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

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Picture this: Brisbane

I am a frequent visitor of Brisbane as my university is located at the heart of this small but charming city.

“You don’t have to know you’re going to die before you start living.”

You can either sit in the basement and wait. OR you can get out there and do some crazy stuff.

It’s really simple. Life is about making people happy. Sometimes you have to learn it the hard way.

I want to be remembered as the kid who went down fighting. And didn’t really lose.

New YouTube Finds

Their voices are amazing.

Perfect harmony.

Featherstone – The Paper Kites

Relaxing, soulful, rejuvenating.

Hauntingly beautiful.

I know I’m supposed to be writing/blogging. But I guess sometimes music expresses what words cannot.

This is weird.

It took me two seconds to love the singer and the song.

They’re fantabulous. Just breathtaking.

The band is Bastille and the song is Pompeii. The setting is quite beautiful too – it’s just perfect!

Acoustic version of “Flaws” is simple. Ah, the beauty in simplicity. So Flawless. See what I did there? Sorry, can’t resist.

Same song but with the violin playing just — eargasm.

YouTube is always random and amazing sometimes.

Let me know what you think 😉

The Truth Is…?

First, watch this clip. Less than a minute of your time, I promise it’s worth it!

Well here is the truth… at least my opinion, anyway.

Even though he wasn’t wearing a sleeveless shirt, his arms and that abs – to die for.

Oh who am I kidding? He’s perfect.

Hamish MacDonald’s crystal blue eyes and a smile revealing his perfect pearly white teeth is just as disarming as his earnest opinion on journalism. Ah, not to mention his lovely British-Australian English accent. I can listen to him speak until the world ends… I digress.

I had a chance to ask him a question after his presentation in The Hall at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.

Me: What do you think is the biggest challenge in journalism today?

I think it’s what to do next. Your generation is shaping the everchanging media landscape and who knows what jobs will be available once you’re done here – maybe you’ll get a job that isn’t even invented yet. The challenge has always been to make something informative and appealing. But it’s always changing and you guys are in a unique position because you are organic users of technology and social media.

– Hamish MacDonald, Journalist and Host of “The Truth is…?”

His upcoming TV show on Channel 10 (Australia) is investigative journalism at its rawest form. It’s a bold take on controversial and bizarre issues that promises to make jaw-dropping revelations in an attempt to challenge the public’s perception of what is… the truth. (Whatever they think it is. Whatever you think it is)

Watch it on Monday nights at 8:30 pm.

The Secrets People Tell

“How I wish I could hug everyone and tell them that it’s okay. It’s okay to be scared and angry and hurt and selfish. It’s part of being human,”
Frank Warren, PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives

It is highly addictive. You want to know what nobody knows or at least, you’d like to think so.

Earthlings who may or may not have a broken family, a BMW, an apartment and a fluffy dog named “Fluffy” would send a postcard to Frank Warren’s address. It then gets published in the PostSecret website and with a touch of a finger, people from China to Iceland to Nepal and every other place in between will know your secret. Except they won’t know it’s yours.

Founder Frank Warren can quite possibly bring us closer and make us feel more connected through the “largest advertisement-free blog in the world”: PostSecret. Or does it?

For some who enjoy “people watching” and imagining how strangers live their lives or those whose curiosity simply cannot be contained, these raw and real confessions are a glimpse into the unknown: a snippet of a person’s life.

Source: http://www.justjared.com/2007/03/11/post-secret-mystery-celebrity-dad/

Perhaps as we look through a tiny hole, created by every secret revealed, we might come to see signs of desperation, hear the voice of the voiceless or feel a tinge of joy in humanity’s unheralded achievements – all depending on the way you interpret the words on the postcard, each is a product of a person’s creativity.

PostSecret ask people to:

 Reveal anything – as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before.

Heart wrenching, alarming, poignant, profound, ridiculously funny – you never know what to expect. Like a thread that binds all secrets, one thing you can find in common is the inexplicable feeling upon seeing humanity at its finest: beautiful, flaws and all.

Who knows, maybe someone you know revealed something they’d never tell you or perhaps you may come across a secret you keep to yourself.

For Mother’s Day secrets that will shock you, inspire you or make you feel lucky enough to have a mum visit http://www.postsecret.com/

Listen to the founder himself and may it give you something good, no matter what it is.

“It’s the children the world almost breaks who grow up to save it.” ― Frank Warren