Baz Luhrmann revives Gatsby for a new generation of readers. The screen glosses over every few seconds with another coat of fresh paint in vibrant colors. Every perfect string of Tiffany pearls pales only in comparison to the brilliant custom cars and beaded 20′s gowns. For those of us who fell for Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (1996), this is his newest moveable feast.
I tried a new experiment. I hadn’t read the book yet, so I picked it up one morning, absorbed it, and drove straight to the theater once I’d finished it. Fitzgerald, Zelda, Gatsby, Daisy. I was a-whirl with the graspable metaphors as they came alive before my eyes. The billboard’s God-eyes, the green light of envy from across the harbor, the luminous drops of sweat, the clock that drops from the mantle. Solid adaptation. Spot on, as they say.
Leo DiCaprio is back in full Gatsby glory, and that smile once thought lost on the icy bow of the Titanic shines with fresh vigor. He feels type-cast as Gatsby, as though he is acting out his own charmed, affluent, carefree, secretive life. Gatsby’s glossy disguise masks a past of pain and the obsession of a singular dream for true love as he once knew it. All other characters dance on and off-screen in glimpses of likable Chaplin-esque chop and charm.
Fitzgerald’s tale is tragic. The sin-centric storyline allows for rare moments of reflection admitting to itself that our sins will surely find us out. The adulterous are painted no worse than the greedy or gluttonous, and only in the eyes of God are we the same and forgivable as we meet on common ground in that shadowed valley of death.
Filed under Classic, Drama
More Tom Cruise than you thought possible in a single film.
Despite extensive and irreconcilable plot holes, Oblivion is visually stunning.
If you care more about the visual than the plot, you will call the unfortunate plot moments “twists.” You will quickly forgive those final lines that sound a lot like those spoken by Randy Quaid in ID4… You won’t find the title ironic, at all. You will personally resolve that beautiful people working together on a beautiful film will always make something meaningful. You will appreciate the splendor of a house in the clouds. Your belief in Morgan Freeman as the God-figure of film in this era will perhaps deepen. Your post-apocalyptic hope will grow to the point that you may even see that new Will Smith movie coming out. And your Christmas toy list will include the newest x-wing as flown by Tom Cruise in this movie.
When you see it, watch for the classical allusions to famous art and literature: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and the painting Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth (1948, MOMA, NY). These are purposefully and artfully placed in the film adding richness. I appreciated the opinions of this blogger on the painting’s meaning: thefineartdiner.blogspot.com
See Oblivion on IMax. Each shot is breathtaking and sci-fi wonderful.
Stop what you are doing. Don’t waste another second. See this beautiful film.
Harrison Ford has always been a favorite, but now I’m in awe. He’s got gumption - that confidence that shines on-screen. And, he keeps secrets worth decoding, joy and sorrow resident in his eyes.
Young Chadwick Boseman, Jackie Robinson‘s true doppelgänger, fulfilled his role with the honesty and swagger of the legend himself.
There is honor in this film. It speaks of doing right all alone, of standing still against oceanic pull.
Racism obviously disgusts on every level. This film chooses to go beyond the black versus white question to pierce the heart of hate being hateful and the soul of letting skill speak for skill alone. It reminds me that people are capable of great love or brutality, but that they can also change.
Who has your heart? What keeps your feet steady? Jackie Robinson was just a man playing the game that he was born to play, a game that so many love. People fight in many ways for what is right. Robinson allowed himself to become a symbol. He walked in silence allowing his skill to speak for him despite screaming threats on an angry current.
He played baseball and let God fight for him.
Titans clash in the throng as the epic battle for world domination ensues. The quintessential caricature-ized talking heads of the world gather, nuke briefcases in tow. One push of the red button and…obliteration.
Only the specially trained forces can stop it.
Bruce Willis, the original Joe, must tag in for this one last ride.
The Rock has enough deep ocean glances into his own soul via the camera lens to constitute a romance.
If you’re looking for Shawshank, Platoon, or even a Mission Impossible, you’ll need to check those expectations at the door. This is a live action cartoon. It’s loaded with guns and amo, Americana, and good old fashioned explosions. And, according to my dad, there is never a bad explosion.
You go to G.I. Joe: Retaliation to see big stars play every kid’s favorite 80′s action figures live on screen doing what kids back then could only dream was possible.
Sam Raimi directs James Franco well. Long lost are the hints of Franco’s Spring Break or his trips on the Pinapple Express. No, this is Franco the actor, Franco the deserving. He proves a multifaceted Disney-worthy come-clean heroic Wizard. I had little hope for him, or for this film, but both were a delight.
It’s well-acted and beautifully manufactured. It’s a Disney ride in itself, splash drops and all. It’s magical and illuminating, but too scary for smaller viewers. Witches prove truly wicked or purely good, while munchkins dance and fight as they should. Each character proves endearing, especially the girl from Chinatown and the primate sidekick. The story delights and comes full circle along with each of its characters, adding new insight into the origins of the famous 1939 favorite The Wizard of Oz.
I look forward to seeing it again.
Filed under Action, Fantasy
Quotable quirk Glees it up retro style.
Perfunctory performances get shots of caffeine as iTunes goes 8Track and back again and young college students sing Hip Hop hits in the accapella bowl to win the proverbial Nationals title and trophy.
Screenwriter, Kay Cannon, also writes for the show New Girl. She wrote for 30 Rock. She wrote Baby Mama. She’s in some pretty respected territory as a comedy writer. (Check out her imdb.com credits.)
I hope that she doesn’t take offense to my comparison, but I see Pitch Perfect as a Bring It On for a new generation. I am one of a million who an claim Facebook friendship with Jessica Bendinger, a model turned screenwriter and novelist. When I met her a little over a year ago, she discussed writing the original Bring It On. She wisely said that staying up-to-date on “teen-speak” is impossible, so she made it up. Yes, she coined the terms from the film that students began to use fluidly, thereby adding her cast to the lineage of linguistically shaping likes of Bill & Ted and Wayne & Garth. She directed a film called Stick It, bringing Jeff Bridges back into his new era of casting calls. She moved into tv writing for Sex & the City, and now she gets the odd call for the those random $10k meetings. She too stays busy.
Pitch Perfect, written by Cannon, works the same magic for a new era of highly cynical, overly tech-stimulated youth. It gives them a moment to laugh at their generation’s penchant for karaoke tv shows like American Idol and The Voice. It’s full of crude humor and slap-stick pranks goaded on by the odd girthy-great loud and lazy Australian-born Rebel Wilson. What I liked about this film was that it makes fun of itself as it plays out. It isn’t trying to be more than quirky. It’s kitsch and that makes it kinda likable despite its expected level of locker room humor and language.
Filed under Comedy, Musical
It’s a travesty. Don’t let the sweet abs of Gerard Butler or his Scottish accent lure you into this trap.
I’m pretty sure it’s unscripted, allows every character to play hyperbolically to the crazy-person persona, and took perhaps 3 days to film. It’s horrible. I tried to watch it with a group, and when our shocked groans grew louder than the film, we paused and decided unanimously to turn it off.
One plus hours in, Butler is still avoiding time with his son to bed down the soccer moms who ridiculously lure him in. This is awful. How anyone could buy in to his gaining a moral compass after the first hour is beyond me. That’s obviously the goal: bad dad turns good. Reverse the role, and this becomes the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold scenario, and we’re just not buying it.
Discussing toe-nail clippings is more edifying…and perhaps more entertaining. Please spare yourselves.