Category Archives: leonardo dicaprio
The Great Gatsby ~ Every time I think of this Baz Luhrman flick, I can’t help thinking about the “Entourage” fictional version Gatsby. Maybe if I keep thinking that, I can also manifest another fake movie from the show, Aquaman, ’cause that one I really want to see.
At first, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to see this new version of Gatsby. I remember vaguely reading it as a teenager, and then being made to read it in college. I remember watching a TV version as an ABC movie of the week back in the seventies and being bored to tears.
The Great Gatsby is a lot of tell vs. show, along with subtext and metaphor that if you don’t get, your English teacher or professor will have a seizure. It’s also full of unlikable characters. It serves its purpose, like say Catcher in the Rye, don’t get me wrong, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Then there’s the problem of the director. Baz Luhrman, for me, is a creator of extremes. I think his Romeo + Juliet is a work of brilliance, yet his critically acclaimed Moulin Rouge! revels in the mud of my bottom five. I hated it. And because of it, I approach any further Luhrman work with contempt, derision, and caution. The Great Gatsby, seemingly in a similar vein to those two previously mentioned films, is definitely no exception.
I did not hate this version of Gatsby, but I didn’t love it either. It falls somewhere around my impression of the 1970s one, less than impressed, and bored. The leads are strong and perfect had this been in hands of any other director. Luhrman resorts to camera tricks, fast motion, modern music, and even 3-D trickery, and all any of it does is sour and dilute the classic story. Don’t waste your time, unless you’re a fan or morbidly curious.
Inception ~ I had wanted to see this flick in the theatres and I wish I had because the special effects would have looked amazing on the big screen. Unfortunately in a decision I think I will regret for some time, and my friends will not let me forget – I chose Predators instead. Sorry, guys.
Yes, Inception would have looked great on the big screen, and like many of the newer animations, and the big one, Avatar, it suffers on the small screen. One hopes that the new special effects technology, and the various forms of 3-D might save the theatre industry, but only if folks get the idea of waiting for home viewing out of their head. This was one of those you should not have waited for.
Special effects aside, this wasn’t really anything special. Well, it was tons better than Predators but that’s not the point. Once you get the concept of dream intrusion into your head and know the rules, this is really just a big budget, world tour, old school James Bond flick. No better, no worse. Lots of action and insane chases, lots of exotic locales – it’s a good popcorn flick that is seriously toned down on the big screen.
The cast is flawless, director Christopher Nolan leaning on a few of his regulars, including Cillian Murphy and Ken Watanabe. Leonardo DiCaprio is in fine form as well, except for the similarities between this character and the one he played in Shutter Island. And much like that movie, his partner, Joseph Gordon-Levitt this time, out-acts him. It’s a good flick, not a great one.
It’s nominated for a few Oscars this time out, some deserving, some not. I can see music and cinematography easily, but Best Picture? I think not, unless it’s up against Predators…
Shutter Island ~ This film is an anomaly for me. It looked good in previews but it also appeared to give everything away in the previews as well. I shouldn’t have worried. Martin Scorcese is a film god after all. Even if the script might be lacking, it would still be visually stunning and shot perfectly. And it is.
I have to say I like the skinny kid Leo DiCaprio much better than the beefy man Leo. The kid is just more believable to me. I don’t know how to explain it any other way. Leo’s character, Teddy, is very complex, both engaging and enraging at once. It may have changed my mind about young Leo vs. older Leo. His partner in this one, Mark Ruffalo, actually reminds me a lot of a young Robert Blake here. Him I like.
In the 1950s a dangerous patient escapes from an island prison hospital and federal officers (DiCaprio and Ruffalo) come to investigate. Everyone involved is less than cooperative. Sitting squarely in the villain roles, the head doctors are played by two of Hollywood’s finest – Max von Sydow and Ben Kingsley.
A great cast, twisted plotting, stunning visuals and an appropriate and menacing score by various make Shutter Island a surprising flick for me. It’s not what you think. Recommended.