Tag: Alec Baldwin

MOVIE REVIEW | Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

mission_impossible_rogue_nation-wide
“The Syndicate is real. A rogue nation, trained to do what we do.”

In 2015, it feels like more movies are part of a franchise than not.  Actors sign on for multi year, multi movie deals to play the same character again and again.  And Marvel can announce its upcoming movies for the next half dozen years. It’s made sequels seem a little less cash grabby and cynical, and more ambitious.  For some reason, studios being open in advance about plans  to milk us for years’ worth of cash from the same characters seems more OK than the old days, when a movie would be a surprise hit, then they’d slap together a sequel to get some more of our cash.  But now, that old system of ad hoc sequels seems almost charming.  It’s taken 20 years, five directors, and seemingly no plan, but the Mission: Impossible series remains the throwback franchise exception to the modern day franchise rule.  And that continues with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.


Picking up directly after the events of 2011’s Ghost Protocol, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF spy colleagues are on the trail of the Syndicate, the shadowy organisation of bad guys discovered in the last movie.  After an amazing stunt with Cruise on the outside of a plane that deserves all the hype it got in the lead up to this movie’s release, IMF comes under the investigation of the US government and CIA Chief Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin).  It seems IMF’s missions have become a little too loose and Hunley thinks they should be more heavily regulated, or even better, disbanded completely. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Working Girl (1988)


“I’m not gonna spend the rest of my life working my ass off and getting nowhere just because I followed rules that I had nothing to do with setting up, OK?”

When a movie is seen as a classic, or landmark, or some sort of watershed moment, even if I don’t particularly like that movie, I can usually still appreciate how it got its high status.  Exhibit A, Titanic.  One of the most predictable, cliched and corn ball screenplays ever written.  But its advances in special effects can’t be denied.  I’m not a fan of many Kubrick movies, but I can understand how the heightened style of A Clockwork Orange was a game changer.  And I can see how The Shining elevated the cheap and nasty genre of horror. But I can’t imagine how a predictable story about local girl made good, starring someone as painful as Melanie Griffith, could ever be anything worth watching.  Yet, with five Oscar nominations, I submit for your consideration Working Girl.


Griffith is Tess, a straight talking Staten Island girl from the school of hard knocks who has recently completed a business degree via night school.  She tries to infiltrate the corporate world of Manhattan through a series of temp jobs, but (get ready to suspend all disbelief) because she’s so gorgeous (apparently), this male dominated world can’t see past her looks.  Which is where Sigourney Weaver comes in as Katherine.  She has made it in this man’s world, and Tess sees her as the mentor she’s been looking for all along. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***REMAKE WEEK*** The Getaway (1994)

 Original Cinema Quad Poster - Movie Film Posters

“Don’t think too badly about your wife, Doc. After all, you were locked up in prison. She is a stunningly, healthy young woman.”

I don’t have a problem with the concept of remakes.  Sure, very few improve on their originals.  But when you get something as fun and cool as Ocean’s Eleven, or bat shit bananas as Scarface, or just balls out badass like Dawn of the Dead, remakes seem like a no brainer.


Good remakes use technological advances, or cultural changes to tell a story better than the first time around. Or at the very least, tell it differently.  The problem, and the reason why remakes are seen as generally bad, is that the vast majority don’t tell a story better or differently, they just tell it again.  It’s that kind of pointless remake that I got with The Getaway. (more…)

***2013 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | Blue Jasmine

CN_BlueJasmine_0
So it’s return to form time again for Woody Allen.  Except it’s only been two years and two movies since his last return to form, the Oscar winning Midnight in Paris.  Before that, it was 2008’s Vicki Christina Barcelona.  And before that, Match Point in 2005.  What I’m getting at is, is it really a return to form if you have one every couple of years?  Or is it just solid, consistent work, with the odd clunker (which even those, I tend to like) that’s inevitable when you’re as prolific as Allen?  Whatever it really is, according to the press, it’s another return to form for Woody Allen with Blue Jasmine.

Kate Blanchet is the Jasmine of the title.  A widow after her husband Hal, played by Alec Baldwin, killed himself on jail where he was serving time for some 2008ish, Global Financial Crisis type malfeasance.  Now she’s totally hit bottom and is forced to move in with her all but estranged sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins) in her small San Fan Cisco apartment.

Jasmine also has to contend with Ginger’s ex-husband, Augie (Andrew Dice Clay), and current boyfriend, Bobby Cannavale, as the blue collared Chilli.  While a lot Blue Jasmine is built on the class struggles and clashes between the haves, like Jasmine and Hal, up against the have nots, Ginger and her circle of friends, it’s not really about a spoiled rich bitch receiving her comeuppance and learning there’s more to life than money. There are hints of that, but those without money are just as guilty of financial prejudices as those with it.

Cutting back and forth between the story of Jasmine’s old life falling apart, and her attempts to build a new one, Blue Jasmine does a great job of planting all sorts of assumptions about its characters in your mind, before totally flipping them on their heads and making you question who the heroes of the movie might actually be.  It takes a certain kind of skill as a writer and director to make a character played by Andrew Dice Clay the one you sympathise with the most, but Allen somehow manages it.

All the talk around Blue Jasmine is that Kate Blanchet is currently the front runner for the Best Actress Oscar.  Having now finally seen it, after months of praise surrounding her performance, it really did live up to the hype.  The way she plays the constant feeling of being overwhelmed, the occasional moments of questionable sanity, the stuck up snob looking down her nose, the few moments of happiness, the sad helplessness, the vindictive acts of sabotage…  Blanchet is all over the shop in this, but it’s never jarring or inconsistent.  You totally believe it when she goes form one extreme to the other.

As amazing as Blanchet is, credit has to go to everyone else around her as well.  Woody Allen’s always had a knack for building great ensembles, and here Clay, Carnnavale, Baldwin and Hawkins all play off her perfectly.  As well as Peter Sarsgaard and Louis C.K who also show up for small, but integral roles.

Blue jasmine isn’t a return to form for Woody Allen.  It’s just another reminder that he’s a really great writer, director and story teller, who, after almost fifty years and almost as many movies, still somehow has great stories to tell.

Blue Jasmine
Directed By – Woody Allen
Written By – Woody Allen

MOVIE REVIEW | Blue Jasmine (2013)

CN_BlueJasmine_0
So it’s return to form time again for Woody Allen.  Except it’s only been two years and two movies since his last return to form, the Oscar winning Midnight in Paris.  Before that, it was 2008’s Vicki Christina Barcelona.  And before that, Match Point in 2005.  What I’m getting at is, is it really a return to form if you have one every couple of years?  Or is it just solid, consistent work, with the odd clunker (which even those, I tend to like) that’s inevitable when you’re as prolific as Allen?  Whatever it really is, according to the press, it’s another return to form for Woody Allen with Blue Jasmine.

Kate Blanchet is the Jasmine of the title.  A widow after her husband Hal, played by Alec Baldwin, killed himself on jail where he was serving time for some 2008ish, Global Financial Crisis type malfeasance.  Now she’s totally hit bottom and is forced to move in with her all but estranged sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins) in her small San Fan Cisco apartment.

Jasmine also has to contend with Ginger’s ex-husband, Augie (Andrew Dice Clay), and current boyfriend, Bobby Cannavale, as the blue collared Chilli.  While a lot Blue Jasmine is built on the class struggles and clashes between the haves, like Jasmine and Hal, up against the have nots, Ginger and her circle of friends, it’s not really about a spoiled rich bitch receiving her comeuppance and learning there’s more to life than money. There are hints of that, but those without money are just as guilty of financial prejudices as those with it.

Cutting back and forth between the story of Jasmine’s old life falling apart, and her attempts to build a new one, Blue Jasmine does a great job of planting all sorts of assumptions about its characters in your mind, before totally flipping them on their heads and making you question who the heroes of the movie might actually be.  It takes a certain kind of skill as a writer and director to make a character played by Andrew Dice Clay the one you sympathise with the most, but Allen somehow manages it.

All the talk around Blue Jasmine is that Kate Blanchet is currently the front runner for the Best Actress Oscar.  Having now finally seen it, after months of praise surrounding her performance, it really did live up to the hype.  The way she plays the constant feeling of being overwhelmed, the occasional moments of questionable sanity, the stuck up snob looking down her nose, the few moments of happiness, the sad helplessness, the vindictive acts of sabotage…  Blanchet is all over the shop in this, but it’s never jarring or inconsistent.  You totally believe it when she goes form one extreme to the other.

As amazing as Blanchet is, credit has to go to everyone else around her as well.  Woody Allen’s always had a knack for building great ensembles, and here Clay, Carnnavale, Baldwin and Hawkins all play off her perfectly.  As well as Peter Sarsgaard and Louis C.K who also show up for small, but integral roles.

Blue jasmine isn’t a return to form for Woody Allen.  It’s just another reminder that he’s a really great writer, director and story teller, who, after almost fifty years and almost as many movies, still somehow has great stories to tell.

Blue Jasmine
Directed By – Woody Allen
Written By – Woody Allen