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paul walker

Review: The Great Gatsby, Bekas, Fast & Furious 6 and The Last Sentence

By Cinema, Reviews

The Great Gatsby still

For all the digit­al glit­ter and ana­chron­ist­ic hip-hoppery that sig­ni­fies our latest re-entry into Luhrman-land, The Great Gatsby itself takes fun­da­ment­al inspir­a­tion from a black and white clas­sic from 1941. Featuring a flash­back fram­ing device, a lonely and heart­sick tycoon star­ing out of the win­dow of a grot­esque castle, and even a breath­less deathbed “Daisy” uttered as if it summed up an entire life (like “Rosebud”), Gatsby is no less than Baz Luhrman’s Citizen Kane. Even his star, Leonardo DiCaprio is start­ing to resemble a Wellesian hero, at least in the jow­els if not the girth.

The Great Gatsby posterSo, no pres­sure, then, Baz – you’re only mer­ging the great American nov­el and the greatest movie of all time. Of course, he can’t pos­sibly suc­ceed on his own unima­gin­ably ambi­tious terms, but he falls a bit short on the basic “tell a story” level too – even if he man­ages to make some sequences sing.

Set in 1922 (and writ­ten by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925, well before the Jazz Age came crash­ing down into the Great Depression), Gatsby is the story of one man’s rein­ven­tion out of the trauma of World War One and into the longest, biggest (and most illeg­al) party the world had ever seen.

[pullquote]Fast & Furious is vast and curious[/pullquote]DiCaprio’s Gatsby has built a busi­ness empire out of the drug stores and speak­easies of Manhattan and a Xanadu on the shores of Long Island, all the while gaz­ing long­ingly across the water at the house where Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) lives. Daisy is the last piece of his puzzle, she will make him whole and she will help him gain accept­ance into the high soci­ety that scorns his dubiously-earned new money. He may also genu­inely be in love with her, of course.

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Review: Thor, Fast 5, The City of Your Final Destination and Mozart’s Sister

By Cinema, Reviews

There are two main­stream com­ic book pub­lish­ing houses, DC and Marvel, and choos­ing between them as a kid was a bit like choos­ing between The Beatles and the Stones. They had dif­fer­ent styles and sens­ib­il­it­ies (and philo­sophies) and after a little bit of exper­i­ment­a­tion you could find a fit with one or the other.

DC had Superman and Batman – big, bold and (dare I say it) one-dimensional char­ac­ters with lim­ited or opaque inner lives. When Stan Lee cre­ated Spider-Man, a teen­age pho­to­graph­er with powers he neither asked for nor appre­ci­ated, he cre­ated a soap opera – a soap opera with aspir­a­tions to high art. As you might be able to tell, I was a Marvel kid.

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Review: 17 Again, Fast & Furious, Ong-bak and Sniper

By Cinema, Reviews

I’ve been grumpy all week for all sorts of reas­ons and the last thing I needed was a week­end of crappy films but that’s what I got. I mean, I’m spend­ing longer writ­ing this review than the writers of Fast & Furious or 17 Again spent on their scripts – put togeth­er, probably.

The improb­ably named Burr Steers is the dir­ect­or of 17 Again but that’s where the fun stops. Matthew Perry plays a 37-year-old former high school bas­ket­ball star who chose the love of his preg­nant girl­friend instead of a col­lege schol­ar­ship and dug him­self deep into a dowdy life of fail­ure and regret. A mys­ter­i­ous bearded jan­it­or, a bridge (a frankly insult­ing homage to It’s a Wonderful Life) and an unspe­cified magic­al event put him back in his buff 17-year-old body which he uses to re-engage with his chil­dren and get to know his wife again.

I’ve got some time for the tele­vi­sion ver­sion of Matthew Perry (did you see “Studio 60”?), and des­pite his tra­gic cinema career choices he remains a com­ic act­or who is unafraid of (or unable to sup­press) the sad­ness behind his eyes. Unfortunately, he dis­ap­pears after 15 minutes to be replaced by High School Musical ’s Zac Efron, a smug pretty-boy with some dance moves and no cha­risma and it is he who car­ries the film to its des­ol­ate conclusion.

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