Magic in the Moonlight

Woody Allen on autopilot, retreating into the jazz age again for a blunt, listless thesis film about the limits of rationality. An arrogant stage illusionist (Colin Firth) is hired to discredit a fake mystic (Emma Stone) but soon falls under her spell; the story takes place in the late 1920s and most of the action transpires at an estate on the French Riviera, so there are good tunes and lovely scenery to distract one from the tossed-off script. As usual the writer-director has attracted a strong cast (including Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Simon McBurney, and Eileen Atkins), though I’m sure most actors understand by now that making a movie with him is like playing the lotto. Better luck next time.