Posted on
Sep 8, 2016

Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey premieres in Venice with mixed reviews

Hello everyone! Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey premiered at the Venice Film Festival yesterday, here are some reviews.

English reviews

The Guardian, Hollywood Reporter, Variety, The Film StageCineVueIndiewireAwards CircuitScreen DailyTime OutThe PlaylistYahoo!

Italian reviews

InternazionaleHuffington PostComing SoonFilmScreen WeekCult FrameCinematografoSentieri SelvaggiAnonima CinefiliUrban PostNews CinemaCine FattiCinefilosCinematographeCinecittà NewsLoud Vision

Spanish Reviews

FotogramasEl Pais, El Universal, Cineuropa

French reviews 

Le FigaroLe Soir

German review

Kino Zeit

Posted on
Oct 30, 2015

More reviews for Truth

The movie, after the first limited released on October 16, opens widely in the U.S. today! Read more reviews below!

“Don’t fight,” a lawyer warns news producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett), on her way into a hearing. She pauses, her mercurial face twisting into incredulity and then straightening back again, repeating the words; you sense that it took Mapes a second or two to grasp that she was being asked, essentially, not to be herself — and was trying, as best she could, to comply.

This moment, which comes late in the fact-based drama “Truth,” is one of many in Blanchett’s performance that just stops you cold; there’s always a movie-within-the-movie playing on her face. And in this case, unfortunately, it’s much more compelling than the larger movie it’s actually in.

But “Truth” is nonetheless mesmerizing, entirely because of Blanchett; this is one of those movie-star performances in which every detail, every gesture feels right. Blanchett’s Mary is whip-smart, a little dramatic, haunted by her past (about which we gradually learn more, particularly in a brief, electric phone call), breezily elegant and always a fighter; just try to take your eyes off her.

via Seattle Times

Mapes, who broke the Abu Ghraib torture and prison abuse scandal story, winning her no fans in certain quarters I’m sure, is under the micro­scope after the story airs when we first meet her. But seeing her in action in flashbacks, she is an amazingly talented, resourceful powerhouse reporter and producer.

The cast, headed by Blanchett at her best, is spectacular.

via Boston Herald

Everything conspires to bring down the house – the ambition of other news organizations, political pressure, corporate considerations, the abandonment and recanting of key sources, and the mad scramble of all involved to distance themselves from the two players who can neither run nor hide: Mapes and Rather. If there were merits to the story, soon nobody cares, except for them.
All of this would almost be too agonizing to watch, except that Blanchett’s journey from the top to the bottom is spellbinding – we see everything crumbling as through her eyes. When she goes before the men conducting CBS’ internal investigation, we might as well be seeing a scene from the Inquisition. It’s reminiscent of a line from another memorable journalism film, “Five Star Final,” from 1931: “You can always get people interested in the crucifixion of a woman.”

via Houston Chron

As should always be the case but rarely is, top writing here indeed attracts top talent, and while Blanchett is her usual exceptional self — word is she’s even better in “Carol” — Redford (“A Walk in the Woods”), Moss (“Queen of Earth”) and Grace (“American Ultra”) make good use of the opportunity to atone for recent poor decisions.

The real treats, however, are the numerous shared scenes between Blanchett and Redford, who display a collective comfort that suggests “Truth” is their 10th collaboration instead of their first and goes a long way in forming the believable rapport that Mapes and Rather surely exhibited throughout their time as colleagues.

via Citizen Times

One thing that saves Truth from being just a good TV movie is Cate Blanchett, who can pretty much make a movie about paper bags exciting. Her performance as Mapes is touching and often funny. There’s moments where she just wears the anguish on her face. No one in the industry today can break down like Blanchett and command the screen while doing it. It is impossible to look away each time she is on the screen.

via The Celebrity Cafe

Blanchett rides an emotional, professional roller coaster as Mapes. In just hours, the dedicated journalist slips from star to perceived hack. Blanchett passionately throws herself into the role of journalist under fire, but the script lets her down.

via The Advocate

Truth is being heralded as Redford’s time to shine when, in fact, it’s Blanchett who steals this movie. This will come as no surprise to anyone as it would be easy to argue that Cate Blanchett is one the best actresses in Hollywood. Her portrayal of Mary Mapes is done with both passion and a strong will, but with appropriate vulnerability the entire time. Redford portrays Dan Rather traditionally, but it comes off as a flat impression. The credit for any sort of chemistry generated by these two great actors should be given to Cate Blanchett. Even in the midst of Redford’s belabored attempt to become Dan Rather, Blanchett’s screen presence draws not only the audience in but also the actors she’s in the scene with. She creates a real spark with Redford and they seemed to feed off of each other in the film. Her relentless effort in scene after scene elevate the quality of this picture.

via Monkey fighting robots

Speaking of Mapes, one of the few saving graces of the film is Cate Blanchett’s confident, assured and gripping central performance. In script with this many on-the-nose speeches, Blanchett’s ability to match Vanderbilt’s spit and vinegar in each and every one of them makes them at least slightly more palatable. Blanchett goes full Blue Jasmine in her portrayal of Mapes, all eagle-eyed stares and reptilian pushiness. Unlike Jasmine, however, Mapes is crippled with an unfortunate backstory about her abusive father, which (as in so many movies like this) is meant to explain her hardcore personality.

Nonetheless, one of Truth’s most effective acting moments is Mapes’ pitiful “Daddy, stop” to her father over the phone, a mewling appeal to his domination of her to get him to stop slandering her on Fox News. Blanchett’s complete and utter betrayal of her hardened shell is immediately gripping in the moment, even as the subplot threatens to destroy her character.

via Consequence of Sound

Whether Mapes actually got the story right is still open to some debate — but that debate isn’t happening in “Truth.” She’s lionized here — perhaps deservedly, perhaps not — but there’s not much in the way of counternarrative.

That’s a shame, because Blanchett is more than up to the task of presenting an even more complicated character than the one she does here.

Still, the actress is mesmerizing, riveting when she’s losing her temper and equally hypnotic when she’s quiet and letting emotions and horrifying realizations wash over her face.

via Amarillo Globe News

Blanchett portrays Mapes as a connected, informed and persistent investigative journalist, the kind of bulldog producer who helped “60 Minutes” develop its hard-hitting reputation.

When told that the themes of her stories always seem to revolve around officials who abuse their power, Mapes is blunt: “I don’t like bullies.”

Blanchett is fiery, funny and always a commanding presence as she leads her fellow reporters and researchers (Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace and Elisabeth Moss) down the path to the story: ask the right questions, get the answers, track down the truth.

Every performance is solid, but Blanchett has this chameleon-like quality to disappear into a role, which allows us to completely believe her character. She becomes that character.

We are completely in tune with her thinking and her emotions from the bravado of her top-reporter fame to her vulnerability when it all falls apart. We feel all of her glory, and we experience all of the pain of her downfall.

Her performance is completed by the supporting work of Robert Redford as Rather.

via Tulsa World

Posted on
Oct 16, 2015

Truth – Reviews, Interview and new clip

Blanchett, as you’d imagine, is riveting, even when she’s saddled with the movie’s on-the-nose dialogue, not to mention a handful of fairly contrived domestic scenes and some borderline-offensive dimestore psychologizing about how Mapes’ abusive childhood led her to pursue a career in journalism.

Full review at The Wrap

There are some notable moments — Blanchett is terrific as usual, filled Mapes with psychological depth, and the return of Redford, an icon of journalism movies, to a film about the profession is significant.

Full review at Amny

The shining beacon of hope here—and the reason to see this movie—is Blanchett, whose performance as Mapes is tremendous. This is a woman who had a relentless drive and was, by all accounts, a good reporter, but whose shoddy work on this one story cost her her reputation and many other people their jobs. Blanchett follows this arc exquisitely with grace and nuance, and one scene in particular involving Mapes’ father is spellbinding in its effortlessness from the actress. Blanchett is one of our greatest living actresses, full stop.

Full review at Collider

The post-broadcast investigation builds to a magnificent series of scenes in which Blanchett as Mapes spars with a panel made up of the privileged and elite, delivering a feisty declaration of principles that is uncynically the stuff of awards-season clip packages. Blanchett has become such an otherworldly screen persona — having played Cinderella’s stepmother, a queen, an elf, a delusional socialite, Katharine Hepburn and Bob Dylan — that seeing her play an ostensibly regular person now feels unusual. Blanchett still brings a regal bearing to her earthy depiction of realness, her tousled hair flicked precisely as to always be perfectly imperfect.

Full review at Los Angeles Times

New interview

https://youtu.be/hJDQmK5YceU


Gallery Links:

and a new clip (same on shown during TimeTalks)


Gallery Links:

Posted on
Oct 10, 2015

Carol – Reviews from NYFF

Not once salacious, Todd Haynes‘ Carol is a subtle and elegant telling of a romance between two women in the 1950s. Cate Blanchett is the title character and Rooney Mara is the young woman smitten by her. Their affair is brief but not without it’s repercussions.

Todd Haynes knows a little something about 1950s style from Far From Heaven and the mini-series, Mildred Pierce. He captures this era with incredible detail in everything from the costumes to set design to the color coming across on screen. Blanchett’s outfits are absolutely stunning and they convey the level of sophistication of her character.

As for cinematography, all I can say is, WOW. There are so many illusions to hiding and the Liz pointed out the use of windows is especially worth noting. It’s almost as if the film was shot for black and white, but it’s in color. The framing of each scene is focused, yet reveals so much of the story.

Now for the story. While I did appreciate the style, the story was really flat and underwhelming. There’s barely any idea of the affair being forbidden and no one seems to pretend it’s not what it clearly is. Perhaps it’s just hard to think of an affair between two women as an outlandish idea anymore. On one side, I really appreciated this about it, but on another, it really loses something by not illustrating how much of a big deal it was.

Blanchett melts into Carol, but I had a hard time with Rooney as the love interest. That deer-in-headlights look only goes so far. Kyle Chandler was impressive as Carol’s husband evoking a desperation that’s completely transparent.

It may not be the Oscar contender for Best Picture, but certainly could get a nomination for Costume Design.

via Reel News Daily

That obscure object of desire in “Carol”

Desire is a subject well-suited to cinema — the haunting stare, seductive voice and allure than draws in the object of affection, and us. As we see in Todd Haynes’ new film, “Carol” (which debuts today at the 53rd New York Film Festival), it is also the hard-to-define quality that can set rigidly-ordered lives tumbling.

In 1950s New York City, a department store shop girl, Therese (Rooney Mara), spies a woman, Carol (Cate Blanchett), looking for Christmas presents for her young daughter. You can almost hear the thunderclap as Therese remains riveted on the elegant, married beauty, unsure what the attraction is.
Carol is estranged from her husband, Harge (Kyle Chandler), who desperately wants to halt their ongoing divorce proceedings and just return to the life they had. But his desire for normalcy doesn’t fit with Carol’s determination not to live a lie, following the revelation of her lesbian affair with an old school friend, Abby (Sarah Paulson). But Carol is also wary that any appearance of “immorality,” such as an affair with a woman, might jeopardize maintaining custody of her daughter.

Therese has a boyfriend, Tommy (Cory Michael Smith), who dotes on her and presses her to join him on a trip to Europe. Therese is one who generally goes along with the flow, because she’s never questioned what it means to do what others ask or expect of her. Indeed, while she might see herself as selfless, giving in to other’s demands, one character calls her out as being selfish — refraining from any decisions about what she wants, thus forcing others to direct her life for her.

Therese finds herself aching with thoughts of Carol, who suggests joining her on a road trip. She agrees, and their close-quarters travels enables an intimacy that marks a turning point in both their lives. Their trip also prompts Therese, perhaps for the first time, to make demands — to be selfish.

The film is adapted from the novel “The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith, who based her story loosely on her own affair with a married socialite who lost custody of her child over allegations of lesbianism. Haynes (“Safe,” “Far From Heaven,” HBO’s “Mildred Pierce”) directs with great sensitivity and a sharp eye for period detail, making the viewer feel as trapped in the suffocating strictures of 1950s social mores as the characters.
Mara (who won the Best Actress Award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for her performance) excels in her role of an aspiring photographer who lacks focus in her life, and who hopes that devotion to an older woman may fill that gap.

Blanchett’s character — as straying wife, doting mother and confidante — reeks of stifled passion, stamped down by a judgmental society, but she is still resilient enough to lash out at threats to herself and her family. And in the face of accusations of immorality, Carol remains defiant, maintaining that hate and slander are ugly emotions and, she reasons, “We’re not ugly people.” Indeed, “Carol” shows that, then and now, dishonesty is the real ugliness.

via CBS News

Posted on
Sep 29, 2015

New reviews for “Carol”

A bunch of new enthusiastic reviews from the press screening of the New York Film Festival!

It’s hard to pull your eyes away from Cate Blanchett, who returns to the silver screen in Todd Haynes’ dazzling Carol. The film screened at this year’s New York Film Festival and tells of two women who fall in love at a time when doing so was detrimental. As the awards season continues to take shape, Blanchett’s performance is deserving of all the recognition that’s likely coming for her her and the film.

The subdued color palette paints the 1950s backdrop, and Blanchett sashays through its texture in luscious reds, greens, and pinks.

While Mara and Chandler deliver incredible performances, Blanchett is a vision to behold. It all comes back to that gaze, which is eloquently portrayed through the repeated use of mirrors and clouded glass; often times Therese and the camera view the object of affection through rain-stained car windows or in the blurred reflections of storefront displays. She doesn’t hold back, fearlessly tackling the intimate moments with Mara when their gaze is but a nose-length long. However, Blanchett truly comes alive in the subtle changes in expression. As we gaze into her eyes, she stares just as intently into Mara’s from across a table. She slowly, gracefully, expertly raises the corners of her lips into a soft smile, her eyes begin to pool with tears, and it becomes clear that this film about first love, about forbidden love, transcends sexuality and womanhood.

In terms of the Oscars, Blanchett is catnip for Academy voters. While Carol itself touts the theme of LGBT oppression, it’s also a period film, both of which are a part of the Oscars’ long history of standouts. It’s also a film which impresses at every level, including cinematography, costumes, directing, supporting talent, and writing. Carol seems like a potential contender for Best Picture and Supporting Actress, but it all comes back to Blanchett.

via Cinema Blend

“I can’t wait to see the new Cate Blanchett movie,” is not a sentence I ever recall hearing. Not in the way we might hear, “I can’t wait to see the new Sandra Bullock movie,” or, “I’m looking forward to the new Hugh Jackman movie.” Blanchett has become a given; someone we don’t talk about a lot even though we always like her work. Blanchett, a two-time Oscar winner, is not spoken of the way we usually talk about “movie stars,” yet for an actor we all appreciate a lot, we don’t appreciate her enough. And after seeing Carol, hell, she may be the only true movie star working today.

In a way, it’s weird that Cate Blanchett is in movies like The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — because those movies were mass commercial successes, yet we don’t think of her as someone who does those kinds of movies. Somehow, since American audiences got to know her back in The Talented Mr. Ripley, Blanchett has maybe become the least-famous really famous person.

My point is: Cate Blanchett is the best actor working today and this should just be accepted as fact, to the point no one ever needs to make a case for her again. Look, in the past, I’ve been guilty of taking Blanchett for granted. She was obviously great in Blue Jasmine, winning an Academy Award for Best Actress. But there was something about it being a Woody Allen movie, and the fact that a lot of people win these kinds of things when they work for Allen. Watching her in Carol (which is currently screening at the New York Film Festival), I will never take her for granted again.

Nothing takes me out of a movie more than bad exposition. In Carol, Blanchett, who plays the title character, Carol Aird, can give years of backstory with one look. It’s uncanny. In seconds, we understand the pain of her failed marriage to Harge.

There’s a scene near the end of the movie that’s just a phone call between Carol and Therese. If I remember correctly, only one word is spoken. It’s immensely powerful. The way Blanchett almost caresses the voice coming from the other side. Again, with no words, we understand everything. Carol manages to punch such an emotional wallop without using the tropes that most movies use. Put it this way: the ending legitimately surprised me. I was expecting something that we all come to expect. I was not expecting what we wind up seeing and for it to still hit that hard.

And as good as Mara is in Carol, Blanchett is a true force. I couldn’t take my eyes off Blanchett. Everything she does in this movie is captivating. And it’s interesting to compare her work here to another awards contender, Truth. In many ways, on paper, Truth is the meatier role. Blanchett acts in that movie. But in Carol, there’s something much more, almost spiritual, happening. She grasps onto you and doesn’t let go.

In this world in which the movie star is disappearing, replaced by endless franchises: Cate Blanchett is a movie star. Cate Blanchett is the only movie star. Cate Blanchett is the movie star we deserve.

via Uproxx

Now it’s “The Breathtaking Carol”, where another female protagonist is been seen in her finest form. Cate Blanchett serves one of her most realistic approach with her character in her entire acting resume. She is being applauded with diverse recognitions that she deserves well for her outstanding performance in the Todd Haynes’ fascinating movie.

Cate especially, has broken all the boundaries to get under the skin of Carol, the character she essayed on the silver screen.

via MovieNewsGuide

The performances are predictably astonishing; Mara has a way of conveying the fullness of her character in an offhand line reading, and the variations in Blanchett’s tight smile tell, in their own way, the film’s entire story.

via Flavorwire

 

Posted on
Sep 13, 2015

Truth – First reviews from the Toronto Film Festival

Truth premiered yesterday at TIFF!

Introduced hiring a lawyer who will represent her during an internal investigation that CBS is conducting, Mapes initially comes across as a figure only moderately less wired and desperate than the Xanax-popping socialite Blanchett played in “Blue Jasmine.”

Suffering only from a measure of familiarity when set beside the actress’s other work, Blanchett’s performance is forceful yet delicately shaded, and she renders Mapes with admirable complexity: We see a hard-working wife and mother who struggles to find time with her supportive husband (John Benjamin Hickey) and young son, but also a tough-as-nails producer whose excitement outstripped her attention to detail at one crucial moment. She is, too, a successful career woman frequently accused of harboring a radical feminist agenda and/or allowing her liberal politics (which is to say, her emotions) to interfere with her professional distance — a charge that Vanderbilt allows Mapes to answer with blistering eloquence in one of his most pointedly written and directed scenes.

via Variety

The film’s focus is on Mapes, played by Blanchett as a whip-smart, shiv-sharp newshound whose pursuit of the truth may have blinded her to more practical fact-checking problems. The movie might have been adapted from Mapes’s 2005 memoir, but Truth doesn’t sanctify or lionize its controversial author: Instead, she’s portrayed here as unapologetically hard-charging — even when she might be charging in the wrong direction — and Blanchett’s performance, one of her best, finds her wielding Mapes’s intelligence as both a weapon and a defense mechanism. Blanchett has already stirred up serious Oscar talk with this year’s forthcoming, universally belovedCarol; her turn in Truth makes a double nomination totally plausible.

via Yahoo!Movies

Blanchett, a commanding figure who scowls her way through every argument, gives Mapes an involving screen presence that elaborates on the character’s staunch resolve much better than the straightforward script. Fortunately, “Truth” mostly stays with Mapes, and Blachett embodies her with a delightful spark even as her professional life collapses.

via Indiewire

The cast play their roles with dignity, even if they aren’t given much dimension. This particularly cripples Redford as Dan Rather, who winds being left with the most to lose as the Bush story goes south. But the film would have us believe he comfortably rolled with the punches as his reputation was dragged through the mud, while playing America’s paternal courier of journalistic courage right to the end. Meanwhile, Blanchett eagerly steps in the role of the scrappy Mapes, and though her part is both precise and predictably played, it’s not a great shock that when given the shot to utilize a few more muscles, she knocks it out of the park. A heartbreaking telephone conversation between Mapes and her father is genuinely moving, and Blanchett is beautifully brittle in a key deposition scene.

via Blogs.indiewire

For starters, Truth is blessed with another galvanizing performance by Blanchett, who comes on strong but in a very human way as a high-powered newswoman seemingly at the top of her game. Blanchett gives this dynamo of intelligence and doggedness a real human dimension that allows the propulsive drama to breathe; it’s another stellar performance that rates among her best.

via The Hollywood Reporter

Much will likely be heard in the coming months of Blanchett’s fiery performance as Mapes, who is portrayed as thorny and complicated but driven by passion and idealism. The film, which opens in theaters Oct. 16, builds toward a climactic speech in which Mapes tells off the panel assigned to investigate her reporting. It’s a knockout moment for Blanchett.

via Los Angeles Times

Posted on
Aug 15, 2015

The Present – Reviews, photoshoot, rehearsals and production stills

On August 4th, Cate Blanchett’s new play, The Present, made its debut in Sydney. Read below the entusiastic reviews, and have a look at the behind-the-scenes and on stage performance.

Cate Blanchett attacks her role, and the tenets of the text, with a forceful conviction that can only emerge from the extremely talented. The star’s undisguisable passion for her craft is a coherent match for the determination and fortitude of Anna, a woman coming very close to the end of her tether. Her portrayal of drunken and unhinged abandonment in Act Two is sheer theatrical delight, and a beautiful blend of studied precision with courageous impulse. Blanchett’s incredible allure keeps us spellbound, and she uses it to deliver the many thoughtful intentions of the play, which we absorb with enthusiastic acquiescence.

via Suzy Go See

The thirteen-strong cast here are all impressive, even if they are only in a few scenes; as the old adage goes, ‘there are no small parts, only small actors.’ Led by Richard Roxburgh as Mikhail (Platonov) and Cate Blanchett as Anna, the production shows just how interlinked this whole group of people are, how much they all depend upon each other for survival and well-being, and this is one (among many) of this production’s great strengths. Roxburgh’s usual almost-neurotic stage-presence is here toned down, and he has a number of quite poignant moments, more often than not with Blanchett’s Anna. Rather than an overbearing and self-centred character as he could very easily be, Roxburgh plays up the tragicomedy in the role, and comes to stand for every single one of the others, whether they know it or not, with their dashed dreams and shattered hopes. Blanchett’s Anna is a force to behold, blowing her way across the stage like a whirlwind, equal parts passion, compassion, tenderness, and untapped conviction; there are many beautiful moments to her performance, not least the end of Acts Two and Four.

via The Spell of Waking Hours

Cate Blanchett is luminous as Anna, twice thwarted in the love stakes, with a husband she loved dying and yearning for Mikhail unconsummated. Left with an estate she cannot manage she faces the prospect of a fiscally forced marriage to Yegor to continue the life she has grown accustomed to and Blanchett balances the strong, stoical sophisticate aspect of Anna with the reckless abandon of youth as youth abandons her.

via Australian Stage

With Roxburgh and Cate Blanchett earmarked for these roles from the off, who can blame him? Their chemistry is electrifying as ever. But The Present is a true ensemble piece, both in its expanded characters and the near perfect cast who bring them to life. Their constantly overlapping dialogue and emotional dance moves are masterfully choreographed by director John Crowley, particularly in the supper scene at the centre of this long day’s journey into the night.

Jacqueline Mackenzie is spot on as a do-gooding neurotic, Eamon Farren brings an air of menacing entitlement to his rich kid DJ type. But no one plays drunk quite like the Rox, his Rake persona turned up here to 11. No one else except Blanchett who moves from bored languor to free abandon and back again with total conviction.

via The Guardian

But his cast is all deft and intelligent when it comes to comedy and the crucial element of comic timing to land the most rewarding repartee. Roxburgh and Schmitz excel in casual insults, particularly, and Ryan captures a very Australian self-deprecating sad-sack vibe that’s immensely appealing, even in The Present‘s world of 1990s Russia. Susan Prior’s sweet, well-meaning awkwardness as Sasha was played for laughs but behind them, clearly, remained the warmest of intentions. Eamon Farren’s crass DJ Krill demanded laughs and received them easily; the entire cast, this large and unreasonably talented ensemble, chartered the rise and fall from laughter to anger to tears very well.

And then there was Roxburgh and Blanchett, sharing a single chair on a bare stage, wondering if there was ever going to be a golden time for them again, these tough, aloof ones who had learned to move above feelings rather than within them, and they captured perfectly between themselves the question at the heart of Upton’s script, a true Chekhovian question: how do we live in the present knowing what we’ve learned from the past, and realistically understanding that the future isn’t full of endless possibilities after all?

via Daily Review

Roxburgh delivers the best performance I’ve seen from him since Belvoir’s Toy Symphony, revelling in a role that requires him to demonstrate just about all the non-admirable qualities you can imagine fitting into one man. After a repressed start, Blanchett pulls out all the stops, unleashing Anna’s wild side in an orgiastic second act.

via The Sydney Morning Herald

Headlining a cast with Hollywood A-listers is inevitably a gift for drawing punters to a show, but Sydney audiences should also count themselves extremely blessed to have actors of the calibre of Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh willing to dedicate themselves to live theatre. Together Blanchett and Roxburgh’s rapport on stage, developed through years of working together at STC, is transfixing. Both navigate the rapidly changing narrative terrain, leaping from zinging comedy to gut-punching pathos, with astonishing athleticism, but this production is far more than just a two-hander. The Present thrives on the complexity of many intermingled lives and thus is a true ensemble effort. The 13 strong cast have worked hard, with director John Crowley, to weave in the nuances and imperfections of every day speech. People talk over each other, words are stuttered and tripped over: it creates a hugely absorbing sense of authenticity to the text that holds a mirror up to our own ways of communicating. The different personas in this complex web are all skillfully realised – particular praise must go to Jacqueline McKenzie’s Sophia, full of moral outrage and desperate frustration, and Martin Jacobs’ Alexei, groping for his youth but clinging pathetically to the past – however with stars that burn as brightly as Blanchett and Roxburgh, some of the performances from the less experienced cast members occassionally fall short of these stratospheric standards.

via Limelight

This immense empathy to the emotions on stage is only possible through the strength of an incredible cast – Blanchett’s Anna is incredibly captivating, her character is perhaps the most complex and unsettling on stage and this is brought out perfectly during the performance.

via The Au Review

Petrovna is a beloved widow surrounded by her admirers at this party. She is clearly a master manipulator, working to change the wants of her friends and associates, although they don’t always know it. Blanchett, as Petrovna, bubbles with enthusiasm and youthful energy in the beginning of the show, in an attempt to mask the fears that occasionally rise to the surface.

Petrovna’s party is occasionally so busy it’s hard to follow, but so is talk at every lunch party with an eclectic mix of old friends. The friends had a daunting, sprawling web of relationships that were hard to understand at first, and Upton’s script relies on the audience to decipher throwaway cues to map the web, but that work is largely rewarding.

As the first act progresses Petrovna can’t quite hide the dark intensity and instability lurking beneath the chatter.  Blanchett handles Petrovna’s seemingly uncontrollable emotional extremes well – a complex dichotomy of grace and power.

via Aussie Theatre

Roxburgh and Blanchett are superb, but allow everyone around them to shine, however many lines, however little stage time they have to play with. It’s very much an ensemble effort and all the richer for it. The Present is an exquisitely enjoyable outing to cherish.

via The Daily Telegraph

Promotional shoots (I have moved the images from the Photoshoots section)



Gallery Links:

Rehearsals


Gallery Links:

Production Stills via Suzy Go See




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Posted on
Feb 14, 2015

Cinderella Reviews

The first reviews for Cinderella from the yesterday premiere! (Possible spoilers!)

None is an accusation you could fairly level against Cate Blanchett’s splendid Lady Tremaine. A tart-tongued beauty with a traffic-stopping wardrobe inherited from the personal archives of Edith Head – not to mention an evident knack for hosting a mean poker party – she’s plainly the biggest catch in the entire kingdom.

Blanchett is certainly the best thing in Kenneth Branagh’s perky, pretty, lavender-scented cupcake of a fairytale adaptation – the first in what looks to be a series of live-action Disney updates of their own animated classics.

Perhaps “update” isn’t the word, given that its go-getting villain is the only element of this irony-free interpretation that feels remotely revisionist: cleverly played by Blanchett as a life-hardened femme fatale rather than an irrational harridan, this sexed-up stepmum is just a woman trying to get ahead in what is still rigidly, for all its talk of happy endings, a man’s world.

via The Guardian

Only Cate Blanchett, who plays the imperious Lady Tremaine, fashion-plate stepmother to ash-covered orphan Ella (“Downton Abbey’s” Lily James), seems fit to hold her own against such extravagant costumes and sets — and none of the outfits are more formidable than Blanchett’s elaborate wardrobe of brilliant green gowns, stunningly designed to complement the butterfly-lit star’s ginger locks and ruby-red lips. With eyes wide, brows arched and her mouth in a permanent scowl, Blanchett blends aspects of Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck and Marlene Dietrich into an epic villainess, so deliciously unpleasant one almost wishes the film were focused more on her.

via Variety

Cinderella addresses the character by that term during a moment of sorrow, and Blanchett’s feline malevolence is priceless as she tells her that such formality isn’t necessary. “Madam will do,” she says with an icy smile. Looking the very picture of soignée 1940s-style chic in Sandy Powell’s extraordinary costumes, Blanchett reinvigorates the textbook villainess both with her delicious cruelty and her gnawing resentment. “Love is never free,” she says bitterly as she contemplates her own narrowed choices and exposes her ruthlessness.
Blanchett pulls off a superb balancing act, making the stepmother archly amusing with her world-weary imperiousness, but also giving her a tang of desperation and tiny hints of a less refined woman beneath all the manufactured poise. While her mission is to secure her daughters’ future along with her own, her barely disguised disdain for those idiotic brats lends additional underlying pathos to her malice.

via The Hollywood Reporter

But as so often with Disney films, this one is owned by its villain. Cate Blanchett, jaw-dropping in an Easter Parade’s worth of amazing costumes (that 2016 Oscar should just be wrapped up and mailed to Sandy Powell now), is the ace up the film’s fitted satin sleeve. Striking catlike poses and oozing poison when required, she is also given a little humanity, including a surprisingly dorky, vulgar laugh that suggests just how studied and artificial her elegance is. One scene in which she tells her life story like she’s the heroine of a “once upon a time” tale, does in two minutes what “Maleficent” couldn’t do in two hours: it helps us understand her character’s brokenness without declawing her one bit.

via Indiewire

Branagh is helped along by the credentials of his impressive, assembled cast, with Blanchett in particular, the star of the show. She’s unashamedly theatrical and comically ill-disposed, injecting a real sense of class into this production. Her inclusion is particularly imperative, as she provides this picture with the cruelty and inhumanity needed to counteract what is otherwise a frivolous, and effervescent creation.

via HeyUGuys

Thankfully, Cate Blanchett’s Lady Tremaine – 50 shades of fierce – is just the pill required. “She too had known grief,” Helena Bonham Carter’s fruity narrator (and fun fairy godmother) tells us, “but she wore it wonderfully well.” This isn’t the half of it. Costume designer Sandy Powell’s magnificently haughty frocks almost threaten to upstage the actress wearing them.

Even wrapped in a leopard-skin dressing gown, Blanchett’s much too wily to let that happen, as she throws constant facial shade at the moronic antics of the Ugly Sisters (Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger); their ugliness is mostly on the inside, despite a whole lot of horrendous colour-coordination.

via The Telegraph

 

Posted on
Feb 9, 2015

Firt reviews for Knight of Cups

The movie premiered yesterday in Berlin, unfortunately Cate Blanchett didn’t attend either the press conference or the premiere. But now we have the first info about Blanchett’s character: Nancy.

Rick (Christian Bale) is a Hollywood writer pursuing a vapid Hollywood lifestyle while simultaneously having an existential crisis. He has a fraught relationship with his father, a pastor (Brian Dennehy), and an emotionally high-register one with his brother (Wes Bentley), seemingly informed by the long-ago suicide of a third brother. And he has his women, a long parade of the most beautiful actresses in Hollywood (Imogen Poots, Freida Pinto, Teresa Palmer, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Isabel Lucas, and others) who dance around him successively, doing a better job of separating the film into discernible chapters than the oddly unnecessary headings, which are named for cards of the Tarot — “The High Priestess,” “The Tower,” “Judgment” “Death,” and so on. Formally, it is even more abstract than previous Malick efforts, with on-camera dialogue kept to the barest minimum and the cast instead contributing poetic, banal, or philosophical voiceover to the soundtrack, lines which overlap, fade up, and fade down into music and silence, contributing to the sense of the film as a philosophical fugue state.

Sometimes, however, life breaks through. Blanchett has little screen time, but in her few scenes she is a jolt of realism, an actual woman amid so many muses.

via Indiewire

Bale plays Rick, in the midst of a career-breakthrough into being super-hot and super-rich. But he has lost it after the collapse of his marriage to Nancy (Cate Blanchett) – a brainy hospital doctor nobly treating unfamous, unpretty people. He is also tormented by agonised relationships with dad (Brian Dennehy) and brother (Wes Bentley).

via The Guardian

Malick films in dance and pole-dancing clubs, at fashion shoots poolside at a luxury villa overlooking the city and at glitzy parties. He also shoots in a medical ward where Rick’s first wife played by Cate Blanchett, from whom he splits because they can’t have children, tends to the poor and homeless.

via Reuters

All those naked women serve a deeper purpose.
Bale’s character certainly has his pick of babes: In addition to Portman, there’s Imogen Poots, Freida Pinto, Cate Blanchett, Teresa Palmer, Katia Winter, and plenty more, all in various states of undress. He also gets intimate with Portman’s toes, which he tenderly sucks on during one of their lusty onscreen moments. (“Very nice,” he remarked when asked about the taste of her little piggies.)

So what was behind all this T&A? “We had such incredibly soulful and intelligent actresses playing these roles,” said Bale. “Women were clearly, um, Rick’s primary source of life.” Explained Portman, “Rick’s journey reflects the great diversity of the types of people—male and female—you find in Los Angeles, from the superficiality at a Hollywood party, and how women are treated there, to Cate Blanchett’s character, who has soul, generosity, and humanity,” said Portman. “The city can encompass both those extremes.”

via Vulture

A more substantial kind of romantic drama emerges along with the film’s two top-billed actresses: Cate Blanchett surfaces in flashback as Rick’s ex-wife, a hard-working doctor whom we see growing disenchanted with her increasingly unmoored spouse, while Natalie Portman appears later on as Elizabeth, a married woman who has a brief fling with Rick and finds herself pregnant and guilt-stricken shortly thereafter.

Despite the strong emotional undercurrents in these scenes, the feeling persists that these excellent actors — particularly Blanchett, her striking features and natural expressiveness fascinatingly at odds with the prevailing aesthetic — are being confined by their fundamentally archetypal roles.

via TV Grapevine