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Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Great Gatsby (2013)

carey-mulligan-600DIRECTOR: Baz Luhrmann

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

REVIEW:

 

I’ll get this out of the way right upfront: I have never read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, now considered a staple of American literature (though it was received poorly at the time, perhaps partly due to its social commentary on 1920s excess), so this review will not include comparisons to the book or any previous film adaptation (the most prominent of which came out in 1974 and starred Robert Redford in the title role), merely review this as a stand-alone film.  Continue reading

Don Jon (2013)

don-jon-fathers-day-clip-061613DIRECTOR: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

CAST: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Brie Larson, Rob Brown, Jeremy Luc

REVIEW:

For his feature film directorial debut (though he had earlier dabbled in making short films through his online production company Hit Record), Joseph Gordon-Levitt wears three hats here as writer, director, and star, and has chosen to tackle such potentially dark issues as sex and porn addiction.  But in sharp contrast to something as bleak as the Steve McQueen-Michael Fassbender drama Shame, Gordon-Levitt goes the comedy-drama route.  There’s a little synergy with Gordon-Levitt’s 2011 cancer comedy-drama 50/50—though he only starred in that one, and did not write or direct—both in its raunchiness, and in the way it uses irreverent humor to tackle a difficult subject.  The result is a flawed directorial debut, but also shows enough promise to make a good case that Gordon-Levitt’s talents do not only lie in front of the camera. Continue reading

Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

originalDIRECTOR: Antoine Fuqua

CAST: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Rick Yune, Dylan McDermott, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Cole Hauser, Finley Jacobsen, Ashley Judd

REVIEW:

Olympus Has Fallen isn’t up to the level of the original Die Hard, but together with Air Force One, it’s one of the better “Die Hard-style” action movies that have come out over the years.  In fact, it’s a better pseudo Die Hard movie than the fourth Die Hard.  Kinetic action sequences and a high violence quotient set this one above the lesser wannabes.  It’s not great filmmaking, but it’s serviceable high-stakes hardcore action that serves up a couple hours of diverting entertainment. Continue reading

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