Most Anticipated: The Great Gatsby – 7.5/10
There is bias here. We fell in love with the book in tenth grade. Like Gatsby himself, most people have been waiting five years for this dream to come true. And like Gatsby, it seems that reality never quite lives up to the fantasy.
Baz Luhrmann’s version of the movie was the embodiment of a Jazz Age party. It was visually vibrant, the musical score was modern, and the camera dipped and swirled across the screen like it was dancing the charleston. The casting was spot-on, with Leonardo DiCaprio being the obvious successor to Robert Redford as Gatsby, and Carey Mulligan charming us all as the wide-eyed Daisy.
However, bits of the film felt recycled from other Luhrmann pictures. In particular, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, sitting at his typewriter while the words lift off his page and float around the screen – if one were to screw their eyes up right it could just as easily have been Ewan McGregor typing away in Moulin Rouge.
Another qualm was the narration. Nick becoming the author of the book, writing it from his sanitarium, seemed like a cheap reference to Zelda Fitzgerald living out her later life in a similar place, doing work her husband took credit for. Maybe this is reading too much into it, but it is irksome nonetheless.
Most Likely to Become a Cult Classic: Sharknado -0/10 if you’re taking it seriously; 10/10 if you’re not.
This gem of a movie, starring Tara Reid and Ian Ziering, premiered July 13 on the Syfy channel.
For those of you who live under a rock and have managed not to hear about this TV movie masterpiece, the title says it all. It essentially involves sharks who get sucked up into a tornado, and subsequently rain down on the unsuspecting citizens of L.A. Of course, by sharks, this really means the low budget option, which would be shark-like puppets and recycled stock footage of hammerheads in murky water.
Spoiler alert: the best moment was the scene in which Ziering’s character gets swallowed whole by one of the sharks. Just as the audience begins to accept his unceremonious death, he cuts his way out of the animal’s underbelly and emerges from the flaps of shark flesh, covered in blood. It was hauntingly reminiscent of a birth canal, and made only more fantastic by him pulling out one of the other protagonists behind him. A shout-out also goes to Reid, who seems to have wholly forgotten how to act.
Most Pleasant Surprise: The Conjuring – 8/10
The prediction was that The Conjuring would be a hybrid of The Exorcist and Chucky.There were no expectations beyond some cheap thrills. Then five crucial words appeared onscreen: based on a true story.
This is the hook that kept the interest piqued, and prompted a Wikipedia search to find the details of the real story.
The merging storyline of paranormal investigator couple, Ed and Lorraine Warren, and the haunted Perron family made it more compelling and story-driven than the usual fear-mongering film. The use of gore was minimal, making it all the more stomach-churning when disturbing images did pop up.