There were good moments, but I thought some of the characters were cliche. I got bored about three-fourths of the way through. Haven't seen Smoke, but watched because Paul Auster was a director. Roseanne Barr and Mel Gorham were at the core of the piece for me. Study in the potential problems (but also benefits) of working with an incomplete script.
This film works (in a way Smoke does not) by not attempting to force a narrative arc onto a meandering story. The points when "plot" comes up are the weakest: selling the store, Jackie Robinson. The improv and episodic nature run the risk of giving the viewer whiplash, but being jolted around is preferable to a tired narrative bemoaning gentrification (and the problems of Auggie, a tiresome Suffering Man trope).
Gave up after 15 minutes. Doesn't have any of the charm and humanity of Smoke, at least not positive humanity. The negative isn't that entertaining, especially outside of any narrative context. Basically, it makes all Brookliners look like people you would not want to know. Episodic and irritating.
This made me doubt my love for its predecessor Smoke. It's super hammy, navel gazing, with Keitel awkwardly gluing the narrative together with sketchy improv. I give it 2 stars for Mel Gorham in the mirror, Jim Jarmusch's scene, and that David Byrne was a musical exec.
Felt like the cinematic equivalent of a Bombay mix. Some parts work (all of Jim Jarmusch and Malik Yoba) and when they do, it's very funny indeed. If they had cut out all of Lou Reed's stuff and the stupid Jackie Robinson bit then it would have been considerably better.
It shares a location and a couple of characters with Smoke, but this is very different - almost a VHS extra. A celebration of Brooklyn through improv sketches, vox pops and one celebrity interview, it's a very mixed bag. Some performers are over-indulged, others bring it to life: Lou Reed and the vox poppers, Malik Yoba and Giancarlo Esposito, Madonna (WTF?). Curiosity keeps it watchable.
What they tried to achieve was the rich, feisty, funny-without-knowing-why Brooklyn of the last century. A nostalgic piece. But maybe they should have set it in that period. they neighborhood they set it in isn't really like this at any more. It's yuppies and film editors and documentarians and yoga studio owners. The grit and color of working people have been pushed farther out in the periphery
Had I not first seen Smoke and then viewed this sequel, I would have been less impressed. Blue is less tightly structured and more limited in its generally happy emotional range than its forebear. Yet, the warmth of the Brooklyn characters with the addition of Madonna as a singing telegram dressed as a bell-hop, continue to captivate. Wisely, Wayne left it here.