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As an old man after directing and in most cases writing the screenplays for 49 pictures Woody Allen has always has a hand in the past reflecting on what was and would could have been. In "Cafe Society" during the first half, he looks atHollywood in the 1930s when the studios were experiencing the star of the golden age and names such as Barbara Stanwyck, Errol Flynn, Ginger Rogers and such were name dropped at parties, sought after by agents and movies were lived 24/7 both in reel and real life. In the second half it is to the clubs of New York with speakeasies rising out of the bootleg era and becoming the Stork club and 21 Club. In both cities people dressed to the nines in the evening and were always trying to impress someone else.
The film opens with Bobby Dorfman, (Jesse Eisenberg) a nerd, a word unknown then, coming to Hollywood hoping to get a job with his uncle, Phil, (SteveCarell), who is always making deals as a press agent. He is cheating on his wife with his assistant, Vonnie, (Kristen Stewart) who Bobby also falls in love with only knowing she has a boyfriend who is a writer and travels a lot.
It's a slight screenplay and if you look too closely at it it doesn't make sense but like many of Woody Allen's movies there are many pluses one almost always being the acting. Steve Carell is just annoying enough to be your idea of a Hollywood agent while Jesse Eisenberg is Woody's stand in giving more depth than usually brought to the role.
Blake Lively left me with the impression that this is an actress I would like to see more often while Jeannie Berlin, the stereotyped Jewish mother, brings something extra to make her a bit more substantial.Corey Stoll as Bobby's gangster brother and Marty Dorfman as their father, along with all the actors, just as the production aspects, make the picture feel authentic just as the period music always grabs your interest and fits what is happening on the screen.
Two things really make "Cafe Society" stand out and one is the beautiful cinematography by Vittorio Storaro that shows what color can do for/to a movie.
The other is Kristian Stewart. I vaguely remembered her from Jodi Foster's movie "Panic Room" but lost interest in her after seeing she was going to be in "The Twilight Saga" just as I didn't follow Daniel Radcliff in the Harry Potter series--yes, I admit it publicly! and became interested in him seeing the roles he took after showing that he wasn't a one note actor. After seeing Stewart in "Welcome to the Riley's" and especially "Clouds of Sils Maria" followed by "Still Alice" I started seeing her in a new light. This movie role, which make the film more interesting than what is written because of the way she plays Vonnie, made me think of stalwart actresses such as Mary Stuart Masterson, ParkerPosey and Laura Linney, all so called 'Indie Darlings' and always bringing something extra to a role.
Now for Woody Allen's 50th movie how about Daniel Radcliff and Kristian Stewart?



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