Owen Gleiberman, who’s mostly kept quite since being axed from Entertainment Weekly just shy of his 25th anniversary with the magazine in April, made a triumphant return to the film criticism beat today. His first tweet in 117 days announced the big news:
I’m thrilled to be starting as film critic for http://t.co/dYheOPNmSx. My first review: ‘Magic in the Moonlight.’http://t.co/JNQNR8f3aH
— Owen Gleiberman (@OwenGleiberman) July 18, 2014
The review itself is a typical corker, and at over 1,000 words, it’s significantly longer than EW’s incredible shrinking newshole would allow, and it gets more deeply into the metaphysical issues lurking underneath the surface of Allen’s superficially featherweight concoction than most of the others so far. Here’s a sampling:
"Magic in the Moonlight" pings off the audience’s desire to witness the uncanny, and it’s not just our desire — it’s Woody Allen’s. The possibility of magic opens the door to the acceptance of the supernatural, the otherworldly and even the divine: all the things that Allen, the secular Jewish intellectual who deflates everything with wisecracks, generally stands against. Is he now saying that those things could be real? Or are they just comforting illusions? Or are they, in fact, illusions so grand and intoxicating and human and necessary that they end up creating their own reality? Even Stanley, as it turns out, is forced to acknowledge that the world may be a more irrational place than he could have admitted. "Magic in the Moonlight" generates a surprising tingle by disarming our scepticism and making us feel: yes, if only we could believe….