Review: The Great Gatsby

When I read the Great Gatsby as a high schooler, I was taught about dangers of excess and the cautions of the chase for the American dream. Jay Gatsby’s pursual of Daisy Buchanan was a warning of the attempt to achieve an unobtainable goal. In the same vein, Gatsby’s wild parties were examples of the moral decay in society. Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby largely ignores that message in his 2013 release, instead choosing to focus on a highly stylized fantasy world.

And what a fantasy world it is. Luhrmann’s Gatsby has Jay-Z playing in the background of his wild and lavish parties that would put Ditty to shame. ‘Extravagant’ wouldn’t come close to describing the visuals. Then again, I expected that, coming from his work in Moulin Rouge.

In this regard, Luhrmann does pay appropriate tribune to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel. The characters all speak in his stylized prose, and the parties do justice to what Fitzgerald envisioned. But, of course, this isn’t the reason that Fitzgerald’s novel became a mainstay in American education. The main problem with The Great Gatsby is that Luhrmann’s film doesn’t quite cut to the core of Fitzgerald’s story, missing the chance to connect the viewer with the overall message.  Continue reading “Review: The Great Gatsby”

Review: Ironman 3

I’m always wary when watching the third installment (the three-quil, if you will) of a movie series. Think Godfather 3, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Spiderman 3, or the Matrix Revolutions. Then again, there has been a reverse in the trend recently with The Dark Knight Rises, and now, with Ironman 3.

What separates Ironman 3 from its two predecessors is  that the focus of the story shifts to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) rather than The Suit he wears. There are plenty of flaws in the exposition in an attempt to tell an over-complicated story (see also, The Dark Knight Rises), but in the end, do we really watch movies like Ironman for the logical consistency of the story?

Ironman 3 picks up where The Avengers leaves off (which is good, considering I’ve seen the Avengers). Tony Stark is having nightmares and anxiety attacks from his experiences from New York City, and, instead of working on his relationship with the lovely Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), he chooses instead to build every iteration of The Suit he can think of (going up to 47). When bodyman Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is put into a coma by international terrorist “The Mandarin” (Ben Kingsley), Stark lashes out at the organization, prompting Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) and his thugs to destroy Stark’s home. An old flame of Stark’s, Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall), is part of the impetus, and the threat extends all the way to the President of the United States (William Sadler) who is protected only by “Iron Patriot” (Don Cheadle). Continue reading “Review: Ironman 3”