The Great Gatsby, written by F Scott Fitzgerald, has come through in a new remake, this time by Baz Luhrmann. The novel has had the distinction of being having a number of remakes. The novel had been labelled a great piece of American writing even though reading it is no longer considered fashionable. But then a similar fate has befallen on the likes of many other novels such as Moby Dick and those written by Faulkner.
A great novel does not guarantee that the film based on it will also be equally fantastic, and vice versa. Take for instance the Godfather. The piece it was based on was nothing as impressive as the film turned to be. Casablanca was written by a committee and Vertigo was based on a Gallic-noir potboiler.
Coppola had done the screenplay for the 1974 adaption of the Great Gatsby which met with luke warm response. The Last tycoon by Fitzgerald had been adapted for a film directed by Elia Kazan in 1976 had also met the same fate.
Tender is the Night was another by the same author that had been directed by Henry King and had star casts of Jason Robards and Jennifer Jones. The film was made in 1962 and only Jason Robards did some justice to his character with the drinking habit. The 1949 adaptation of the Gatsby has Betty Field doing the part of Daisy Buchanan of the book, which appears to be a flaw in the casting itself.
More than the American greats in literature making into great films the little known stories have a better chance to make it to the top in the awards stage. Examples of these include the Yul Brynner vehicle ‘The Sound and The Fury’ of Martin Ritt in 1959.
The Breaking Point is an adaption of ‘To Have and Have Not’, supposedly the worst novel written by Hemmingway. The director had challenged Hemmingway to make the film a hit even though the book was termed a complete shit. He however succeeded in that effort.
It is like a homecoming for the Star Wars films as the next part, the seventh in the series, is going to be shot in this country. Release of the film is scheduled for 2015 with production starting up next year. Previous iterations of the Star War film series had been shot partially in the UK. Some of the shooting had also taken place at the Pinewood, Elstree and Shepperton known for their rich cinematic traditions.
The president of Disney’s Lucas films, Kathleen Kennedy is naturally excited at their coming back to where the Star Wars had originated to take inspiration for their next film. He also appreciated the immense talent that is available in the country which he intends to make the best use of for the next Star Wars film.
Kennedy has been associated with such films like ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’, ‘Empire Of The Sun’ and the more recent ‘War Horse, it’s very exciting to be heading back.’ Disney had purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas in the October of 2012 at a price of $4.05bn (£2.7bn). At that time itself it had been announced that three new episodes of the Star War film would be released.
Emmy Award winner JJ Abrams would direct the seventh episode of Star Wars. Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher who had lent their weight in previous Star Wars films will also be there in the seventh episode as well.
John Williams who created the musical score for the film that had become famous in its own right will also be back for the seventh episode. Writer for the seventh episode would be Michael Amdt of Toy Story 3 fame. The Star Wars franchise grossed $4.4 billion in the box office worldwide since its first inception in 1977.
If only because it created its own niche in the library of American literature, ‘The Great Gatsby’ has been applauded or reviled by millions, with applause much more prevalent. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel has been adapted in various media including television and musical theatre, and now we have the fifth film adaptation of the story from Baz Luhrmann, set for release on May 10.
Once again, the reviews are well mixed. Unbridled praise from some quarters, slightly bridled disgust from others, and like any re-make of a familiar ‘classic’, subject to a lot of comparisons. What stands out most in this version is the unbridled use of the latest computer technology to emphasize the Roaring Twenties atmosphere of the story and setting.
In case you’re not familiar, the novel takes place mostly on Long Island in the unprecedented prosperity of the early 1920′s immediately following World War I. It was a time of great optimism, great wealth for some, and as seen through Fitzgerald’s narrator Nick Carraway, a decline of moral standards and the crashing of illusions that in retrospect seems inevitable.
Luhrmann is well known for his lush visual style, and in ‘The Great Gatsby’ he adds 3-D to the extravagant sets, filmed in Australia instead of New York. Luhrmann said that was a plus because it allowed him to create ‘the grand illusion’ that mirrors a society revelling in illusion as Gatsby’s was.
The soundtrack has been updated from 1920′s jazz to Jay-Z’s hiphop, a translation that either works perfectly or distracts disastrously, depending on who’s listening.
The story has timeless qualities that earned it a place in literary history; a tragic love story is the ostensible theme but the underlying theme of a society and way of life doomed by its own carelessness can easily be recognised in today’s world, and not only in the U.S.A.
Obviously there’s a tremendous challenge any time any director takes on the task of re-inventing the familiar. Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Tobey Maguire as Nick and Carey Mulligan as Daisy are enthusiastically involved in their respective roles, and regardless of some fairly harsh criticism, the film has depth and style. As one critic suggests, you need to go see it before you decide to hate it.
You may not even have known this, but until just this week, the judges who vote for Oscar winners were required to see the films in question at a real live cinema in order to qualify for voting privilege in that particular category. If they didn’t have a chance to go see a foreign film or a short documentary, for instance, they just wouldn’t get a vote in that category.
However, as of the first General Meeting of the Academy (simulcast from Beverly Hills to Emeryville, CA and New York City), which happened last Saturday, all members will be supplied with DVD’s of any films they might be expected to miss so they can view them without the hassle of tracking them down in a cinema.
President of the Academy of Arts and Sciences Howard Koch said that the change was part of a general plan to get all members more involved in all aspects of Academy activities, which would include voting in all 24 Oscar categories. The General Meeting was also Koch’s idea; he feels that the more informal approach promoted a better connection amongst the organisation’s governors, staff and voting members.
With the new agenda, contenders in the categories of foreign language, feature documentary, short-subject documentary, live action short and animated short can be viewed via DVDs that will be provided to each member prior to final voting. Koch said he hopes to improve on last year’s 90% voter turnout.
Other than that the process remains the same, but the 86th Oscar Awards will be presented on March 2 rather than the last Sunday in February. The date was set forward to avoid conflicting with the Closing Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Russia.
Oblivion, the latest Tom Cruise film, is set to start with a bang as the action hero takes his place on the weekly charts. His debut was highly hyped, and it seems like it delivered, at least when it comes to people wanting to actually see the film. The actor can take pride in his work which has been estimated at a worth of $38.2 million, which is even higher than the pundits predicted.
This is the second best opening for a film outside of Mission: Impossible starring the ageing actor, which came after the $64 million War of the Worlds premier of 2005, and number seven on the best ever April opening. This translates well overseas as well, with $60.4 million being gained during the weekend alone, including all of the countries where the film was opening.
So far, Oblivion has gained $112 million in other countries, for a grand total of $150 million. Iron Man 3 is expected to take most of those viewers away, being another action film targeted at the same audience, but there is still another two weeks before that release, giving Oblivion plenty of time to get some more profits in the box office.
As for the reviews, many say this film suffers from a lot of elements which are derivative from past productions, but it did benefit from opening up in a period where there was little else to see in cinemas. It had 34% of the viewership during its opening week, which is an unusual figure for anything but the triple A titles.
Several other recent films had to take a dive to let room for Oblivion. Scary Movie 5 went down over 55% this week to around $6.3 million, giving it the fourth place, while G.I Joe was fifth with $5.8 million.
Alpha Papa is coming and new details have been revealed about the new film, its plot and how Alan Partridge is going to direct it. This information comes from some interesting comments from Steve Coogan, which gives a few hints as to what we can expect once the film hits the cinemas.
He says that the production is all done, with the footage being complete and almost ready to show. The team is now hard at work to edit the resulting video in order to present it at the opening night. This is definitively a comedy, and he says the editing process is making sure any unfunny bit is removed, so that the whole piece is left as a very comedic presentation.
In fact, the name is Alpha Papa but originally they wanted to call the film Alan Partridge in Hectic Danger. Of course, the title was too long for what they were attempting to do, but it was funnier, in his view. Because Alan is from North Norfolk Digital, his personality changed to Shape and a lot of people figured it would be a short production.
As for the relationship between himself and his alter-ego, he likes to watch the resulting character on the screen, at least for some time. He says that the story really explains how the radio station came to be, with the people who got sacked camping in front of it, demanding to be heard. We hear about his relationship, his struggles, and victories. He did say however that eventually, it does feel like being in a room with an idiot, fortunately, everything ends at some point.
There are about five good laughs contained within Scary Movie 5, which is really pretty good considering the fact that the franchise has not come out with a film for seven years and was pretty much done the last time it attempted to do so.
As usually, this spoof film takes a few quick pokes at other horror movies and a few lucky extras such as Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Black Swan. The franchise is known for its childish humour and most of the appeal has come from just how low they will go. Unfortunately, this time there are not too many shocking joke moments as the utterly offensive jokes are traded in for bathroom humour that gets very tiring by the end of the film.
This time around Malcolm D. Lee has tossed in his hat as the director although a change in direction does not seem to change the overall feel of the film at all. Ashley Tisdale and Simon Rex play leading married couple Jody and Dan. The couple adopts Dan’s brother’s children after his death and it soon appears that all of the children are possessed by some type of demon.
Logically, the couple decides to set up cameras in their homes to see if they can see the evil activities that the demons are making them do. At the same time Jody is attempting to get the lead role in the local production of Swan Lake and Dan is working on lab experiments to help turn his apes into a genius.
The rest of the plot is sporadic and not even worth attempting to recount and most of the humour is pretty boyish in nature. While the stars may appeal to teens who adore them most people are going to wish for the old days of Anna Faris who is noticeably missing from this piece of the franchise.
Lately Taylor Swift has popped up with cameos in several different films, but this may possibly only be the start for Taylor. The country starlet apparently is working on getting a more permanent position in Hollywood as reports hint that she wants to pursue some major acting roles. The singer stated that she has tackled the world of music and now she wants to try her hand at something else, and it seems logical to try out the film world next.
A source supposedly close to the star stated that she has wanted to be a film star since she was just a kid and actually was taking acting lessons at age nine. The source added that she has always held her childhood dream in her heart and as soon as touring completes for her latest album she plans to add a bit more edge to her look.
Almost laughably, the source added that Swift plans to not only move closer to acting but to start to write songs that are not about a break-up. Apparently Swift wants to leave a lasting impact on the world by doing something that would really make a difference.
Swift also reportedly auditioned for a role in Les Miserables but was not cast in the play. The same source stated that she was very devastated that she did not get cast because it would have allowed both her acting and voice talents to shine in one format.
While there is no news on Swift popping up in any new films, one film that she will not be part of is the 1D3F film from One Direction. The documentary about One Direction will not feature any scenes with her in it after Harry Styles ordered that all scenes with the ex couple be deleted.
It is strongly advised that you don’t become too giddy over the recent, and it has to be said, optimistic, forecast from MPAA regarding the theatrical film business, and the record sales achieved for The Hunger Games.
Robert Fishman, an analyst from Nomura Securities, has warned that after taking a first look into the business, cinema chains are in for a tough few years from 2013, as admissions will drop steadily through until at least 2016. He says that sales at the domestic box office fell in the US in 2011 by 3.8% to $10.2bn, with attendances dropping by 4.2% to 1.3bn, which he says is just the tip of the iceberg.
Data from MPAA shows that between 2000 and 2011, the percentage of those who frequently visited the cinema fell by 10% to 30%, while the number of those who never went rose from 26% to 33%. The biggest drop was seen amongst young people whose indifference to the cinema is rather disconcerting considering the fact that they are the most targeted audience.
Fishman went onto say that cinemas themselves could also suffer as the major studios have already started to slash the number of films they are making. Although smaller, independent producers are picking up some of the slack, the analyst predicts that the scale release for the majority of these films will be enough to attract enough people into the cinema to make any real difference.
The speculation is over, and MGM have now officially signed Joel Kinnaman to play the iconic title role in the new Robocop film.
Jose Padhila, the director of two Elite Squad action films is the man at the helm of this remake, and Strike Entertainment partners Marc Abraham and Eric Newman will produce, the script comes courtesy of Josh Zetumer.
It was revealed by Deadline that MGM had offered the role to Kinnaman, who was more than happy to step into the shoes of Peter Weller, who played the role in the 1987 original that was directed by Paul Verhoeven. Kinnaman’s most notable recent performance was alongside Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds in Daniel Espinosa’s Safe House.
Kinnaman was first really taken notice of on the AMC series The Killing, having previously starred in Shabba Cash, another Espinosa vehicle. Hollywood are harkening back to the old days and seeking actors they can build their films around and Kinnaman, who is represented by UTA and Shelley Browning from Magnolia Entertainment, certainly seems to have found his golden ticket.