You'll read much more erudite criticism of Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine elsewhere on Indiewire than here.I grant you that. Please indulge me as I stray for a moment from my media coverage to the movies.
I have been loving Woody's movies -- most of them, anyway -- since his first one, Take The Money And Run in 1969. So, I looked forward to the screening Monday night in New York of Blue Jasmine.
I liked it -- a lot. This is not a unanimous opinion, I have noticed on social media. So be it.
Here are five things I liked about it:
-- Cate Blanchett.
She has again burnished her reputation as one of the finest actresses in the world. She is completely believable in the role of the deeply troubled Jasmine. The year is only half over, of course, but this is as an Oscar-wrthy a performance as you're going to see in 2013.
-- San Francisco. By my loose calculation, this is the first time that Woody has shot a film in SF since Play It Again Sam, more than four decades ago. Just as he did with Paris and Rome in recent years, Woody makes a city (other than his beloved NYC) look majestic and lovely, all at once.
-- Dice and Louis C.K. Woody (or his casting associates) scored with the improbable decision to put Andrew Dice Clay and Louis C.K. in serious dramatic roles. Dice might wind up getting a Best Supporting Actor nomination for this performance. He would deserve it, too.
-- The Madoff tie-in: This also struck me as Woody's commentary on the family tragedy that figured in the Madoff scandal. It was clever of him to tie it in.
-- Orignality. Once again, Woody has presented us with a new story. Whether you love or loathe the man or his films, say this for him: He never repeats himself. Nearing 80 years of age, he still takes big chances and tries to stretch his talents at every opportunity.