One of the most tragic love stories of all time, Baz Luhrmann has adapted another rendition of The Great Gatsby for the big screen. Although a bit over-done at times, The Great Gatsby is a refreshing and modern interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel.

Set in the height of the roaring 1920s in the greater New York City area, The Great Gatsby is narrated by Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) – a Yale graduate, World War I veteran, and a writer-turned-bond salesman. After moving to West Egg – an area on Long Island – Nick reconnects with his second cousin, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), who is married to his [sleazy and arrogant] former Yale classmate, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). Slowly, Nick begins to hear bits and pieces about a mysterious man named Mr. Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) – a man that apparently no one has ever seen, yet he throws extravagant parties that basically all of New York attend. A multi-millionaire, Gatsby is said to have traveled the world, attended Oxford, and won many awards for his service in the War. Subsequently, Nick soon learns that Gatsby is his next-door neighbor and receives an invitation to one of his parties. Eventually, Nick meets and becomes acquainted with Gatsby, and soon learns that he is an ambitious man for his own reasons, but he also guards many secrets.

gasby clarke edgerton maguire

If Luhrmann’s intention was to adapt a story that is both fresh for the Gastby time period and today’s world, then he did exactly that. The Great Gatsby is the epitome of the 1920s – flappers, the height of the stock market, large parties, and prohibition are all highlighted in the plot. When the novel was published for the first time in 1925, obviously everything just listed was extremely prevalent in America. However, Luhrmann turned this 1920s story and twisted it with 21st-century culture, most noteably the soundtrack. Executive Producer Jay-Z performs many of the songs on the soundtrack, which also includes Beyonce, Florence + The Machine, and more contemporary artists.

Although originally skeptical of these selected artists featured in The Great Gatsby, a setting that is entirely quintessential of the Roaring Twenties, I was shocked at how much I enjoyed the mixing of music and eras. While there are some distinctive pieces heard that embody the early 1900s – such as Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue – the blending of the two eras brings the film into another level of symbology. Examined outside of the era it’s set in, The Great Gatsby plot, at it’s simplest, can be applicable to anyone in any location or time period: Man meets girl, the couple separates for reasons outside of their control, girl meets another man, man attempts to win girl back by lying and financially building himself. By combining styles and music of the 21st century, this only solidifies the message that the plot’s omen can be taken out of historical context and applied to anyone.

gatsby daisy dicaprio

Yes, stylistically, the film produces an extremely high level of detail, and is, at times, a bit overdone, but it’s exactly what I would have expected a Luhrmann rendition of The Great Gatsby to be. The vivid colors, unique cinematography, and over-doneness that is the film is perfectly Baz Luhrmann and Roaring Twenties. At times, the style overcompensated for the plot adaptation, character development, and acting, but the film by no means did Fitzgerald a disgrace. The acting was satisfactory, and is one of DiCaprio’s better roles, but Edgerton, although not extremely well-known, takes the cake in this one. While Nick is the narrator of the story, the story is not about him. There are many scenes in which he is merely a fly on the wall, and everything unravels around him. While the focus was mainly – and understandably – around developing Gatsby and Daisy, the development of Nick could have been better adapted, for the audience to understand who Nick is.

In 1920, Fitzgerald stated that “an author ought to write for the youth of his generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward.” While the masterpiece of his novel has unquestionably achieved exactly that, I predict the youth of today will enjoy Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby as well. As for the rest – only time will tell.

Grade: B+

Rated: PG-13 (for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language)

The Great Gatsby opens in theaters on May 10.

Be sure to check out our Gatsby guide before seeing the film!

Disney’s released a minute-long clip from Beauty and the Beast, and it’s a great one: Emma Watson performing “Belle.”

Belle skips around town as the townspeople observe the “funny girl” in this uplifting sequence from the movie. You can’t help but get excited for Beauty and the Beast after watching this, and Emma sounds great!

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Disney’s released a minute-long clip from Beauty and the Beast, and it’s a great one: Emma Watson performing “Belle.”

Belle skips around town as the townspeople observe the “funny girl” in this uplifting sequence from the movie. You can’t help but get excited for Beauty and the Beast after watching this, and Emma sounds great!

In related news, the cast and crew kicked off their press tour today in Paris. Disney released the following adorable photo of Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Josh Gad, Luke Evans, director Bill Condon and composer Alan Menken as they start publicizing the movie, which opens in theaters March 17:

Can’t wait to see it!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Read full article

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Free will and humanity. Sacrifice and love. The nature of reality — and even of life itself. Beneath the plot, surprises, and pain, that’s what’s really going on in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spring finale.

That, and the characters who get caught in the middle.

Jed Whedon is Not. Playing. Around.

Executive producer and showrunner Jed Whedon is the man behind the pen and the camera in “Self Control,” and he’s there for a reason. Whedon’s first try at the director’s chair on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is operatic, incisive, and perpetually gut-clenching.

Yes, there are lovely and disturbing vistas, an artistry that comes from a deliberate and careful eye. But more important is the unshakable Whedon impulse that animates Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, that builds through the episode like a cresting tide.

You know that unmistakable sense that someone is laughing behind the scenes? Yeah. That’s why Jed Whedon is here.

What’s next?

Well, that’s a very good question. “Self Control” leaves us with a few razor-like possibilities, all of which lead down spiky corridors of questions. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 is here to leave us thirsty for the season’s final seven episodes, and that’s exactly what it does.

Oh, and to answer your next question…

Cliffhanger?

Uh, yes. Cliffhanger.

Oh boy, cliffhanger.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, “Self Control,” airs Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

What are your top theories for ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 4×15?

Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

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Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

‘Liberty’s Kids’


Liberty’s Kids aired in the early 2000s on PBS. Liberty’s Kids follows three teenagers from varying backgrounds throughout the American Revolution, mentored by Benjamin Franklin. It is geared for children but is still pretty enjoyable for adults. In each episode, the teenagers encounter a significant person or event from the revolution, giving a concise and entertaining history lesson. The show features many important figures throughout the revolution, showing even more presidents than in Hamilton. As one can imagine, Washington is among these.

‘Lincoln’


Lincoln is a 2012, Oscar nominated movie, directed by Steven Spielberg based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals. Instead of a biopic of Lincoln’s entire life, Lincoln is specifically about his passing of the 13th amendment. Essentially directed between each of his science fiction blockbusters, Spielberg also made many significant historical movies, Lincoln among them. Lincoln not only shows his power as a president, but also humanizes him through an Oscar winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis.

‘1776’


Hamilton is not the first musical about American history. Thankfully, though, because this way there are other options, one of which is 1776. Even more conveniently, the musical 1776 was adapted into a movie in the early 1970s. Heavily implied by its name, 1776 is about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 1776 definitely has a more classical musical theater vibe than Hamilton. The strange combination of American history and musical theater allows for a humorous yet educational experience. However, as reflective of the history of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington is not a character in the musical; yet, it obviously includes many other significant historical figures.

‘The West Wing’ or ‘The American President’


Unlike the other items on this list, these two are about fictional presidents. But it would be nice if they were real. Of the many politically charged movies and television shows by Aaron Sorkin, these two are specifically about presidents. If you have the day off and want to attempt to binge watch seven seasons, then you may want to check out The West Wing. The West Wing follows President Bartlet and his staff and advisors during their time in the White House. If you want a movie to help you transition between Valentine’s Day and President’s Day then The American President is worth watching. It is a romantic comedy about President Shepherd, who falls in love with a lobbyist.

How else will you celebrate President’s Day?