Showing posts with label woody allen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label woody allen. Show all posts

17 September 2014

Film Review - Magic In The Moonlight (2014)

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Genre: Comedy, Romance
Distributor: 19th September 2014 (UK)
Rating: 15
Running Time:97 Minutes
Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Hamish Linklater

After the sensational Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen's latest feature sees him returning to the sort of nostalgic, charming and ever-so-slight fare that he seems to adore making. Taking us back to the 1920s, Magic in the Moonlight is a tale packed with a sumptuous visual aesthetic and absorbing performances - but little real substance.

Allen's latest settles in a wealthy estate in the South of France where Stanley (Colin Firth) an English illusionist goes undercover to unmask Sophie (Emma Stone), a suspected American swindler who claims to be clairvoyant. However, personal feelings get in the way of this dynamic and Stanley finds his judgement becoming cloudy as he falls for the young American.

Opening with a sprightly Cole Porter number, Allen starts as he means to go on by crafting the light and breezy, ever-charming tone that we have come to expect from his period features. This welcoming atmosphere is also bolstered by the appearance of Firth's Stanley, a man touring the country posing as Chinese conjurer Wei Ling Soo - when we first see him out of costume, Firth delights, arriving like a steam-train of dry sarcasm and snappy wit.

Upon shifting the narrative to Stanley's travels in France, Allen and cinematographer Darius Khondji pack the tale with a fairytale like aesthetic beauty - from the greenery of the rich country estates to the dazzling pastel colours of the cliffsides and seas. Combined with dazzling period costumes from Sonia Grande, Magic in the Moonlight is a visual feast that fully transports us back to a more appealing, carefree world of 1920s characters and whimsy.

Emma Stone brings a welcome sparkiness to the fold, with Allen's sharp dialogue flowing effortlessly from the wide-eyed, energetic actresses' tongue. There is an initial likeable simplicity to Sophie, yet it is always clear that there is slightly more depth to her occasionally suspect motivations. Paired with a savvy, sharp turn from Firth, Magic in the Moonlight should work effortlessly - and undeniably there is an amusing battle of personalities between the pair, however, this is squandered by a misjudged romantic turn in the narrative.

Whilst there is a watchable chemistry between the pair, this is not a convincing romantic chemistry - with the relationship never feeling particularly authentic (perhaps this is Allen's intention?). This is most likely due to the blatant age-gap between the pair and the fact we never quite believe that Firth's Stanley is head over heels for the near-thirty years junior Sophie. Given that this takes up such a vast part of Allen's narrative, this romantic angle brings a severe dip in quality.

Saving graces are provided by the delightful aesthetic, breezy humour and occasional sparks of dry brilliance in the dialogue. There are welcome supporting turns by the ever brilliant Eileen Atkins and Simon McBurney, and likeable appearances from Jacki Weaver and Marcia Gay Harden. However, unlike the magnificent Blue Jasmine, there is never anything particularly substantial (like Cate Blanchett's performance) for us as viewers to hold onto and be engrossed by.

Magic in the Moonlight is light, carefree and whimsically charming. With sumptuous visuals and period details, but little real substance, this is Allen at his most frustratingly pleasant and mediocre.

Andrew McArthur

Abig thanks to Andrew for letting us use his Culture Fix review

11 February 2014

DVD Review - Blue Jasmine

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Drama, Comedy
DVD/BD Release Date:
17th February 2014 (UK)
Warner Bros Home Entetainment (UK)
Rating: 15
Woody Allen
Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard , Sally Hawkins, Bobby Cannavale
Buy:DVD or Blu-ray [Amazon]

After middle-age flings with exotic beauties from Barcelona, London, Paris and Rome, Woody Allen has decided, in his sunset years, to return home to a true American broad, and in Cate Blanchett’s Jasmine he has unearthed one of his greatest creations yet. It seems almost formulaic to insist upon calling each Allen release a return to form but if, like many, you weren’t totally convinced by Midnight in Paris and numbed by To Rome with Love then believe me when I say Blue Jasmine is not just Woody’s best for a decade but rivals the classics of his golden age.

Blanchett shines as the eponymous star in this skewed re-working of Streetcar Named Desire infused with a Bernard Madoff modern spin. We meet a broken Jasmine on a flight to San Francisco, escaping her once glorious existence as a New York socialite that instantly soured the moment her husband Hal – a suitably despicable Alec Baldwin - was collared by the FBI for questionable financial dealings. Assets seized, bank accounts frozen and friends long since departed, a maddening Jasmine seeks solace in her sister, Ginger’s, west-coast home. The pair, adopted into the same family at a young age, have gone on to lead hugely differing lifestyles and Jasmine soon finds herself plunged into the kind of blue-collar existence she thought  she had well and truly escaped and had no intention on revisiting. Her upstate New York drawl drips with catty condescension fired at will towards her sister’s home, her children and her choice of partner.

Largely seen as little more than a nuisance during Jasmines ‘blessed’ years, Ginger now becomes the base upon which she must carve out a new life. Although, Jasmine was quite content with her old life – tirelessly informing anyone who cares to listen (often those who don’t) about her legendary Hampton’s dinner parties, holidays around Europe and the glamourous setting in which Hal first swept her off her feet.
These sporadic and scattergun recollections allow us into the New York high life, filled with designer shops, holiday homes and bejewelled gifts from partners. Running alongside Jasmine’s current plight, Allen seamlessly blends these memories, navigating away from a tired fish out of water tale to provide us with glimpses of a life lost, as well Hal’s casual approach to monogamy and the root of the major rift dividing the two sisters.

At the films heart is a crackling script, penned by one of the industry’s finest and held aloft by a colossal central performance by Blanchett, a wound up ball of tension hidden underneath booze and delusions of grandeur. It feels like a homecoming of sorts for Allen without ever feeling showy, whitewashing over a decade of midlife ennui more notable for it’s misses than it’s hits. Back on from then and back on American soil, although not so much his well-trodden Manhattan streets but the relatively foreign San Francisco hills. Here again, Allen distances himself from his European phrase – eschewing the tourist friendly scenery – bar one shot of the Golden Gate bridge nestled in the background, otherwise notable by it’s absence – in favour of bringing these characters and their stories to the forefront of each frame.

A genuine return to from for Allen, but Blue Jasmine is more than merely that. A standout American film of the year so far, expect it to feature heavily come award season.


Matthew Walsh

This is a repost of the cinema review from The Peoples Movies

7 August 2013

Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine Has UK Trailer, Watch Now

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After To Rome To Love you wondered if Woody Allen has finally lost his unique touch? Fear not next month the old magic looks like it's returning when Blue Jasmine is Released and this afternoon we have the film's official UK trailer.

Starring Cate Blanchett as Jasmine a middle aged New York Socialite whose life has went from riches to rags thanks to the action of her husband (Alec Baldwin). With no Jasmine is forced to move to San Francisco to stay with her sister (Sally Hawkins) to attempt to get her life back together whilst drinking the the remainder of her drinks cabinet.

When you start talking about Oscars when when talking about Woody Allen films you know the film has a sign of quality. With the film already out Stateside some of the reviews are saying Cate Blanchett has delivered one of her best performances in a long time and others are saying Blue Jasmine is up there with the likes of Annie Hall which will please Allen's loyal fanbase.

Blue Jasmine will be out in UK on 27th September,the film co-stars Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Andrew Dice Clay ,Bobby Cannavale , Louis C.K and Peter Sarsgaard.


After everything in her life falls to pieces, including her marriage to wealthy businessman Hal (Alec Baldwin), elegant New York socialite Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) moves into her sister Ginger’s (Sally Hawkins) modest apartment in San Francisco to try to pull herself back together again.
Jasmine arrives in San Francisco in a fragile mental state, her head reeling from the cocktail of anti-depressants she’s on. While still able to project her aristocratic bearing, Jasmine is emotionally precarious and lacks any practical ability to support herself. She disapproves of Ginger’s boyfriend Chili (Bobby Cannavale), who she considers another “loser” like Ginger’s ex-husband Augie (Andrew Dice Clay). Ginger, recognizing but not fully understanding her sister’s psychological instability, suggests that she pursue interior design, a career she correctly intuits that Jasmine won’t feel is beneath her. In the meantime, Jasmine begrudgingly accepts work as the receptionist in a dentist’s office, where she attracts the unwanted attentions of her boss, Dr. Flicker (Michael Stuhlbarg).
Feeling that her sister might be right about her poor taste in men, Ginger starts seeing Al (Louis C.K.), a sound engineer whom she considers as a step up from Chili. Jasmine sees a potential lifeline when she meets Dwight (Peter Sarsgaard), a diplomat who is quickly smitten with her beauty, sophistication and style.
Jasmine’s flaw is that she derives her worth from the way she’s perceived by others, while she herself is blind to what is going around her. Delicately portrayed by a regal Cate Blanchett, Jasmine earns our compassion because she is the unwitting instrument of her own downfall. Woody Allen’s new drama BLUE JASMINE is about the dire consequences that can result when people avert their eyes from reality and the truth they don’t want to see.

7 June 2013

Watch The Official First Trailer For Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine

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It wouldn't be a Summer without Woody Allen and you'll be happy to know we now have the official first trailer for his next film Blue Jasmine a woman who had every thing financially only for her to go from riches to rags.

Blue Jasmine stars  Cate Blanchett as a wealthy New York housewife who becomes broke thanks to her husbands criminal actions (Alec Baldwin) and is forced to live with her sister in San Francisco.

I've always found it hard to appreciate Woody Allen's films (acting and directed by) his work is a required taste but 40 plus years in the industry he must be doing something right. It's hoped Blue Jasmine will buck the indecisive trend of Allen's recent films with it been back on home soil,New York but mostly San Francisco instead of the usual European city.The film does have the trademark Allen  humour however things do look a little more dramatic and darker in tone too. The story of rivaling siblings is something Allen excels at (Hannah And Her Sisters) really well and we're optimistic this one will follow suit and Cate Blanchett really does look the part and it's nice to see show film fans that she's more than the Elfish queen in Peter Jackson's Lord of The Rings/The Hobbit films.

Blue Jasmine does have a UK&Irish release date of 20th September (USA 26th July) and the film co-stars Sally Hawkins, Andrew Dice Clay ,Bobby Cannavale ,  Louis C.K and Peter Sarsgaard.

source: Yahoo

18 January 2013

Ti Amo Roma! Woody Allen's To Rome With Love Home Release This February

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Press Release:

Experience the allure of the eternal city when Woody Allen’sTO ROME WITH LOVE arrives on DVD February 11 from Sony Pictures Classics and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. This enchanting romantic comedy, set in Rome, features a star-studded cast including Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin (TV’s “30 Rock”), Academy Award® winner Roberto Benigni (Best Actor, Life is Beautiful, 1999), Academy Award® winner Penelope Cruz (Best Supporting Actress, Vicky Cristina Barcelona,2009), Judy Davis (A Passage to India), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Greta Gerwig (Damsels in Distress) and Ellen Page (Inception). Alison Pill (TV’s “The Newsroom”) and Allesandra Mastronardi also star in the film.

TO ROME WITH LOVE is told in four independent vignettes about four characters whose adventures change their lives forever: an average Roman wakes up one day to find himself a well-known celebrity; an American architect revisits the streets on which he used to live as a student; a young couple on their honeymoon are pulled into separate romantic encounters; and an American opera director tries to turn a singing mortician into a star.

The DVD comes with the special featurette “Con Amore: A Passion for Rome,” providing a first time glimpse into the secretive world of Woody Allen’s filmmaking process featuring exclusive cast and crew interviews with Alec Baldwin, Penélope Cruz and Greta Gerwig.

The film, which opened the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival, was written and directed by Allen, produced by Letty Aronson (Midnight in Paris), Stephen Tenenbaum (Midnight in Paris), Faruk Alatan (Pope Joan) and Giampaolo Letta with co-producers Helen Robin (Midnight in Paris) and David Nichols (The Tourist), and    co-executive producer Jack Rollins (Midnight in Paris). 

TO ROME WITH LOVE has a run time of approximately 107 minutes and is rated 12.

Pre-Order/Buy To Rome With Love:DVD / Blu-Ray