The Star Trek fever is full on this weekend. At least it seems like it is, though only a blockbuster THIS magnitude that an $84 mil four-day total is still considered a box office disappointment. Apparently Star Trek Into Darkness did not quite hit the warp-speed at the box ffice, well-short of the studios’ – Paramount, Skydance Pictures and Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions – $100 mil expectation. I have a feeling they won’t have trouble making up the $190 budget (+ marketing) when it’s all said and done though.
So did you all see it? Well, if you read my review of sort on Friday, you’ll know that Abrams’ have now piqued my interest about the whole Star Trek universe. So this weekend my hubby and I were planning on seeing the first feature film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but it’s not available on Netflix Streaming. I didn’t want to see the follow-up The Wrath of Khan as people have been saying I should watch them in order. I’m even more curious to see the first movie as apparently Robert Wise directed it, known for classics like West Side Story, The Sound of Music and also his Oscar-winning film editing for Citizen Kane. In any case, we ended up watching Shatner’s documentary titled appropriately…
The Captains (2011)
The Captains is a feature length documentary film written and directed by William Shatner. The film follows Shatner as he interviews the other actors whom have portrayed Starship captains within the illustrious science-fiction franchise.
I was already curious about this documentary for some time but I think after seeing the latest Star Trek film, and before I embark into watching more from this franchise, it definitely is the right timing to watch this. This is a must for any Trekkie, but I’d think that casual Star Trek watchers would appreciate this documentary as this is such an iconic franchise and most likely you’d know the people playing the Captains even if you haven’t seen the shows/films.
I’m glad Shatner decided to do this film, and I found him to be a good interviewer, even if it’s challenging to get into much depth when you’ve got half a dozen people to interview in just 1.5 hour. He first traveled to England to meet up with Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart, who portrayed the second most famous after Shatner’s Captain Kirk, and that is Jean-Luc Picard. I really enjoyed the interview in his beautiful home with magnificent English garden, and I feel that this is one of the most enlightening interview in regards to the two of them. It’s perhaps because Shatner was a huge admirer of Stewart’s talents and stage performances, but they’re also closest in age compared to other actors. I didn’t know that Shatner was also a classical Shakespearean actor, and was an understudy of Christopher Plummer. He also interviewed Plummer briefly as he later on played a one-eyed Klingon. This is all very amusing!
Shatner showed genuine interest in every single one of the subjects he interviewed, and he seemed intrigued about how playing The Captain has changed each of their lives, the good and the bad aspects of it. Shatner commiserated with all of them on how the crazy hours and laborious filming schedule took a toll on their families, especially on a single mother like Kate Mulgrew. At times, the conversation got really personal with Kate as she lamented on her struggle being the sole female captain ([protagonist) in a man’s world like Hollywood whilst raising two young kids by herself.
Shatner seems at ease with each of the actors, I guess his personality is such that people are naturally drawn — and perhaps amused — by him. The highlights for me was the Patrick Stewart interview and Shatner arm-wrestling with Chris Pine, 50 year his junior, ahah. I learned a bit more about each of the actors, and discovered Scott Bakula and Avery Brooks’ musical roots. I had known Brooks from his days playing Hawk in one of my favorite 80s show Spenser For Hire. I love the duet of them at the piano. The bits of Shatner at the Star Trek convention delighting unsuspecting Trekkies are a hoot, and it really keeps things in perspective. Some people might consider him pompous for being embarrassed for being known as a Star Trek captain, but I kind of understand where he’s coming from given his classical training.
I really enjoyed this documentary, and the fact that I found Shatner amusing helps make it so. Yes he’s got an ego the size of Texas and he’s at times ridiculous, but the 82-year-old sci-fi icon is well aware of that and that makes him so darn entertaining. Definitely give this one a shot if you’re looking for a fun and enlightening documentary!
4 out of 5 reels
Oh, I also went to a press screening for 20th Century Fox’ latest animated feature EPIC. I quite enjoyed it, visually dazzling and surprisingly moving. I can’t review it yet due to embargo, but I’d recommend it for kids and adults. It’s not nearly as goofy as FOX’s more slapstick features like Ice Age and Rio btw, which is a welcome change actually. Not sure why they’re calling it EPIC, I mean it’s not quite as epic as say The Lion King, but still a pretty darn good one.
So that’s my weekend roundup folks. How about you, seen anything good?
Well, one of my most anticipated movies of the first half of the year has come and gone. I finally saw Star Trek Into Darkness Wednesday night and you know what, despite the huge hype machine working overtime for this film, this film somehow lives up to it. So yeah, I really enjoyed it. Instead of doing a straight review, I feel like jotting down my change of heart of sort, in regards to this franchise.
Now, Star Trek fever has been high the past few weeks not only because of the studio’s marketing machine, but also sparked by various bloggers and sites posting all kinds of Star Trek-related stuff in anticipation for the new movie. Strangely enough, instead of being blasé or even rolling my eyes about the whole thing, for once I was actually intrigued. I guess it was started back in 2009 when I saw JJ Abrams’ Star Trek for the first time. For some reason, the whole franchise sort of eluded me when I was growing up, as I had never followed any of the TV series nor seen any of the previous films. Ok I did see clips of the 1986 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, this Spock swimming with the Whale scene is such a hoot! It’s one of the best ‘fish out of water’ comedic scenes ever, pardon the pun
Oh and I did see the comedy satire Galaxy Quest which is not only hilarious but spot on – one doesn’t have to be a Trekkie to recognize the obvious subject of its parody. Nonetheless, I was practically Star Trek virgin four years ago. The only ‘knowledge’ I knew of Star Trek is from pop culture, the iconic phrase Live long and prosper, the Vulcan salute that I have to admit I have trouble doing, that Spock & Kirk are cross-species BFF and that Klingons are their longtime nemesis. But other than that, I’ve no clue about their universe, so I’ve got to admit that whole Spock + Spock scene in the first movie was quite discombobulating for me. My hubby had to explain a lot of the basic Star Trek 101 and all the jargon, ahah. I guess perhaps his enthusiasm might’ve rubbed off on me a bit, but I think it’s more than that.
As I mentioned in my review of the 2009 version, I think the casting and the chemistry of the cast is what I really enjoyed about the film. But what I didn’t mention then is how timeless the story of Star Trek stories, depicting the adventures of this group of humans and aliens on board the Enterprise spaceship. The underlying themes war and peace, loyalty, personal courage, the role of technology, etc. are human motifs that still relevant to this day, but of course it’s now enveloped in a shiny and cool wrapping with the latest special effects and gadgetry… oh and of course, sprinkled with lots and lots of lens flares!
Thankfully Abrams’ obsession with the lens flare didn’t bother me as it did in the first movie (maybe I just chose to ignore ‘em), but what we still get in this sequel is the zippy and fun tone, boosted by the chemistry of its cast and spectacular special effects. Despite the title, the movie is really not as dark as we’re led to believe. Yes it’s slightly darker than the first, but by no means grim. Everything I like about the first movie is present, the bromance between Spock and Kirk are funnier and snarkier – Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine are one of those perfect casting choice that gets even better the more I watch them together. More screen time for Karl Urban’s McCoy (yay) and also Simon Pegg’s Scotty relishing in his Scottish brogue whilst being in a hysterical state of panic for most of the movie.
But really, the REAL star of Star Trek Into Darkness is the villain. Much like The Dark Knight‘s The Joker, Benedict Cumberbatch villainous turn as the intergalactic terrorist John Harrison stole all kinds of scenes every time he’s on screen! As the superior being – in every way, as the character pompously claim – Cumberbatch is such a perfect choice for the role and he brings that same cocksure swagger from his role as Sherlock Holmes. Yes his delivery is a bit too theatrical, perhaps intentionally so, but there’s no denying his screen charisma. Cumberbatch is unconventionally good looking, but he made those who are classically handsome oh so boring! Oh, and I think there should be law that require him to wear long, cape-like coat in every movie, yes?
I think in terms of the characterization of the villain, it’s definitely an improvement over the first (no offense Eric Bana!). Somehow Cumberbatch’s role isn’t the typical two dimensional bad guy hellbent on destruction, though certainly it’s not an excuse on his means he chose for his mission. What really works is how the series of destructive events truly test those in leadership roles of the Starfleet, particularly Kirk as he often has to make split-second decisions with the crew’s life hanging in the balance. Despite the eye-popping action in 3D (those warm-speed scenes are pure geek-gasm stuff), sleek set pieces and futuristic fashion, it’s not really style-over-substance (thank goodness!). I’d readily give the movie a 4.5/5 rating!
Thanks to the trio of writers Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci in creating a reboot that still pays homage to the original, but yet feels fresh and cool. In a way, it’s kind of like the motto that Gene Roddenberry created back in 1966.
Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the star ship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Well, one thing for sure, the journey of the Enterprise crew seems endless. With a projected box office take of $100 mil in four days, even without Abrams at the helm (as he’d be too preoccupied with yet another behemoth franchise Star Wars), we’re likely to see more sequels in the works. Hey I’m fine with that, fingers crossed that somehow Cumberbatch would return as well?
In the meantime, I’m inclined to check out previous Star Trek films, starting with the original William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy (particularly The Wrath of Khan) . Then later on I might move on with The Next Generation with Patrick Stewart as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, especially since Keith highly recommended Star Trek: First Contact.
So I guess thanks to Mr. Abrams bold and exciting voyage, I just might jump into the Star Trek bandwagon after all. No, I don’t think I’ll be a Trekkie nor would I start be buying a Captain Kirk action figure any time soon, but somehow now I see this 47 year-old franchise in a whole new light
So tell me where do you stand in regard to this sci-fi franchise? Let me know your thoughts on Star Trek Into Darkness, too!
Two of the films I was impressed with at MSPfest happen to be directed by women. One was Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which is as far away from this one in terms of tone and subject matter, but I’d highly recommend both. I like the fact that this one is a comedy, it’s quite rare to see a well-written comedies these days that don’t contain overly foul language and/or crude sexual/bathroom humor. Thankfully, this debut film from Lake Bell contains neither, but it definitely delivers the laughs and then some.
In A World (2012)
An underachieving vocal coach is motivated by her father, the king of movie-trailer voice-overs, to pursue her aspirations of becoming a voiceover star. Amidst pride, sexism and family dysfunction, she sets out to change the voice of a generation.
As someone who watch at least half a dozen movie trailers a week, the premise definitely appeals to me. In fact, earlier today I saw a trailer of Inescapable that pretty much had this cheesy VO narration that tells you the plot of the story. The protagonist of this movie, Carol (Lake Bell), lives under the shadow of her voice-over star dad Sam Solomon (Fred Melamed). After being kicked out of her dad’s house to accommodate for his new young wife — which Carol refers to as his groupie — she has to pack her bags and live with her sister.
As a vocal coach, Carol often has to coach certain celebrities when they have to adopt a certainly adopt a certain accent, but voicing a trailer is still pretty much an elite boys club. An opportunity suddenly presents itself when a big studio is looking for a voice over for a quadrilogy blockbuster sci-fi franchise and with the help of her friend Louis (Demetri Martin), she just might have a chance to break into the glass ceiling of that industry. The whole VO competition involving her dad and another VO star Gustav, an eccentric douche bag who takes a shine on Carol, provide most of the laughs. Ken Marino is a hoot as Gustav, a familiar face though I can’t quite put my finger on what movies I’ve seen him in. There’s also a comical side plot about Carol’s sister marital infidelity involving a seductive hunk in the form of Irish hunk Jason O’Mara. Seriously who could resist him with his natural Irish brogue
This is the first time I’ve seen Lake Bell, though I’ve heard of her before this movie. She not only star in this but also wrote and directed her debut film, and I must say I’m impressed! She’s got excellent comic timing and a knack for accents, and the story is surprisingly engaging and downright hilarious. The tall and svelte Bell could make a living as a model but she really made herself to look very plain here as a perpetually-disheveled tomboy who’s ‘signature look’ is a denim overall. But she’s instantly likable and she surround herself with equally affable and amusing characters.
It was fun to see cameos from Geena Davis, Eva Longoria and Cameron Diaz as well, the scene of Longoria struggling to say just one simple line with a British accent had me in stitches! This movie premiered in Sundance a few months ago and I hope it’ll get some decent distribution in the coming months. I’m glad I got to see this comedic gem, and it’s one I actually don’t mind seeing again.
4 out of 5 reels
Thoughts on this one and/or Lake Bell?
It’s been a while since I joined a Blogathon but when Bubbawheat from Flights, Tights and Movie Nights came up with this superfun idea, I couldn’t resist joining in. I’m a bit late to the event, sorry Bubba!
Well, the idea of the blogathon is based around actors who have appeared in more than one superhero or comic book movie as different roles.
I signed up for Chris Evans not only because he’s the only comic-book superhero I’ve actually met in person, but because he’s done not one but three comic-book characters in his relatively young career. The most famous one obviously being Captain America, The First Avenger. Now, I’m not fond of the Fantastic Four movie so I picked the other comic-book character that’s not from Marvel’s canon. The Losers is not exactly a good movie, heck it actually boasts one of the lamest villains to date IMO, but Evans’ character as Jensen is actually pretty hilarious.
Steve Rogers – Captain America (2012)
With his boyish good looks and affable personality, Chris Evans seems to be the perfect choice for an all-American hero. He’s got the looks obviously, thanks to the endless training to create that sculpted body with massive biceps and even more massive pecks. That scene of Peggy Carter impulsively reaching out and touching his um, man boob as soon as he gets out of the vita-ray chamber is a hoot. I mean, who could blame her?
But the right physique alone isn’t enough doesn’t make it perfect. Evans’ also got the right temperament and sensibility to portray the character, that altruistic nobility that comes across so naturally. Evans was convincing in portraying both sides of the character, even with the computer-generated effects to make him look like he barely weighs 90 pounds, he somehow captures the essence of who Steve Rogers is. He made us believe heroism is not just about brawn and magnitude, but it’s more about one’s integrity and character.
The Capt. might be lacking the snarky quips of Tony Stark, I mean Steve is no billionaire playboy, beneath that ‘perfect specimen’ physique, he’s still a straight-laced regular guy. Yet Evans managed to inject some sense of fun into the character with his endearing charm and also comic timing.
Evans also nailed the emotional scenes of the film, conveying deep pathos that humanizes any superhero character. I especially like the scene where Steve realizes the super serum makes him unable to get drunk as he’s trying to cope with his best friend Bucky’s death. His mourning was genuine and so is his romance with Agent Carter, aided by his strong chemistry with Hayley Atwell. So yeah, thanks to Evans for saving the patriotic champion from being mind-numbingly boring. Being that he is the first Avenger, it’s important that we have an actor who’s compelling enough to do the character justice and I think Evans did just that.
I like what this Forbes writer said in his very favorable review of the movie: “Captain America: The First Avenger isn’t dominated by a costume, or by special effects, or by action scenes. It’s dominated by a great performance in a strong characterization of Steve Rogers, a young man who spent his life refusing to back down no matter how beaten and outnumbered he was in life“
Jensen – The Losers (2010)
Ok, I don’t know any tech geek with a six pack, other than the craft of beer he’s consuming. Evans must’ve already been in training for Captain America in this movie. Well I suppose his character, Corporal Jake Jensen, is a military figure too. He plays a hacker with spiky blonde hair, glasses and goatee. His strength is more brain than brawn, able to crack the most complex encryption algorithms.
Jensen is such a complete opposite from Steve Rogers in every possible way. I mean, he’s goofy, irreverent and smart-mouthed, not exactly a patriot nor does he have much altruistic notion. Chris seems to have a lot of fun playing the geeky rascal. I never thought he’d by my favorite character in the ensemble, after all there’s Idris Elba and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in this movie. But the wisecrackin’ Jensen definitely stole the show with and comical moments. I love how goofy he was here and his penchant for Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing becomes the highlight of an otherwise meh action flick. The elevator scene alone is worth the rental fee, ahah. In fact, that whole building infiltration scene is pretty awesome, if only the whole movie is THIS good!
After having seen him in half a dozen movies now, I think Chris is quite a versatile actor and more talented than I initially gave him credit for. I may not ever rent this movie again but from time to time I’d go to Youtube just to watch his scenes which I think are the most memorable ones for me. I’d love to see Chris do more comedic roles as he’s obviously got the chops.
Have you seen either one of these movies? Would love to hear your thoughts on Chris Evans!
Happy Tuesday all!
It’s quite a memorable weekend for me as my hubby and I celebrated our 10th anniversary on Friday. We had a wonderful dinner Friday night and went shopping for a new ring on Sunday afternoon as my anniversary present
Since we’ve already seen The Great Gatsby early in the week (check out my review), it’s home cinema time. Looks like a lot of you did go see Baz Luhrmann’s literary adaptation as it managed to make about $50 mil (which is about half of its production budget), but not great enough to top Iron Man 3 which made $72 mil to top box office for its second week.
Anyway, I’m only going to do a mini review of both of these films. So here goes:
Jack Reacher (2012)
I’ve been wanting to check out Jack Reacher for a while and it’s finally available to rent this weekend. I’m not going to review it here as Ted already written one here. Here’s an excerpt:
In the end I thought it was a well made action thriller that didn’t take itself too seriously and I like the fact it has that old school 70s thriller feel to it. I would definitely love to see more of Jack Reacher films in the future.
I think I’d agree with Ted’s 4/5 rating. I thought it was an engaging thriller that’s more focused on the who-dun-it story instead of just some overly fast-paced but vapid shoot-em-ups. I agree that the action scenes were well-directed and that you could actually SEE the action as director Christopher McQuarrie didn’t employ the overused fast-cuts with dizzying blurry effect. I think Cruise’s performance here is much stronger than in Oblivion, but then again, there’s more focus on character development here than simply showing pretty visuals.
It’s interesting casting to see two Brits playing American in this movie: David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike, who are both pretty good here. I’d say Oyelowo even upstaged Richard Jenkins but can’t really fault Jenkins as his role is actually pretty boring. But the scene-stealer is Werner Herzog, simply because he just lends such as sinister portrayal of the main villain who was a former POW at a Soviet Gulag. He’s menacing but more in an amusing kind of way.
Muriel’s Wedding (1994)
We didn’t plan on watching a wedding-themed movie for our anniversary, but we ended up seeing an Australian coming-of-age comedy Muriel’s Wedding. I’ve been wanting to see this for a while as I quite like Toni Collette as an actress. She’s so talented but quite underrated IMO, as you probably could attest if you’ve seen her performance in Emma, The Sixth Sense, Little Miss Sunshine, etc. This is the first of her earlier roles that I saw, which not only displayed her versatility but also her dedication to her craft as she had to gain 40 pounds to play Muriel!
Set in Australia, the protagonist is a misfit girl named Muriel who always wants to escape her miserable life in a fictitious town called Porpoise Spit. The title of the movie refers to Muriel’s obsession with getting married, even to the point of snapping photos of herself in wedding gowns. Collette owns her role as Muriel, featuring a bravura, no–holds–barred type of performance from start to finish. Despite some cheesy and even cringe-worthy moments, overall this movie is an amusing journey about self-acceptance and also a celebration of friendship. Rachel Griffiths is wonderfully spunky as Muriel’s BFF Rhonda, who endured a pretty drastic sudden change that’s heart-wrenching to watch.
One of the major highlights is of course, the wedding scene. If I had seen it before I made my top 10 movie wedding list, I’d have included the one here. I’ve always wondered why the groom has that befuddled look on his face in all the photos from this scene, and now I know why!! If you’re a fan of 70s music, particularly the Swedish band ABBA, then you’ve got to rent this movie. I find myself humming Dancing Queen and Fernando a lot the past couple of days, ahah.
I’d readily recommend both of these movies so give it a go next time you’re looking for something to rent!
Well, that’s my weekend roundup folks. What did you see this weekend? Anything good?
When I first heard about Baz Luhrmann‘s project to bring F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous novel to life, I have to admit I wasn’t too keen on the idea. Then I read that he was going to do the movie in 3D, which prompted an eye-rolling reaction and a shrug. I mean, what could we possibly gain from setting the story in friggin’ 3D?? Heh, as if his style wasn’t over the top enough. But I was willing to give Baz the benefit of the doubt, after all, I adore Moulin Rouge! and to some degree his version of Romeo + Juliet. I feel that the anachronism and grandiose style worked for both films. Thus, going into this film, the question isn’t whether or not it’ll be style-over-substance, but how much of Baz’s signature style is going to get in the way of this classic story.
I have to preface this review with a confession that I have NOT read the book, so I can’t say whether this is a faithful adaptation or not. I downloaded the preview to my Kindle six months ago with the plan to read it before the movie is out, alas I haven’t got around to it. But many of you who had to read this in high school literature class know the gist:
Set during the roaring 20s, the story centers on the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island. Just like the book, the story is told from the point of view of a Midwestern-born Yale grad Nick Carraway who rents a small house next door to Gatsby as he commutes to his job as a bond salesman in NYC.
The film starts off stylishly of course, right from the very second the Art Deco frame you’ve seen on all the posters come on screen to reveal the green light at the end of Daisy Buchanan’s house just across from Gatsby’s mansion. For the first 20 min or so, we never see our protagonist, but Mr. Gatsby is featured prominently through Nick’s story to his therapist at the sanitarium that he’s checked himself into. This framing device made me, the audience, feel even more eager to meet Mr. Gatsby, especially to find out just what made Nick so enamored by this character and just what the heck happened that Summer of 1922.
To say the parties at the Gatsby are wildly lavish is a giant understatement. I’ve never seen anything like it, even from Baz himself. Most of the guests aren’t even invited but the booze, confetti and fireworks are never in short supply in this loud and crazy carnival-like soiree. I feel like I was living vicariously though Nick as he tries to wiggle through the crowd to find the elusive host. I quite like the way Gatsby was introduced, as there’s been a pretty effective built-up until that moment.
Just like Gatsby’s party, the film has the undeniably power to enthrall and mesmerize with its opulent extravagance, but at the same time it’s so overwhelming and even headache-inducing. I know I expected the ‘more-is-more’ style from Baz, but he seems to have upped the ante with this one. Perhaps Baz is trying to illustrate just how huge a contrast is between the festive and seemingly-blissful exterior of Gatsby’s life with that of his inner turmoil. The bigger the parties, the emptier Gatsby life is. They say money doesn’t buy happiness. Well, it’s never rings truer than in Gatsby’s life.
The quiet(er) moments in this film come few and far in between, but even when they arrive, I still haven’t quite recovered from the dizzying fracas. One of those moments is when Gatsby is with his lost love Daisy, whom he fell for five years ago and the one he’s been trying to win back ever since. Their reunion scene is actually one of the highlights for me just because it’s so hilarious. Perhaps the lightest segment of the whole film, as the film turns progressively darker. That scene is also one of the most revealing of Gatsby’s character, as beneath of that massive success and wealth, he is such a broken man with such a huge insecurity complex and almost paralyzing self-doubt. At the same time, Gatsby is a man of hope, which is something that Nick admires but also cautions him for.
Carraway: “You can’t repeat the past.”
Gatsby: “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!”
There is a fine line between hope and delusion, and Gatsby hasn’t the faintest clue where to draw it. But it’s obvious that his “hope” is more of an illusion. And so is the romance between him and Daisy. Is he in love with Daisy the woman or the idea of being with her? Unlike the romance in Moulin Rouge! where I really feel the heart-wrenching connection between Christian and Satine, I don’t quite feel that with Gatsby and Daisy. Whether that’s intentional or not I don’t know, but I think that becomes a detriment to the story for me as beneath all that longing look and love-struck poetry, mislaid a beating heart. Therein lies the crux of this film adaptation. Perhaps it’s an inherent problem that is least likely to be overcome by most filmmakers, least of whom Baz Luhrmann.
It’s not entirely vapid however, I actually think the bromance (if you want to even call it that) between Gatsby and Carraway speaks to me more than the doomed romance. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire – who are apparently BFFs in real life – have an effortless chemistry and their mutual fondness and respect is palpable. Which brings me to the performances. The scene of just the two of them in the opulent but desolate Gatsby estate is the most heart-wrenching.
I think DiCaprio is quite convincing as Gatsby, I think he embodies the character well and does what he could with the material given. I can’t help but being reminded of his other roles such as in Titanic, Romeo + Juliet and also as Howard Hughes in The Aviator during one particularly intense scene. I think Leo is a talented actor but not exactly a chameleon. Maguire is perfectly cast as Carraway, he definitely projects that naive, Midwestern sensibility and warmth that’s perfect for the role. Now, Carey Mulligan who has impressed me in other roles is pretty good as Daisy, but she doesn’t quite jump off the screen as I expected. I mean she’s believable as someone Gatsby would fall head over heels in love with, but she just isn’t as memorable here somehow.
On the other hand, Elizabeth Debicki as the amateur golfer Jordan Baker might prove to be the Aussie actress’ breakthrough role. Fellow Aussies Joel Edgerton and Jason Clarke (who were both in Zero Dark Thirty, but the length of screen time is reversed as Clarke has a smaller role here) also turned in memorable supporting turn, as well as yet another Aussie Isla Fisher. It’s inspired casting to have veteran Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan as the Jewish businessman (most likely a kingpin) and gambler Meyer Wolfshiem. He definitely made an impression despite his short screen time.
Visually speaking, this is definitely a feast for the eyes. Baz is no stranger to creating a fantastical escapist entertainment with spectacular set design, beautiful costumes, and cinematography. Baz’s own wife and frequent collaborator Catherine Martin won an Oscar for Best Art Direction for Moulin Rouge! and she might nab some nominations for this one as well. Now despite my initial quibble about the 3D format, this one turns out to be one of the most effective use of 3D since Martin Scorsese’s HUGO. I still don’t think it’s actually necessary but at least Baz was able to do something innovative with it.
Final Thoughts: I was entertained and even enthralled by the visual spectacle and the music (especially Lana Del Rey‘s lush ballad Young & Beautiful), but ultimately, there’s not much emotional depth to really leave its mark. Whatever poignancy and real pathos in Fitzgerald’s novel is dimmed out by all that glitter, leaving the audience wanting more. “Oh, you want too much!” Daisy cried to Gatsby during one particularly heated exchange. Well, I don’t think we are asking too much as the audience to want more than a snack for our soul to go with all that visual feast.
3.5 out of 5 reels
What are your thoughts of The Great Gatsby? Let’s hear it in the comments!
10th on the 10th. My friend Becky just pointed that out to me yesterday as I was completely oblivious Well, today is my 10th wedding anniversary with my beloved. Time flies when you’re having fun they say, and I’m truly blessed that I still adore my husband – if not more so – today as I did 10 years ago when I married him. More importantly, I still like him as a person and we just get on so well day in and day out. Truly, there’s nobody I’d rather spend time with for the rest of my life.
So for this special occasion, I thought I’d do a top 10 list of my favorite wedding scenes. These are obviously a personal list, as everyone is going to have a different list that speak to them based on what movies they have seen.
1. Love, Actually
This is such an awesome surprise, I wish this happened at my wedding ceremony! Keira Knightley and Chiwetel Ejiofor made for a lovely couple and I LOVE their expression as the musicians start popping up from the church’s pews and balcony, serenading the bride and groom with a joyous rendition of The Beatles’ All You Need Is Love. Of course I also can’t help feeling so bad for Andrew Lincoln’s Mark who’s secretly in love with his best friend’s bride.
2. Sound of Music
I wish I could find the clip for this beautiful wedding ceremony of Maria and Captain Von Trapp to embed here. I always tear up when I watched this scene as soon as the organ started playing How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria. It’s one of the grandest processional ever and I LOVE the shot as Maria walks down the looong aisle towards the oh-so-dashing groom in uniform. You can listen to the music below as it’s really one of the best part about this scene.
3. Four Weddings & A Funeral
Just like my own wedding, things don’t always work out perfectly. But it’s the goofs and blunders that made it so memorable! I never forget this scene of Mr Bean, er Rowan Atkinson as Father Gerald who’s so nervous he kept flubbing the vows! I think my favorite part is when he said ‘johned’ instead of ‘joined’ and ‘awful’ instead of ‘lawful’ wedded wife. Classic!
4. Sense & Sensibility
I just had to put this here as you all know it’s one of my favorite films of ALL time. I mean after all the Dashwood sisters had to go through the entire movie, it’s just lovely to see both of them get their happy ending. Plus it’s always awesome to see Alan Rickman smiling gleefully as Col. Brandon finally got to marry the girl of his dreams. I adore Patrick Doyle’s music and it just adds to the delightfully jubilant scene down to the finale with Brandon tossing the coins as Willoughby watches from a distance. Living well truly is the best revenge.
5. Vicars of Dibley Christmas Special
I have got to include both the rehearsal and the wedding scene of this popular British sit-coms. I LOVE Dawn French, she’s just a hoot to watch. After officiating dozens and dozens of weddings, the town’s female vicar Geraldine finally gets to be the bride! And she’s not marrying just anyone, Harry Jasper Kennedy is played by none other than Richard Armitage. Nice to see his lighter side as he often plays such a serious, brooding roles. Oh and there’s Hugh Bonneville. Long before he became Earl of Grantham, he’s a regular in so many great British comedies and he’s such a hoot here as Geraldine’s fellow vicar Jeremy who has a crush on her. The whole supporting cast is just brilliant on this show.
6. License To Kill
The wedding might be jovial but the marriage itself, well, not so much. But hey, this wedding boast one of the most memorable groom arrival ever. Talk about a grand entrance! After successfully nabbing Sanchez, one of the most elusive criminals, Felix jumped out of an airplane on a parachute with sexy spy James Bond in tow!! Boy, I’d love to have Timothy Dalton looking dashing in a tux at my wedding [ooops, did I just say that out loud? Don't tell Ivan ]
7. Bride & Prejudice
I didn’t mean to have two Jane Austen-related entry here but I can’t leave this one out! The Punjabis do weddings like nobody’s business, you’d be hard pressed to find a more festive celebration than this one. This is the moment when Lalita (aka Elizabeth Bennett) first meet her dashing Darcy, but it’s Balraj (aka Mr. Bingham) who stole the show as the Indian M.C. Hammer!
8. Spider-man 2
Ok, now this isn’t the kind of wedding I’d wish for on any groom, but a girl has to follow one’s heart! Unlike the classic ‘bride kidnapping’ scene in The Graduate, nobody steals Mary Jane from her astronaut groom. Everything seems to be going so well in the beautiful church, the wedding music is playing and the groom is beaming with happiness… but the bride never shows. Then we see Mary Jane in her gorgeous white dress running as fast as she could from the church to Peter Parker’s apartment.
“Isn’t it about time somebody saved your life?” – Mary Jane
It’s one of my favorite scenes in what remains to be my favorite Spider-man films!
9. My Best Friend’s Wedding
My favorite scene of the whole movie actually doesn’t involve the bride and groom. Julia Roberts’ Julianne didn’t succeed in snatching the groom after all and though she seems to have made her peace with that, she still feels somewhat left out. But thanks to her gorgeous BFF George (Rupert Everett, dashing as ever), she doesn’t have to feel that way for long. I LOVE how he surprises her at the reception and the way he suavely sashay into the room towards her as they speak on the phone.
10. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Uniting two different cultures would inevitably make for an unconventional wedding and this film illustrates that in such a riotous fun. Nia Vardalos and John Corbett have a great chemistry together which is lovely to watch, but this scene is particularly memorable when Toula’s father Gus eventually gets over his disappointment that his daughter didn’t end up marrying a nice Greek boy. His speech just sums up the sentiment of mixed marriages perfectly.
Here tonight, we have, ah, apple and orange. We all different, but in the end, we all fruit.
Father of the Bride
It’s perhaps a cliche to include this scene as it’s in EVERY single wedding list, but hey, I guess it always get picked for a reason. Though I can’t quite relate to the premise as my own father was never really present in my life, let alone at my wedding, I still think it’s a heart-warming movie that truly illustrates a father’s love. Certainly one of Steve Martin’s best roles that he’d most be remembered for.
Hope you enjoy the list. Now feel free to supply your own picks of memorable movie weddings!