Gatsby? What Gatsby?

Watching Baz Lhurmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby felt like hearing your grandmother say you can gaze at an interesting display of tiny figurines in a snow globe. But you can’t – under any circumstances – hold it or shake it or experience the magic: visually sumptuous yet not guaranteed to fill the void.

Told through the eyes of a bonds salesman and soon-to-be writer Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), it chronicles his experience in New York on summer of 1922 as he lives in a cottage beside a castle-like estate owned by a mysterious millionaire named Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Little by little, Nick realises why Gatsby’s mansion being located right across the property of his cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) was no coincidence.

The cast delivered well-executed performances yet antagonist characters so central in the novel were not given an opportunity to excel.

  • DiCaprio shined as a little boy trapped in a body of a suave gentleman with a rather impossible dream but he seems quite unsure of what his accent should sound like.
  • As a Southern belle whose angelic face seamlessly masks the crassness of her true character, Mulligan’s charismatic glow stolen Gatsby’s fragile little heart.
  • Narrating the story as an outsider looking in, Maguire’s naivety and sensitivity was disarming.
  • However, minor characters like Daisy’s husband Tom Buchanan and his mistress Myrtle lacked character development.
  • The romance between Nick and Daisy’s best friend Jordan Baker, a source of tension in the novel, was unfortunately non-existent in the film.

Same as Lhurmann’s Moulin Rouge and Australia, settings were impressive, majestic even – rich in colour and elaborate details. From the vain extravagance of Gatsby’s mansion to the gloom and doom of the Valley of Ashes, various juxtapositions reveal the paradoxes that truly encapsulate the tone of the roaring twenties.

But the aesthetics sometimes took the spotlight away from the stars of the film. Also, there weren’t many action scenes or grand visual effects a la Inception hence seeing it in 3D appeared to be a distraction more than anything else.

Source:
Source: Music Feeds

The highly anticipated soundtracks did not fit the puzzle. Sure, Lana del Ray and Florence & The Machine’s voices are hauntingly beautiful but it did not quite fall into place. Choosing contemporary songs exhibited Lhurmann’s bravery yet overall, the songs only highlighted the distinction and vast distance between our time and the Jazz Age… when the goal is to come close in recreating the latter.

There were several crucial moments where the scene should have lingered a bit longer to let audience soak up intense feelings and absorb the weight of Gatsby’s stare. Instead, it rushed off to the next spectacle of a party resembling a musical number. Whilst it was more than two hours long, it felt as though Lhurmann crammed too much colour but not enough emotion.

This version was certainly amusing, it had potential – everything was set. But the mix of elements resembled a French Macaron recipe that had gone wrong, it seemed easy but difficult to perfect. Lhurmann remained more or less faithful to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel yet somehow missed the essence of it.

Fitzgerald’s iconic piece was a tapestry of meticulously interwoven words bound by a common hedonistic yet enigmatic nature. Lhurmann’s work was vivid and grand but was devoid of the cunning ways in which Fitzgerald enslaved your senses as you so willingly hang on to his every word.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Three things Filipinos would ask…

Every time there’s a gathering, mostly birthday parties, in which people go crazy by cooking sumptuous Filipino cuisine, it’s always a grand banquet, a big feast.

There’s three main qualities of the Filipino culture. Here’s what every adult would ask a typical young woman in her teenage years:

1. Tumangkad ka. Ilang taon ka na nga? (You grew taller, how old are you now?)

A question from the older people. We like tall people, I’m not quite sure why! This is usually followed by some speech along the lines of: “You’re growing up fast and almost a lady, soon enough you’ll have your own family.” Family-oriented, close family ties, you name it.

2. Kumain ka na? (Have you eaten?)

If you say no, they would insist that you eat; if you say yes, they would politely ask you to eat more and more and more… Gosh, we’re really generous.

3. May boyfriend ka na? (Do you have a boyfriend now?)

Talk about no privacy. Even to the point of inquiring about our love life. Everyone wants to know… well I think being innately inquisitive is a good and bad thing 😀

Gotta love Filipinos though. We care too much 😉

Overheard: Reality TV? That’s nothing.

Combine Home and Away (If you’re Aussie, you will understand this) and Keeping up with the Kardashians, not that I’ve ever watched a single episode. I’m simply basing this on annoying promos during commercial breaks. But I am almost completely certain that my real-life characters (without them knowing) are way more interesting and the storyline is much more entertaining. Read on and find out why!

People in their forties were talking loudly on the train, as though no one was there:

It started like this…

How often do you see your daughter?

None of your bloody business!

Well, my father gave me pearls and opals. They’re beautiful.

Ah, probably ‘cause he said to himself: Here’s jewellery, go away. Yes, finally! She’s gone!

Then the woman started to open up…

A Soliloquy

Look at me. I look like shit. I cried and cried. And he treated me like a thief. He broke my heart. All the lies. And shit.

I don’t know what I do. I should just be happy with my own little life. There was Perry who comes and we’re all in love then he leaves for five days. Doesn’t call, just a couple of texts saying don’t call me, I’m with my partner. Ah, it’s just shit. Then there was Matthew, oh don’t get me started on him.

I just need to get my confidence back but Robin took all my confidence.

The things I do to make myself happy.

If I was a bitch from hell, why didn’t he just tell me? Nobody reads minds.

(This one is worthy to be quoted, I think)

You listen to four or five stories of the same event. It’s amazing how people have such different perceptions and versions of what happened.

[Silence.]

How are those relatives of yours?

They have this mentality that it’s what you do – steal and lie. That life is all about you. And the whole world owes you.

 They touch on a particular Auntie…

I thought she was getting good money from the house.

Everyday is a different story. One day there’s a renter, one day she’s given up on it.

She’s in another world. She must have a carer or someone to look after her.

She needs to but she doesn’t want to.

The next topic is one of their nieces…

She said she wants to jump off the balcony then I say: Hang on, hang on.

She’s definitely bipolar. Has she got medication?

Yes, she does but she probably doesn’t take them. I said one time, “Are you popping pills?” She said, “Do you want speed?”

(laughs)

 And ended the lively conversation with a random thought…

(Pointing to the building)

There’s a hole in the middle of the building.

That’s most unusual.

That’s certainly unusual but I’m not quite sure if I like it.

Juicy gossip, insightful musings and dramatic monologues  straight from the mouth of lovely strangers who just happen to be comfortable sharing their life stories to everyone on the train. People are people. We love them anyway.

I was listening, accidentally on purpose. I know you would too if you were me.

Care to share any stories you “overheard”? (I know you want to. Come on, don’t be a pussy.)

Why You Should Watch “Amour”

Why You Should Watch “Amour”

My film review was published on http://socialjournalism.com.au/

Writers, communication and journalism students, I encourage you to join the site.

Why?

1. It’s free to sign up. You can get your articles published when it gets good reviews and comments from your peers.

2. Great for your resume. Experience is invaluable.

3. Network with like-minded individuals as it’s also a social networking site similar to FB!

Film Review: Happiness Never Comes Alone

Source: http://www.cinemotions.com/affiche-Un-Bonheur-n-arrive-jamais-seul-tt114468
Source: http://www.cinemotions.com/affiche-Un-Bonheur-n-arrive-jamais-seul-tt114468

Sometimes in order to be happy, you must confront your greatest fear. An eclectic mix of old and new elements transforms this French Rom-com into a Hollywood fairy-tale and that’s not always a good thing.

A struggling musician afraid of his famous father’s shadow, Sacha (Gad Elmaleh) instantly falls head over heels for a single mum Charlotte (Sophie Marceau). In a house with three bundles of joy and clashing personalities, Charlotte juggles her roles as Super-mum, contemporary art exhibitionist and the ex-wife of rich businessman Alain Posche (François Berléand). Manipulative and controlling, Alain uses his money and power to drive away Charlotte’s first husband and he’s not afraid to do it again.

Though the Parisian setting never fails to capture the heart of audiences, Sacha’s fear of commitment and kids resonate with typical Hollywood Rom-coms and so do many of the boy meets girl scenes. However, there were some innovative shots and angles as well as old and popular music that appears to be tailor-made for the comedic tone of the film.

Director James Huth’s Hollywood take on a Parisian film certainly appeals to those searching for the characteristic components like the idea of “dreams do come true” and characters experiencing a roller-coaster of emotions type of film but those who want something deeper or more authentic should look elsewhere.

Oozing with energy and life, colours are more intense as the pair has undeniable chemistry and the film on the whole is fun-filled and light. Though the cast was full of potential, the film dragged along at times without offering anything much different than any other American Rom-com.

Published on: Student View

Moments

Image

Do you remember the last time you said “I love you, Mom/Mama/Mommy”? The recent bombings in Boston and Iraq has reminded me of an often disregarded fact.

Anything can happen. To you, to me, to everybody.

Don’t wait ’til it’s too late.

People-watching really pays off. Sometimes it’s good to stop and forget whatever it is that’s happening in your life. When you open your eyes a little wider and listen more carefully, maybe you can realise that there are signs everywhere. The answers are there, just waiting to be uncovered.

Power of Words

“Words have special powers.

The power to create smiles or frowns.

The power to generate laughs or tears.

The power to lift up or put down.

The power to motivate or de-motivate.

The power to teach good or evil.

The power to express love or hate.

The power to give or take.

The power to heal or harm.

Choose your words carefully.”

— A.D. Williams

Words are powerful. Use it for the good 😉