I’ve never been a fan on movies directed by Woody Allen. In 2011 he surprised me positively with the movie Midnight in Paris, which I, surprisingly, enjoyed very much (even though Owen Wilson was acting on it). Today I was also impressed. I went to see Blue Jasmine.
Cate Blanchett plays Jasmine and she does it well. Jasmine has suffered a nervous brakedown and she moves to live with her sister. Life isn’t easy for Jasmine, who used to live with her rich husband (who was a cheater and a liar, and in the end committed suicide in jail) and had everything from jewels to fine parties. Now she has nothing and she tries to move on, thinking that she can leave the past behind. However she talks about her earlier life and her dead husband all the time. She talks to herself, drinks vodka, feels sad and confused. And things don’t get better.
Human being is so fragile and the mind can shake easily. Some people are stronger and manage troubles better. Some people aren’t so strong. That doesn’t make them inferior or weaker, it just makes them more vurnerable. Some people can’t get better. That happened to Jasmine. It was sad and it touched my heart.
Cate Blanchett is so cool and elegant. She has that real Hollywood glamour and I admire her talent. She plays Jasmine with such passion, skill, sincerity, emotion and charisma. As a viewer I was able to feel Jasmine’s pain and anxiety. As I said, I was impressed.
No happy people in J. K. Rowling’s book The Casual Vacancy. The book deals with politics, social problems, class division, poverty, drugs, rape, racism, envy, child abuse and other ugly sides of the human race.
The Casual Vacancy was well written but it was so, so heavy and dark. The atmosphere was tense, people were unhappy and depressed. I had some difficulties reading it and I had to force myself to keep going.
The book left me some uneasy feelings. I kept thinking that the life described in this book is a reality to many people and I felt very lucky. So, despite all that depressing stuff and anguish the book somehow touched my heart.
For the record, I’ve never read Harry Potter -book, I’ve only seen the films, so I’m not comparing The Casual Vacancy to them. It is a certainty that The Casual Vacancy is not a book for children.
There are some great actors in Red 2. I think Helen Mirren (Victoria) is gorgeous and John Malkovich (Marvin) is good, as always, when he’s acting the weird guy. Bruce Willis (Frank) is in a role very typical for him. Catherine Zeta-Jones (Katja) and Mary-Louise Parker (Sarah) aren’t doing anything special. Anthony Hopkins is acting the same way as in his maniac roles before, with the same manners and expressions.
Red 2 is all about guns. Brainless shooting and ambition to kill as many people as possible. Shooting and killing was even a little bit mind-numbing. Red 2 is also trying to be funny and momentarily it is, some of the jokes almost made me laugh. Mostly I enjoyed Marvin’s character. I also liked the loyalty between these retirees.
Retired, extremely dangerous guys overpower all the younger ones and don’t like to be called old. There is a hit man Han Cho Bai (Byung-hun Lee) who’s trying to kill Frank, but Frank beats him too and convinces him to join the fight and track down a missing portable nuclear device.
The plot is ordinary and good actors don’t save the movie. Red 2 was below average. It was silly, but I think it was ment to be silly, so on that it was a success. It’s also nice to see some older action heroes and women in action roles (Helen Mirren). I was able to watch it without falling asleep, but after a while I began to think that it was a bit boring. If you want mindless entertainment with big guns and lousy jokes, Red 2 is for you. I must say, though, that mindless entertainment is sometimes a good thing.
I chose The Strain, a novel by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, because I’ve liked the films of del Toro. The Strain is the first book of a The Stain Trilogy.
I can tell you right away that I’m not going to read the other parts of the trilogy, The Fall and The Night Eternal. Vampire stories like The Strain are not for me. The atmosphere in the book was similar as in del Toro’s movies, oppressive. I did read the whole book, but it was quite hard. That’s about all I can say, I didn’t like.