Cate Blanchett is genius at demonstrating a veneer of icy sophistication slowly cracking. You can see glimpses in her eyes, her jittery jaw, her wringing hands, in the birdlike suspension of shaky limbs held akimbo. In Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen's latest film, her character Jasmine is a woman in the midst of a nervous collapse. Her real-estate swindler ex was imprisoned for stealing millions, and as a result, she's been torn from her Park Avenue penthouse. She’s holding on by a Chanel suit string, subsisting solely on Stoli, with a constant blur of mascara smudging her lower eyelid.
Welcome to Annotate This, where we gather reviews, trailers, and annotate the posters for movies coming out this week. It will help you decide what to avoid, what to see, and what to pretend to see. Click on the image above to add your comments to the mix. Guess what? The heat wave has ostensibly made movie reviews super grumpy and also creative with their reviews!
Andrew Bujalski's new movie takes place in the early 1980s, set at an annual convention in which programmers are working to develop a computer chess program that could win over a human chess master—an early battle of artificial intelligence versus the human spirit. Regardless of your interest in chess, computer or otherwise, Computer Chess is hilarious and marvelously entertaining.
Welcome to Annotate This, where we gather reviews, trailers, and annotate the posters for movies coming out this week. It will help you decide what to avoid, what to see, and what to pretend to see. Click on the image above to add your comments to the mix. Guess what? It's July 4th weekend and studios want to entertain you.
Mark Covino and Jeff Howlett's documentary, out on Friday, is simply titled A Band Called Death. It provides a thorough biography of an under-appreciated protopunk garage band that existed on the cusp of punk. They were called Death, obviously. The Detroit band, founded in 1971 by three brothers—David Hackney (guitar), Dannis Hackney (drums) and Bobby Hackney (bass, vocals)—was disbanded in 1977, but managed to record an album's worth of songs in demo sessions. When the band was rediscovered by record collectors, punk obsessives, and underground DJs in the 2000s, the Hackneys were hailed as visionaries.
20 Feet From Stardom, from music documentary veteran Morgan Neville, is a film entirely devoted to the overlooked lives and jobs of back-up singers. Everything from the sound and vision to the impeccably selected archive footage to the beautifully shot recording sessions is wonderful. Neville isolates the tracks on well-worn records, forcing us to examine them again. Not that anyone needs to write any more praise of "Gimme Shelter," but isolating Merry Clayton’s vocals is spine-shivering.
The nefarious corporations in the politically charged cult thriller The East are named McCabe-Grey, Hawkstone, and Hiller Brood, respectively. These monikers, laden with symbolism, are heavy-handed and so overtly dubious they give off an almost James Bond villain appeal. With such unambiguously diabolical enemies, there is a sense that The East might be a winking action thriller. But it's not. It's a character-driven thinker. The East doesn't wink at these names. The East takes itself seriously.