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The Great Gatsby (2013)

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Although it may lose track of its source material, feel ostentatious and overly feign. The Great Gatsby’s breathtaking visuals, captivating performances, and superb direction are enough to rescue it from becoming a complete disaster. No doubt those who’ve read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s timeless novel, like myself, will have a harder time appreciating Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation than those not familiar with the text. However, if you’re able to separate from it and Fitzgerald’s unparalleled take on decadence, the American dream, and idealism. You’ll find that regardless of its primary focus on cynicism and extravagance, Luhrmann’s rendition isn’t all vanity and indifference. Sporting an array of high-profile actors and a substantial amount of glam and glitter. The Great Gatsby is a party you weren’t invited to, yet can’t help but enjoy.

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Nick Carraway (McGuire) is a Yale graduate and a veteran of the first World War. Also a depressed alcoholic, Nick visits a psychiatrist and continually talks about a man named Gatsby. When Nick begins to struggle describing Gatsby, his doctor suggests writing his memories down. Recalling events beginning in 1922, Nick describes how his relationship with Mr. Gatsby came to be. Taking a job as a bond salesman in New York, Nick rents out a small house on Long Island in the village of West Egg. Soon after, Nick travels across the bay to visit his cousin Daisy Buchanan (Mulligan) and her husband Tom (Edgerton). Afterwords, Tom and Nick go to an apartment which Tom keeps for his affair with Myrtle (Isla Fisher), George’s (Clarke) wife. Later on, Nick receives a party invitation from his mysterious neighbour Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio). As more time passes, Nick and Mr. Gatsby grow close. Soon, Jay has an unusual request for Nick and what follows is a gripping tale of love and loss.

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It is certainly frustrating to watch Luhrmann’s portrayal of the Roaring Twenties without the consequence and disintegration that Fitzgerald so elegantly masked. That being said, if Luhrmann’s discarding of social politics is inadvertent or not, there is no denying that he poignantly and potently captures the surface story of distanced lovers. While it may not provide, nor portray the downfall of the American dream. This adaptation of The Great Gatsby does brush a certain element that made the original text so relatable and distinguished. Luhrmann absorbs Fitzgerald’s relentless facet of reckless and uninhibited youth. While overall it may miss the mark on the underlying themes. The Great Gatsby does hit some of Fitzgerald’s plot points dead on and proves to be a worthy adaptation.

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Starring the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Toby McGuire, Joel Edgerton, and Jason Clarke. The Great Gatsby definitely has the eccentric, ecstatic, enthusiastic cast to illuminate the decadence and excess of the rich, wayward youth. Their dialogue and phantasmic appearances may appear to lack authenticity, but I assure you it’s accurate. Though everyone and everything seems staged, it never dwindles The Great Gatsby’s brightness.

Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t miss a beat in his accurate take on the eloquent and mysterious Jay Gatsby. Even though it’s not as formidable as his other, more impeccable roles, it’s certainly as memorable, old sport. Joel Edgerton, arguably only outdone by DiCaprio, exudes the diabolical deviance that plagues Tom Buchanan’s warped mind. Popping up for only a few minutes at a time, it’s difficult to judge Clarke’s performance. However, in limited time, Clarke’s role is significant and he, typically, makes good use of his screen time. As for McGuire, in the lead role caught between friendship and morals, there is nothing to nitpick over. Finally, the spellbinding Carey Mulligan gives another weightless, enduring performance.

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Setting aside the power of its performances, the absence of social-political themes, and the plausibility of certain viewers likeness of it. The real strength of The Great Gatsby lies within its costume and set designs. However one may feel towards Luhrmann’s adaptation, there is no ignoring the entrancing beauty of the visuals. Accompanied by an odd mixture of classical and current music, the striking sets and Luhrmann’s direction form a sedating toxin that weaves through the viewers veins.

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With each passing day, the more it grows on me. The highest praise I can give at the moment is that, The Great Gatsby is near impossible not to enjoy. Set aside the literary comparisons and take it for what it is.

The Great Gatsby: 7 out of 10.

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Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2013

All right, now, not to be confused with last week’s “Top 10 Films of 2013 Predicted.” This week’s Top 10 will consist of the 10 most wanted films set for release in 2013. Judged by budget, publicity, and overall excitement stemming from the general public, this Top 10 will feature, in a general sense, crowd pleasers. Without any further ado, let’s begin.

Honourable Mentions: Anchorman 2, Monsters University, The Wolverine, Elysium, Sin City 2, Kick Ass 2, Evil Dead.

10: Thor: The Dark World. The hotly anticipated follow up to 2011’s smash hit Thor. This soon to be blockbuster stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Hopkins.

9: The Great Gatsby. From visionary director Baz Luhrmann and starring a plethora of stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan. and Jason Clarke. The Great Gatsby seems primed for stardom.

8: The Green Inferno, V/H/S 2, and The Conjuring. This is for all of you who need your horror fix, a lot like us. Coming from modern horror master such as James Wan, Eli Roth, and Adam Wingard. This trio of frightening delights is sure to leave your pants wet and in need of a wash.

The Conjuring Trailer:

V/H/S 2 Trailer:

The Green Inferno: First official picture.

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7: This is the End and The World’s End. Here to get you prepared for the apocalypse are these two doomsday comedies. Brought to you by the guys behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. The World’s End reunites Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright. Also starring Martin Freeman, The World’s End looks like to become another cult favourite. As for This is the End, starring a multitude of comedies best such as Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Jonah Hill. This hilarious heavyweight film should be interesting to say the least.

This is the End: Red Band Trailer.

The World’s End:

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6: World War Z. Brad Pitt, Zombies, and based off of Max Brooks highly addicting novel, need I say more?

5: Iron Man 3. The Third entry into the Iron Man trilogy. It features an army of iron men and Ben Kingsley as a villain. Your argument is invalid.

4: Pacific Rim. Directed by Guillermo Del Toro and starring Idris Elba. This monster vs man picture features the use of gigantic robots controlled by humans battling humongous aliens, I’m sold.

3: Man of Steel. Produced by Christopher Nolan and starring Michael Shannon as General Zod. Man of Steel is the highly anticipated reboot of the Superman franchise.

2: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The follow up to An Unexpected Journey. Peter Jackson’s The Desolation of Smaug should be a much improved film and appease those disappointed by the first.

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1: Star Trek Into Darkness. I have nothing to say, I am beyond words with anticipation. Just enjoy the trailer.

Top 10 Films of 2012

We might be a bit late to this particular list’s party, but better now than never. This was a difficult list to compile, lots of great pictures to chose from. But myself (monster1711) and my bud (cinema2033) think we’ve created a diverse and respectable list. If you feel that we overlooked a certain film or have any suggestions for future top 10’s, please comment below. Without further anticipation, let’s get started.

10. Looper. Easily the best science fiction film of the year. Featuring terrific performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, Looper is a brain scrambler that will leave you stunned.

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9. The Cabin in the Woods. Speaking of brain scramblers. The Cabin in the Woods is definitely the most bizarre film of the year. Mixing the hilarious and terrifying elements of horror and poking fun at them, it is sure to be a cult favourite.

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8. Skyfall. Quite possibly the best Bond film to ever grace the big screen. Skyfall is witty, charming, and one hell of a ride. With towering performances from Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem, Skyfall is not to be missed.

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7. Seven Psychopaths. Another entry into Martin McDonagh’s violent comedies. Seven Psychopaths is full of violence, hilarity, and outstanding performances from Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken.

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6. Argo. Winner of the 2012 Oscar for best picture, need we say more? Directed and starring Ben Affleck, Argo is history come alive.

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5. Silver Linings Playbook. Thought by many to be the best picture of 2012. Silver Linings Playbook is another solid outing from David O. Russell and features a return to form for Robert De Niro. Not to mention the emergence of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence as real acting heavyweights.

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4. On The Road. Possibly the most controversial film on the list, On The Road left audiences divided. Based on Jack Kerouac’s generation defining novel. On The Road features entrancing performances from Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, and especially the lovely Kristen Stewart.

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3. Django Unchained. The second chapter in Tarantino’s yet to be finished history trilogy. Django Unchained landed Christoph Waltz another supporting actor Oscar. Also starring Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, and a deliciously evil performance from Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained is violently hilarious.

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2. Zero Dark Thirty. Best picture nominee Zero Dark Thirty is brought to you by the creators of The Hurt Locker. There really isn’t anything else that needs to be said. Incredibly tense, monumental performances, and impeccably scripted. Zero Dark Thirty is an unstoppable force.

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1. The Dark Knight Rises. The conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy, directed by the brilliant Christopher Nolan. With Tom Hardy as Bane, The Dark Knight Rises has the best villain performance of the year. Including an unmatchable cast and an epic finale no one saw coming, The Dark Knight Rises might be the greatest comic book adapted film in the history of cinema.

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Honourable Mentions. Lincoln, Sightseers, Prometheus, The Avengers, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, End of Watch.

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

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A much more passionate labyrinth and overall refined offering than The Hurt Locker. Director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal once again delve into the war overseas with Zero Dark Thirty and bring a fact driven theatrical adaptation of the most elaborate manhunt in history to the screen. Using familiar tactics such as tense situations and loveable characters, Boal and Bigelow triumph once again with Zero Dark Thirty. However, setting aside the similarities in the strain and showiness between The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. Bigelow and Boal insert new facets like intellect and balance to make Zero Dark Thirty more effective, complete and full of intensity. Featuring Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, Joel Edgerton, and Chris Pratt. Zero Dark Thirty’s all star cast are layered throughout its multiple story lines and given enough purpose to fulfill their potential.

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A CIA operative named Maya (Chastian) is thrust into the war on terror. One of her first experiences is the extraction of information through any means necessary, understanding that this is the extreme needed at times to gain knowledge. Working with her partner Dan (Clarke), Maya quickly learns and adapts to life overseas. Over seven years, Maya is narrowing down her leads in hopes of finding Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. With the help of Joseph (Chandler), George (Strong), and numerous other, in 2011, her tireless efforts are about to pay off. Staying in contact with Patrick (Edgerton), Justin (Pratt), and the Navy team. Maya observes the mission to the suspects home.

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While the depth of the material Zero Dark Thirty is based upon is somewhat of a blur to the public eye. The surface of it has been broadcast from a far on every news channel since 9/11. Being able to produce such a definitive and enjoyable piece of cinema from an overseen and collated event years in the making is something Boal, Bigelow, and crew should be proud of. Jessica Chastain is the only actor to earn an Oscar Nomination for her performance in the film and deservedly so, she is incredibly pragmatic. Her natural essence and unrelenting drive fit perfectly into her role. Jason Clarke should have garnered more praise and a nomination in his supporting role to Chastain but was snubbed in my opinion. Clarke is intimidating and ruthless encompassing everything needed to be emotionless and feared. The rest of the supporting cast is equally as impressive, holding nothing back. Zero Dark Thirty is a smart, entertaining nail biter.

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Zero Dark Thirty: 9 out of 10.