Posts Tagged Cate Blanchett

STEELE PICKS: Best Films of 2015

I’m not a film critic although when I worked at Harvard Business School I was the film critic for The Harbus and it was great fun going to screenings and interviewing actors such as Claire Danes, Rose Byrne, Donnie Wahlberg, Rose McGowan, Aidan Quinn, Andie MacDowell and David Cronenberg.

I’m a music critic and a book critic. That’s my focus. I can’t do everything. Yes, I cover the occasional television program.

I love film. I love indie film. I try to see a new film in the theater each week and my Netflix account [both streaming and DVD] remains quite active. I saw about 200 films this year. I don’t always pick the award winners but I pick what truly moved me. 5/20 of these films directed by women. 9/20 written or co-written by women. Many strong, intriguing female protagonists in these films.

Far from the Madding Crowd
directed by: Thomas Vinterberg
screenplay by: David Nicholls
starring: Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen


directed by: John Crowley
screenplay by: Nick Hornby
starring: Saorsie Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson


directed by: Todd Haynes
screenplay by: Phyllis Nagy
starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler


The Diary of a Teenage Girl
directed by: Marielle Heller
screenplay by: Marielle Heller
starring: Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgaard

The Diary of a Teenage Girl_Key Still-0-2000-0-1125-crop

directed by: Tom McCarthy
screenplay by: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer
starring: Mark Ruffalo, John Slattery, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton


directed by: Sean Baker
screenplay by: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch
starring: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian


directed by: Sarah Gavron
screenplay by: Abi Morgan
starring: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep


directed by: Lenny Abrahamson
written by: Emma Donoghue
starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers


While We’re Young
directed by: Noah Baumbach
screenplay by: Noah Baumbach
starring: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver


Love and Mercy
directed by: Bill Pohlad
screenplay by: Oren Moverman, Michael A. Lerner
starring: Paul Dano, John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks

love and mercy

directed by: Paul Weitz
screenplay by: Paul Weitz
starring: Lily Tomlin, Sam Shepard, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden

grandma f

directed by: Denis Villeneuve
screenplay by: Taylor Sheridan
starring: Emily Blunt, Benecio Del Toro, Josh Brolin

sicario film

Mistress America
directed by: Noah Baumbach
screenplay by: Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach
starring: Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke


Steve Jobs
directed by: Danny Boyle
screenplay by: Aaron Sorkin
starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen

steve jobs film

Infinitely Polar Bear
directed by: Maya Forbes
written by: Maya Forbes
starring: Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky


McFarland, USA
directed by: Niki Caro
screenplay by: Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gilois, Grant Thompson
starring: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Ramiro Rodriguez, Carlos Pratts , Johnny Ortiz


The Age of Adaline
directed by: Lee Toland Krieger
screenplay by: J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz
starring: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford


directed by: Jennifer Phang
screenplay by: Jacqueline Kim, Jennifer Phang
starring: Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams


Digging for Fire
directed by: Joe Swanberg
written by: Jake Johnson, Joe Swanberg
starring: Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Brie Larson, Rosemarie DeWitt, Sam Rockwell, Orlando Bloom


I Smile Back
directed by: Adam Salky
written by: Paige Dylan
starring: Sarah Silverman, Josh Charles


directed by: Spike Lee
written by: Spike Lee
starring: Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack


notable performances: Bryan Cranston in Trumbo; Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road; Will Smith in Concussion; Amy Schumer in Trainwreck

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Picks for Best-dressed at Academy Awards

chiwetel-ejiofor with girlfriend sari mercer

chiwetel ejiofor with girlfriend sari mercer

Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner

Kate Hudson

Kate Hudson

Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

Laura Dern

Laura Dern

Leo DiCaprio

Leo DiCaprio

Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett

Viola Davis

Viola Davis

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Jared Leto

Jared Leto

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith

Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock

Naomi Watts

Naomi Watts

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

HANNA: Saoirse Ronan underutilized

Her ex-CIA father Erik [Eric Bana] has trained Hanna [Saoirse Ronan] to be an assassin. Hanna’s fierce, independent and brave but struggles to understand empathy, beauty, culture and interpersonal relationships. She’s book-learned in that isolated home-schooling manner for the entirety of her 16 years. She hunts moose with bow and arrows, can spar with swords and knives and get in and out of nearly any building with relative ease. Living near the Arctic circle grows claustrophobic and she’s ready for her father’s mission of revenge. Hanna flips a switch and awaits her capture by the CIA. Her rogue father’s gone and Hanna quickly escapes custody, leaving numerous bodies in her wake. HANNA serves as a Brother’s Grimm fairytale where the wicked are after this sweet, secretive young woman. The one person who refuses to let her go is Erik’s former handler Marissa [a comic book character villain played Cate Blanchett].

Infused with a heart-pounding soundtrack by The Chemical Brothers, HANNA tries to emulate Run Lola Run and fails. It lacks heart. Hanna’s supposed to rendezvous in Berlin with her father. The purpose isn’t really made clear except perhaps to draw out those CIA agents and destroy them so that father and daughter can pursue a somewhat normal existence. There’s certain mysteries surrounding Hanna — that aren’t made clear until the end and not in a mysterious denouement. The audience only understands there’s something unusual about Hanna and her relationship to Marissa.

Saoirse Ronan is brilliant as this young, gifted, focused machine. Unfortunately, director Joe Wright [Pride and Prejudice, Atonement] prolongs the hidden meaning too much and cannot decide what kind of film to make. Focusing on Ronan’s inherent talent seems the best bet. The few more personal scenes with her are a delight to watch. There’s Hanna’s emergence into society. at one point, in Morocco, she befriends a worldly teenager [Jessica Barden] who really makes Hanna look all the much more naïve. It’s refreshing and I wanted more of that and less of the creepy fairy tale/ edge-of-seat thriller. HANNA falls flat.

Grade: B

Now playing everywhere.

, , ,

Leave a comment

bits and bobs from Academy Awards

David Seidler with Colin Firth

My father always said to me I’m a late bloomer. I think I’m the oldest person to win this award.
–David Seidler, Best Original Screenplay, The King’s Speech

I have a feeling my career’s just peaked.
— Colin Firth, Best Actor, The King’s Speech

Colin Firth is not laughing. He’s British.
–presenter Kirk Douglas

the BOB is IN again:

Scarlett Johansson:

Marisa Tomei:

Who I thought looked fantastic:

Mila Kunis [Black Swan]– she looks pretty in this frilly lavender Elie Saab dress with train

Jennifer Hudson— wearing orange Atelier Versace

Hailee Steinfeld [True Grit]– in a blush-colored Marchesa gown

Reese Witherspoon— classic black and white old Hollywood glamour in Armani Prive

Gwyneth Paltrow in a metallic Calvin Klein

Jennifer Lawrence [Winter’s Bone] in red Calvin Klein

Robert Downey Jr. [with wife Susan]

Mark Wahlberg [The Fighter] [with wife Rhea Durham]

Cate Blanchett in a lovely, one-of-a-kind design by Givenchy

Helen Mirren in steely Vivienne Westwood

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: