Friday, 17 May 2013

Cinema Review - The Great Gatsby 3D

Based on the literary classic by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby sees bond salesman Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) as he makes his way through an unbelievable story through the roaring twenties where he befriends his mysterious neighbour, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). As their friendship blooms, Nick uncovers that Gatsby is in love with his cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan), and when the pair are finally reunited, lives change forever.

On paper, Gatsby's cast looks as splendid as a Baz Luhrmann-led party but these thoughts are soon quelled with what can only be described as sub-par performances from some of the best in the business. Whilst DiCaprio occasionally offers glimmers of his Hollywood heydays gone by, Carey Mulligan appears as a mere damsel with little depth and Tobey Maguire remains, as ever, a flea in the ear. As is the constant ramblings of DiCaprio's use of the term 'old sport'; I'm sure this is said around 100 times throughout!

At times, the film does indeed captivate, as it should, with the reuniting of Gatsby and Daisy, as one of the pinnacle moments of the source material, executes a feeling within the audience that really warms the heart only to turn it almost into a parody, playing for laughs when completely unnecessary. It's moments like these where Luhrmann doesn't quite seem to garner the full force of his source material and in turn this results in few truly groundbreaking and memorable instances. 

Where Gatsby does however, flourish, is in its set pieces, costume design and, of course, those party scenes. Vibrant, flamboyant and backed by some intriguing soundtracking, the Australian sure knows how to create some truly stunning visually quests and this is by far one of his best. It's just a shame he hasn't quite got the hang of 3D...

The Great Gatsby is an effort from Baz Luhrmann to bring up-to-date one of the greatest pieces of literature there is and frankly it all seems a bit of a mess. With collectively average performances and few scenes that really stick out in the mind, it lacks that killer punch and is dogged by an insistence in making everything look pretty. If the whole film was a party then Luhrmann would be gaining all the plaudits under the sun but this is one love story he hasn't quite nailed down unlike his previous outings. Should've dropped 'The Great' and simply called it Gatsby, Baz...

Film Rating - 2.5 F's out of 5

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Cinema Review - Star Trek Into Darkness

JJ Abrams is somewhat immersing himself in a world of sci-fi and following a second viewing of Star Trek Into Darkness I cannot help feel this was the genre where he was always going to thrive. For now we can look forward to Star Wars' return but at present one must marvel at his latest achievement.

Into Darkness sees the crew of the USS Enterprise return for a mission that takes them on a journey to face their most challenging nemesis yet, John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch). With Harrison waging a one-man war against Starfleet it is up to Captain James T Kirk (Chris Pine), his First Officer Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the crew to take him down once and for all.

The magic of Abrams' first Star Trek outing was his appreciation of scale and insistence on forging relationships between his characters, and Into Darkness builds upon those aspects and bring to play something truly special.

Offering up some truly astounding action set pieces and visions of other-worldly planets, including the Klingon homeworld Kronos, Abrams delves deeper into the Star Trek mythos and indulges in yet more thrills and spills with the Enterprise. With the 3D thankfully excelling the pulsating moments, we are thrust into space battles, chased by aliens throwing spears left, right and centre, and witness the aftermath of a jump into lightspeed with a glistening blue shine. 

As for its characters, Pine and Quinto excel as their relationship reaches new ground, and the likes of Saldana, Pegg (in a meatier role this time around), Cho and even newcomer Alice Eve slip into their roles as easily as those red, blue and yellow uniforms. It is Cumbercatch though who comes out on top of the proceedings. His John Harrison proving a hugely formidable foe who oozes danger, charisma and a lurking evil under a steel face. 

Star Trek Into Darkness is a phenomenal event for 2013, serving up on a platter some superb visuals, a pace that never quite lets up and a cast who bring emotions of every kind to play throughout. JJ Abrams has once again steered the Enterprise to astounding realms and has produced the blockbuster to beat for 2013.

Film Rating - 4.5 F's out of 5