Eagerly Awaiting Gatsby

I read The Great Gatsby in high school English class, and honestly I unfortunately don’t remember a whole lot of it. I remember that it was intriguing, but I was probably too caught up with silly highschooler things to pay too much attention to it, something that I sorely regret now that I’ve seen the trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming adaptation of it, starring the incomparable Leonardo DiCaprio.


I’m so glad I had the chance to experience this trailer in a movie theater, where the raw emotion rumbles the seats. After the first time I saw it I realized that I had been holding my breath for the entire second half of it. Honestly, I feel like the trailer is a movie in itself. It deserves a gorram award. The pain in Richard Patrick’s voice in Filter‘s gritty cover version of the Turtles’ upbeat song “Happy Together” is visceral. The menacing way it builds from almost a whisper into a full on scream, paired with the growing intensity of the images flashing on the screen, is both unnerving and stimulating.

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It actually reminds me a lot of El Tango de Roxanne, my absolute favorite scene in Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge (click the image at the right to watch it). When this film first came out, I was smitten. The richness and extravagance of the images as well as the brutal reality of sickness, prostitution, and the separation of lovers come together to produce a classic tragedy. It was the first movie to ever really make me cry. So imagine my delight upon seeing that same visual luxury and raw emotion in just the two and a half minutes of the trailer for The Great Gatsby. I seriously can’t wait to see what Luhrmann does with this classic novel.

But what is most exciting about the upcoming film is the casting of Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby himself. Not only will it be interesting to see DiCaprio working with Luhrmann again now that he’s grown up, 17 years after Romeo + Juliet, but also especially in the wake of his stunningly heinous performance in Django Unchained, I can’t wait to more from him as another man of leisure with dark secrets. It’s truly astonishing how much DiCaprio has grown over the years, from a teen heartthrob to one of the most respected and talented actors in the business. This is also why it is so sad to hear of his upcoming “long, long break” from acting. Although with Django, Gatsby, and The Wolf of Wall Street all being released within a year of each other, I suppose this leading man really does deserve some time off, even if I selfishly want to see more of him.

What do you think of the trailer for The Great Gatsby? What about DiCaprio’s decision to take time off? Let me know in the comments!

Leonardo DiCaprio: I’m Taking a “Long, Long Break” From Movies
Josh Grossberg @ E!

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Leonardo DiCaprio is eyeing a much-needed breather from the big screen.

The A-list actor announced to a German media outlet that he’s taking a significant sabbatical from acting to live life a little bit and focus on his environmental activism.

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Tarantino on the Censorship Controversy of ‘Django Unchained’

Even though it’s been out for over two weeks now, I can’t resist at least a brief discussion of the controversy surrounding Django Unchained, especially because of how closely related it is to my own adoption of the moniker “mewling quim”.

Django Unchained uses the n-word approximately 110 times in its 166 minutes, a level of vulgarity that has caused some uproar. My first reaction to the arguments against it was simply that, coming from Quentin Tarantino, what do you really expect? He is known for excessive violence and language in his films, almost to the point of satire, and that is honestly what is so great about them.

The whole issue reminds me a lot of the episode of South Park, “It Hits the Fan” (S05:E01) that took a stance on censorship through the excessive use of the word “shit”–they even kept a counter at the bottom of the screen of how many times it was uttered in the episode, reaching 162 by the end of the half-hour show. This episode emphasizes the fact that the more a word is used, the less impact it starts to have. It seems to me that this is exactly the point of Django Unchained, as it is meant to realistically reflect its setting at a time and place when the n-word was not offensive. Words change their meaning and their import over time, so why are we so concerned that Django Unchained uses the n-word 110 times instead of 10? Would it be less offensive if there were fewer instances of the word?

But even more importantly, as the interview with Tarantino below reflects, the “excessive” use of the n-word in Django Unchained is not actually excessive, because “no one can actually say with a straight face that we use the word more than it was used in 1858 Mississippi.” And to me, this is the overriding principle in terms of censoring film and television–and creative productions in general: if it’s something that the character would say, then they should say it. You have to be truthful to the characters you write.

One of the most interesting aspects of this interview is that, in response to the Drudge Report posting a splash page of Tarantino across the top of its front pages with the n-word written below it seven times, Tarantino indicates that they were trying to offend him. An ironic state of affairs when you consider the fact that many see Tarantino himself as the one who is being offensive. His reaction to this intended slight is incredibly admirable–he doesn’t let it offend him. He simply says that what they did was ridiculous, and he can’t take it seriously.

What do you think of the controversy surrounding Django Unchained? Check out the interview with Tarantino here.

Quentin Tarantino Isn’t Fazed By ‘Django Unchained’ N-Word Controversy
Kevin P. Sullivan @ MTV

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It should come as no surprise that Quentin Tarantino‘s latest film — which we’ll remind you is a slavery-era tale told in Spaghetti Western style — has stirred up some controversy. What is slightly shocking, however, is that much of the controversy is coming from media coverage of “Django Unchained” as opposed to the movie itself.

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Oscar Nomination Predictions

Oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow, and I’m coming to realize that I haven’t seen all that many of the films that will likely be in the running for best picture. This is a very strange state of affairs, especially given how much of my budget gets chewed up by movie tickets every month. According to this educated and well-reasoned article which proposes possible nominees for best picture, I’ve only seen two out of the ten films with the best shot.

Am I that out of tune with the film industry right now, or is it actually that I’m just out of tune with the Academy? I think it’s the latter, as most of the films that have a shot at the nomination aren’t the big blockbuster films, but instead the more “respectable”, supposedly insightful, or even artistic films.

While I’m glad to see Django Unchained and Les Miz on the list, I’m curious why some of my favorite films of the year aren’t even on the Academy’s radar. The other eight films on my Top Ten of Twenty Twelve list are nowhere to be seen, including The Avengers and Looper, two of the best sci-fi films to come out in a while, in my opinion.

Come to think of it, there aren’t any sci-fi films on this list of potential Best Picture nominees. Why is it that science fiction gets such a bad rap, when in reality this genre generates some of the most thought-provoking and compelling films?

Who do you hope to see nominated?

Best Picture Power Rankings: Final Pre-Nomination Predictions
Ben Travers @ PopMatters

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The time has come to put forth my final predictions for Best Picture, and never has a task been more daunting. With so many films making late surges (Skyfall on the Producers Guild List? Salmon Fishing in the Yemenwith three Golden Globe nods?) and the Academy rules allowing for up to 10 nominees, there are more movies with a legitimate shot at a nomination than ever before.

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