Friday, September 20, 2013

Review: Blue Jasmine

                                          Blue Jasmine: Woody Allen's Newest Masterpiece

                       When I first saw Midnight In Paris, one of Woody Allen's latest films, I have started to become a fan of his since, and now, he has taken an interesting route into dramatic territory with his latest achievement, Blue Jasmine.

                       Blue Jasmine is about a woman named Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) who moves to San Francisco to live with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) who tries to help her reassemble her life after she becomes depressed by the arrest of her rich but corrupt husband and loses all her money.

                       What I Liked About It:
                      First off, I absolutely loved Cate Blanchett's performance as Jasmine. She just inhales this role and plays it with a lot of flare by mixing her performance with humor, vulnerability, sassiness, and depth. Blanchett is getting a lot of Oscar talk for her performance and I certainly cross my fingers that she gets nominated as she is fantastic and some say she is at her best. Also, another actress I'd like to talk about is Sally Hawkins, who plays Ginger, Jasmine's sister. This is the first film I've seen Hawkins in, but I really look forward to her future work after seeing her performance in this, and I cross my fingers that she gets Oscar recognition like Cate Blanchett.

                     Another thing that I really liked was how the film demonstrates how financial corruption takes a personal toll on people's well-being. As Jasmine goes on a downward spiral, it is revealed to be because she was once married to a wealthy man, and once he was put away in prison, Jasmine saw the high life vanish right in front of her eyes and she slowly has a psychotic breakdown. Honestly, I could see something similar to this happen in real life.

                    What I Didn't Like About It:

                  Overall, Blue Jasmine is a terrific and solid dramatic piece of work that features a commanding performance by the marvelous Cate Blanchett, as well as great performances from her co-stars, especially Sally Hawkins. Honestly, after watching this film, it now makes me want to check out Woody Allen's past work.

Rating: 4.5/5

Monday, September 16, 2013

Coming Soon: 31 Days of Halloween

Hello Bloggers, sorry I haven't been as active on my blog as I have been lately, I just started a new semester at school so I might try to make at least one or two entries each week. However, I wanted to make an announcement that I decided that for the month of October, I will do a month-long segment on my blog called 31 Days Of Halloween, where each day I will do a movie review or top ten list or even topic of the day pertaining to horror films and one each day. But if I skip one day or if I'm unable to do one day because of schoolwork and whatnot, I will try to do two for the day after. Here is a sample of movie reviews and possible top ten lists to come:

Side Effects
Warm Bodies
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Carrie (1976)
Scream (1996)
The Exorcist (1973)
Black Swan
The Haunting (1963)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Halloween (1978)
The Shining (1980)
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Ginger Snaps (2000)

Top Ten Lists:

Scariest Non-Horror Movies
Horror Femmes
Horror Movie Killers

So, that's my announcement and I look forward to starting this segment next month out of the tradition of one of my favorite holidays. Until then, thanks for reading!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Review: The Butler

                             A Well-Done Presidential Piece But From A Different P.O.V.

                      In the many movies dealing with U.S. presidents over the years, they usually deal with one historical event that the president experienced or from the point of view of their secret service agents and whatnot, but The Butler showcases the story of a member of the help who served the White House, and tells the film from his point of view.

                     The Butler is based on a true story about a man named Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) who served the White House during eight presidencies, from Dwight Eisenhower to Ronald Reagan. Over the course of working at the White House, his wife Gloria (Oprah Winfrey) tries to deal with him not being home as much and Cecil witnesses changes in his son (David Oyelowo) who tries to fight against his own country.

                     What I Liked About It:
                    One thing that I really liked was the acting from the large ensemble of the cast. Forest Whitaker does a solid job as Cecil, a man who experienced many historical events and even the cruelness of racism. But one actor that I'd really like to talk about is David Oyelowo, who plays Cecil's son Louis, who, after experiencing cruelty from racist white folks, decides to become a freedom fighter and turn against his own country. Oyelowo is outstanding in this film, and I can only hope that his future is bright after this movie. Out of all the different presidential segments, I would say my favorites were the ones with JFK, who is played by James Marsden, and Lyndon Johnson, played by Liev Schreiber. The one with JFK was touching because Marsden does a great job at making the audience really care for JFK before his (*Spoiler Alert*) assassination, and I liked the Lyndon Johnson segment because Schreiber was hilarious and brings much-needed comic relief to the film.

                  Another thing that I liked was the direction from Lee Daniels. I have seen one of his earlier movies, Precious, which I thought was outstanding even though it's not "precious" to watch, and he does another amazing job with this movie. In fact, one of my favorite scenes in the film is the sit-in protest done by Louis and his classmates, which actually happened in real life, and I liked the way Daniels directed it.

                    What I Didn't Like About It:
                   This isn't necessarily something that I didn't like, but there were points in the film that reminded me of Forrest Gump, which similarly involves an ordinary man who witnesses and influences many historical events, but other than that, there's nothing else I hate about it and the Forrest Gump reminders definitely don't take anything away from the film or the superb direction of Lee Daniels.
                   Overall, The Butler is a well-done, well-made historical piece that features stellar performances from the cast. It's touching, funny, dramatic, and even harsh to watch at times because of how it deals with racism. This movie is getting plenty of Oscar talk and I certainly hope to see the film's name announced on nomination day.

Rating: 4/5