Tag Archives: Cate Blanchett

Trailer alert! Wood Allen’s Blue Jasmine #film #trailer #news

7 Aug

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Put two of my favourite actresses (Sally Hawkins and Cate Blanchett) in one film, add Woody Allen as a director and Boom! You’ve got what looks to be another acting masterclass….

For those of you who are keen to know what the film is all about, here’s the low down:

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

“Blue Jasmine” in UK cinemas September 27th

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A Night at the Museum – Well, the London Film Museum

21 Dec

 

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Ever wondered what makes British film so magical? Well, London as a Capital City has a huge part to play in making it what it is today, and to celebrate, The London Film Museum launches its Lights Camera Action! Exhibition in Covent Garden just in time for Christmas.

Being lucky enough to take a sneak peek around last night, I discovered that audiences visiting this exhibition will be able to follow a number of different themes, such as “Working London, Royal London, Musical London”, which help make British Film, set in London something that isn’t just magical, but iconic for many years, past, present and future.

 

Me blending in slightly with the wonderful Union Jack Mini on display

Me blending in slightly with the wonderful Union Jack Mini on display

As you enter the exhibition you’ll be able to learn about the history of film, from Kodak to Lumiere, and get your hands on a couple of exhibits of early projectors and early animation techniques. Further into the exhibition the themes become more apparent and you will find yourself wandering into various sectioned off areas dedicated to a particular time in London-based film.

Just one of the many "themed" areas at this exhibition.

Just one of the many “themed” areas at this exhibition.

As interesting as this exhibition was, one of the things I love about a behind the scenes, educational experience of film, is the ability to see props, manuscripts, costumes and never before seen photographs/stills. At this exhibition, you see some of this, but in my mind, unfortunately not nearly enough. There are some great props like the throne from Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth, or the original script from Lionel Bart’s Oliver. There are also a lot of film posters on display, but essentially, for the majority of the exhibition, you are reading text off a board with a few still shots beside it and some projections of famous London films in the background.

Some of the props on display - these were taken from Love Actually

Some of the props on display – these were taken from Love Actually

 

With all this being said, it’s still a very enjoyable exhibition, and for a small venue round the corner from Covent Garden, if you fancy something filmy and new this Christmas period, then its most definitely worth a look. Plus, it’s free!

The London Film Museum’s Lights, Camera Action exhibition opens 21st December.

The Hobbit – What an unexpected journey that was!

11 Dec

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In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit… for two years JRR Tolkien never wrote further than those few lines, but when he eventually put more pen to paper, along with the consultation of his good friend C.S. Lewis, he drafted what was deemed by the 1954 New York Times as the “best childrens book of the Twentieth century.” Hoards of fans would agree with this statement, and when Lord of the Rings (LOTR) was drafted, Tolkien became one of the biggest literary figures in history.

So now, just over ten years have passed since its first cinematic offering and audiences once again can be looking forward to the dominating force of the only man brave enough to take on LOTR and win every award going. – well nearly but 17/30 Oscars isn’t bad! So you can only imagine the excitement of this early screener at 9am on a Sunday morning in Leicester Square. There was not only press in the audience, but a number of the British crew and cast who had helped bring The Hobbit to life, the pressure was on…

The Hobbit is the story of a young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) a Hobbit, content in his hobbit hole, educated well enough to think he knows the Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 13.12.26world around him, without ever having to step further than Bag End. He is a Hobbit who knows what he likes, nothing more, nothing less. That is, until, Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) greets him one sunny day and offers him an adventure. Politely refusing this offer, Bilbo retreats to his hole, but as of that night and the arrival of thirteen dwarves, his life will change forever…

Fans who have read The Hobbit will know that this story is far shorter than any of the Lord of the Rings books. Yet at 174 minutes on film, it’s a bum shuffling, watch checking journey in itself, to get only a third of the way through the book to the first appearance of the dragon Smaug. A little long winded you might think? Well, brace yourselves, as there will be two more installments over the next couple of years.

Having said that the narrative, although drawn out, is enjoyable and the acting is strong from all characters. Freeman is an excellent choice for Bilbo, charismatic, dandy-esq, but not an annoying buffoon, which is the balance any actor must strike with this character. Richard Armitage’s Thorin, Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 13.12.38leader of the Dwarves, is the biggest revelation and commands every scene he is in with brooding wonderment. It is also great to see some of the characters from LOTR too, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, and a surprise cameo from Christopher Lee and Elijah Wood. The dwarves, although difficult to name individually, each have their own personality and James Nesbitt and Ken Stott perform particularly well in these roles. The absolute standout in everyway however, has to go to Andy Serkis’ Gollum – everything from the acting to the much more advanced visual portrayal of the character is breathtaking and award worthy. By far the most engaging scene from the whole movie, is the simple two hander by this character and Bilbo at the bottom of the Goblin cave.

No one is doubting Peter Jacksons vision and the world he has created, every place you visit from Hobbiton to the Dwarf kingdom of Erebor is beautifully mapped out and delivered, and from that point of view, viewers will not be disappointed. The problem of this film however, comes in the shape of how Jackson has tried to shoot it.

You may have seen lots of comments on the 48 frames per second (fps) issue since screenings in this country have begun. We now live in a post Avatar world, so the technical magic of LOTR now has to be upped in order to compete or seem innovative or groundbreaking. So you can see why Jackson took a risk in showing his audience something very different, but whether or not this is the right choice still remains to be seen. However, early reactions, including my own, is that this unfortunately proves to be more problematic than not. It is very apparent from the first quarter of the film that you will need to adjust to this dramatic change in format.  The more scathing reviews will tell you that it reduces what you see on screen to a bad 1980’s television fantasy. I can understand where this statement is coming from and it is utterly distracting.

Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 13.13.3448fps, is supposed to help not only with 3D eyestrain for the audience, but also to make transitions in the film much smoother as you’re taking in almost double of what you would normally watch. Unfortunately, the end result feels unfinished and too crisp to the extent that you feel as if you are watching on set, through a peephole as they are rehearsing some scenes. You also tend to notice the jump cuts and other transitions from scene to scene, which jars your viewing enjoyment and prohibits you from getting lost in the film you are watching. It also feels as if there is no grading at all carried out on the film, and it’s the brighter shots such as outside in Bag End that feel the fault of this the most. In short the cinematic quality is lost.

This along with Jacksons decision to split the film into a three part money making trilogy are the two biggest risks taken, and at this early stage does not feel like either have paid off.  Having said that, you cannot deny what a brilliant story this is to be told. Unfortunately the format in which it is presented takes something away from the adult who grew up reading this as a child, and feels more like something much suited to a child who needs to be pacified when their favourite episode on CBeebies comes to an end. A harsh final thought? Well unfortunately there are costly mistakes which have been made, and the army of Hobbit fans may feel let down unless they get to one of the far fewer screenings running the film in either 2D or standard 3D without the extra hassle.

The Hobbit hits cinemas on the 13th December.