John Hanlon Reviews

Film Reviews

The Great Gatsby Poster

The Great Gatsby

Genre: Drama

Director: Baz Luhrmann

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, Elizabeth Debicki, Amitabh Bachchan, Jack Thompson

MPAA-Rating: PG-13

Release Date: May 10th 2013

“Nothing’s been the same since New York, recipe ” Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) notes in an early scene in the new superhero adventure, medications Iron Man 3. With lines like that and an anxiety-ridden storyline, this feature lands nicely in the Marvel universe following– both onscreen and off– the story from the The Avengers (2012). Instead of steering away from last year’s blockbuster hit, IM3 follows it up with a superior film that focuses on some of the aftereffects of its storyline.

But before it can move forward, it steps back.

Iron Man 3 begins in 1999 when the vainglorious Stark abandons a budding scientist named Aldrin Killian (Guy Pearce). Killian approaches Stark at a party asking for financial support for a project he’s developing. Stark rejects him, leaving the young man waiting on a rooftop and believing that Stark will meet him there. He never does. Years later, Stark has become an Avenger and Killian is now a disgruntled scientist who wants to use his technology for an evil elaborate plot.

Joining Killian in his venomous plot is the rising international terrorist, the Mandarin (a scene-stealing Ben Kingsley), a mysterious criminal whose politically-tinged films have been featured on news broadcasts night after night. Stark, while facing anxiety attacks stemming from his brush with death in “The Avengers” and a devastating attack on his home that leaves much of his equipment dysfunctional, must regain his strength to battle these two villains before they take over the world.

Joining Stark in his adventure is his lovely girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and newcomer Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins), a youngster who serves as Stark’s unlikely ally. In many ways, Keener is one of the film’s highlights because his subplot– where Stark goes underground to rebuild his suit– allows the viewer to watch Stark reconnect with the master technician that he is, without the millions of financial resources he’s accustomed to. Stark and Keener—who thrive in completely different situations— are kindred spirits. Both love gadgets and technology.

Director Shane Blake brings the story to life using grand special effects, especially in some of the earlier sequences. The sharp and humorous screenplay was co-written by Black and Drew Pearce. Admittedly, there are some flaws in the plot (including a villain whose evil plan is never fully laid out), but even when the story hits a snag, the ride is still thrilling. Of course, the performance of Downey Jr. speaks to that. With a lesser actor, this character could’ve fallen apart or been unlikeable. He seldom is in these films.

Admittedly, there are some comic book fans who will likely be disappointed in some of the script details as some characters are far different than they originally appear. However, judging from the film alone, this is an entertaining thrill ride and a great start to the summer movie season. And when the story ends, there is a time when it all feels complete as if the whole story of Stark has been told. One hopes that the saga will continue on but if not, this film serves as a fitting end to a strong trilogy.

Stark himself—a man who never seems to see his own personal flaws—would likely approve.
Baz Luhrmann’s  The Great Gatsby explodes in theaters nationwide today. It is a dizzy, generic
dazzling and deliberate story of decadence and the movie brings F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel to life in a brilliant fashion. With a few tweaks here and there of the novel, viagra 100mg
the director and his strong cast have created a visually-impressive world that is not to be missed.

The story begins with narrator Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) opening up the plot from a mental asylum. In a departure from the book, ask
Carraway is telling his story to both the audience and to a psychiatrist, who learns about Gatsby alongside the viewer. Carraway speaks of his time spent living next to Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), a man that few know anything about and even fewer care to. He holds brilliant parties every weekend and the mysteries beyond this young millionaire only add to his allure.

Gatsby, embodied by the captivating DiCaprio, is a man of longing. He longs to have true friends and to rekindle the romance he once enjoyed with Daisy Buchanan(Carey Mulligan), a beautifully fragile woman whose seductive presence clouds Gatsby’s judgments. What is the attraction? As Gatsby says, she showed him “how extraordinary a nice girl can be.” Gatsby uses Carraway to reunite him with his former lover, which brings him quickly into a battle with her philandering and abusive husband Tom (Joel Edgerton).

The first half of the production celebrates Gatsby and his lifestyle drawing viewers into a world of pomp and power. This is where Luhrmann’s stylistic impulses seem perfect for the story. The director behind Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge! knows how to make a scene that nearly bursts off the screen and he does that ably during the first Gatsby party that Carraway attends. The party is gleaming, glistening and glamorous, creating an intoxicating atmosphere for the viewer who can’t wait to see what happens next.

As the story becomes more solemn in its second half, Luhrmann’s presence is less prominent letting the story unfold in a dramatic fashion. The acting takes center stage as Gatsby seeks to relive the past, despite Carraway’s warnings about it. “You can’t repeat the past,” Gatsby responds to Carraway at one point, “Of course you can. Of course you can.”

Like in the book, many of the main characters in the story come to vivid life in the film, including the powerful Gatsby and Daisy, the woman whose true feelings are never fully realized in either work. Carraway, ironically, is given the short shrift onscreen as his character isn’t as realized or interesting as it is in the book. He is, after all, the narrator but the book focuses on it a bit more than the movie cares to.

As the title shows, this is a story about Gatsby above everything and he is given a lot of room to show his personality.

To be noted, I reread the novel only a few days before seeing this onscreen adaptation and I was a bit disappointed by some of the characters who were toned down here (including Gatsby’s father, who serves a subtly important aspect in the novel). But as a whole, The Great Gatsby is a multi-colored triumph. With a beautiful soundtrack, great acting and a director whose style fits the main character’s lifestyle so masterfully, this is a film that is an experience that will be hard to forget.

In other words, go see it, old sport. You won’t regret it.

Review by: John Hanlon