Blue Jasmine, death, giant ants and super-hero girls: movies viewed (#SFWApro)

Cate Blanchett is awesome as the protagonist of Woody Allen’s BLUE JASMINE (2013), the selfish, snobbish, shallow wife of Wall Street wizard Alec Baldwin, now divorced, broke and forced to live with her sister in a blue-collar West Coast milieu (including Andrew Dice Clay giving a surprisingly good performance as Blanchett’s brother-in-law). Unfortunately the movie itself displays a vicious streak out of proportion to Jasmine’s failures — I kept wanting her to learn her lesson rather than just keep suffering. It doesn’t help that her fatal misstep was calling the cops on her husband’s financial scams when she learned he was in love with their sixteen-year-old au pair — it feels like Allen’s getting back at Mia Farrow by showing how unreasonable she was not to step aside when he fell for her daughter. “Have you ever gotten high on nitrous oxide?”

A CERTAIN KIND OF DEATH (2003) is a good documentary about what happens to people who die without next-of-kin, from cremains found in a funeral home with no identifying tag to a derelict dead in his hotel room. This looks at both the legal and practical problems, and covers them well. “The last thing you want on your machine is ‘I’m Lt. Neff from the coroner’s office, please call me.’”

THEM (1954) was  the ur-Giant Insect film wherein James Whitmore and James Arness discover the reason for a string of brutal assaults is the gigantic ants created by the atom bomb tests, now swarming across the landscape for food and killing everyone in their path. Shows how good a 1950s giant insect film can be, a lesson unfortunately lost on pretty much all the ones that followed. With Edmund Gwenn as an ant expert. “Are you suggesting that we put the lives of all the people in this city at risk for the sake of two children who in all probability are already dead?”

DC SUPERHERO GIRLS: Hero of the Year (2016) has the Super Hero High students preparing for the annual Hero of the Year festival along with Principal Waller and Vice-Principal Grodd (“Waller got him out of prison for some kind of community service squad.”) only to have Eclipso and Dark Opal steal a set of McGuffins that will give them Power Absolute. Cute, and as always, interesting to see what carries over from other versions — Starfire and Beast Boy are very much modeled on their Teen Titans Go! characterizations, for instance. “I never wanted to be a world conqueror — I wanted to be a theater major!”

(All rights to poster image remain with current holder.)

THE NIGHT MANAGER was a British miniseries based on the John Le Carré book, which Hugh Laurie as the amoral munitions dealer and Tom Hiddleston as the man who infiltrates his organization to take it down from inside. Despite the talents of the cast, this didn’t click with me — and as in the original book, the main romance didn’t work well at all. I quit midway through. “If you cross Roper, I’m going to cut it off—and I don’t mean your fingers.”

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Filed under Movies, TV

One response to “Blue Jasmine, death, giant ants and super-hero girls: movies viewed (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: The English gentry and irrational people, or did I just repeat myself? TV and movies (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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