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Posts tagged ‘Blue Jasmine’

“Cafe Society” Worst Woody Allen Ever? S.O.S. Same Old Story

Kristen Stewart 1As you can see by this ultra glamourous pic above ^ of Kristen Stewart, Woody Allen has cast her against type, as a nice little goodie two-shoes,compleat with bows in her hair and ankle socks, in “Cafe Society”. Her character, Vonnie, has to appear so beautiful that the men in the movie fall madly in love with her. The men being Steve Carell as well as his nephew Jesse Eisenberg. And they’re all very good in this magnificently shot and styled paean to old Hollywood in the ’30s.

But this is perhaps the worst movie he’s ever done.It’s soooo boring. It’s that we’ve seen it all before. Over and over and over and over again. We expect more from the man who gave us “Midnight in Paris”, “Hannah and Her Sisters”, “Blue Jasmine”, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and his Oscar winner “Annie Hall.” But this is not that. Not by a long shot.

At least his other recent sub-par look at the glamourous life circa 1920 “Magic in the Moonlight” had a very strong performance by Colin Firth. And it’s always the younger woman/older man scenario, but at least focusing as much of this film on the young Jesse Eisenberg, the edge is slightly off that scenario, but only slightly. But it doesn’t last for long. Before it’s back to the Carell/Kristen plot-line. Ho-hum.Or rather ho-humbug.

Eisenberg, an actor I’ve always had trouble liking, is appealing in this, and more amourously aggressive than I can ever remember him being.

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But try as they might, he, Carell and Stewart and all of the rest of this capable cast, just can’t rise above this bland, bland script.

I felt like I knew what lines the characters were going to say before they spoke them. Parker Posey, here a bubbly, throw-away blonde, is pretty much just window dressing. Corey Stoll is snidely effective as Eisenberg’s gangster brother.Blake Lively is, well, lively.

The only one who really broke through for me was Sari Lennick of the Coen Bros. “A Serious Man.” As Eisenberg’s hyserical, kvetchy sister-in-law and Stoll’s wife.

The biggest,.most consistent laughs in the film, and there are some, not much, but not enough, the most laughs come when Stoll’s character has killed some hapless or irritating sap, and throws the bodies into a ditch as a cement mixer pours cement on them in clearly a New Jersey setting.

Santa Loquasto has designed “Cafe Society” to a fare-thee-well and legendary lenser Victorio Storaro has shot it magnificently. It couldn’t look more glamourous, or be so empty. What a shame!

Do something NEW Woody!!! Surprise us!!! Don’t bore us…All our lives are too short for drivel like this.

#Woody Allen #Cafe Society #Kristen Stewart #comedy #Hollywood

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Colin Firth Strong, Emma Stone Weak in Woody’s (NO) “Magic in the Moonlight”

“I want MAGIC” screams Blanche du Bois in Tennessee Williams classic “Streetcar Named Desire”. And I was screaming “I want magic, too!” As Woody Allen’s latest “Magic in the Moonlight” unspooled before me and I didn’t laugh once.

It LOOKS Magical. The cinematography of Darius Khondji is simply swoon-worthy. The Riviera never looked so lovely! Truly! But aside from a very, very strong performance by Colin Firth, it’s not much fun. Although Eileen Atkins as his sensible aunt (they’re both British of course) is also very good. But this film that looks like it should be a comedy, is simply not funny at all.

Firth has the challenge of getting up in yellow-face and being a stage magician  named Wei Ling-Soo, who makes elephants disappear and saws ladies in half, and is an extremely pessimistic curmudgeon. He spews venom constantly throughout the film in all directions, which is arresting, but not funny. Unlike the other recent magician in an Allen film, the great Splendini, in “Scoop” who Allen played himself. “Scoop” was set in London with Scarlett Johansonn in the female lead, a role Emma Stone essays so poorly here. “Scoop” was funny and good-natured as “Magic in the Moonlight” is bitter and grim. Good qualities in a drama, like “Blue Jasmine” but not is a half-baked pseudo-farce.

How can this much heightened sarcasm be not funny in a Woody Allen film? Well, for one thing his character seems an utter realist, if not a downright atheistic. Yes, that’s right. This is a film that is about atheism. Or a comedy about atheism. WTF? It’s seems like it should be by Ayn Rand and black and white and set in the ’40s.

Not the glamorous 1920s, a period Allen returns to again and again. And he’s done it better. I just watched “Midnight in Paris” for the umpteenth time last night and it delighted and chilled me all over again. I actually got goose bumps from it and from Mlle. Marion Cotillard’s superb performance.

And there were actually French people in it. And they spoke French! Imagine that! In “Magic in the Moonlight” we have the beautiful French countryside, but no French people are in it. At All.

And Emma Stone is very, very weak in this. As a supposed psychic, she’s a little spacey, a little kookie. Her red-hair flies beautifully in the wind. She has lovely large eyes, but Woody seems to have a problem with her overly large forehead which is covered up throughout much of the movie by her own bangs, which is fine and series of tam o’shanters, head-bands and hats with extremely low brows, which would look fine on Marion Cotillard, but on Stone they make her look odd. She is photographed soooo well in fact, she looked liked she’s acting, but she isn’t. The cinematography and costumes were acting FOR her.

I didn’t ever think I would miss Scarlett Johansonn, but in this film, I did. Stone is really out of her depth here, and she shouldn’t be.

I just attended a press conference for this film with Emma Stone notably absent. And Colin Firth when asked about working with her, just skipped the question entirely. “My Best Day?” he was asked, ” I guess the scene in the planetarium at night. I was wet. And I felt wet, so that was good.”

Unfortunately, it’s (no) “Magic in the Moonlight” that is all wet. Sadly.

Every OTHER film of Woody’s recently has been terrific. “Midnight in Paris” was a masterpiece. “To Rome, with Love” was a dud. “Blue Jasmine” won Cate Blanchett an Oscar for Best Actress, and so we were due for another disappointment, and unfortunately, we got it.

I can’t wait for the next one, however. That’ll be good again.

Woody did a press conference in New York today. He NEVER does that. I sensed Flop Sweat and I was right. But Colin saved the day, and Jacqui Weaver was buoyant, too.

Woody said “Life is meaningless.” And he meant it. And then added “Now that I’ve depressed you thoroughly, have a nice weekend.”Magic in the Moonlight 1Magic in the Moonlight 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oscar Bloggers Anne Thompson & I Predict the Oscars in SEPT. Not Much Has Changed…

How very little has changed since TIFF! The Toronto International Film Festival sets the stage and runs the table for Oscar starting and some would say ending in September! If you’re not screened at Toronto, it’s becoming increasingly harder to catch up. I’m looking at YOU “American Hustle”, “Wolf of Wall Street”, “All is Lost” and “Inside Llewyn Davis” to name just a few.

Anne and I were BOTH not even mentioned in the New York Magazine Oscar Blogger article which just came out in this week’s New York Magazine. Where my wonderful Sasha Stone and the great Jeff Wells were the centerpieces of said supposed last word on Oscar Blogging.

Anne, classy lady that she is, probably declined to be interviewed for this piece, I’m just guessing. HitFix was also left out completely. Go figure. Next year, Boris, CALL ME!!!!

E.T.A. The only big change since taping this scene is that we now both know how to pronounce AND SPELL Lupita Nyong’o!!! And so does the world!!!!

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Lupita & Cate on cover of EW! And the Winners Will Be…AND I AGREE!

Lupita & Cate on cover of EW! And the Winners Will Be...AND I AGREE!

How much do I love this cover of Entertainment Weekly’s Oscar issue, which doesn’t even hit the stands until Friday! They are my predictions to win, too!

This is a big change from EW’s previous Oscar cover of a few weeks back. Lupita was nowhere to be found on the cover. The gals pictured were Jennifer Lawrence, Sandra Bullock and Cate. JLaw where are you now?

Of course, the last time they did this kind of predictive cover was two years ago with George Clooney and Viola Davis, and embarassingly neither one won! And I wondered if that was why Dave Karger, an excellent Oscarologist left EW. For Fandango. But still..

But the timing was different it was way BEFORE the voting even started. This time the voting is nearing its’ end with most Academy members making sure their vote is in and in EARLY. The voting started this past Friday, and this issue isn’t out until Feb.28, supposedly, and those who use the Snail Mail route KNOW they have to get it in ASAP. If it doesn’t arrive on time, it’s not counted.

And evidently this year the online voting is going SMOOOOTHLY. Not one article or blog piece has been written to the effect of Academy web-site SNAFUS. So I guess all is AOK.

But congratulations to both ladies for a striking cover! How far we’ve come! When a young actress of color can go from zero to hero in a few short weeks! Lupita’s everywhere.

And Jennifer Lawrence won last year. They love her, but they are NOT going to give it to her, a great comedienne, as wlll as a bona fide box office star TWO years in a row and she’s not even 23!

Lupita is 30, though she looks much younger, and a graduate of the Yale School of Drama where Oscar Queen Meryl Streep went. I rest my case.

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Cate Blanchett Class Act Aces at BAFTAS, She thanks the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman in her speech.

Cate Blanchett Class Act  Aces at BAFTAS, She thanks the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman in her speech.

Cate Blanchett won, as everybody and his mother expected her to, at the BAFTAS. She won Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine.” And she has won just about every other award under the sun, and she’s the surest thing to bet on for the Oscars. Her and Jared Leto. Bet on them. You won’t lose. Everything else is a toss up, IMHO. Even at this late date. More on everything else later.

But there were those who thought, wrongly, as it turns out, that Cate the Great wood be hurt by “Woodygate”, the name now being given to the re-emergence of those awful charges against Woody Allen, made by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow. And timed to hit the news just at the moment before Oscar voting began.

Obviously no one voting was paying any attention to this, and Cate did not even REFER to Woody Allen during her acceptance speech of the Montecito Award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, and she did the same thing when she won the BAFTA last night and dedicated THAT prize to her late buddy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

The became BFFs during the film of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” which starred Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law. Both Blanchett and Hoffman had memorable supporting roles in it, one of my all-time favorite films. Both were breaking into major film recognition at this time.

And she became also fast friends with his girl-friend Mimi O’Donnell, whose side she sped to leaving Santa Barbara to fly to New York the minute his death was announced. Both women have three young children.The devastation Hoffman’s tragedy has wrought on O’Donnell and the family is unimaginable.

Everyone was deeply moved by this speech in which Blanchett called Hoffman her “touchstone” and which she ended with “So this is for you Phil, you bastard.”

It took EVERYbody’s mind off the Farrow thing, very classy all round. Though that dress was black and very severe, almost dowdy, I thought. But nevermind the fashion. I’m sure Cate will pick an even better choice for the Oscars, and her upcoming coronation.

All these unproved allegations that are coming up suspiciously at awards time is just,IMHO, a fighting mad Mia Farrow, being the vengeful dumped ex-lover once again and trying to do a scorched earth policy though her daughter, Dylan. It didn’t work.

And dear readers, dear cineastes, I do have to make mention of the fact that NOT ONCE was Mia Farrow even NOMINATED for an Oscar. Golden Globes yes, but Oscar, no. Take that factoid for what you will, but whatever Mia’s motivations, she was NOT able to stop Cate the Great in her road Oscar glory on March 2.

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Woody Allen Fires Back

Woody Allen Fires Back

You just never WHAT turn the Oscar Race is gonna taken and that’s one of the reasons I find it so endlessly fascinating. But this left turn is one that really saddens me. That Cate Blanchett might lose an Oscar for the performance of her career in “Blue Jasmine” is just awful. I don’t think she will, but…you never know…and the godawful confused performance of Amy Adams might win instead in Best Actress for the execrable “romp”i.e.,” American Hustle” is too much to bear or even think about.

This probably isn’t going to happen. The Academy has a history of ignoring alleged bad behavior in favor of great work. And AMPAS, if any body, is made up of a jury of Woody’s peers, if ever there was one. I’m predicting that Cate the Great will still win and that this controversy might even win, in a surprise, and garner Allen yet another Best Orginal Screenplay Oscar. It’s a better screenplay than “Her” OR “American Hustle” now that I think about it.

But Woody came out firing on all guns in the New York Times no less and here’s what he had to say, in full. over at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com. Jeff Wells’ take is instructive and scroll down to “My Feelings Exactly” to read the entire statement.

Jeff Wells by the way is in Berlin for the Berlin Film Festival and isn’t liking it one bit.

Cate Blanchett’s Oscar Suddenly in Trouble?

No sooner had I typed the words “There’s nothing that can stop Cate Blanchett’s March to the Oscar” when there appeared in The Hollywood Reporter http://www.hollywoodreporter.com that indeed there WAS something. Something awful. And there’s been volley’s and cross-fires on http://www.awardsdaily.com and also http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com All are now essential reading. 

But the definitive piece, I think is http://www.showbiz411.com/2014/02/01/mia-farrow-uses-close-pal-journalist-in-woody-allen-war-writer-of-latest-piece-is-close-friend

By Roger Friedman.

You, dear readers, dear cineastes, can make up your own minds. I am more with Roger Friedman on this.

First the timing of the piece, right in the supposedly “Quiet period”, the two week before the AMPAS voters get there ballots. And the attaching of Cate Blanchett to this horrible story. The NBC news last night ran it with 20-year-old footage of Allen with the police, etc. etc. He had red hair in all the shots of him, that’s how old it was. But they didn’t link the story, with Cate Blanchett and “Blue Jasmine.”

While if you believe Dylan Farrow’s detailed account of her molestation by Allen, did she wait all these years to release this new salvo, and come out of the shadows, just now, when Cate Blanchett is poised to win yet another Oscar as one of Woody’s Great Roles of Women. “Midnight in Paris” won him ANOTHER Oscar last year for Best Original Screenplay and nothing was said. But now to attack and involve Cate Blanchett in this??? Smacks of another actress’jealousy, an actress who DOESN’T have an Oscar, and is probably never going to get one, and I’m looking at you, Mia Farrow.

Will this affect,, however Cate Blanchett’s Oscar win? Well it might and it might not. Look, the Academy awarded Roman Polanski Best Director for “The Pianist” and also it got Best Actor for Adrien Brody, in an unexpected (but not by me, who predicted it) on my TV show)win for Best Actor. But then again, it might. 

As I said in my previous post here on this blog, the BAFTAS are really going to tell the tale. And who would be the primary recipient of this really sad situation? I think it’s not Amy Adams, who gave one of the worst performances of her career in “American Hustle”, but 77-year-old Dame Judi Dench, who is also nominated in that category for “Philomena”. AND she’s got Harvey Weinstein behind her, and the Weinstein Co.behind her.AND she’s going blind.

But I don’t think this will have any impact at all on the innocent party in this Cate Blanchett. If the Academy Awarded Roman Polanski, who really was at the center of HIS scandal from the ’70s, they’ll award Cate Blanchett who has nothing to do with this.

 

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