Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Great Iron Gatsby Man 3

I saw The Great Gatsby the other day. The new film version of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel by Baz Luhrmann, the directorial mind behind Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, and others. Let me start by saying that if you like his other films, you are quite likely to enjoy this one as well. All around the performances are quite excellent, apart from occasional lapses in accents. The visuals are quite exciting all around, though some special effects don't quite work perfectly. The music was an interesting blend of timely, diegetic jazz numbers and anachronistic, non-diegetic, hip-hop pieces and everything in between. I'm not a connoisseur of Baz' work by any means, but I did enjoy Moulin Rouge, though it did take a few viewings before I got there. His surrealist style surely takes quite a bit to get used to but I think it works quite well for the prohibition era style they needed to create for this film.

As in all his movies, the music choices range from stuff that makes sense, like the man playing a trumpet on a fire escape across the way from a party, to hearing Jay-Z Izzo as they cross a bridge. Sometimes it worked, but for some reason the Jay-Z parts didn't work as much for me. I liked the majority of the music choices and the original score worked fantastically. The big party scene where we see the band playing and hear the beat drop on a nice hip hop track works great to connect us to the world we're viewing.

Acting all around is good. Tobey Maguire I haven't been a fan of, although I haven't seen him in anything since the Spider Man films, but he surprised me with his depressed Nick Carraway recounting his tales of meeting Gatsby in New York to a therapist, who convinces him to write it down. His portrayal of the younger self was a great insight into the world of Gatsby.

Played by Leonardo DiCaprio, Gatsby starts as a man with such exotic tastes and a sophistication reminiscent of his Calvin Candie in Django Unchained. Throughout the movie we are introduced to the reason he is in New York to get his love and Nick's cousin, Daisy who married cheating scumbag Tom Buchanan 5 years ago. Every move he has made since then has led toward meeting her again. Throughout the movie we see Gatsby evolve as we learn more about his past and he gets more desperate to be with Daisy until he finally snaps in a climactic confrontation with Tom. Once again, DiCaprio delivers a fantastic performance.

Our leading lady, Daisy, is played by the lovely Carey Mulligan. Her face has the innocence of a young, naive girl yet she plays the smart, aware, and beautiful Daisy Buchanan who is in a marriage where she knows of her husband's infidelity and ultimately gets a very poetic revenge at the end, although she ends up with her husband in what appears to be a fixed relationship.

Tom Buchanan is played by Joel Edgerton. I kept trying to place where I'd seen him before, but didn't recognize him as a main character. He was in the prequel Star Wars movies and Smokin' Aces. He portrayed Tom very nicely as a man who has an apartment in the city for his Mistress. He comes across as a jerk so you can't help but not like him.

Also playing their parts are Isla Fisher and Jason Clarke as Myrtle and George Wilson. They both have rather small parts but we get a full understanding of their relationship (it's not doing so hot) and tehir individual personalities.

Overall I did enjoy this movie. There are definitely some moments that work a lot better than othe rs, but I think that the grounded performances pull it through. The biggest complain I have is that it's at least a half hour too long, and also the stylized visual effects don't work as well as I'd have liked (Gatsby and Nick driving in a bright yellow car at what looks like a hundred miles per hour.) As a fan of the book, which I haven't read in 7 or so years, I find this to be a fairly decent adaptation by Baz Luhrmann. I found myself remembering plot points from the book before they happened in the film. While the narrative function of Nick writing the book isn't in the novel, I find it an interesting reason to have the voice over necessary to keep the story moving. While not my favorite movie, I did enjoy it and if it had been a bit shorter I would have liked it quite a bit more. All things considered, I give Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby 3 stars out of 5.

Now onto a movie I was so excited to see, that I saw the midnight showing of. Iron Man 3. Now we will talk more on this one in the upcoming episode of Cinemasters Podcast I'm sure, but here's my thoughts since we probably wont go that in depth. We just did episodes covering the previous Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it's still fresh. That said, Iron Man 3 avoids a lot of the problems we mention in the previous films. To begin with, this one isn't building up to anything. It stands alone in that sense so the story will actually be important in the film. It also stepped away from the previous 2 in that it had a villain that wasn't a guy in a metal suit. With these two flaws being avoided, let's get to the ones that stand. I'm not a huge fan of Tony having anxiety attacks every time the battle of New York is mentioned. Okay, I don't have a problem with that, but the way it's portrayed is a little over the top.

As usual Downey, Jr. is Iron Man and comes off as being the character more than playing it. All the performances were solid. Paltrow playing Pepper Potts was her usual, humorous self and works well for the movie. Ben Kingsley's performance was fantastic and shocking. Guy Pearce played a pretty solid villain. The random other villains weren't very impressive but that's due to a lack of focus on them and no real need to do so. The most surprising thing about this movie is how much humor there is as well as how funny the humorous parts are. This movie is pretty solid comic gold.

I was worried from the trailer that the Mandarin's accent wasn't very good, but that was negated by the twist of the film which I won't get into other than saying I'm quite okay with how they pulled it off. All around a great movie. A few minor issues I have are how Tony's panic attacks are handled (a touch over the top), and how the ending was sort of a cop out, but it did serve to wrap up the trilogy. I read somewhere that this wasn't so much a part of Marvel's Phase 2 as the end of the trilogy. If you want to hear more of my thoughts then check out the mini episode of Cinemasters to be released on the 28th of May. We go more in depth on the entire film so definitely check it out. Overall I'd give it a 5 out of 5 since the minor problems I have are merely nitpicking and don't actually hurt the movie.

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