The Great Gatsby (Baz Luhrmann) **1/2 - Director Baz Luhrmann is a filmmaker whose style I both admire and hate in almost equal portions. There are moments in nearly all the films I've seen of his which I like and which I find irritating. Unfortunately for this film, the irritating parts won out. I've just read the F. Scott Fitzgerald book and this film simply ratches up the lavish decadence described in the book in a way, way, way too stylistic way. So stylistic that the substance within the book was lost. Now, this type of thing would be forgiven if Luhrmann had taken it either a few steps further and made into an over-the-top melodramatic musical but he wanted to have it both ways and ultimately it felt half-assed. The production design and costume design are pretty to look at and the actors try their best. Not completely horrible but falls short.
The Navigator (Buster Keaton/Donald Crisp)
***1/2 - Two spoiled rich young adults find themselves adrift at sea after they
accidentally board a vessel targeted for sabotage. It's not my favorite Keaton
film but it's still a pretty great picture featuring some great Buster Keaton
brand of physical comedy, stunts and gags (the one involving a scary looking
painting was particularly hysterical) and of course exquisite filmmaking.
Fast & Furious 6 (Justin Lin) **1/2
- I actually dreaded watching this after disliking Fast Five. But I decided, what the hell, give
it a try. And to my surprise, I found myself liking this one quite a bit more.
The film is ridiculous, dumb, silly and stupid and it knows it. But what it
lacks for logic and substance, it makes up for in extremely well-shot and edited
action sequences (where you actually know what's going on, what are the stakes,
etc.) I felt the plot in this one is a bit better because it has a more
interesting villain and the car chases, fights and crashes are a bit more
engaging and exciting. I mean, who WOULDN'T wanna see Michelle Rodriguez and
Gina Carano kick each other's asses? Right? Still not a fan of this series but
this time, at least I could see the appeal.