Moview Review: The Great Gatsby

I didn’t get a chance to see The Great Gatsby when it hit theaters this past spring. I was anxious to see it. I really love Baz Luhrman’s work. It’s over the top and visually stimulating, and always good about pin-pointing a period of time with a subtle weave of modern day accessibility via score and soundtrack. Also, I am a huge F. Scott Fitzgerald fan. A few of the story nuances may have gotten tangled in that cobweb filled, lit-obsessed mind of mine, but the story is synonymous with everything I love about his work:  the decadence, idealism, and excess of the Jazz Age, coupled alongside impractical and incredibly tender and eloquent stories of youth and love that is often suffocated and tainted by the greed filled society that surrounds them. (Phew, wish I could have summed up my words like THAT in college).

I will admit, I wasn’t a fan of the 1974 film starring Robert Redford. The man is gorgeous, of course. I mean, stunning in the way J. Gatsby should be. But the film always failed to bring out the opulence of the Jazz Age, and Mia Farrow’s Daisy Buchanan always appeared dingy and flighty, not self centered or narcissistic in the way those of us who have a love/hate relationship with Fitzgerald’s Daisy imagine her to be.  Check out the original trailer below, you will see what I mean.

Stark contrast to the high energy, totally stunning, reel you in trailer from Luhrman:

Farrow’s Daisy  also wasn’t nearly as stunning as Carey Mulligan’s Daisy. I know movies have changed a lot in the past 35 years, so maybe some of the look in feel of the film and its characters were transformed in a way now, that they couldn’t be, then. But Farrow’s Daisy was always off and that ruins a movie for me…when you can’t love/hate the character the same way on the screen as you do in the book because of bad casting. (You hear me Kristen Stewart??)

People can say what they want about Leo DiCaprio, but I happen to like the actor. I think he has gotten unfairly overlooked by the Academy over the years. Some of his films have been incredible – Blood Diamond and Inception to name a few. But I feel like no one has ever really given him a fair chance since Titanic. To this I have to say come on! You gave Kate Winslet a chance to move past the film, people really should let Leo move on, too. And he didn’t look too bad. His “old sport” was a bit irritating, but they were in the book as well. There is actually a point in the movie where I am so in love with the both of them (Caprio’s Gatsy and Mulligan’s Daisy), they look that good together, that I almost forget Daisy is a self obsessed snob and he, nothing but a bootlegger.

Luhrman was careful not to forget to focus on the exquisite writing of Fitzgerald using key moments in the film to underscore the brilliance of his work by bringing the words to life on screen, including my favorite line from the book, uttered by Nick Carraway: “I was both within and without.” Poetic. Every time I read the story it gets me. Every. Single. Time.

Last but not least, I want to say a hearty well done to Jay Z for his work on the soundtrack – an effort he brought to life through collaborations with many amazing, talented artists that I happen to love including Lana Del Ray, Florence + the Machine, The xx, and Nero, to name a few. Who cares what this rambling review from the Village Voice says. It’s fabulous and I am only sorry it took me four months to discover it. I love it that much. Don’t trust me? Check out the following tracks: Lana Del Ray’s “Young and Beautiful,” Florence + the Machine’s “Over the Love,” The xx’s “Together,” Gotye’s “Hearts A Mess,” and Nero’s “Into the Past.” Of course Jack White’s cover of U2’s “Love is Blindness” — as heard in the soundtrack — is incredible. But I would have loved to have heard the two collaborate on that.

I’m not a huge Tobey Macguire fan, but he plays a pretty good clueless Nick Carraway and Isla Fisher has little screen time as Myrtle.  Joel Edgerton is a solid Tom Buchanan. I really liked him in The Odd Life of Timothy Green . He’s an actor I am going to pay a bit more attention to in the future.

All in all a film I really, really, really enjoyed and the beautiful architecture of the Jazz Age captured brilliantly in the films many, many, many marketing pieces such as the cast photo below.

“The Great Gatsby” is now out on PPV and DVD and Blu-Ray.

https://i0.wp.com/upload.luckyworld.net/diskboard/2013/08/13/0813_6175.jpg

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Why I Love Goodreads – AKA My introduction to Gillian Flynn

I am way behind on reviews. Music reviews. Movie reviews. And book reviews. But not just that. I am behind on writing, only recently diving back in to work on my fourth novel (books #2 and #3, the planned sequel and conclusion to my debut novel Aberration, waiting patiently for round two edits to prepare them for their winter 2012 (#2) and summer 2013 (#3) releases).

But I digress. I’m behind. But there’s a good reason.

There are just TOO MANY GODDAMNED GOOD BOOKS to read.  

Every morning I log into Goodreads on my way to work. I check out new reviews from friends, giveaways announced, and feedback on my own book, of course. And every morning wouldn’t you know it, a new book finds its way to my “To Read” list.

I don’t have as much as time as I used to. Working, and being a mom, and writing, and doing the hundred other things I do take a toll on my time. But despite this insane schedule, I try my best to read a book a week, powering through them on the commute to and from work (public transportation folks, no reading while driving) so that my nights can be spent toiling away at the keyboard and weekends spending time with my son.  I used to spend my lunch hours browsing the aisles of the bookstores, but now Goodreads and its lovely community of sharing has me doing it online and via smartphone.

In recent weeks I’ve added so many books to my list of planned reads, and while it should feel daunting, it’s exciting! To know the treasure of people, places and subjects waiting to be devoured…I can…not…wait.

I was super excited to learn about Cinder, a debut novel by Tacoma-based writer Marissa Meyer, described as a futuristic re-envisioning of Cinderella in which Cinder is a cyborg mechanic. And this morning, my jaw dropped when reading about Gillian Flynn’s book, Dark Places – a writer whom recently received praise for her hit, Gone Girl, and a writer Stephen King has called “the real deal…a sharp, acerbic, and compelling storyteller with a knack for the macabre.”

Check out the description for Dark Places below and let me know if it excites you! It’s a deviation from the “vampire-werewolf- zombie-angel-can’t live with you, can’t live without you” themed books I’ve been reading as of late, and I can’t wait. I can’t believe it’s taken me three years to discover this read. But thanks to the Goodreads community for introducing me.

Dark Places

By Gillian Flynn

Published May 5th 2009 by Crown Publishing Group

I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.