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Cannes review: Gatsby for a Frantic Age

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Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is not a great film. It has moments of greatness, flickering beneath the spasms, shrieks and glitter. Much of the film’s gifts lay in the singular performance of Leonardo DiCaprio as the elusive, provocative dreamer, Jay Gatsby. DiCaprio captured something Robert Redford didn’t when he portrayed Gatsby in the 1974 film. F. Scott Fitzgerald, if he could have stomached the rest of it, would have…

A.O. Scott: The Great Gatsby, Interpreted

A.O. Scott: The Great Gatsby, Interpreted

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Under the New York Times headline “Shimmying Off the Literary Mantle,” A.O. Scott reminds us that a film adaptation doesn’t always need to be a book’s conjoined twin. Especially when the book is already everything a novel needs to be. The best way to enjoy Baz Luhrmann’s big and noisy new version of “The Great Gatsby” — and despite what you may have heard, it is an eminently enjoyable movie…

First reviews for The Great Gatsby emerge

First reviews for The Great Gatsby emerge

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Scott Foundas, Variety Of course, to accuse Luhrmann (who also co-wrote the screenplay with frequent collaborator Craig Pearce) of overkill is a bit like faulting a leopard for his spots. Love it or hate it, take it or leave it, this is unmistakably his“Gatsby” through and through, and as with all such carte-blanche extravaganzas (increasingly rare in this cautious Hollywood age), it exudes an undeniable fascination — at least for…

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To the Wonder …

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by Les Phillips TO THE WONDER (2013, Terrence Mallick). Everyone wondered what TREE OF LIFE was about. This one’s easy; it’s about love. I can’t remember a film that captures the pure tenderness, the *intimacy* of love, with more clarity. Neil (Ben Affleck) is an American who falls in love with Marina (Olga Kurylenko). They go to Mount St. Michel, an impeccable fortress/cathedral that rises out of the tides (sometimes…

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The Croods

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By Teresa Stone I went to see The Croods thinking it would be Ice Age meets Brave.  While the animation was Brave-esque, the story was compelling enough to hold and keep my adult interest.  I didn’t have to feign interest in one more movie my child liked and I had to pretend I liked.  It honestly made me laugh. My daughter said “this is a total Dad movie.”  She went…

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House of Cards – the Power of One

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(minor spoilers) Away from the light and into the darkness the cutthroat tragedy of House of Cards unfolds. Not since The Twilight Zone have the sinister regions of the human psyche been so caustically exposed as they are in the labyrinths of D.C. leadership infested with sly powerbrokers and slimy influence peddlers. Produced by David Fincher, Karyn McCarthy, Dana Brunetti, Eric Roth Kevin Spacey and writer Beau Willimon (The Ides…

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Cloud Atlas: Appetite of the Soul

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“The urge to transcend self-conscious selfhood is, as I have said, a principal appetite of the soul.” ― Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception Back in 1999, when I first started Oscarwatch, my daughter was one year old. I had a part time job writing film reviews for a small Santa Monica newspaper but with very little income and a baby to raise all on my own I couldn’t really…

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Life of Pi: Into the Mystic

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“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” – Albert Einstein The glorious, profound absurdity of it all parades before our eyes in spectacular 3-D in Ang Lee’s adaptation of Life of Pi. Based on the Man Booker Prize-winning novel by Yann Martel, this film takes you where you need to go, then yanks you back playfully,…

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Oscarwatch: 15 of 2012′s Rising Stars

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Each year, a handful of new faces, and occasionally old ones, revel in the celebratory season known as the Oscar race.  It’s either a celebration or a nightmare, depending on how badly you want it.  Many are unprepared to do what it takes — to Marion Cotillard and Jeff Bridges your way to a win. You can sometimes get away with Monique-ing, if you turned in that kind of performance…

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The Master Review: A Child Said, What is the Grass?

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You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk You may be the head of some big TV network You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame You may be living in another country under another name But you’re gonna have to serve somebody –Bob Dylan There is a moment in the documentary Grizzly Man when two bears are fighting and one of…