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Blue Jasmine (2013)


1/10: Inept Filmmaking that Cheats the Moviegoer
Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blue Jasmine"'s ineptitude angered and offended me. Moviegoers deserve better than this amateurish botch. This review reveals key plot points. Don't read this review if you don't want to know what happens. Let's face it, though, not a lot happens in "Blue Jasmine." What does happen on screen is devoid of artistic truth, verisimilitude, insight or craft. Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) is the beautiful widow of Hal Francis, a Bernie-Madoff like corrupt wheeler-dealer. The FBI has caught up with Hal and arrested him. He commits suicide in prison. Jasmine travels from NYC to San Francisco to live with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins). Ginger used to be married to Augie (Andrew Dice Clay) but Ginger is currently involved with Chili (Bobby Cannavale.) Jasmine tries to make a go of it. There is some tension as she is living in her sister's apartment. Jasmine gets a job, meets a man, and studies interior decorating. Things...

9/10: A real fake life
Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Ceaselessly the woman talks at the elderly lady next to her: on the plane, at the airport, waiting for their luggage. Only when her husband picks her up, she is able to free herself from the incessant flood of words. This is how Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen's latest film begins. It ends with the same woman sitting down on a park bench, talking again. The lady sitting beside her gets up and leaves, the talker does not even notice. In these two scenes – so similar and yet so different – Allen frames his tale of Jasmine whose real name is Jeanette. A woman who, married to a rich financial entrepreneur, once was at the heart of New York City's high society. Now she must relocate to San Francisco, to live with her despised sister. When her husband's criminal activities were discovered and he subsequently hung himself in his cell, she lost everything: her jewels, her money, her footing...

9/10: Woody's Sharply Rendered Update of "Streetcar" Anchored by Blanchett's Brilliant Blanche-Like Turn
Saturday, August 3, 2013

If you want to see this year's master class in screen acting, you need to watch Cate Blanchett's mesmerizing performance as Jasmine French, a delusional Park Avenue socialite wife in Woody Allen's 45th directorial effort, a sly, bicoastal update of Tennessee Williams' classic "A Streetcar Named Desire". As the film opens, her impeccably dressed character has hit rock bottom after her financial wizard of a husband is arrested and her assets are liquidated. In the throes of a nervous breakdown, she arrives in San Francisco and moves in with her kind- hearted sister Ginger who lives a modest, blue-collar life in a tiny apartment on the edge of the Mission – on South Van Ness near 14th Street to be exact - with her two hyperactive sons. You can tell Jasmine is not only out of her element but quite judgmental about how her sister's life has turned out. The irony of Jasmine's patronizing attitude is...

8/10: One of Woody Allen's most unsuspecting heavyweight films in a long time
Friday, August 9, 2013

Sometimes it feels like Woody Allen is deliberately hit and miss. Every other film appears to be a winner so it's become easy to just skip the mediocre ones. I thought Midnight In Paris was pretty good but I felt like its idea wasn't explored well enough and it became too repetitive. Blue Jasmine is a film that feels like it'll be another basic story at first then as the tragedy slowly unravels, it becomes all the more fascinating. At first the film's structure of flashbacking without transition is a little frustrating as the present time doesn't give you much to chew on in the first place, but it soon becomes clear that this was the only way to tell this brilliant and complex story of a woman's place in the world. Cate Blanchett is setting the reviews on fire and she certainly deserves it. I've always loved her engrossing theatrical style in...

9/10: Woody and Cate Make a Fine Duet
Thursday, August 8, 2013

Woody Allen's finely tuned screen-writing skills and his talent for eliciting standout and often award-winning performances from his leading ladies are on full display in "Blue Jasmine." Alec Baldwin, the slick husband of a middle-aged socialite, Cate Blanchett, pulls a Bernie-Madoff swindle and ends up in jail. The homes, the cars, the furs, the jewels, the furniture all go to the Feds, and the penniless Cate flies first class to San Francisco with her Louis Vuitton luggage to stay with her non-biological sister, Sally Hawkins, until she gets back on her feet. Blanchett, the Jasmine of the title, is totally unprepared for her economic fall. She decides to become an interior designer, but wants to study on-line; however, she is computer illiterate and must take a course, before she can begin to study decorating; but, she needs money for the courses and takes a receptionist job with a lecherous dentist. Although the film...

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