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Blue Jasmine

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Scott Roberts
Blue Jasmine
on Sep 6, 2013 at 5:03:05 pm







Premise: In Woody Allen's latest film, Cate Blanchett (almost wrote Winslett, that was a close one) plays a woman teetering on the edge of sanity after her millionaire husband (Alec Baldwin) is revealed to be a financial fraud and loses all of their money. She then has to move into a small apartment with her sister (Sally Hawkins), and deal with being a poor person who has to get a normal job. Bobby Cannavale smashes some stuff in the apartment, which is pretty sweet.


Pros:

-Blanchett's performance is half Oscar-worthy, emotional acting and half over-the-top, cheesy one-woman-show theater acting. It's pretty obvious when it switches between the two, and usually pretty jarring. I guess it's not so bad when she gets cheesy, though, because at least it's memorable.

-Sally Hawkins, however, probably gives the better, more nuanced performance as Blanchett's trashy sister. This will probably go unnoticed come awards time.

-Did I mention that Hawkins' character has a fling with Louis C.K.? And he does much better at acting than he did playing a cop for Matthew Broderick. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD3yrKQGAWQ)

-But Hawkins' character is actually in a destructively loving relationship with Bobby Cannavale, who is awesome in everything he does. I think he wears a tank top in every scene in this movie (if you count undershirts). Pretty impressive.

-I mentioned earlier that Alec Baldwin was in this. He's great in it, by the way. He basically embodies the narrator from his Capital One commercials, but in a fully fleshed out form.

-Whoa, is that Andrew Dice Clay?! It is! And he's somehow perfect for this role. Normally I'd consider Dice as a repulsive casting choice, but he really works in this. He's basically the perfect guy to play "Regrettable Ex-Husband."

-Man, I've really complimented this cast. It's probably because this cast is phenomenal. Look for some awards praise come Oscar time.

-But the screenplay is great, too. Woody has done a fine job writing, again. Makes me forget all about that one movie he made with Larry David. The story jumps back and forth between Blanchett's rich life and her poor life. It puts things into context. Blue Jasmine leans more towards drama than comedy, but Allen does pretty well in that area, too, from time to time. Did anyone else see Match Point?


Cons:

-Maybe goes on a little too long? Could have cut a little out of a few scenes.

-While I really liked this film, it's also a movie that didn't really hit me on any kind of actual emotional level. There's a noticeable distance between the characters and actual human beings.

-Perhaps the screenplay isn't as clever as it thinks it is, but it has a decent structure. But maybe it's slightly too obvious?


Final Thoughts: If you're interested in a relevant, timely script from Woody Allen, this is a good option. It's a good commentary on the rich scumbags who've exploited this country, even if it's maybe too on-the-nose. It's not Woody's best work, but it's a decent addition to his modern canon. For a guy that makes a movie every year for the past 30-some years, it's cool that he can still put out an entertaining story in his old age. Think about it this way: Brett Ratner has put out movies pretty consistently since 1997, and he totally sucks at storytelling. I'll admit, this is a weird, unfair comparison... But... uh... uh... ...Tower Heist was pretty crappy, just saying.

8 out of 10


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Mike Cohen
Re: Blue Jasmine
on Sep 6, 2013 at 5:28:35 pm

I was not sure this movie was worthy of its own thread, but since you started it, I will contribute.

Normally this is a movie I would likely have never seen, even on RedBox or TBS late night. I have seen 3 Woody Allen movies, shockingly.
Netflix has exactly two Allen movies available for streaming, and since there are no brick and mortar video stores within 10 minutes of my house, I suppose I will continue this record for a while.

Anyway, 3-4 times a year, while waiting for a redeye flight, I will go to a movie. The movie choices have less to do with seeing movies that I want to see, and more to do with backtiming from the departure time. The DEN-CLT flight is always USAirway departing at 12:50am. Less 1 hour to check-in and get through the DEN security and subway train, less 30 minutres to return rental car, less 10 minutes to get gas, less 90 minutes for a movie, means I choose whatever movie is available within a narrow window of time.

This is why I saw Broken City. Not a great film and I could be, in fact, the only one who saw Broken City in a theater.

Anyway, Scott forgot to mention Peter Saarsgard playing a wealthy diplomat who falls for Cate's deception that she is an experienced interior decorator who has never been married and has no kids, rather than a widowed socialite who has never had a job and has an estranged adult son and she is one dose of Thorazine short of a mental patient.

Dice plays a similar type of person as he did in Entourage - basically himself. Dice in 1988 vs Dice in 2013 is basically the same person but with less hair and more abdominal fat. He is in fact a good actor.

I really liked the editing style going back and forth establishing how Cate went off the deep end.

Mike Cohen


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Jeff Breuer
Re: Blue Jasmine
on Sep 6, 2013 at 6:26:39 pm

Thanks Scott. The jury was out for me when I saw the trailer, I could not have enjoyed Midnight in Paris more, but I know Allen can be hit and miss. Although, I also enjoyed Tower Heist, so go figure.

Mike - If you haven't checked out the two part PBS documentary on Woody Allen on Netflix, it is definitely worth the time. I really liked it.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Blue Jasmine
on Dec 28, 2013 at 8:03:43 pm

Over the past week MGM channel has had a Woody Allen retrospective marathon. Since these are not on Netflix instant viewing and there are no more video stores I set my DVR to record as many as possible. I will devote a thread to this subject later but for now all I can say is WOW I can't believe I missed so many amazing films.
More to come.
Mike


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