Scenes I Love – “You see..I’m Gatsby.”


When Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby came out in 2013, I skipped seeing the movie in the theatre to read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel first. I realize now I missed out, but as the film is on cable, I’m able to watch it at my leisure. One of my favorite scenes in the movie has actually become a meme for celebrations and snarky quips.

A little background. Our narrator, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) receives an invitation to Jay Gatsby’s party, and in true Luhrmann style, it’s extremely grand. Fireworks, jazz bands and tons of liquor all around, but Gatsby (who no one seems to have met) is nowhere to be seen. As Nick makes his way through the celebrations, he finds himself talking to an individual whom the audience only knows by the onyx ring he wears. The camera purposely dances around revealing who he is for a few seconds. It’s here that Gatsby, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, then shows everyone that if you have to introduce yourself to a person, there’s no finer way to do so than to offer them a glass of champagne with Rhapsody in Blue and fireworks exploding in the background.

Nick describes the moment as follows:

“His smile was one of those rare smiles that you may come across four or five times in life. It seemed to understand you and believe in you just as you would like to be understood and believed in.”

Luhrmann and DiCaprio just totally sell that moment. This guy could sell a boat to someone living in the desert. Since no one knows who he is, there’s an air of mystery to him, much like Edmond Dantes when he returns as The Count of Monte Cristo.

Enjoy.

Lisa Predicts The 86th Annual Academy Awards


american-hustle-2

Well, it’s finally that time!  The Oscars are tomorrow night and, with so many close races this year, I can’t wait to see who actually wins.  Below, you’ll find my predictions for what will win.

Please note that these are not necessarily the films that I personally would pick to honor.  You can find that list here.  Instead, these are the films and performances that I think will win tomorrow.

A few notes: I’m predicting that Gravity will win the most awards but I still think that 12 Years A Slave will win best picture.  However, I also think that either American Hustle or Dallas Buyers Club could pull an upset win in this category.

For best actor, I am picking Matthew McConaughey but I do think that Bruce Dern could possibly win.  Dern’s been acting forever and the Academy might feel that this could be his last chance to win an Oscar.  Plus, he was really good in Nebraska.

For best actress, I’m predicting that Amy Adams will upset favorite Cate Blanchett.  As we saw with the SAG awards, American Hustle is popular with actors and the Academy might be hesitant about honoring a Woody Allen film this year.

Finally, for Best Makeup, I am predicting that Bad Grandpa will win.  Why?  Every year, there’s at least one totally fucked up win that nobody predicted.  And what win could be more fucked up than Bad Grandpa?  (Also, if Bad Grandpa wins, I’ll be able to say that I was the only person who predicted it.)

Best Picture — 12 Years A Slave

Best Director — Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity

Best Actor — Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress — Amy Adams in American Hustle

Best Supporting Actor — Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actress — Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle

Best Original Screenplay — Her

Best Adapted Screenplay — 12 Years A Slave

Best Animated Film — Frozen

Best Foreign Language Film — The Great Beauty (Italy)

Best Documentary Feature — The Act of Killing

Best Documentary (Short Subject) — The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Best Live Action Short Film — The Voorman Problem

Best Animated Short Film — Mr. Hublot

Best Original Score — Gravity

Best Original Song — “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Best Sound Editing — Gravity

Best Sound Mixing — Gravity

Best Production Design — The Great Gatsby

Best Cinematography — Gravity

Best Makeup and Hairstyling — Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Best Costume Design — The Great Gatsby

Best Film Editing — 12 Years A Slave

Best Visual Effects — Gravity

What If Lisa Marie Picked The Oscar Nominees…


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced this week, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa had all the power.” Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations.  Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated.  The fact of the matter is that the many of them will not.  Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year.  Winners are listed in bold.

You can check out my picks for 2010 by clicking here.

My picks for 2011 can be found here.

And, finally, here are my picks for 2012.

Best Picture

Best Picture

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

Before Midnight

Blue Is The Warmest Color

Frances Ha

Fruitvale Station

Her

Inside Llewyn Davis

Spring Breakers

Upstream Color

Shane+Carruth+Upstream+Color+Portraits+2013+DRHrpQS3Qacx

Best Director

Noah Baumbach for Frances Ha

Shane Carruth for Upstream Color

Spike Jonze for Her

Harmony Korine for Spring Breakers

David O. Russell for American Hustle

new-wolf-of-wall-street-trailer-leonardo-dicaprio-is-the-wealthiest-stockbroker-in-the-world

Best Actor

Bruce Dern in Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street

Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club

Joaquin Phoenix in Her

Dennis Quaid in At Any Price

This-one-is-good

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine

Julie Delpy in Before Midnight

Adèle Exarchopoulos in Blue Is The Warmest Color

Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha

Amy Seimetz in Upstream Color

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Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips

Kyle Chandler in The Spectacular Now

Bradley Cooper in American Hustle

James Franco in Spring Breakers

Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club

1380134395_Lawrence

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle

Eva Mendes in The Place Beyond The Pines

Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years A Slave

Léa Seydoux in Blue Is The Warmest Color

Octavia Spencer in Fruitvale Station

Her

Best Original Screenplay

American Hustle

Blue Jasmine

Her

Inside Llewyn Davis

Upstream Color

Before-Midnight

Best Adapted Screenplay

12 Years A Slave

Before Midnight

Blue Is The Warmest Color

The Spectacular Now

The Wolf of Wall Street

November 1st, 2013 @ 20:49:52

Best Animated Feature

The Croods

Despicable Me 2

Ernest and Celestine

Frozen

Monsters University

STORIES-WE-TELL---SP-with-Super8cam-flatsc.JPG

Best Documentary Feature

20 Feet From Stardom

The Armstrong Lie

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

Stories We Tell

Tim’s Vermeer

Blue-is-the-Warmest-Color

Best Foreign Language Film

(Please note that I do things differently for this category than the Academy.   For this award, I am nominating the best foreign language films to be released in the United States in 2013.)

Beyond the Hills

Blue Is The Warmest Color

No

Renoir

White Elephant

The Great Gatsby1

Best Production Design

12 Years A Slave

Gravity

The Great Gatsby

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Oz: The Great and Powerful

Spring Breakers

Best Cinematography

Frances Ha

Inside Llewyn Davis

Nebraska

Spring Breakers

Upstream Color

American Hustle

Best Costume Design

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

The Copperhead

The Great Gatsby

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Upstream Color

Best Film Editing

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

Gravity

Her

Upstream Color

American Hustle 2

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

Dallas Buyers Club

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Warm Bodies

Maniac

Best Original Score

Gravity

Her

Maniac

Trance

Upstream Color

The Great Gatsby2

Best Original Song

“Let it Go” from Frozen

“A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)” from The Great Gatsby

“Young and Beautiful” from The Great Gatsby

“The Moon Song” from Her

“I See Fire” from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

“Atlas” from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

“Please Mr. Kennedy” from Inside Llewyn Davis

“So You Know What It’s Like” from Short Term 12

“Becomes The Color” from Stoker

“Here It Comes” from Trance

Iron Man 3

Best Sound Editing

All Is Lost

Iron Man 3

Pacific Rim

Rush

Upstream Color

Pacific Rim

Best Sound Mixing

All Is Lost

Iron Man 3

Pacific Rim

Rush

Upstream Color

Gravity

Best Visual Effects

Gravity

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Iron Man 3

Oz: The Great and Powerful

Pacific Rim

List of Films By Number of Nominations:

9 Nominations — Upstream Color

8 Nominations — American Hustle

7 Nominations — 12 Years A Slave, Her

5 Nominations — Blue Is The Warmest Color

4 Nominations — Frances Ha, Gravity, The Great Gatsby, Inside Llewyn Davis, Spring Breakers

3 Nominations — Before Midnight, Dallas Buyers Club, Iron Man 3, Pacific Rim

2 Nominations — All Is Lost, Blue Jasmine, Frozen, Fruitvale Station, Nebraska, Oz The Great and Powerful, Rush, The Spectacular Now, Trance, The Wolf of Wall Street

1 Nominations — 20 Feet From Stardom, The Armstrong Lie, At Any Price, Beyond The Hills, Captain Phillips, The Copperhead, The Counselor, The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Ernest and Celestine, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Maniac, Monsters University, No, The Place Beyond The Pines, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, Renoir, Short Term 12, Stoker, Stories We Tell, Tim’s Vermeer, Warm Bodies, White Elephant

List of Films By Number of Oscars Won

3 Oscars — American Hustle, Upstream Color

2 Oscars — The Great Gatsby

1 Oscar — Before Midnight, Blue is The Warmest Color, Frances Ha, Frozen, Gravity, Her, Iron Man 3, Maniac, Pacific Rim, The Spectacular Now, Spring Breakers, Stories We Tell, The Wolf of Wall Street

10 Of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Songs of 2013


Continuing my series on the best of 2013, here are ten of my favorite songs from 2013. Now, I’m not necessarily saying that these were the best songs of 2013. Some of them aren’t. But these are ten songs that, in the future, will define 2013 for me personally. Again, these are my picks and my picks only. So, if you think my taste in music sucks (and, admittedly, quite a few people do), direct your scorn at me and not at anyone else who writes for the Shattered Lens.

I’ve occasionally been asked what my criteria for a good song us. Honestly, the main things I look for in a song is 1) can I dance to it, 2) can I write to it, and 3) can I get all into singing it while I’m stuck in traffic or in the shower?

Anyway, at the risk of revealing just how much of a dork I truly am, here are ten of my favorite songs of 2013.

10) A Low and Swelling Sound Gradually Swelling (composed by Shane Carruth)

This atmospheric instrumental piece comes from the soundtrack of the best film of 2013, Upstream Color.  This is great writing music.

9) Giorgio By Moroder (performed by Daft Punk and Giorgio Moroder)

From Random Access Memories.

8) Saturday (performed by Rebecca Black and Dave Days)

I make no apologies.  Much like Friday, this is a fun song to sing when you’re driving to and from work.  Plus, I think the video’s clever.

7) Brave (performed by Sara Bareilles)

I have to admit that I loved this song more before it started showing up in Nokia Lumia commercials.

6) Feel This Moment (performed by Pitbull, feat. Christina Aguilera)

5) Haunted (performed by ROB)

This is from the Maniac soundtrack.  Much like the Carruth song, this is great writing music.

4) Work Bitch (performed by Britney Spears)

Not a day goes by that I don’t find an excuse to say, “You gotta work, bitch.”

3) A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) (performed by Fergie, feat. Q-Tip and Goon Rock)

From The Great Gatsby soundtrack.

2) Just Give Me A Reason (performed by Pink and Nate Ruess)

1) Lose Yourself to Dance (performed by Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams)

What else needs to be said?

Finally, here are two honorable mentions.  These are two songs that helped define 2013 for me but, for various reasons, could not be included in my top ten.

First off, Alison Gold’s Chinese Food is technically a terrible song but it’s so terrible that it becomes oddly fascinating.  Thanks to the presence of Patrice Wilson, the video is probably one of the most unintentionally creepy music videos ever made.

(I should admit that I happen to love Chinese food myself and therefore, this song is one that I’ve sung a lot over the past few years.)

The second honorable mention is a far better song than Chinese Food: Icona Pop’s I Love It.  I Love It was released in 2012 but it’s the song that I listened to nonstop last year..  So, even if it was released a year earlier, I Love It is still my favorite song of 2013.

Tomorrow, I will continue my look back at 2013 with 10 good things that I saw on television last year.

Other Entries In TSL’s Look Back At 2013:

  1. Lisa Marie’s 16 Worst Films of 2013
  2. Necromoonyeti’s Top 10 Metal Albums of 2013
  3. Things That Dork Geekus Dug In 2013
  4. Lisa Marie’s Best of 2o13 SyFy

Here Are The Semi-Finalists for the Best Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar


On December 14th, the Motion Picture Academy announced the 7 semi-finalists for this year’s Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.  Surprisingly, neither The Hobbit nor 12 Years A Slave made the cut.

Here’s what did:

American Hustle

Dallas Buyers Club

The Great Gatsby

Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa

The Lone Ranger

That’s right, everyone — Bad Grandpa is one step closer to being immortalized as an Oscar nominee.

The final 3 nominees will be announced on January 16th.

The D.C. Critics Embrace 12 Years A Slave


Oscar season continues!

A lot of observers (like me) were a bit surprised to see neither Los Angeles, New York, nor the National Board of Review name 12 Years A Slave best picture of 2013.

However, 12 Years A Slave has been doing well with the smaller critics groups.  Earlier today, it was named best picture by the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association.

Here’s the full list of winners from D.C.:

Best Picture: “12 Years a Slave”

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”

Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyongo, “12 Years a Slave”

Best Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley, “12 Years a Slave”

Best Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze, “Her”

Best Art Direction: Catherine Martin, “The Great Gatsby”

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “Gravity”

Best Editing: Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger, “Gravity”

Best Score: Hans Zimmer, “12 Years a Slave”

Best Foreign Language Film: “The Broken Circle Breakdown”

Best Animated Feature: “Frozen”

Best Documentary: “Blackfish”

Best Acting Ensemble: “12 Years a Slave”

Best Youth Performance: Tye Sheridan, “Mud”

Is The Great Gatsby Great Or Is It Simply Ghastly?


(Special thanks to frequent TSL reader and commenter Dr. Jim for inspiring the title of my review.)

Gatsby

Do you remember when everyone was predicting that Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby would battle it out with The Dark Knight Rises and The Master for Best Picture at the 2012 Academy Awards?

It may be hard to remember but, at this time last year, that’s what a lot of self-styled film divas were predicting.  And who could blame them?  The Great Gatsby was adapted from a great book, Baz Luhrmann was an A-list director, and the film featured actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan.  The flashy first trailer came out and people, like me, were very excited.

And then, suddenly, Warner Bros announced that The Great Gatsby would not be released in December of 2012.  No, instead, it would be released in May of 2013.  This led to a lot of speculation.  Some film bloggers claimed that Warner Bros was just worried that the Great Gatsby would struggle to find an audience if it was released at the same time as other prestige pictures like Lincoln and Les Miserables.  However, I think most people just assumed that the film probably wasn’t that good.  Suddenly, the opulence of that first trailer was no longer something to be celebrated but, instead, it was taken as evidence that Luhrmann had emphasized style over substance.

Last Friday, The Great Gatsby finally premiered on movie screens across the country and we finally got a chance to discover whether Lurhmann’s film was great or simply ghastly.

Before I started writing this review, I debated with myself whether or not I should include a spoiler warning.  You see, I am a F. Scott Fitzgerald fanatic.  I have read and I have loved almost all of his books (even the unfinished Last Tycoon) and I even went through a period where I identified (perhaps a bit too strongly) with Zelda Fitzgerald.  The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books of all time and it’s hard for me to imagine a world where anyone hasn’t read it.

Unfortunately, judging from the reactions of some of the people in the audience at the showing that I attended, apparently I was giving the rest of the world a little bit too much credit.  So, if you haven’t read The Great Gatsby, then you really should stop reading this review and go pick up a copy.

And, if you’re still reading this review, here’s your SPOILER WARNING.

gatsby3

With the exception of a few unnecessary scenes that feature Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) is a sanitarium, Luhrmann’s film closely follows the plot of Fitzgerald’s novel.  Nick, a recent Yale graduate, moves to New York City in the 1920s.  He has abandoned his earlier plans to be a writer so that he can concentrate on making money as a bonds salesman.  Needing a place to live, Nick ends up renting out a small cottage.  Living across the bay is Nick’s cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan) and her extremely wealthy and crude husband, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton).  And living right next door to Nick, in a gigantic castle, is the mysterious Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio).

While the Buchanans are a part of the old rich and the American establishment, Gatsby is a much more enigmatic figure.  As Nick discovers, nobody seems to be sure who Gatsby is, where he came from, or how he has made his money.  He seems to devote most of his time to throwing massive parties where he is often nowhere to be found.  However, through the cynical golfer Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki), Nick learns that Gatsby used to know Daisy and that he’s still madly in love with her.  Gatsby befriends Nick, attempting to use him as a way to get to Daisy.  Meanwhile, Nick also finds himself unwillingly in the position of being Tom’s confidante, accompanying him when he drives into New York to meet with his mistress, Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher).

gatsby4

To answer the obvious question, The Great Gatsby is not the disaster that so many of us feared but, at the same time, it’s not the triumph that so many of us had hoped for.  Instead, it’s somewhere in the middle.  As with most of his past films, Luhrmann unapologetically embraces style over substance and as such, the film is a lot of fun to watch even though it’s never as intellectually challenging or emotionally captivating as Fitzgerald’s novel.  Whereas Fitzgerald’s novel viewed Gatsby and Daisy with a captivating ambivalence, Luhrmann’s film is content to be a big, glossy soap opera.  As someone who loves the novel, I was frequently annoyed to see how interesting characters like Jordan Baker and Tom Buchanan were simplified for the film version.  But, as someone who loves on-screen spectacle, I enjoyed watching The Great Gatsby even if I could never quite bring my heart to fully embrace it.

One thing that The Great Gatsby definitely gets right is the casting of Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby.  DiCaprio’s gives one of his best performances here, perfectly capturing Gatsby’s allure while hinting at the insecurity that lies underneath the confident façade.  Carey Mulligan is well cast in the difficult role of Daisy and Tobey Magurie makes for the perfect Nick Carraway.  (That said, you have to wonder if Maguire and DiCaprio are ever going to start aging or do they both have a picture of Dorian Gray hidden away in a closet somewhere.)

Unlike Fitzgerald’s novel, Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is not quite great.  But it’s not exactly ghastly either.  If anything, perhaps it will inspire a few more people to read Fitzgerald’s classic novel.

LIBRARY IMAGE OF THE GREAT GATSBY