For, Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

Woody Allen, who just turned 79, continues to churn out a film a year, and his latest, now on Blu-ray and DVD, is one of his more charming trifles.

Set in the 1920s, "Magic in the Moonlight" (PG-13) stars Colin Firth as a stage magician touring Europe in the guise of an Asian mesmerist when he is approached by an old acquaintance (Simon McBurney) who attempts to enlist his aid as a debunker of fraudulent psychics.

It seems a young American woman (Emma Stone) has ingratiated herself into the company of a wealthy American family on the French Riviera and is close to receiving a proposal from the son.

So Firth makes the trip, gets close to Stone and finds himself not only taken in by her apparent supernatural abilities but also by the woman herself.


     Colin Firth, Emma Stone, 'Magic in the Moonlight'

Is her beguiling charm clouding his judgment or is she the real deal? Allen keeps us guessing, and it's a funny, observant and winsome ride.

This one doesn't have the depth of "Midnight in Paris," but "Magic in the Moonlight" is nonetheless a very enjoyable film that deserves an audience. (Co-stars include Marcia Gay Harden and Jacki Weaver.)

And a word about the PG-13 rating: If ever there was a movie that deserves a PG rating, it's this one, but apparently the MPAA rating board was put off by the amount of smoking by several characters.

Someone should tell them this film takes place in the 1920s, when everybody smoked.