Currently browsing the "Cate Blanchett" tag.

Review: Ocean’s 8

As expected, Ocean’s 8 is Ocean’s Eleven – with women. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Ocean’s Eleven was a smart and entertaining heist flick with a strong ensemble cast. Ocean’s 8 is too, though we have seen it all before. It doesn’t quite measure up to the 2001 Clooney classic, which was a remake of a 1960 Sinatra classic. But it’s a fun escape with a talented, diverse group of ladies (skewing a bit younger than the recent all-star female cast in Book Club).

(Spoiler-free) Review: Thor: Ragnarok

What exactly is Ragnarok? I’m not quite sure and I don’t really care. What I do know is this: Thor: Ragnarok is a very funny superhero action-adventure sci-fi fantasy movie that zips to the top of my list of ‘guilty pleasure’ popcorn movies for 2017. Is it ‘THE BEST MARVEL MOVIE EVER!’ as some have proclaimed? No. But it is one of the most entertaining, as long as you’re familiar – to some degree – with the Marvel universe (i.e. the Avengers, Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Doctor Strange, etc.) and have a solid appreciation for the tongue-in-cheek tone of a Deadpool or Guardians of the Galaxy. The more Marvel movies you’ve seen, the more you’ll get out of Ragnarok. It’s packed with hidden gems, celebrity cameos, sly innuendos, inside jokes and character development that builds off relationships established in earlier films featuring the various Avengers working solo or as a team. No spoilers. Just the gist:

Carol

The film Carol is gorgeous.The clothes, the sets, the cinematography. And the actresses – Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara – are both fabulous in this 1950s era forbidden love drama directed by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven) and adapted from a Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley) novel. It is a lesbian love story told more through furtive, adoring glances and unspoken understandings than big dramatic moments. It is languid storytelling, but somehow it is effective.

Cinderella

“Have courage, and be kind” and you might (spoiler alert!) live happily ever after. That’s the gist of this perfectly pleasant, Disney-meets-Downton adaptation of the fairy-tale classic, directed by Kenneth Branagh. I suppose if Hollywood can keep re-making Spiderman, then Cinderella might as well pop into the picture every couple of decades as well. Even if it’s not exactly necessary. For fans of the musical versions, be advised that this one has little more than the occasional bibbidi-bobbidi-boo. But what it lacks in music and drama (most people are familiar with the key plot points), it makes up for in message. That would be the aforementioned “have courage, and be kind.”

The Monuments Men

It was hard not to wonder WHY the release of The Monuments Men was delayed by several months, missing out on the awards-season bru-ha-ha. Now I (think I) know. It simply isn’t good enough. It’s not bad by any means, but it is disappointing, especially when you consider the raw materials that included an interesting story and an A-list cast led by George Clooney, who also directed the film.

The Monuments Men is based on the true story of an unlikely platoon of soldiers– museum directors, architects, artists, curators and art historians – who went to the front lines during World War II to help rescue, preserve and return some of the world’s greatest artistic masterpieces, jeopardized by Nazi thieves.

Blue Jasmine

What if Bernie Madoff was a younger, better looking man who left behind a beautiful yet clueless wife to fend for herself? That’s the basic premise of Woody Allen’s latest, Blue Jasmine. In this case the wife, Jasmine French, late of Park Avenue, is brilliantly played by Cate Blanchett who brings an amazing range of emotional states to the role as Jasmine throws herself on the mercy of her working class sister in San Francisco. She’s lost everything, but can’t seem to grasp the situation she is in or give up the lifestyle and pretense she’s grown so accustomed to, because it is who she is. A modern day Blanche DuBois (a role Blanchett played to stellar reviews off-Broadway not so long ago), Jasmine is ill-equipped for the life she’s been suddenly thrust into and has already begun to lose her grip on reality.

Robin Hood

No men in tights here. No borrowing from the rich to give to the poor either. This new Robin Hood is Ridley Scott’s prequel to all that. We first meet Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) in France on his way back to England after years crusading with King Richard the Lionheart. Robin and his band of not-so-merry men are tired of war and ready to get home, only getting across the channel seems to be a problem. Fortunately they happen upon some knights who had been ambushed by the evil Godfrey (Mark Strong again as the bad guy) while trying to take the recently deceased King Richard’s crown back to England. One of the knights is still alive. He is Robert of Locksley and asks that Robin return his sword to his father in Nottingham. And so Robin and his crew impersonate the knights, take the boat to England, return the crown, and in doing so Robin is forced to keep the ruse of actually being Robert of Locksley going. When he gets to Nottingham, the old, blind father of the knight asks him to keep pretending to be Robert so that the crown will not confiscate his lands when he dies. Robin agrees and calls him father. (And the old guy actually knew Robin’s father, who turns out to have been a revolutionary who was killed in front of the young boy.)