This one is a little off the list of SF/fantasy films I’ve been flogging lately, but Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby is becoming more intriguing the more I learn more about it.
First there was the impressive cast, led by Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby and the delightful Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan. And then there was the idea of a foreign director helming this most American of stories. Now comes a trailer that shows Luhrmann plans to apply his own particular visual flair; this clip makes it look like an amalgamation of two of Luhrmann’s previous films, Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet (the latter starring a young Leo).
Notice how most of the scenes are packed with elaborately clad extras and the art design is way over the top (which, I suppose, could work for the Roarin’ 20s). And then there’s the music. Both Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet employed anachronistic music, and the trailer makes it sound like the trend will continue. Or maybe Gatsby was secretly a patron of hip-hop.
The Great Gatsby opens on Christmas Day.
Fridays always scream “movies” to me, and if nothing at the cinema tempts you enough to brave the talking audiences, crying babies and budget-busting concession stand, why not take a spin with Drive, which was released on Blu-ray/DVD this week (along with the horror prequel The Thing).
But be warned: Although Drive was originally marketed as an action flick, this is not a standard revenge movie, and there is not a lot of “action.” Instead of lots of squealing tires and gunplay, this is a movie filled to overflowing with quiet suspense. Long stretches (entire scenes, even) go by with silent characters watching a wristwatch or brooding, waiting for something to happen. The tension sometimes reaches near-intolerable levels in scenes that drip with an atmosphere of foreboding. But then the movie suddenly erupts into brief paroxysms of brutal, gory violence.
The 18th Annual SAG Award nominations were released this morning, accompanied by the usual bitching and moaning over who was or wasn’t on the list. Nominations by committee are bound to come up with some head-scratchers, and there’s nothing we fans can do but complain and question the mental capacity of the voters.
However, one oversight — one travesty, really — cannot be allowed to quietly slip by: Why wasn’t Albert Brooks nominated as outstanding supporting actor in Drive, director Nicolas Winding Refn’s revisionist noir thriller. It’s unthinkable! And while that ship has sailed, allow me to make the case for Mr. Brooks deserving an Academy Award nomination. (The Golden Globe nods come out tomorrow, so it’s too late to change any minds there…)
In my opinion, Brooks turned in the best supporting performance in a motion picture since Martin Landau’s Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning take on Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s masterful Ed Wood back in 1994. And that’s saying something. Brooks was an effective bad guy by underplaying, rather than chewing the scenery.
The Hurt Locker
I came up with the totally original idea of listing my choices/predictions for this year’s Academy Awards
. I am sure you will not find this topic on a million other blogs!
What I have done here is give my best guesses for the nominations major categories in which I feel qualified to give an opinion. I did not see any documentary shorts, so categories like that are out. Also, the hard-core technical categories like Sound Effects Editing are a crapshoot, so what’s the point? But as far as my actual opinions go…well, these are gold. Feel free to cross-reference with my post about movies I loved and hated in 2009.
Nominees: Avatar; The Blind Side; District 9; An Education; The Hurt Locker; Inglourious Basterds; Precious; A Serious Man; Up; Up in the Air
Will Win: The Hurt Locker
What Should Win: The Hurt Locker
Why: There are two big reasons why Avatar will not win: 1. Self-proclaimed “King of the World” James Cameron has already won a boatload of Oscars for Titanic to go with his technical hardware. 2. Actors still fear losing their jobs to computer-generated characters, and Cameron’s great leap forward could be seen as a reminder of that threat. Also, The Hurt Locker is a fantastic movie that sticks with the viewer on a much more visceral, personal level than the “How did he do that?” head-shaking that lingers following Avatar.