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Posts Tagged ‘Movie review’

waking dreamHello again, everyone! I’m just going to direct you to Lucid’s last post (or any of the ones we’ve posted sporadically over the last two years or so) in lieu of making my excuses (which have not changed). Instead, I’m going to get right to the point and fill you in on the good stuff.

Last you heard from me, I was bemoaning my lack of Life Skills. I am less-than-happy to assure you that there has been no significant change in that department. In spite of this, however, I have managed to trick my professors into believing that I am degree-worthy, as have Lucid and Fuzzy. Meaning we are now (somehow!) bona fide graduates.

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And what’s more, we are venturing perilously close to Adult Territory. Lucid is now Employed (!!). Fuzzy is heading off to graduate school. And I… I am possibly going to graduate school, also. OR I am going to be an unemployed, overgrown child for the rest of my life. One of the two.**

Now that I’ve brought you up to speed, I am totally going to do the annoying BWC thing and turn the rest of this post into a review. To be fair, it was the reviewing that I missed enough to want to get back to blogging, so here it comes. A while ago, Lucid and I watched Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I lovelovelove the novel version and I cannot imagine a film equivalent to Fitzgerald’s words. That aside, I still didn’t find a whole lot to recommend in this adaptation.

I think the central trouble I had was with the Gatsby character. I never, for one moment, bought into the legend. You could argue that he isn’t, in fact, meant to be a legend, but rather a man playing at being one. He is, however, meant to play the part well enough that those unacquainted with the truth fall for the facade. The oft-repeated “old sport” line, I felt, was grating throughout. It seemed like not even Tobey Maguire’s Nick Carraway (unquestioning Gatsby fanboy) bought into the tale. I wouldn’t fault DiCaprio (another solid performance) for this odd choice so much as Luhrmann. Secondly, while I cannot quite call it lazy film-making ( the detail on those sets!), more effort seems to have been expended on fancy (and pretty amazing, really ) visual styling than on story-telling. Ironic, since Fitzgerald’s story explicitly cautions against glittery exteriors. Nor can the argument be made, that this sense of superficiality is what the movie seeks to capture, considering that the eye-candy after all, seems to have been the movie’s most worked-upon aspect. It ultimately detracts from the story, with the end result being that the movie lacks that sense of unease, dissatisfaction and judgement that permeates the novel. It also reduces every valuable insight to be earned and discerned by the viewer to simplistic voice-over exposition. Dr. T J Eckleburg’s eyes, watching wordlessly from a hoarding, a stand-in for an all-seeing god, for instance, is delivered matter-of-fact not early in the movie (and then repeated to death just in case you overlooked its cleverness). Finally, the soundtrack. Although quite fantastic taken on its own, the contemporary music was jarring against the 1920’s setting, demanding greater suspension of disbelief than I could manage. I’m not certain if this was Luhrmann’s way of decrying the current state of affairs and reaffirming the story’s pertinence today. Unfortunately, for me, it sort of mixed both eras in the most unsatisfactory way possible.

Where the movie scores, in my opinion, is in that it does not romanticize the Gatsby character. By setting up Nick as being unclear in his mind, he is established as an unreliable narrator, early in the movie. This, along with several other cinematic choices, allow us to see the self-deluding Mr.Gatsby for the flawed character he is. Even as we watch Nick fall for Gatsby’s perceived modesty, it becomes increasingly apparent to the viewer that in the orchestration of his reunion with Daisy and all that follows, he is merely terribly controlling of his image and quite used to getting his way by less-than-noble means. Alongside Nick’s proclamations of Gatsby’s incorruptible Greatness and steadfastness, we are witness to a much different truth: that Daisy is but a selfish obsession– yet another fixture to be acquired in order to enhance Gatsbyland. Daisy herself is portrayed complexly by the always-wonderful ( I will profess myself a fan) Carey Mulligan. We are able to see how the impressionable Daisy is also complicit in the lie that becomes her own undoing. I think her character here best encapsulates Fitzgerald’s fears for what would come to pass through such irresponsible, decadent living. Overall, the cast is pretty fantastic, with good performances all around.

In closing, I think Luhrmann’s take certainly does add something to the Gatsbyverse and also sets the stage for future retellings . I just wish the story had taken precedence over the distracting fluff.

***

* We haven’t done that whole robes-and-tasseled-hats thing yet. But that is because college is ridiculous as ever and the official ceremony is scheduled for next year. I am leaving this can of worms unopened, on the topmost shelf, well out of my reach because, really, who wants to hear any more on that?

** Update: I may be an overgrown child, but gosh-darn it, I’m an overgrown child with an admission to grad school. Yeah!

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Harry Potter movies just cannot win.

Being a franchise fueled by rabid fans, they are somewhat doomed to fail from the outset, thanks to the merciless nitpicking that is just part of the rabid-fan package. Of course, this same crazy-ass audience also guarantees that every one of these movies is a box-office hit, if nothing. So of course, I went in to watch the seventh installment with my skeptic’s hat very much in place (albeit tempered by nostalgia and the hope that this one would somehow be Different).

That being said, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part- I was a pleasant surprise.  For once, this fangirl at least was left satisfied with the plot-coverage. Although much like its predecessors (except, perhaps, movies 1 & 2) it will still be at best hard-to-follow for anyone who hasn’t previously read the books, I thought the essence of the story was well captured. The explanation of the Deathly Hallows was well done and the animation that went with, was downright lovely. The same can be said of the locations of shooting. Director David Yates had described the movie as being shot in a ‘road-trip’  (but better: apparition, ha ha!) style, and I think that definitely came through. On the acting-front, I will go so far as to say that Emma Watson may actually be developing some acting skills, Rupert was fun to watch seeing as Ron is not treated as caricature/comic relief this time around, and Daniel is decent, as well. The movie ended at a smart point plot-wise, so I give my approval there, too.

It’s not all good, though. The most obvious disappointment was that Dumbledore’s back-story was missing, except for a reference to Rita Skeeter’s ‘scandalous’ book on the subject. Seeing as it was an important story-thread in the book, I am baffled by their ignoring it completely. It would definitely have added to the plot and will, I think,  leave some gaping plot-holes, come part-2. My second gripe is about the Harry/Hermione “moments” that were obviously designed to add another layer of drama to the mix for those who hadn’t read the books. I wouldn’t complain about this if it weren’t for the fact that it caused them to leave out the great Harry/Ron confrontation scene (Chapter 19, DH) as this would obviously clear up the triangle they’d been projecting through the movie. NOT a good bargain, WB! They also left  out the Lupin/Harry confrontation scene, although I missed this less.

Other things I enjoyed:

* The entire sequence at the Ministry of Magic– the actors playing the trio playing Ministry officials picked up their (trio’s) mannerisms  and were really fun to watch.

*Dobby’s death-This really was painful to watch as it was to read.

Petty ‘hate’s:

*Xenophilius Lovegood: (Short version)Whoever told Rhys Ifans he could act told a blasphemous lie.

* Will Helena Bonham Carter ever tone it down?!

* Neville calling Death Eaters ‘Losers’ ? Yeah, I don’t think so.

All in all, I think it will satisfy fans of the series and is much better than movies 4-6. Bottom-line: 3-stars. And I’ll throw in a recommendation, why not?

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wakin-dreamYou may heave a sigh of relief, reader(s ?).This is not going to be a transparent attempt at ‘God-just-coming-up-with-something-for-NaBloPoMo-already!’. Funnily enough, I must attribute this to Half Blood Prince. ‘Funnily enough’ because the movie was utterly, utterly crap. In fact the only reason we sat through it at all is because it was so amusingly crap. I’ll give them credit for sticking to the plot for the most part, though. It’s obviously quite a task to condense a 600-ish-page book into a two and a half hour-movie, and everything of consequence has its place.

The flaws, though, are glaringly large and hard to look past. For your amusement (possibly) and mine (most definitely), I shall share some of these Moments:

1. SquintyScrunchy Slughorn.

Horace Slughorn is described as having “prominent, pale gooseberry coloured eyes, a shiny pate, and an enormous, silver, moustache that looked like a walrus”.

What we got: Horace Slughorn

He reminded me of Brenda Blethyn (Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice).However, while she was absolutely brilliant, the kindest thing I can say for this version of Slughorn is that he was most definitely not (Bold, Italics,Underline!).

2. “I killed Sirius Black, I killed Sirius Black!”

Long story short: Belatrix = Calypso* Wanna Be. Seriously. She spoke funny, she looked positively demented ( ‘positively’ is an unfortunate choice of word, really) , and she was just plain MAD. Belatrix is clearly a twisted hag, but this was just a whole nother character. If you need further proof (although I feel obliged to warn you that this is not for the weak of heart, and I do not actually advice you to watch it), I present:


This leads to my third point- The Burrow:

Now, correct me if I’m mistaken, but I’m fairly sure the Burrow wasn’t located on a crop circle. I mean, really. And also: The burrow’s defences are so weak that Belatrix can just drop in and set fire to it?! While it houses The Chosen One. Seriously?

4. The Death Eaters version 2.0

Fuzzy thought the new-and-improved FLYING (!!!) Death Eaters were missiles. I wont blame her, either, although I chose the more normal explanation of “Dementors??”.

5. The Romance.

They made it a freaking soap opera! Sure, the book held a couple of mentions of snogging but the melodrama just killed me.

Hermione’s permanently tortured expression was just plain exhausting.In fact, the following image sums up her entire role in this movie:

And Lavender.Omg, Lavender. She reminded me of an annoying, squeaky anime girl (you know the kind) what with her bow and just how unimaginably ridiculous she was. I mean, all right, she is a bit mental but what she isn’t is this:

And the hugely exaggerated, nonexistent-in-the-book Harry/Ginny moments? Let’s not even talk of those moments.No, seriously.

Summary: Gladiator-meets-High School Musical-meets-The Ring.

*From POTC.Loved her, though!

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