97. The Thirteenth Tale (C+)
BBC2 adaptation of a moderately popular Diane Setterfield novel from midway through the last decade. The film has an exceptionally good cast, including Vanessa Redgrave, Olivia Colman, and Sophie Turner (the latter being the main reason I tuned in); but the story frankly isn't terribly cinematic, and the direction, while competent, never really conjures up the sort of modern Gothic atmosphere the story really needs (not helped by the very short 90-minute running time). I do enjoy seeing Turner play some roles very different from Sansa Stark.
98. The Great Gatsby (B+)
I was not expecting to like this quite as much as I did. From the moment it was announced, and especially as the budget and production images started to come out, this seemed a real mismatch of director and material. But, much to my surprise, Luhrmann's hyperkinetic, splashy style does suit the material. Luhrmann is basically a creator of opera in a cinematic guise, and he turns Fitzgerald's fairly simple themes into an operatic story of sweeping emotions and big gestures. It will not be show in film schools like Gatsby
is regularly assigned to high school classes, but so what?
The main problem, interestingly, is the main instance of Luhrmann attempting to humanize Fitzgerald's archetypal/symbolic characters, namely, Daisy. The book is fairly straightforward about Gatsby's vision of Daisy being nothing more than a mirage, but the first two-thirds of Luhrmann's film paint Daisy far more sympathetically than Fitzgerald ever did, which makes the final third, where she largely reverts to her book form in order to keep the plot on track, seem rather disconnected from what came before.
Also, I really want that white suit that Leo has in this movie.
Home Video: 48 (+1)