Entries tagged with “Cate Blanchett”.


I believe that I’m done with the summer movies for 2018. What a dry season! After having barely survived the 2h30min of the most recent ‘M:I6‘ I was hoping to spend a more pleasant time watching the constellation of talented actresses which show up in the cast of Ocean’s Eight. Each of , , , or on the poster would be a good reason for me to buy my cinema ticket and popcorn and watch any movie they star in. How does it happen that the gathering of them all in ‘‘ resulted in a rather mediocre production, which barely extracts a smile and does not thrill (action-wise) at any point in time?

 

source https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5164214/

source https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5164214/

 

I am afraid that I need to blame director and script co-author for this failure. Ross succeeded quite well when he wrote and directed films that were at the fringe of mainstream, and I include here The Hunger Games. With Ocean’s Eight he is riding the waves of mainstream Hollywood blockbusters, not only continuing a series with a well established formula but also a tradition of big studios hits based on the combination of very popular actors bringing to screen stories of elaborated burglaries in famous museums or postcard touristic destinations. The problem is that this version of the old story no passion, no thrill, no original ideas. Yes, the burglars team is all-women but this direction was not enough put in works either, and the result is much lesser than the amount of talent that is invested and the potential promised by the cast.

 

(video source Warner Bros. Pictures)

 

The girls try to do their best. leads the team and devices a plan that is unfortunately never clear or too interesting to viewers,    brings to screen her usual ‘I am much more than I look about’ feeling but we never get what this ‘much more’ is about,  is perfect in her beautiful-but-not-too-smart role,  and has the chance of the only role with more comic potential and a better background story. The action trails, we have seen the laser beams dances too many times to enjoy it, The Metropolitan Museum is under-used as a location, and while shorter by almost one hour Ocean’s Eight eventually seems to last as long as ‘M:I6.  The bad news are that this film may be the best entertainment that we get this this summer.

One of the previous films of , The Tree of Life included a long segment about the origins of the Universe. When I saw that movie it was not at all clear to me how that part was related to the rest of the story – a family saga developing around a complicated father – son relationship. Director Malick was so much in love with that part that he decided to abandon any fiction in his latest movie and focus on the cosmology story. The result is Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey which is listed as a documentary, although I have a hard time sticking it into that category either. Documentaries have as goal educating, or making statements about history or society or nature. Here we seem to be closer  to poetry or sophisticated video art. What counts eventually is not the category but the result.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1945228/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1945228/

 

The film starts with CGI images of the birth of the Universe combined with cosmic video art based on images of the most remote (thus the earliest) galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. It continues with images that describe or reconstruct the birth of Earth, the appearance of water and life, the evolution of plants and animals, the cosmic events (like the asteroid that almost eradicated life on Earth and put an end to the dominance and very existence of the dinosaurs), the emergence of mankind and its evolution towards the mega-cities of today, with their human mosaic and social problems. Most of the images combine fabulous nature filming with computerized effects and they are great, the story telling is visually astounding and has its own logic. I would have loved the film to be only visuals. I would have even accepted the soundtrack although I am not great fan of the world music or Gregorian chants, not when used in New Age messaging. Unfortunately decided to add a spoken commentary and I simply could not make any sense of it. Some incantations and frightened kid questions directed to an over-present Mother (Nature? a feminine God?) were repeated over and over. To be clear, I like and I understand poetry, I respect religious feelings and texts, but the spoken commentary was nothing of these. The fact that , an actress that I deeply admired borrowed her voice to read this text, did not help, it just made me mad because I feel that her huge talent was wasted here. The result is just boring, and I surprised myself almost napping despite the beauty on screen.

 

(video source Zero Media)

 

OK. So Terrence Malick wanted hardly to make a film about the history of the Universe. A Film about Everything. The Film about Everything. Now that you made it, please, Mr. Malick , come back to making the films we loved you for, films like Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line.

Some of the latest films of Woody Allen seem so much taken out of life that you have the feeling that Woody’s camera caught a point in time when the story started and left the story at another point in time, but these two could have been any other. Life is as it is, Woody just starts to put it on screen at some point in time, and stops the camera at another, maybe when he runs off digital storage (there is no real film nowadays to run off, right?). This is more or less the feeling with ‘Blue Jasmine’ as well, with the difference that there are two stories here. Or better said to mental plans his character (acted by Cate Blanchett) oscillates between. The story starts in one of them (the world socialite Jasmine French just fell from) and ends in another – the cruel reality which her life became and which he has trouble to accept and adapt in.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2334873/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2334873/

 

Good films can be watched in different keys and receive different interpretations for viewers. So is the case for Blue Jasmine which can be seen as a psychological study of a woman in denial or a social commentary about differences between the classes and their mentalities, as a docu-drama inspired by the Madoff case, a comedy or a melodrama or a modern tragedy of alienation. It is maybe a little bit or more from each of these, but is first of all another good film of Woody Allen – one in the series closer to the reality, and here we deal with the American reality which he returns to film after three of his consecutive yearly films made in Europe. The overall tone seems to be a little more to the sour side, and we feel this not only in the way the story develops but also in the manner it is told and edited. The dixieland music that sets the tone of Woody’s Allen reminding us that we entered a cinema theater and we shall be watching shades on a wall does not last beyond the minute of introduction. Reality follows, or at least a version of reality extracted, processed and given back to us by the script and the director.

 

(video source JoBlo Movie Trailers)

 

Cate Blanchett cannot do wrong and I have a hard time deciding whether her creation in ‘Blue Jasmine’ deserves to receive the Academy Award, or it’s rather Meryl Streep’s work in ‘August: Osage County’. Can’t they really give two statues this year ex-aequo? Her Jasmine has built a world of illusions and lived in it, illusions as solid and lasting as long as the speculative operations of her husband lasts. There is however more in her character, as she has her own part of guilt and she seems not only unable to cope with any dose of reality but also self-distructive and dangerous to all she touches and to people she comes in contact with. The amazing thing is that as viewers we and by understanding her and by sympathizing with the screen of lies she builds around herself. Don’t we all do this one way or another when we have to face realities we do not like and problems that we do not know how to solve? Jasmine just goes far, much to far …