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woody allen Archives - Funerals & Snakes

RN 3/5: Minion Impossible (You can have that idea for free, Hollywood!)

By | Audio, Cinema, Rancho Notorious and Reviews | 3 Comments

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Kailey and Dan are joined by former Sight & Sound scribe Tom Webb, now resident in Wellington, to discuss Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Woody Allen‘s Irrational Man and Tom’s picks for this year’s NZIFF.

Warning! This features the most inept plot summary of a blockbuster movie this – or any – year.

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RN 2/7: The Last Goodbye

By | Audio, Cinema, Rancho Notorious and Reviews | 2 Comments

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Recorded before Sony’s decision to cancel the release of The Interview (hence no discussion of it), we interview Eddie Izzard about his forthcoming Force Majeure tour, and his plans for what’s to come after, and Alex Sheremet about his epic survey of the career of Woody Allen. Sonal Patel joins us to epically review the final film in two trilogies – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – as well as John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as elderly New York lovers in Love Is Strange.

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Apologies for the late update. Glandular fever flare up kept me out of action for a day and a half.

 

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Review: Blue Jasmine, Riddick, What Maisie Knew, Romeo & Juliet: A Love Song and The Best Offer

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Max Casella, Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins and Bobby Cannvale in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine (2013)

When did “late-period: Woody Allen start? Was it with Match Point (when he finally left New York for some new scenery)? Or should we consider these last ten, globe-trotting, years as late-r Woody? The last ten years have certainly been up and down in terms of quality. Scoop was all-but diabolical. Vicky Cristina Barcelona was robust and surprising. Midnight in Paris was genial but disposable (despite being a massive hit) and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger was barely even a film.

Blue Jasmine posterNow, Blue Jasmine, in which Mr. Allen uses the notorious Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi crimes as inspiration for a story about the fraud’s victims as well as the collateral damage inflicted on a woman oblivious of her own complicity. As the eponymous Jasmine, Cate Blanchett plays the wife of Alec Baldwin‘s shonky NY businessman, their relationship told in flashback while she tries to rebuild her life in her adopted half-sister’s (or something – the relationship seems unnecessarily complicated for something that has no material impact on the story) apartment in an unfashionable area of San Francisco.

[pullquote]As they used to say on television about kittens, “a child isn’t just for Christmas, a child is forever.”[/pullquote]Blanchett unravels beautifully and almost maintains our sympathy despite the repeated evidence that she doesn’t really deserve it. In support, Sally Hawkins as the sister is more watchable than usual and others – notably Andrew Dice Clay, Michael Stuhlbarg and Louis C.K. – get moments to shine even though some of those moments can seem a bit repetitive. Mr. Allen’s ear for dialogue seems to have entirely deserted him – these people talk like they’re being quoted in New Yorker articles rather than conversing like living, breathing humans – but the structure is satisfying and Blanchett takes the entire project by the scruff of the neck and makes it her own.

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Review: Oblivion, Warm Bodies, Barbara, Performance, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and The Croods

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Oblivion_30_580 Last time we saw Tom Cruise he was known as Jack Reacher. Now, in Oblivion, his name is Jack Harper. What range! What diversity! You’d hardly recognise him. Harper is a maintenance guy, repairing the drones that protect giant machines that suck Earth’s oceans up to an enormous space station orbiting above us, a space station that is going to take the few remaining survivors of our pyrrhic victory over invading aliens on a final journey away from a devastated planet to a new life on Titan.

Oblivion posterAssisting Mr. Cruise with his mechanical defence duties is Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), life and work partner, keeping him in contact with the supervisors floating above them and keeping an eye on the straggling remnants of the aliens who tried to conquer us. Traditional gender roles are very much still intact in the future – even though the Moon isn’t – and Ms. Riseborough’s character seems content to never leave the spotless modern kitchen while Cruise gets his hands dirty on the surface. Neither of them seem too bothered by the fact that they had their memories wiped six years previously, although he has been having some strange dreams recently.

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