Blue Jasmine reviews

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Re: Blue Jasmine reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:08 pm

Reza wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:It's very difficult to say, because you know, I live in this lovely but basically third-world country where some movies (including this one) are shown MONTHS after they opened in the US (and ok, Woody Allen's movies are considered to be perfect for Autumn here, but isn't it a bit stupid?). So I really haven't seen most of the possible nominees in her category. But no, in a very good year she probably wouldn't make my list.


When did Blue Jasmine open in Italy? You said Autumn. I saw it in Athens in August. I would imagine the film was released all over Europe round the same time.



Each European country has its own distributors and its own logics of distribution... So for some reasons Woody Allen is considered in Italy - and I think only in Italy - an "Autumn" director. But I must say that other movies are shown in Italy before other countries... And Italy is still a place where MANY movies - not only American - are shown. Not always very soon, unfortunately.

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Re: Blue Jasmine reviews

Postby Reza » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:59 pm

ITALIANO wrote:It's very difficult to say, because you know, I live in this lovely but basically third-world country where some movies (including this one) are shown MONTHS after they opened in the US (and ok, Woody Allen's movies are considered to be perfect for Autumn here, but isn't it a bit stupid?). So I really haven't seen most of the possible nominees in her category. But no, in a very good year she probably wouldn't make my list.


When did Blue Jasmine open in Italy? You said Autumn. I saw it in Athens in August. I would imagine the film was released all over Europe round the same time.

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Re: Blue Jasmine reviews

Postby flipp525 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:24 pm

ITALIANO wrote:All the actors are good, but only Cate Blanchett will be nominated. Sally Hawkins would have been a possible nominee in a weak year, but not this year I think.

I'm glad that you were wrong about Hawkins. I re-watched Blue Jasmine last night and it's easy to overlook her work in the film because Blanchett dominates it so, but she is the perfect complement (and foil) in the film. I especially love her in the scene at Jasmine's birthday party. Hooray to the Academy for recognizing her in supporting.
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Re: Blue Jasmine reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:17 pm

It's very difficult to say, because you know, I live in this lovely but basically third-world country where some movies (including this one) are shown MONTHS after they opened in the US (and ok, Woody Allen's movies are considered to be perfect for Autumn here, but isn't it a bit stupid?). So I really haven't seen most of the possible nominees in her category. But no, in a very good year she probably wouldn't make my list.

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Re: Blue Jasmine reviews

Postby ksrymy » Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:53 pm

Would she make your shortlist of nominees?
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Re: Blue Jasmine reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:38 pm

All the actors are good, but only Cate Blanchett will be nominated. Sally Hawkins would have been a possible nominee in a weak year, but not this year I think.

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Re: Blue Jasmine reviews

Postby ksrymy » Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:26 pm

Italiano, what are your thoughts on Andrew Dice Clay's performance whom some critics still think has a shot?
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Re: Blue Jasmine reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:54 am

Well, it doesn't have a truly tragic ending - like Streetcar Named Desire had - not only because Woody Allen isn't Tennessee Williams, but most importantly because Cate Blanchett in this movie isn't Blanche Du Bois. Blanche had a whole world behind her, a - poetic - lost world which she missed, though it probably never actually existed. Cate Blanchett, more simply but also more realistically, only misses her lost money and the confortable way of living which money brings. Which is perfectly right for a movie about today's situation, and which still makes Jasmine a more complex character than most in American cinema these days - but also a character which doesn't deserve a "more dramatic conclusion". And by the way, let's be honest, by American cinema standards (recent American cinema I mean), where only happy endings are allowed, this movie's bitter ending is, I'd say, refreshingly unusual (Silver Linings Playbook fan boys especially shouldn't complain).

Comparing it to Streetcar is understandable but also unfair. Streetcar is one of the greatest American plays ever, Blue Jasmine isn't one of the greatest American movies ever. Of course not. It may even not be one of this year's best American movies (I have seen too few till now to say). But it's a good and not stupid movie, and easily Woody Allen's best work in recent memory. He should really stop travelling to Spain, France and Italy - when he's at home he can still be perceptive, reasonably biting. And sincere. Yes, because one feels that there's alot of Woody Allen - a very rich man, for whom money is obviously very important, but who also comes from a socially lower background and who has a complex relationship with his own original family - in this movie. And as others have said, there's also the Soon-Yi scandal - and there's Allen's broken bond with his only biological son. So A Streetcar Named Desire - a very American play, and a very personal play, too, because there's so much of Tennessee Williams' inner feelings and demons there - becomes a movie which is not only about America, but also about its own director's feelings and demons (and fears). Does this make this movie a masterpiece? No, not necessarily. But a very interesting movie yes, it is.

The acting is predictably very good. And it's true that Cate Blanchett is lucky - it doesn't happen often anymore that American cinema gives such a rich, powerful role to an actress. And she's the kind of artist that can do justice to such a role. Will she win the Oscar? No. Well, she probably will, I know - but only because there aren't easier, more appealing alternatives in sight. In any other year, a Jennifer Lawrence or (more deservedly) a Natalie Portman would have beaten her. But as we know this is a "different" year, so she could make it, and I'd be glad (though I must say that I still haven't seen most of the Best Actress contenders, and of those I've seen one, Exarchopoulos, is still the best). But it's not your typical, uplifting Best Actress-Oscar performance, and this will make her win a very welcome one.

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Re: Blue Jasmine reviews

Postby Reza » Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:26 am

Big Magilla wrote:Cate Blanchett gives another technically excellent performance, but like just about everything she's done, you can see the mechanics of the performance. Good enough for another Oscar nomination, but an easy win? I'm not seeing it.


Mechanics? Yes, that American accent is the only part about her performance that is jarring.

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Re: Blue Jasmine reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:55 am

In the late 70s Woody took a lot of flack for his imitation Bergman, but I genuinely liked Interiors despite its flaws. I can't say the same thing about his imitation Tennessee Williams.

First of all, the parallels to A Streetcar Named Desire are way too obvious as are the Mia/Soon-Yi references, but what exactly is Woody saying about Mia?

I couldn't stand Sally Hawkins in Happy-Go-Lucky, but I've loved just about everything she's done since and her performance here is the best thing about Blue Jasmine. Louis C.K. and Alden Ehrenreich also register strongly despite their limited screen time. Andrew Dice Clay and Bobby Cannavale's are playing characters who might have made it as far west as New Jersey in real life, but their obvious Brooklyn stereotypes are totally out of place in San Francisco.

Cate Blanchett gives another technically excellent performance, but like just about everything she's done, you can see the mechanics of the performance. Good enough for another Oscar nomination, but an easy win? I'm not seeing it.
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Re: Blue Jasmine reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:55 am

I rate Blue Jasmine about at "worth seeing" Woody Allen level. I don't think it's as fully successful as Midnight in Paris or Match Point -- his two big peaks for me this millennium. But it's well above a lot of the minor movies (some of which I haven't even bothered to seek out.)

The chief reason for this, of course, is the fantastic Cate Blanchett performance at its center. Blanchett, like Meryl Streep, has often been a hugely technical actress, relying upon very calculated acting choices that her critics often deem wholly unnatural and distracting. (I'm a big fan of her work, so that's not a criticism from me.) Here, she has a role that fits her style and abilities tremendously well -- Jasmine is the kind of person who constantly seems to be putting on an act for people, who never seems to be comfortable in her own skin, and who routinely seems to be one step behind the average person's awareness of how to read any given situation. I think gifting this role to an actress who likes to do a lot -- one who really likes to make a meal of every moment -- was the absolute correct choice, because the character should feel like someone giving a performance at all times. What I greatly admired as well is the fact that Blanchett is able to portray such an over-the-top character in a way that felt very grounded -- in the flashback scenes especially, she reminded me of a lot of well-off Hollywood types who live in a completely secluded bubble of privilege, but who would be truly helpless if their world came crashing down as Jasmine's does. It's true that Jasmine is not at all a likable character, but I was never once rooting against her, and I think Blanchett's ability to mine the tragic human side of this character goes a long way to making some of her obnoxious behavior sympathetic.

Sally Hawkins, too, is very good in her role -- I imagine a lot of us might be excited about an opportunity for her to finally avenge that Happy-Go-Lucky Oscar snub. She plays a woman who essentially isn't that bright, but who is mostly content with her life, and who handles the more unstable elements of it in a far more responsible manner than her sister. The ability to accept reality seems to be the key difference between Ginger and Jasmine, and Hawkins's sensitive performance serves as a strong contrast to Blanchett's instability.

I generally liked the flashback structure, and thought that it seemed an appropriate way to tell a story about a fractured protagonist, whose past life is both a beautiful memory and a nightmare that is constantly coming back to haunt her. It also allowed Woody Allen the chance to withhold his big reveal until close to the end of the movie, which I agree worked quite well. I, too, found this element of the story very interesting -- I didn't see it coming at all, and yet it feels completely of a piece with Jasmine's overall recklessness. Throughout the movie, we see her making decisions that don't seem fully thought through, and this plot point illustrates that aspect of her persona most of all.

But there were elements I didn't like either. In general, I think Allen makes some of his points a bit too broadly, even from an early scene, with the woman next to Jasmine on the airplane. It's clear Jasmine is annoying the hell out of her, and she can't wait to end their conversation...but Allen then has to have her go explain exactly what we know to her husband soon after. And the movie contains a number of moments like this, especially when it comes to skewering the upper class; there's only so much wealthy pomposity one can take before it starts to feel repetitive, and I thought the movie started to head in that direction far too early. And there are elements of plot predictability as well -- as soon as Peter Sarsgaard enters the picture, it becomes pretty clear that at some point, the other shoe is going to drop, and I found this portion of the narrative least successful because I was just waiting for it to happen. And then when it DID happen, I found the scene and its reveals fairly clunky -- it FELT like a plot turn where certain information just HAD to be revealed so everything could go to hell again.

And I will echo what Mister Tee said about the ending. I'm not opposed to somewhat open-ended conclusions like this...but it felt to me like the movie was building toward a more dramatic conclusion, and so I found its ultimate resolution somewhat timid, like the theme the film was supposed to leave me with at its end hadn't been fully worked out. Because of these reasons, I don't find this to be among the most graceful of Woody Allen's recent scripts. But it's a solid enough effort, and is worthy simply for giving Cate Blanchett such a sensational vehicle for her talents.

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Re: Blue Jasmine reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Aug 03, 2013 12:23 am

For the first time this year, I went into a theatre with the expectation/hope that I might see something great. As it turned out, I did and I didn’t.

The “did” is Cate Blanchett. It’s not so much she gives a great performance. It’s that she was handed one of the meatiest roles any actress has had in this decade, and, being a great talent, she lives fully up to it. She plays a self-deluding, entitled, on-the-verge-of-breakdown society woman reduced to penury; as the film progresses, we saw the stages of her loss, and learn the extent of her complicity in it. All of this gives her one wonderful acting opportunity after another -- there’s no point trying to single out an Oscar clip: the entire role is an Oscar clip. Despite the fact she hasn’t a shred of likability, audiences are likely to be mesmerized by her (when the film ended, the woman sitting next to me said “That was brilliant!”). I was certainly impressed.

However, to the “didn’t” part: reviews calling this Woody’s greatest film since the pre-Husbands and Wives era saw something considerably stronger than I did. I was held by the film while I was watching it, but I found the script on the thin side, especially in retrospect. The narrative cribs heavily from Streetcar – not simply the “declining High Society lady comes to live with sister whose mate is a brute” premise, but even the rough rhythms of the story (though Stanley – actually two Stanleys, Andrew Dice Clay and Bobby Cannavale – occupies a smaller segment of the film’s universe, and the Mitch comes from a different arena). Yet, despite the story-telling kinship, the film feels far more limited than Streetcar; it doesn’t have the same sense of movement or progression. When you get to the final scene of Williams’ play, you feel you’ve been part of a journey to tragedy; here, when you reach the end, it feels like a much smaller distance has been covered, and you’re not sure where it’s taken you. All this makes the film feel closer to a character sketch than a full-bodied work. (Though I will say there’s a plot surprise near the end that’s quite creative, which did more to make the film stick with me than anything else, as it made me re-evaluate a lot of the elements of Jasmine’s persona)

Lest this sound entirely negative, I’m not saying all this makes Blue Jasmine a bad film. It’s a solid three/three-and-a-half star movie. I’d just been led by some reviews to hope for the elusive four-star effort, and I don’t think this is it. Oh, and, on top of everything else: those who are calling this a comedy-drama are engaging in false advertising. There are maybe a few laughs, but this isn’t Manhattan, or even Crimes and Misdemeanors. It’s a drama, no question.

After others have seen the film (which is to say, when spoilers have been discounted), I’d like to raise the question, is this film Woody finally, 20 years on, coming to grips with the Soon-yi scandal?

The acting, by the way, is overall quite solid. Blanchett is of course a lock for a best actress nomination, and I’d rate Sally Hawkins just as likely to score under supporting actress; it’s another strong role, well-embodied. The men’s roles are smaller, but Cannavale and (more surprisingly) Andrew Dice Clay do very nice jobs, creating lower-class guys who irk Jasmine but aren’t caricatures (are, in fact, generally sympathetic, especially Dice Clay). Louis CK’s part is even smaller, but he’s quite good, as well.

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Re: Blue Jasmine reviews

Postby Okri » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:11 pm

Precious Doll wrote:
Okri wrote:While I doubt Upton get as many chances were he not married to Blanchett, I think it's worth mentioning that his adaptation/translation of The Philistines met with considerable raves after the National Theatre (UK) production of it.
.


I didn't know that. I was only aware of the poor reception of his original play Rifleman in London as reported by the press here - or have I been misinformed there?


No. That play got piss-poor reviews.

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Re: Blue Jasmine reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:24 am

Okri wrote:While I doubt Upton get as many chances were he not married to Blanchett, I think it's worth mentioning that his adaptation/translation of The Philistines met with considerable raves after the National Theatre (UK) production of it.
.


I didn't know that. I was only aware of the poor reception of his original play Rifleman in London as reported by the press here - or have I been misinformed there?
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Re: Blue Jasmine reviews

Postby Okri » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:48 pm

While I doubt Upton get as many chances were he not married to Blanchett, I think it's worth mentioning that his adaptation/translation of The Philistines met with considerable raves after the National Theatre (UK) production of it.

I could totally see Dench winning, but I could also see her becoming the annual old lady that Magilla predicts all year too. I think she's more former than the latter at this point. It's no Palfrey at the Claremont anyway.


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