The Great Gatsby

Oscar Predictions 2014: Production Design

When pundits begin to go on about the look of a film, most often the person they name drop is the director, or maybe the cinematographer. But one should never overlook the importance of the production designer. They’re probably the most hands-on when it comes to dealing with the collaboration of all the costumes, hair, and makeup, dressing locations and building sets, finding or fabricating props, and basically ensuring that everything you see on the screen fits into a unified vision of how the movie is supposed to look. One might even say that these are the people who create the worlds that movies exist in. Because of that, the further away a film can get, visually, from our everyday reality, the more likely it is to be recognized for its production design come awards season. It’s much easier to notice the work that went into creating a fantasy world or bringing back a lost era than it is to notice the work that went into making Vancouver look like New York, after all. In keeping with that trend, this year the Academy has chosen for the category’s nominees a movie that takes place in the swinging 70s, a movie that takes place in the vacuum of space, a movie that takes place in the roaring 20s, a movie that takes place in a future version of LA, and one that takes place in the plantation-era of the southern United States. Nothing from either the here or the now. Here’s […]

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2013review_trailers

What were the best trailers of the year trying to sell? Movies and moods and ideas and awards and stars and sexiness and just a lot of great music. And maybe, just maybe, something more (read: more movie tickets). Not every great trailer advertises a great film, but sometimes even the most lackluster productions can gift movie fans with two minutes of cinematic glory (all the better if said trailer can include Kanye West screaming or Nicole Kidman redefining “cold” or even the glories of street dancing) worth lauding all on their own. This year saw a vast batch of standout trailers, and while our listing of best trailers of the year is nothing if not varied, all of the videos contained within share one key element – they effectively conveyed tone and feeling without revealing too much about plot and characters. As mini mood pieces, these thirteen trailers nailed it, as bits of marketing, they made us want to buy and buy big time.  What were the best trailers of the year trying to sell? Oh, it doesn’t matter – we were ready to buy.

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2013review_music

This year brought moviegoers an array of music that ranged from uplifting (About Time “How Long Will I Love You”) to depressing (The Great Gatsby‘s “Young and Beautiful”) to catchy (Inside Llewyn Davis‘ “Please Mr. Kennedy”) to nostalgic (Saving Mr. Banks‘ “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”) to just plain out there (Spring Breakers‘ “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”). Whether it was a film about throwing (or attending) the best party of your life or one about intense family drama, the music pushed stories to new heights, whether it was an Alien rapping on the beach or two mothers pushing their children to the breaking point. Film music is no longer just orchestration and catchy pop songs – it is dubstep and bands you would normally hear on the radio taking to the conductor’s stand. Simply put – it is an exciting time for music in film because there are no rules. Now it’s time to relive some of the best music moments from this past year with scores from composers new to the scene and those continuing to churn out groundbreaking music, as well as soundtracks that featured songs from bands and artists who discovered new talents while collaborating.

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2013.moviedoppelgangers

Every year, there seem to be unintended themes emerging from movie releases. It’s almost as if the studios called each other to coordinate projects like friends in high school planning to wear matching outfits on a Friday. Sometimes this effect is unintentional, like when an emerging movie star manages to have multiple films comes out the same year (see Melissa McCarthy below); other times, it’s a result of executives switching studios and developing similar projects (like the infamous Disney and DreamWorks 1998 double-header grudge match of A Bug’s Life vs. Antz and Armageddon vs. Deep Impact). This year is no different, producing a slew of movie doppelgangers. For the sake of creativity, I left the painfully obvious off. Still, who can forget offerings like Olympus Has Fallen up against White House Down as well as This Is the End paired with The World’s End? And, if you really hate yourself, you can watch a terrible trippleganger of A Haunted House, Scary Movie 5 and 30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Whether it’s similar themes, the same actor in noticeably similar roles, or parallel stand-out moments in two films, this list of 13 movie pairings can provide a nice selection of companion pieces for your viewing pleasure.

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2013.trailermashups

Trailer mashups are a beautiful diversion. On the surface they’re frivolous, but they also manage to re-contextualize the familiar and shine a blinding bulb on thematic similarities. You might get fired for watching them all day (come on, Mr. Danforth!), but there’s a deep power in connecting two seemingly incongruous films or accentuating the copycat nature of tentpoles. There’s a wacky romance to be found in Gravity, a steampunk spectacle in an animated world, adorable Pixar revenge and much more to be discovered. If you watch all of this year’s best, you’ll be overwhelmed with the patterns — not just in the plotting, but also in trailer construction. There’s a bit less Brrrrrwwaaaaaaam this time around, but the hero’s journey is still thriving alongside the explosions. You’ll also notice that pretty much no one makes trailers for Stories We Tell or 12 Years a Slave. Blockbusters are the key targets, and mixing them up with animation and nostalgia seems to be more popular than ever. Oh, and Wall-E. Trailer mashup artists love that damned thing. We like to have fun with trailers here at FSR. Even if we over-think them, hopefully you’ll find something to ponder with our favorites of 2013. Or maybe you’ll just laugh a lot before Mr. Danforth fires you. The guy is ruthless. I think his marriage is on the rocks or something. At any rate, and without further ado: Brrrrrwwaaaaaaam.

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discs le tableau

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Painting A painting of a far away kingdom reveals glimpses of people, but unseen is a caste system separating the perfect Alldunns from their lessers, the incomplete Halfies and the ghostly Sketchies. The Alldunns look down on the others treating them as less than second class citizens, but a cross-caste romance threatens to upset the status quo. Three of them, one from each group, are forced on the run where they discover and pass through the edge of the painting. Only to find themselves in the painter’s shack among several other discarded creations. International animation doesn’t get a lot of play here in the States, but thanks to the GKids label a few gems have been making their way into our Blu-ray players. Their latest is a French film cut from the same cloth as Pleasantville in its aversion to subtlety and fantastic mix of beauty and entertainment. The parable tackles racism, xenophobia, and more including the existential quest for meaning and a creator. And the final line and shot are simply masterful. If it weren’t for the fact that it was actually released in 2011 it would easily be the best animated film of the year this year. [Blu-ray extras: Trailer, making of, slide show]

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IntroLostFilms

Before the days when the Internet immortalized everything from historical milestones to sleeping cat farts there was once a chance for moments to actually pass by completely unrepeated. While that did have its charm, the major downfall was that art had a way of being lost to time. In the case of this list – film art that we’re going to have to live without. Here are some of the most important films that are unfortunately never going to see the light of modern day.

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Sound City Movie

July marks the middle of summer, but it also marks the half way point of each year which means half the movies you were looking forward to seeing this year have already hit theater screens! With so many major studio releases out each weekend (plus a healthy offering of indie fare) it can be overwhelming to try and remember what you’ve seen, what you wanted to see, and any unexpected titles that may have caught your eye, but you never got a chance to actually sit down and check out. At the beginning of the year we posted a list of the 52 Most Anticipated Movies to come out in 2013 and with half the year already gone, it seemed like a good time to look back on the films that have already come out and highlight those with fantastic music you might have missed. Summer is the perfect time to play catch up on entertainment with most television shows on hiatus and long summer nights to fill so if you are looking for a list of movies from this year that featured noteworthy tunes, you have come to the right place. Some of these films are still out in theaters, some are already available on DVD, and some may need to be added to your Netflix queue to ensure you don’t miss them a second time, but all ten of these soundtracks should have you humming along well into December.

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Oscar 2013 Mid-Year

What kind of movies get released in January? In the summer? From November through December? Exactly. We know the cycle so well that a movie with only half a dozen explosions in June is considered counter-programming while Fall films are actively baiting golden statues and podiums. We know it so well that people predict the following year’s Oscars the day after the Oscars. We know it so well that the ceremony “shaking things up” has become the status quo. So I wondered what would happen if they truly shook things up by holding the Oscars in July. A kind of mid-year awards ceremony where The Weinstein Company hasn’t even brought out its heaviest hitters yet. This alternative universe isn’t necessarily about what movies are the best — because the Oscars almost never are. It’s about finding the close enough blend of prestige and popularity from the first half of the year, but make no mistake, it would still result in a wildly different list of nominees.

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Gatsby Music

  Director Baz Luhrmann is known for his grand, stylized aesthetic, but he is also known for his keen ability to place contemporary music into classic stories or those set in decades past. Whether updating the world of Romeo + Juliet from fair Verona to Verona Beach or having the leads in a musical set in 1899 sing songs like Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and The Police’s “Roxanne,” Luhrmann always gives these musical choices a purpose whether he is bringing a well-known play into present day or infusing renewed life into the 1900s. The fact that these modern music placements actually work within these different contexts proves music really is the universal language and reminds audiences that even though these stories may not be from present day, they are certainly not dated. Luhrmann is a master at taking these stories, no matter when they were written or set, and making them feel fun, vibrant, and relevant.

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The Great Gatsby

Five years since Baz Luhrmann‘s first certifiable flop, Australia, the flamboyant director returns for unarguably his most ambitious and anticipated effort yet, a pulse-pounding take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s esteemed novel, The Great Gatsby (most famously adapted previously with Robert Redford in the starring role). Though this attempt boasts all of the coveted Luhrmann hallmarks, it misses the mark precisely because it indulges those very flourishes in the most sickly, overblown fashion possible. When we first meet Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), he’s a crestfallen alcoholic, clearly shaken by events he’s experienced. To recount his story, Carraway takes us back to his first encounters with enigmatic neighbor Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), who throws luxurious parties while mystique continues to grow surrounding both his identity and his sizable wealth. Meanwhile, Carraway’s decision to re-introduce Gatsby to a former flame, Daisy (Carey Mulligan) foreshadows dangerous consequences for all involved.

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First-Offical-Look-Great_Gatsby_Tobey_Maguire_Carey_Mulligan

“It’s like an amusement park!” a starry-eyed Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) announces without a trace of irony upon taking in the staggering excess of his first Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio, turning in yet another stellar performance) party, a dizzying and defiant spectacle set in the sprawling mansion that just so happens to be right next door to Carraway’s own rented shack. For a time, Carraway is correct – Baz Luhrmann’s take on the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel is very much like an amusement park, colorful and loud and fake and relentlessly entertaining. But as the madness (chemical and otherwise) of the story burns out, so too does Luhrmann’s trademark style, and the result is a most unexpected one, as the over-the-top pageantry of The Great Gatsby crumbles into an uninspired, flaccid adaptation that manages to deflate an enduring love story of even the most basic of human emotions. Distilled down, the love story of The Great Gatsby is about a (mostly charming) criminal, liar, and fraud who is obsessed with gathering wealth and notoriety to win back the affection of a former lover who is apparently only interested in wealth and notoriety. It’s really not the sort of love story that can be deemed “satisfying” or “relatable,” but Luhrmann and his cast attempt mightily to get audiences to care about the secretive Jay Gatsby and the duplicitous Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan’s dreamy Daisy, while effective at first, is ultimately too sweet for the part). Along the way, Maguire goes […]

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Joel Edgerton in Gate

Short Starts presents a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. With the role of Tom Buchanan in Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby, actor Joel Edgerton continues his rise in stardom. He even has a couple of character posters to show for his fame. Long before he was embodying a character from classic American literature, though, and long before he was hunting Osama Bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty and fighting his brother in The Warrior and even playing Darth Vader’s stepbrother in the Star Wars prequels, he was a regular figure in the short subjects scene. We can thank part of this on his nationality, as Australia is a great country for short films (it’s home of Tropfest, after all). On top of that, he came up through the film collective known as Blue-Tongue Films, alongside his writer/director/stuntman brother Nash (who is Joel’s double in Gatsby) and filmmakers David Michôd (Animal Kingdom) and Spencer Susser (Hesher). Joel made his film debut in Blue-Tongue’s first work, a nine-minute film from 1996 titled Loaded, which is directed by Nash with writer Kieran Darcy-Smith. I thought about simply posting that early baby-faced short start from the actor, but seeing as he’s in so many shorts, most of which are online, I’ve sampled five of his first appearances after the jump, two of which aren’t Blue-Tongue productions, all of which feature Joel pre-beard and pre-bulk. 

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Star Trek Into Water

The Oscar season is long gone. Long gone, I say. Movies about old presidents and singing about your horrible life are over. As are the early dumping ground months, which weren’t all that horrible this year, thankfully. Now the summer movie season has begun. Marvel, once again, is starting things off on what won’t be a tough act to follow, but a pretty darn good one. Seeing Tony Stark crack jokes for two hours isn’t the only highlight of this month or this summer. Summer 2013 is packed with plenty of movies to act giddy over, both big and small. May represents what we should come to expect over the next three months with a nice amount of variety. There are ten films this month which are must-sees:

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Iron Man 3

Harmony Korine and friends already gave us a taste of sand, sun and heavy weaponry, but it doesn’t quite feel like summer yet. Maybe that’s because global warming is making everything so cool or because President Obama keeps delaying all of our vacation planes, but the hugeness of the season still hasn’t fully descended. That’ll change this weekend when Iron Man 3 drops an arc reactor into theaters. Then, the parade of unbelievably massive summer movies commences with buddy cops, mischievous teens, people probably named Khan, bald Matt Damons, super men, and the end of the world itself in tow. It’s a tight race this year. Optimism runs high, and the next few months are packed full with studios and indie outfits hoping to entertain and score big, so the task of naming the 13 most-anticipated summer movies was a tough one. So instead of hurting our brains over it, we let math do the work by putting the question to the whole staff and tallying up the results. It’s a slightly eclectic mix, displaying the powerful potential of cinematic storytelling to bring us into the cool, dark room with a single light source. As luck would have it, we found a fittingly seasonal place to start:

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The Bling Ring

It’s almost time for sunscreen, something you won’t need to purchase if you plan on staying in the cool, dark space of the movie theater from June through August. But what are you going to see? How could you possibly know what’s coming out and when? Did you even know there’s a Superman movie on the way? Of course you did. Geoff and I have combed through studio press releases, had a lot of secret meetings in parking garages, and decided to talk about 6 Limited Release Summer Movies that might have slipped under the cape-filled radar. Plus, our big interview is with Cheech and Chong, who review Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines and promise to make Up in Smoke 2 if their new animated movie makes $100m in its opening week. For more from us on a daily basis, follow the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on the Twitter. And, as always, we welcome your feedback. Download Episode #15 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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Cannes 2013

This year, The Cannes International Film Festival opens on May 15th with a bombastically modern retelling of the Roaring Twenties and closes on May 26th with a South African-set crime thriller on the heels of apartheid. Everything in between looks amazing. The lineup boasts new Winding Refn, Chandor, Sofia Coppola, Miike, Denis, Coen Brothers and what looks like a nice symmetrical career send off for Steven Soderbergh, who’s bringing Behind the Candelabra there 24 years after winning the festival’s top prize with sex, lies and videotape. That means Soderbergh has an opportunity to join the elite group of multiple Palme d’Or winners, and the Coens and Roman Polanski have that potential as well. All others in competition have never won before. Plus, the non-competition films look equally fantastic. Read the full field, wipe that drool away and check to see what kind of deals you can get on plane tickets to France for May.

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First-Offical-Look-Great_Gatsby_Tobey_Maguire_Carey_Mulligan

The Great Gatsby may tell a story that was set in the Roaring Twenties, but it’s also a Baz Luhrmann film, so there should never have been any doubt that it was going to be packed to the brim with music from some of today’s most famous artists. Want to get a taste of what it has in store, sonically? Well, you’re in luck, because this new trailer for the film shows some of the music off. It features a track that teams up Beyoncé and Andre 3000, new stuff from Lana Del Rey, and a contribution from Florence and the Machine, all packed into a little over two and a half minutes. The music that Luhrmann hired producer Jay Z to put together for the film isn’t the only thing this new trailer shows off either. The ads we’ve seen up to this point have hinted at what F. Scott Fitzgerald’s legendary story is all about, but mostly they’ve focused on showing off the visual style of Luhrmann. This new trailer digs much deeper into the Gatsby’s pursuit of married woman Daisy Buchanan, and it does a great job of selling how passionate their indiscretions are, and how dangerous the consequences their infidelities are likely to become.

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tumblr_m5y4ttj80D1qa3n1wo1_r2_1280

While it appears that this very cool The Great Gatsby character map by graphic designer Something So Sam has been floating around on the ol’ Tumblrs for a few months, our friends over at The Playlist just found and posted it today, and we’re more than happy to pass along this nifty character map that those of you who have totally forgotten your high school English reading list (read: most of us) can peruse before Baz Luhrmann‘s take on F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s novel finally hits screens. Also, yes, this certainly contains spoilers, but Fitzgerald’s novel is only considered to be The Great American Novel and it has been in publication for over eighty years, so… The Great Gatsby opens on May 10th.

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First-Offical-Look-Great_Gatsby_Tobey_Maguire_Carey_Mulligan

The delays that have plagued Baz Luhrmann‘s needlessly-in-3D adaptation of The Great Gatsby have been well-documented at la Film Ecole Rejecettes (refresh yourself HERE), but now that the auteur’s film will open the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, perhaps the wait was worth it. The film will be Luhrmann’s third Cannes showing (his Strictly Ballroom screened in 1992 and Moulin Rouge! served as the fest’s opener in 2001) and is the fest’s first 3D opener since Up.  Tragically, however, opening night at Cannes happens to be May 15th, while the film’s American opening date is days earlier, on May 10th. So much for capitalizing on all that Cannes goodwill, but at least the glittering spectacle will get a suitably glittering spectacle of a “premiere” at the prestigious fest. This year’s Cannes Film Festival runs from May 15th through the 26th. [Press Release]

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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