Film Friday #134

The Great Gatsby (2013)

When aspiring writer, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) rents a cottage on Long Island in the roaring twenties, he can’t help but be drawn to his mysterious millionaire neighbour, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo Di Caprio). Soon he discovers that his cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan) has a history with Gatsby, who wants nothing more than to reconnect with her. But Daisy is married to the brutish, Tom (Joel Edgerton), who isn’t going to let her go without a fight. As Carraway tells his story from the sanatorium he is confined to he starts to come to a series of realisations about himself and the company he has been keeping. Baz Luhrman’s take on this F. Scott Fitzgerald classic seems to be garnering marmite-esque reactions. I can see how it wouldn’t be for everyone. It is wildly decadent and over the top and if Lurhman’s  highly stylised, slightly overacted, mishmash, no respect for the subject matter kind of style is not your thing, it will drive you mad. I’m in the other camp. Although I think marmite is rancid, I lurve Lurhman and I thoroughly enjoyed the vivid sets, overly intense emotions and the sheer excess, like a ripe fruit about to burst and show its rotten core. I even liked the way modern music was thrown in. It was a little long though and I still think Tobey Maguire is extremely annoying. My suggestion is to approach with caution, if you haven’t liked any of Lurhman’s earlier films, this is definitely one to avoid. If you still cry after 27 viewings of Moulin Rouge, I’ll be at the back waiting with the tissues. 3.5/5

I have never felt more manly than this exact moment. Let them eat cake!

I have never felt more manly than this exact moment. Let them eat cake!

The Lorax

By now we all probably know that I don’t much like animated films but one of my few exceptions is Horton Hears a Who, so I had high hopes for this subsequent Dr Seuss adaptation. In the city of Thneed-ville there are no real trees, only plastic ones, along with the plastic grass and bottled air. When Ted’s (voiced by Zac Efron) crush Audrey (voiced by Taylor Swift) tells him that her greatest dream is to see a real tree, he sets off beyond the boundaries of Thneed-ville to find The Once-ler (voiced by Ed Helms), the one man who might be able to tell him what happened to the trees. There he hears a strange and fanciful tale featuring a creature called The Lorax (voiced by Danny DeVito) who “speaks for the trees” and becomes determined to find the last one. But air magnate, Mr O’Hare (Rob Riggle) isn’t so keen to give up his monopoly on fresh air and Ted might just have a fight on his hands. The stars of this film are without doubt the animals who used to live in the forest and you’re sure to get a good laugh out of some of their antics. It’s also a great way to introduce children to ideas about conservation. It’s nowhere near as cool as Horton Hears A Who though and is potentially a little silly to keep adults engaged. 2.5/5

So this is where they keep all the cuddly toys' testicles

So this is where they keep all the cuddly toys’ testicles

The Birds

Feisty socialite Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) meets Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) as he is attempting to buy a pair of lovebirds for his younger sister, Cathy (Veronica Cartwright). Intrigued by Mitch, Melanie follows him to a small town called Bodega Bay where he is visiting his family. As Melanie works her way into Mitch’s life, flocks of birds start to attack the residents of the town with increasing viciousness. This Hitchcock horror is a masterpiece. Tippi Hedren is fantastic as the spoilt but charming Daniels, who is forced to find out what she is made of when things start to go horribly wrong. And the birds are fucking terrifying because there appears to be no rhyme or reason to their behaviour. I always thought birds were dodgy with their scaly feet and their beaks and shit and now I know I am right! If you can watch this and then not stare at all feathered things with suspicion afterwards, I take my hat off to you. 4.5/5



Drillbit Taylor

On their first day of high school dorky freshmen, Wade (Nate Hartley), Ryan (Troy Gentle) and Emmit (David Dorfmann) catch the attention of psychotic bullies, Filkins (Alex Frost) and Ronnie (Josh Peck). After their attempts to outfox their attackers fail, they hire former marine Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson) as a bodyguard, not realising that he’s actually a homeless bum. While Drillbit is initially out to get everything he can out of the kids, unsurprisingly he starts to become rather attached to them. There are parts of this film that are brilliantly funny but it’s somewhat ill-conceived and it drags in the middle. 2/5


Did someone say boobs?


  1. Good reviews once again. 🙂 I’m probably going to Gatsby next week. Not a huge fan of his but my friend wants to see it. I love Hitchcock and love The Birds!!! 🙂 Couldn’t get into The Lorax. I saw Drillbit but can’t say I really remember much about it. Sad it was the last thing John Hughes did.

    1. Abbi

      Thank-you! Gatsby is so Luhrman it hurts so if might not be for you. I did kind of watch The Lorax as a background film, while I was doing other things.

      1. I did piss this same friend off by having a laughing fit during Les Miserables… Lol. I’ll try to not do that to her during Gatsby. 😉 I watch a lot of movies in the background while doing other things. 🙂

        1. Abbi

          In fairness some parts of Les Mis are unintentionally hilarious.

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