Blue Jasmine

If Cate Blanchett doesn’t win tonight’s Oscar for her performance in Blue Jasmine, I shall be gobsmacked. She gives a completely remarkable, sustained, emotionally rollercoastered tour de force performance as Jasmine, a New York socialite who finds herself in hard times after the suicide of her husband (a licentious Madoff-style crook of monumentally shitty proportions.)

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Left cuckolded, bankrupt and mentally fragile, she travels to San Francisco to stay with her estranged sister, one of Madoff’s early victims. But these are the last days of her illusions of grandeur, and they are about to come crashing dowm. It’s a great film, almost solely due to Blanchett’s brilliance (though Sally Hemmings as her rather more downmarket sister is great too.) But Blanchett? Brilliant. Setting aside my complete dislike of the utterly sleazy filmmaker, this is one for the record books. Location wise, there’s not a tangible sense of place as there often is in Woody Allen movies, though there’s some sight-seeing around and about the city.

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

A silver dollar moon, flanked by wild, apocalyptic, Dali-esque clouds emerged over Sarajevo Film Festival’s famous outdoor cinema yesterday; an apt counter-point to Woody Allen’s more mundane, kitchen-sink comedy “You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger” appearing on the massive screen.

It’s an ensemble piece about a group of disgruntled Londoners. These are all glass-half-full kinds of folks (maybe that’s what comes of living in London?) but they’re driven by some new-agey persuasion that they deserve better. So they try to change their lives, mostly by ditching hopeless and uncooperative partners along the way. In doing so, however, not one of them gets what they want and few of them even get what they need. Actually, in spite of the last part, it sort of reminded me of real life, except with Woody Allen narrating. And since it is in fact a Woody Allen film, it’s quirkily and steadily entertaining enough. Smiley rather than laugh-out-loud. I doubt anyone other than Woody Allen could have gotten this film to the big screen though, or attracted such an all-star cast.

Cleveland Square and the Notting Hill areas were external locations, but London itself also seems like a bit of an unloved spouse here; it’s always present but not much is made of it.