Zombie Fiction – Not Dead Yet October 22, 2013
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The Great Gatsby June 5, 2013
PG-13, 142 minutes, Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow
What’s that saying? Everything old is new again? Well, that’s certainly the case with The Great Gatsby. The Roaring Twenties are hotter than ever – the music, the fashion, hairstyles – Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan! Baz Luhrmann, the director famous for movies like Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge, has given us another visual masterpiece.
We all know the story of Jay Gatsby and his tragic rise and fall by know, right? I’ll assume you do. (I highly recommend you re-acquaint yourself with this classic if you don’t!)
Tobey Maguire is the perfect Nick Carraway, the fresh-faced narrator and witness to the escapades to come. His cousin Daisy Buchanan is played by Carey Mulligan. Her fragile beauty and breezy indifference add depth to this shallow character. The real standout performances for me were Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan and Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson.
Fans of the 1974 Francis Ford Coppola version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow and a more genteel portrayal of Fitzgerald’s novel need not despair. The 2013 version is different enough not to diminish its importance. Luhrmann is famous for lavish spectacles and he does not disappoint. The party scenes are a feast for the senses. The true depth to the decadence of the times is felt more than in any other film adaptation. Whether you’re a die-hard Fitzgerald fan or not, this one is a must see!
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Beautiful Creatures June 3, 2013
The highly anticipated screen version of Beautiful Creatures, the best-selling novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, has arrived. While I wanted to catch this one in the theater, I had to wait until the DVD was released. Although not a box office smash, I was pleasantly surprised by this adaptation.
For those of you familiar with the book, the supernaturally star-crossed teens need no introduction. Ethan Wate is played by the adorkably handsome Alden Ehrenreich. The mysterious new girl in town is played by Alice Englert. Lena Duchannes has come to stay with her uncle Macon Ravenwood, played brilliantly by the inimitable Jeremy Irons. Lena and her family are Casters, or what we’d call witches. On her not-so-sweet-sixteenth birthday Lena will be claimed by either the light or dark side of the family. Dark cousin Ridley arrives to make sure Lena joins her on the dark side. Can Lena choose light over dark? Can Lena’s and Ethan’s love survive? Or will a two hundred year old curse tear them apart for good?
If you’ve read the book, then you know the answers anyway! A few changes to the plot are not a deterrent from enjoying this film. My only complaints are the absence of Marion the librarian and Macon’s dog Boo Radley. Other than that, this was a more than decent adaptation. Standout performances from Eileen Atkins as Gramma, Viola Davis as Amma, and Emma Thompson as Mrs. Lincoln round out a fantastic cast. A definite must-see for fans of the book.
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It’s Kind of a Funny Story February 12, 2013
PG-13, 101 minutes, Focus Features
This 2010 adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s novel by the same name was written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Lovers of Vizzini‘s book need not be disappointed by the film version, perhaps owed to the fact that Vizzini himself was one of the screenplay writers.
Fifteen year old Craig Gilner is over-worked and anxious about his high-pressured High School, the fictitious Executive Pre-Professional, modeled after Stuyvesant High School in NYC. His depression has spiraled out of control until one night he contemplates jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. Instead, Craig goes to the ER, where he soon finds himself a patient in the psychiatric unit.
Spot-on casting of Keir Gilchrist as depressed and suicidal teen Craig Gilner, Emma Roberts as self-mutilater Noelle, and Zach Galifianakis as psych ward regular Bobby round out the ensemble. Look for notable cast members Viola Davis as Dr. Minerva and Jim Gaffigan as Craig’s dad.
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