With the beginning of the summer movie season on us, I feel it’s time to change the Now Playing procedure. Instead of giving a long overview of every single movie being released in the Greater Lexington, Kentucky area, I feel it’s best to showcase one or two films a week. I’ll still mention the other releases, but I won’t go into the Good, Bad, and Ugly. Instead, I’ll give a brief thought or two before moving on. This is a temporary arrangement but I’m curious to see how it will pan out.
With that caveat out of the way, it’s time to jump right in. The Roaring 20’s fox trots onto the screen in our first movie.
THE GREAT GATSBY
A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor. *
The Good – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic is brought back to the silver screen, courtesy of Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann. The visuals will be sharp, the cutting frantic, and the pace fast. One thing I can say about any of Baz’s movies (Moulin Rought, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet) is I am never bored. Leonardo DiCaprio also lends his talent as Jay Gatsby, the mysterious eccentric. DiCaprio sees the character as, “a hopeless romantic, a completely obsessed wacko or a dangerous gangster, clinging to wealth.” It’s what drew him to the role. As of late, he’s not had that many misfires, so I’m counting on him delivering his usual great performance.
The Bad – With all that said there’s only one problem. I did not like the book. I read it a few years ago in anticipation to an event I was attending, which was influenced in part by the novel. However, I found it quite a chore to get through. I was never enraptured by the man Gatsby and the narrator was a non-character at best. It failed to connect with me in any meaningful way. It’s wasn’t my cup of tea so I won’t be surprised if I do sit this one out, despite the director and star attached.
The Ugly – Anyone prone to motion sickness may not want to see this film in a theater. If It’s anything like Baz’s other films, I’d suggest skipping out on the cola.
The Great Gatsby is rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language.
Sparks fly when Wade Walker crashes the Peeples annual reunion in the Hamptons to ask for their precious daughter Grace's hand in marriage. *
Brief Thoughts – It’s Tyler Perry’s version of Meet the Parents, though not really. Tyler Perry just produced it, but you wouldn’t know by the ads, shoving his name where it doesn’t belong. Not that it matters. The movie looks mildly amusing, but I can’t shake the feeling I saw the same exact movie a few years ago with different actors.
Peeples is rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug material and language.
A promising hip-hop rhymer from Los Angeles finds herself in a gray area when a record producer offers her a compromising shot at stardom. *
Brief Thoughts – Reminds me of 8 Mile, La Bamba, and Hustle and Flow, films that I really liked. But for some reason, I’m not feeling this one. The rap the trailer builds up to didn’t impress me. I think I’ll pass. It is great to see Lou Diamond Phillips on screen again, though.
Filly Brown is rated R for language, some drug use and violence.
It's 1968, and four young, talented Australian Aboriginal girls learn about love, friendship and war when their all girl group The Sapphires entertain the US troops in Vietnam. *
Brief Thoughts – Another music film released on the same day. However, while I was somewhat bored by Filly Brown’s trailer, this one actually elicited a loud laugh from me. It seems more energetic compared to the morose tone of Filly Brown. The Vietnam backdrop also adds to the proceedings in a positive manner. Of the two, I would more than likely prefer The Sapphires.
The Sapphires is rated PG-13 for sexuality, a scene of war violence, some language, thematic elements and smoking.
That will do for this week. Tune in next time when we boldly go where Now Playing has never gone before. Until then, I’ll keep practicing my Charleston.