Monday, September 9, 2013

Review Round Up 8th September 2013


The release of a new Woody Allen is always good news for his fans. This one I love.  There are a couple of documentaries as well: one on a reclusive author and one on wine becoming reclusive for everywhere except China. There’s, also, an action flick where, yet again, they destroy… the White House.

(My movie Pick of the week)
Blue Jasmine★★★★

Opens in Australia: 5th September, 2013
Perth, Australia:       See at Luna Cinemas 
Other Countries: Release Information

Cate Blanchett has my vote for the Best Actress Oscar.  And Woody Allen has it for Best Director.  Blue Jasmine is a very dark Woody Allen, and it’s a long way from Midnight in Paris. But I think it’s now one of my favourites. I don't have to say much about this film. If you are not a Woody fan then you may not love it.  My friends sitting with me were mixed on it.  I am a big Woody fan. For me, it’s a real gem and I will be watching it again.

After venturing to Europe for his last three films, Woody Allen is back in the United States with a drama about a Park Avenue high society wife (Blanchett) forced to slum it with her blue-collar sister (Hawkins) in San Francisco, when she loses everything.  Her husband, played by Alec Baldwin, gets embroiled in crooked financial dealings, leaving his wife to deal with the economic and emotional aftermath.  She struggles to build a new life without her husband’s illegally-obtained wealth. 
Blue Jasmine is an emotionally powerful drama – smart, tender and funny in equal measure – that harks back to Allen’s films such as Hannah and her sisters and Husbands and Wives.   Cate Blanchett delivers an exceptional performance that will put her in early running with Oscar buzz.

Salinger ★★★★

Opens in Australia: 6th  September, 2013
Perth, Australia:                  See at Luna Cinemas 
Other Countries:          Release Information

In Australia I don’t think J.D. Salinger holds the same place in our literary history as he

does in the U.S.A.. I’ve never read “Catcher in the Rye,” but after watching this documentary I shall shortly remedy that. Many of the U.S. reviewers have rated this poorly, and most of the comments centred on a lack of depth and an over-dramatisation of segments.  However, since I knew nothing of this revered author, I actually found it enlightening, intriguing, and the dramatisation enthralling.  Salinger led an extraordinary life, and in the end he became such a recluse that if he was seen it became a news story. There is a revelation at the end which is quite incredible, and until the launch of the film it has been kept very secret.  This is a well made documentary and one I think most will thoroughly enjoy. All writers or aspiring writers will find it fascinating.

SALINGER features interviews with 150 subjects including Salinger's friends, colleagues and members of his inner circle who have never spoken on the record before as well as film footage, photographs and other material that has never been seen. Additionally, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, John Cusack, Danny DeVito, John Guare, Martin Sheen, David Milch, Robert Towne, Tom Wolfe, E.L. Doctorow, Gore Vidal and Pulitzer Prize winners A. Scott Berg and Elizabeth Frank talk about Salinger's influence on their lives, their work and the broader culture. The film is the first work to get beyond the Catcher in the Rye author's meticulously built up wall: his childhood, painstaking work methods, marriages, private world and the secrets he left behind after his death in 2010. (c) Weinstein

White House Down ★★★

Opens in Australia: 5th September, 2013
Other Countries: Release Information

We enjoyed a treat while watching White House Down.  The wonderful people at Event Cinemas, Innaloo, Perth, invited me and hubby to enjoy their revamped Gold Class cinemas. They laid it on with yummy hot food, beautiful cup cakes, popcorn, and candy while we watched.  Plus there was champers and food before. 
So, I was going to enjoy White House Down no matter what.  It’s an absolute Die Hard rip off.  But it is miles better than the woeful Good Day to Die Hard inflicted upon us earlier this year.  You’ve got Channing Tatum in a singlet, Jamie Foxx doing his thing, and more action than you can poke a tank at.  Silly fun but, sometimes, turning the brain off makes for a perfect evening. You have been warned: Do not expect high brow. It’s simply a popcorn action flick.

In Columbia Pictures’ White House Down, Capitol Policeman John Cale (Channing Tatum) has just been denied his dream job with the Secret Service of protecting President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx).  Not wanting to let down his little girl with the news, he takes her on a tour of the White House, when the complex is overtaken by a heavily armed paramilitary group.

Red Obsession ★★★ ½

Opens in Australia: 5th September, 2013
Perth, Australia:      See at Luna Cinemas 
Other Countries: Release Information

Australian writers and directors David Roach and Warwick Ross last production was the quality Australian war film Beneath Hill 60. Now they turn their hand to a documentary on the Bordeaux region and the crisis in the wine industry. It sounds "ho-hum" to us non-wine connoisseurs but if you check out the trailer you will see it is a fascinating story. 
The photography is absolutely stunning. In fact, I suggest the French tourist bureau pay for it to be broadcast around the world, and they won’t have to worry about selling their wine because they will be inundated with tourist.
My only complaint is it seemed a tad repetitive (pointed out to me by my 10 year old but he was quite right), and there was a touch of anti-Chinese sentiment I thought.  Somebody in the film actually suggested that if the Chinese increased their per capita consumption by just a little there would be no wine left in the world. China has gone from taking jobs from other countries to now taking all the wine.  At least at the next "wineless" dinner party I can wax lyrical about the poor Bordeaux region being taken over by the Chinese. If anyone cares…

France’s Bordeaux region has long commanded respect for its coveted wine, but shifts in the global marketplace mean that a new, voracious consumer base in China is buying up this finite product. Narrated by Russell Crowe, Red Obsession is a fascinating look at our changing international economy and how an obsession in Shanghai affects the most illustrious vineyards in France.   This shift, fuelled by the East's obsession with these illustrious vineyards, created a perfect wine storm; co-director and vigneron Warwick Ross documented the upheaval.
Narrated by Russell Crowe, Red Obsession is an expertly told, delectable tale of a much-coveted global commodity in times of change.

What have you seen this week? Did you find our comments helpful or do you disagree? Share your thoughts with us.

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