Magic In The Moonlight

Featured In Issue 194, February 2015

WSR Score4
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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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Woody Allen
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Magic In The Moonlight is set in the south of France in the 1920s against a backdrop of wealthy mansions, the Côte d'Azur, jazz joints, and fashionable spots for the wealthy. The story recounts an Englishman who is asked by a friend to help unmask a possible swindle. Acclaimed magician Stanley Crawford (Firth) dazzles his audiences with feats of supernatural amazement. But when it comes to the inexplicable, Stanley is a dedicated skeptic. Enter Sophie Baker (Stone), psychic and stunning seductress. As Stanley and Sophie embark on misadventures up and down the French Riviera, will they discover proof of a world beyond the laws of physics, or have they fallen under the sway of a more earthly chemistry?

Special features include the featurette Behind The Magic (HD 11:21), On The Red Carpet: Los Angeles Film Premiere (HD 02:45), the theatrical trailer, and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 2.39:1 1080p AVC picture is stylistically saturated with a heightened color palette that is reminiscent of Kodak Ektachrome film, with exaggerated hues. Every hue is pushed to near unnaturalness. Fleshtones are goldfish red in hue. Contrast is balanced, but blacks tend to be crushed and shadow delineation veiled. Film grain is evident throughout. Resolution is generally soft, yet detail is evident in close-ups of clothing and object textures. This is a warm and richly colorful picture that captures a sense of historical lifestyles of the wealthy.

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is really a monaural presentation, which Woody Allen has used throughout his filmmaking career. This is an ode to the past, with the occasional special effect and ambience such as rain and lightening. The monaural focus crosses the three front channels, with an emphasis on the center channel. Even the music is canned from the 1920s, even though the party scenes of the wealthy in reality would have a real orchestra. Still, this is a dialogue picture and should be enjoyed as such. Dialogue is consistently intelligible and decently integrated spatially.