stylistically from Match Point. Each has a point to make about the effects of crime on the human mind; not all of them are good movies, but the points they have to make are interesting.
See: Midnight in Paris, Vicky Christina Barcelona, To Rome with Love, Match Point
In the 2000's, Woody Allen went out of his New York comfort zone and ventured into Europe, which broke him out of his comfort zone. Allen treats each location like a wide-eyed tourist, noting the differences in the culture in each place. And while this might not make for the most original musings on Paris, London, Spain and Italy, it makes for gorgeous shots.