Login Form

Wonder Wheel Review – Visually Stunning, Woody Allen Captures Coney Island in its Glory Days

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wonder Wheel, from Amazon Studios, presents Coney Island, circa 1950: a cornucopia of memories, summertime, carnival, amusement rides, boardwalk games, sun, sand, surf, Nathan’s famous hot dogs, a lifeguard, a summer romance, a carousel operator and his wife.

Directed and written by Woody Allen, Wonder Wheel, his 48th film, stars Justin Timberlake, Kate Winslet, Jim Belushi, Juno Temple and Jack Gore, Debi Mazar, Tony Sirico, Steve Schirripa, Max Casella and David Krumholtz.  

Wonder Wheel begins with voice over by Mickey Rubin, the Lifeguard on Bay 7, played by Justin Timberlake, describing Coney Island. The backdrop is stunning as Allen has captured every nuance of Coney Island, with so much going on and catching your eye, what one can see another will miss. It’s a beautiful beginning.

As we hear Mickey, he is a budding playwright, a lost soul starring endlessly out into the void of the ocean for a moment of danger. Usually he sits, in the lifeguard chair, watching, waiting for danger.


Last Flag Flying Review – Touching, Emotional War Buddies Film Delivers Poignant Message


As he speaks, we see Carolina, played by Juno Temple, walk through the underground tunnel into the afternoon sun, emerging from darkness into the light she is on the run. She approaches Ginny, played by Kate Winslet, a waitress in the local clam house, asking for Humpty, played by Jim Belushi, and introduces herself as his estranged daughter.

Ginny explains the he sure will be surprised. Soon Humpty, who sometime drinker who has been sober for some time, as Ginny tries to continually encourage him and steer him clear of the bottle. He handles the reunion with his daughter without taking a drink, even as he pounds the counter top, huffing and puffing.

Soon we find out Ginny was married to the mob, and is now a marked woman. She is genuinely in fear for her life and without anywhere to go, no money, and no one to care for her, she ends up staying with her Dad and his new wife.

Not that the blood is bad, it’s 1950’s and not really the heyday of the mob either. However, as we find out Ginny and our Lifeguard are friendly, that is until he sees Carolina and for him, her need to be rescued was the beat his heart was waiting to hear.

In the middle of all the new drama we have the everyday drama of life on the Boardwalk. Ginny and Humpty live in an upstairs small apartment, barely enough room for the two, let alone anyone else. Carolina is the ingredient that causes everyone to unravel. And of course, we know it is not her, her presence essentially reveals everyone’s weak spot.

When Carolina left her bum of a husband she left with few possessions and many secrets, the kind that have caused many a man to sleep with the fishes. With the mob on her trail, we hope for her and love.

Wonder Wheel is magnificently done. There is an artistry, enticing from the beginning with the wide angle shot, from the ocean in with Coney Island, in all its glory, the heyday, the Parachute Drop, Dreamland Tower, the Cyclone, the Wonder Wheel, the Eldorado Arcade all the sights and sounds of summer fun, that Allen has captured.


The Man Who Invented Christmas Review – A Magical Holiday Treat For All


Complimenting the carnival, of course are those who ensure others have great memories of the city escape. Our cast, each hiding something from someone. Its leveraging the secrets that puts our players in the funhouse of smoke and mirrors, hiding relationships, lovers, burdens, predilections, and of course simply hiding to stay alive.

While the cast is very extraordinary, I think Allen’s skill for the wide lens shot bringing the audience into the season, the time, the day, opening wide and narrowing, maintaining the same brilliant nostalgic feeling, as the scenes narrowed are on display in this film.

There are some issues in the story that are probably obvious as our main character is running from the mob one can expect violence. We don’t see that end, we do however see Ginny defending herself with a knife, which is the extent of the domestic violence.

However, Humpty’s bullying, his alcoholism, although his back is often to the camera, so one never quite sees him drinking, bellowing and abusive family relationships, a child who is a Firestarter, and while some will say a typical dysfunctional family, there are scenes depicting domestic violence, mental and physical violence.

The film is already an award winner as Kate Winslet won the Hollywood Actress Award presented by Hollywood Film Awards, on November 4, 2017, for her portrayal of Ginny.

Wonder Wheel is a visual delight, with an remarkable cast. The drama summarize a season in Allen’s life, even as it mixes fact with headlines.

Wonder Wheel opens December 1, 2017 in theaters everywhere. See it.

 

Haute Tease

  • Family of Robin Williams Continues to Dispute Estate

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Robin Williams, who committed suicide a year ago, in addition to leaving behind a devastated adoring fan base, friends, colleagues and equally devastated family members he also left a very large estate, the majority of which he gifted traditionally.

     
  • China Movie Channel Announces “Transformers 4” Chinese Actor Talent Search with Hollywood Heavyweight Judges

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Beijing, China (April 18, 2013) – During the 3rd Beijing International Film Festival, China Movie Channel and its movie internet site, m1905, announced the kickoff of the “’Transformers 4’ Chinese Actors Talent Search Reality Show.”

     
  • Bridal Fashion: Parisian Wedding Dress Designer Rime Arodaky is One to Watch

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Rime Arodaky, the wild child of couture wedding dress designs, is preparing her 2018 collection for New York Bridal Week and to whet the appetite for the rock and roll goddess meets Parisian sophistication and tradition here's a preview.

     
  • Summer '18 Gift Guide - Easy Ways to Improve The Summer (and Beyond)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    With summer temperatures lingering on the high, many are still out and about enjoying the long, lazy days when gadgets and gear that eases our travels, enhances our self-care regime, and just makes life more enjoyable is always in demand.

     
  • Last of the Mississippi Jukes Review - A Gem that Strikes All The Right Cords

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Last of the Mississippi Jukes, from Mug Shot Productions and MVD Distribution, is an easy traveling ride through the history of the Delta Blues, the birth of the Juke joint, with stops in Jackson and Clarksdale.

     
  • Northeast Corridor Shuts Down in Anticipation of Massive Blizzard Bomb

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    From Washington D.C to New York City and as far west as Chicago, upwards of fifty million residents are bracing for Winter Storm Stella, which is expected to produce heavy snow totals, blizzard conditions, plummeting temperatures, and frigid wind chills.

     
  • Casa Velas Hotel Puerto Vallarta Review - Epicurean Exploits Abound

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Nestled within an upscale residential neighborhood just a 5-minute drive from the Puerto Vallarta airport sits Casa Velas, a serene adults-only luxury boutique resort that's helping set new and noteworthy standards in the all-inclusive realm.

Donate Elite

It's the desire at Haute-Lifestyle.com to keep journalism free. Running a business, however, dictates what is now a common dilemma; a paywall, subscription or donation. Thank you for your donation.