Day 195: Blue Jasmine

71XsC--9m-L._SL1500_Gee whiz. If Blue Jasmine – the 44th movie Woody Allen directed – was any more depressing, it would be Husbands and Wives or Crimes and Misdemeanors.

The film is about a wealthy New York wife (Cate Blanchett), married to a high-rolling financier (Alex Baldwin), a Bernie Madoff-type who suddenly finds herself without a husband, without a home, and without money after her husband goes to prison for fraud.

The dramatic drop from the highest high to a humbling low takes a toll on her life and she more or less snaps, ends up talking to herself.

She moves in with her sister in San Francisco and takes a job as a receptionist in a dentist’s office while she attends school to better herself. The pressure of juggling her job, her class, her sister’s lower-class lifestyle and friends (who hit on her), and her boss (who hits on her), and a growing drinking problem takes a toll.

Her last chance at escaping the downward spiral is meeting a wealthy state department diplomat (Peter Sarsgaard) at a party, inventing a different past, and posing as an interior decorator. The two fall in love.

But when Jasmin’s ruse is discovered, the bottom totally drops out.

Blue Jasmine was nominated for Continue reading

Day 194: To Rome With Love

91Z2UrFxZ-L._SL1500_In keeping with Woody’s apparent interest in shooting films in Europe rather than New York (Midnight in Paris, his last film, was shot in, well, Paris.

A couple of previous films – Scoop, Match Point, and Vicky Christina Barcelona – were shot in England and Spain). To Rome With Love was shot in Italy.

With lots of Italian dialogue.

And English subtitles.

I’ve seen worse movies. In fact, I’ve seen worse Woody movies.

To Rome with Love is an interesting movie, mostly because Woody Allen plays Woody Allen. And, at 77, he still plays his old character well.

Also of interest in the film is the cast:

Judy Davis … Phyllis
Flavio Parenti … Michelangelo
Roberto Benigni … Leopoldo
Alison Pill … Hayley
Alessandro Tiberi … Antonio
Alessandra Mastronardi … Milly
Alec Baldwin … John
Carol Alt … Carol
David Pasquesi … Tim
Woody Allen … Jerry
Jesse Eisenberg … Jack
Penélope Cruz … Anna
Ellen Page … Monica

Penelope Cruz returns. And looks stunning in a red hooker dress. Alison Pill returns (she was Zelda Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris).

Ellen Page is woefully miscast. She has zero chemistry with Jesse Eisenberg, supposedly her love interest in the film.

Alec Baldwin plays a kind of spiritual adviser Continue reading