Bill Everhart: Thoughts on a movie summer
A few random thoughts as the summer movie season winds down and the fall movie season approaches.
The twitterverse had a meltdown over the announcement that Ben Affleck would take on the role of Batman in the "Man of Steel" sequel scheduled for 2015. It was as if the actor-director from the brilliant "Argo" had never moved on from "Gigli" and "Pearl Harbor."
Affleck will be a fine Batman, but the real issue is where can Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder take the Caped Crusader after Nolan's masterful Dark Knight trilogy starring Christian Bale tied up the Batman saga and left no loose strings? Burdened by Henry Cavill's dull Superman, "Man of Steel" was a disappointment this summer and Batman is expected to give the series a needed jolt, but it may be that just as Batman has no place to go after Bale, Superman can never get off the ground again after Christopher Reeve.
The title character of "Blue Jasmine," a deeply troubled society matron on her own and ill-equipped to deal with reality, is brilliantly written by Woody Allen and magnificently acted by Cate Blanchette. This is the kind of Manhattan 1 percenter Allen obviously knows, but the movie is populated by blue-collar characters he evidently doesn't know so must invent based on working types he has seen in other movies. That is why Blanchette's great performance can't make "Blue Jasmine" a great movie.
Bobby Cannavale, a fine actor sporting Leonardo DiCaprio's haircut from "Titanic," is left to bellow and thrash around as if he is in a bad community theater production of "On the Waterfront." The other blue-collar types bring to mind snippets of other period working-class films and never ring true as contemporary people. Woody is in his element when his bubble is floating in the rarefied air of upper class Manhattanites or wealthy expatriates in Paris but not when his bubble floats down among the 99 percent.
One opinion of the best movies of another predictably mediocre summer: "World War Z," "20 Feet From Stardom," "Fruitvale Station," "Elysium" and "The World's End."
The youthful David Newman did a fine job conducting the bulk of the first half of Film Night at Tanglewood last month, leading the Boston Pops in the work of his film composer father Alfred and enthusiastically, if nervously, chatting about his dad's extensive work. Nonetheless, a chill swept through the shed on the warm evening when conductor John Williams turned over the baton, and it didn't warm up again until he returned after intermission.
Williams doesn't look or act it but he is 81 and presumably he has conducted more Film Nights than he will conduct. His knowledge of the important role of music in film history is extensive, and that knowledge and his love for all forms of movie music make every Film Night a delightful educational experience. Still, the highlight of every Film Night is listening to the conductor-composer lead the orchestra in some of his iconic works of the last four decades, music from films like "Jaws," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" the "Star Wars" saga and many that are instantly recognizable yet never lose their power. (Not for nothing does Williams have 48 Oscar nominations.)
Williams won't grace Tanglewood forever (we hope for another couple of decades) but his work should grace that institution, movie screens, laptops and whatever electronic devices still to be invented forever.
Look for The Eagle's fall movie preview on Friday.
Eagle editorial page editor Bill Everhart writes an occasional movie column.
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