91. Smoking week for medicinal purposes is sociably acceptable… even in cinematic reality. Also, it’s so much easier to get your stoner best friend to tell off your horrible significant other for you.[50/50]
92.You just can’t trust doctors. [The Good Doctor]
93. It can be all too convenient to avoid emotional attachments but being connected to others only makes us better people. [Detachment]
94. Being the maid of honor for your frenemy while you’re in love with the groom is just… awkward. Oh, and resist the temptation to try on a wedding dress that’s not yours. [The Romantics]
95. Letting someone else into your relationship is just asking for trouble. [The Freebie]
96. Watch out for those who are trying to change who you are. [The Shape of Things]
97. As the saying goes, it is better to have loved and lost as to never to have loved at all; it changes you for the better. [Mercy]
98. Take responsibilities for your actions no matter how easy it would be to get away with it. [The High Cost of Living]
99. Our minds can play tricks on us to protect us. [Keane]
100. The unexplainable can terrorize, influence, and invoke us to question our perception of reality. [Take Shelter]
It was a simple concept - one question (What is your secret?) and fifty people to answer it. What it created was a beautiful short film on the hopes, aspirations, fears, joys, and dreams. It’s alot of touching moments superimposed with humorous antedotes. I love everything about this, and its shot beautifully. That is why this short has been going around the internet now for three years. Enjoy.
Director Baz Luhrmann had a vision for The Great Gatsby; a fact that can not be denied. What can also be said is that Luhrmann chooses to overwhelm the senses rather than caress them. Gone is much of the carefully paced momentum that allowed us to fall into the rhythm of the words of the wonderful F. Scott Fitzgerald and in its place is heavy-handed interpretation that is more spectacle than substance. Luhrmann and Gatsby become one and the same - men with vast imaginations that have trouble fitting into the confines of reality and overtaking even the best of intentions. My Grade: C
The story itself is one that has been revisited in many film forms. It describes the attitudes and atmosphere of the 1920s New York City through the eyes of Midwestern-born aspiring writer Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) who moves to fictional West Egg in order to learn the bonds business and make a decent living. It is there that he reconnects with fellow Yale grad, the old-moneyed Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton) and his beautiful wife Daisy (Carey Mulligan) as well as meeting some new people in the New York City elite, including Daisy’s good friend, golf pro Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki). Soon, Nick becomes embroiled in the affairs of his neighbor Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), an enigma who first enters Nick’s life as a shadowy figure outside on the docks and then through widespread talk of the extremely lavish parties that Gatsby has a tendency to throw.
“Gatsby? What Gatsby?” No one really knows who Gatsby really is, not even the hundreds that flock to his mansion to take part in the parties and debauchery. For most, he is more myth than man, residing as the star of colorful tales in the minds and hushed gossip of the people around him. But Nick comes to know him like no other, becoming a pawn in Gatsby’s quest to relive his past and win back Daisy from the cruel and unfaithful Tom. You see, Gatsby has always strived to build the wealth and prestige for himself he dreamed of as a boy; it becomes somewhat of an inconvenience five years prior that he met and fell in love with Daisy before she met Tom. Now, being with Daisy is the motivation for everything he does, spurning on an obsessive hope that threatens to consume him.
[The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.]
Fruitvale Station (formally Fruitvale, a name I actually prefer) did in fact make its debut at Sundance 2013, and I was there at the premiere among the brilliant cast, director (expecting great things from Ryan Cooglar in the future), press, and members of the Grant family as we witnessed something amazing on screen. I actually don’t think this trailer does the film justice; it is one of the most touching films I have ever seen and definitely will be on top of everyone’s mind come Oscar time. Here were my thoughts from Sundance after seeing the film:
No matter if it turns out to be a hit, is bombed by critics and audiences, or falls somewhere in between, one thing is for sure, The Great Gatsby, the reimagining of the great F. Scott Fitzgerld American classic novel by the king of glitzy stylized film aesthetic Baz Luhrmann, is one of the most anticipated movies this year. Anyone who has read the novel can contend that it is a story that smartly delves into the complexities of love, obsession, betrayal, financial status, and social appearances. While we wait for the wide film release, here are some of the best novel to film adaptations starring the cast of The Great Gatsby:
Leo DiCaprio (Jay Gatsby)
Revolutionary Road (2008) It was the movie that reconnected Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet after the massive cinematic hit Titanic. Based on the 1961 novel of the same name written by Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road depicts a married couple, the Wheelers, clinging to what is expected of them regarding ideals of family and career in the American society of the 1950s. We watch as their marriage slowly comes apart at the seams as they come to realize their hopes and dreams of an exciting life which once fueled their love are slowly becoming lost to them. Becoming the embodiment of a man unhappy in his marriage and career, restless with his own dissatisfaction, DiCaprio gives us his interpretation of the character of Frank Wheeler. And as Frank becomes defined by his many affairs and big talk of changing for the better, Leo DiCaprio showed us he can bring a sort of dignity to an otherwise undignified man. Though most of the accolades for performances that year went to Winslet (as wife April Wheeler) and Michael Shannon (as their mentally-disturbed yet surprisingly astute son of their neighbor John Givings), Leo DiCaprio did earn a Golden Globe nomination for his efforts.
*See also Leo DiCaprio’s take on another literary character, U.S. Marshall Daniels, in the great psychological thriller Shutter Island (2010) directed by Martin Scorsese.
I’m introducing a new music feature on this blog where I sort of create my own soundtrack for different movies I have watched recently. I came up with the idea a couple of days ago when I was listening to some of my favorite songs on my iPod and it reminded me are certain dramatic situations I have seen play out on the big screen or perfectly described a character’s motivations, feelings, or desires. So in my first edition of ‘Music Complements’, I present some songs that came to mind when I took a look back on my experience watching Terrance Malick’s To The Wonder.
Here is a list of mainstream but mostly independent releases that represent the films I most want to see and/or the films I would recommend to others. As always, check back in my Film Calendar section to see related blog posts on these films after I see them.
The Great Gatsby: The reimagining of the great F. Scott Fitzgerld American classic novel by the king of glitzy stylized film aesthetic Baz Luhrmann. One of the movies of 2013 I have been really waiting for. Anticipate this.
First time getting a ticket package (well, worth it on opening weekend). A great friend that I shared the experience with. Some insight on how to mingle in with the photographers for some great photo opportunities. Tribeca 2013 was a great experience up there with all my film festing experiences. Here is a recap of the who, what, where, and why of it all…
The Unforgettable Moments These are some of the things I will never forget…
Justin Long & Peter Dinklage. The hearing the two of them banter after the screening of A Case of You was a priceless experience. I hadn’t really seen Dinklage in anything nor see any interview with him up to this point. The guy is always cracking jokes. And yes, Justin calls him Pete.
Zoe Kazan up-close and personal. I was right behind the line of photographers and interviewers on the red carpet of the premiere of The Pretty One, so close in face that I hear her responses to one of the interviews. She comes off as such a sweetheart.
Novelist Mohsin Hamid speaks at The Reluctant Fundamentalist post-screening panel. The guys is kinda brilliant and he studied under some of the greats in contemporary literature (like Toni Morrison). Wish I would have read his book that the film is based on before seeing the movie. For what I have heard, it sets up the story with more mystery.
Cecile de France on filming love scenes with Jean Dujardin. In her words, “He’s very attentive and kind”, which was met with snickering from the audience. I bet. Lucky girl. Though I have to admit that all the steaminess of what the scene should have been did not translate to the screen.
The Missed Opportunities I missed out on attending some of the special events around the festival including Tribeca Talks discussions. Next time. I can always watch the archived videos though (and you can, too):
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, and Richard Linklater talkBefore Midnight and 18 years of collaboration.
Robert DeNiro, Jerry Lewis, and Martin Scorsese reflect on The Kings of Comedy.
Clint Eastwood and Darren Aronofsky discuss difficult actors and other topics.
The Films Seven screenings in five days. There were good ones, there were bad ones. Here is a brief synopsis of my thoughts on each:
Sunlight Jr (Naomi Watts, Matt Dillon, Norman Reedus) “It accomplished being both a standout look at relationships that challenge social norms and that draw intriguing parallels to each other and a film that could use some work conceptually.”
The Pretty One (Zoe Kazan, Jake Johnson)** “The Pretty One stands as a bright, quirky, heart-warming thing of a film that would definitely satisfy on a first watch, a re-watch, and a gorge-watch.”