I love going to the movies. When the lights go down, and the distributor logo comes up on screen, my heart flutters. There’s something about a Woody Allen movie that is really a Movie, with a capitol M. His usual credit titles invoke a nostalgia for the “old” New York and set the tone, saying “Quiet down, settle in, now here’s the movie.”
I’m not the biggest fan of Woody’s recent flicks. Midnight in Paris was fun, but not substantial. To Rome With Love left me cold. Vicky Christina Barcelona grew on me (and has a great soundtrack), but still isn’t one of my faves. (I won’t even go into Scoop, Whatever Works, Curse of the Jade Scorpion and Anything Else.) I prefer the Diane Keaton years, with Annie Hall reigning queen. But I give the guy props for making a movie every year since the 80s. There’s something great in how hard he works in this business, and I respect that. And I can feel his love for movies in his work, which is something I respect even more.
Blue Jasmine is good. I’ve been hearing good things about it, it’s the movie everyone’s been asking and talking about for weeks– all that popularity often makes me hesitant. But there is no denying that this is a very good movie. It’s a new turn for Woody, a deep and strange story about falling apart. Cate Blanchett gives a generous and demanding performance that left my own hands shaking, and I honestly can’t get the movie out of my head.
Right off the bat there’s a palpable Streetcar Named Desire vibe, and a Blanche Dubois-ness in Blanchett’s Jasmine– drinking martinis like water, hair a mess, sweating through her beautiful clothes. But instead of getting picked up by the men in white coats, Jasmine gets a job and starts taking computer classes. There is so much more to this character than a sketchy past and a dark secret: she is trying to pull herself together with whatever rope she can get her hands on, and her struggle is visceral.
Blue Jasmine is now playing at Images Cinema. For more info and showtimes, please visit http://www.imagescinema.org.