Tuesday, May 22, 2012

3D Saves Another One?

The big shocker of "Transformers: Dark of The Moon" was that Michael Bay's sense of visual composition and scene-geography, which had regressed into being almost pure ADHD nonsense, had suddenly been restored to something resembling actual filmmaking... and the cause seemed pretty obvious: He'd been made to shoot the movie in 3D, which (presently) requires longer takes and deliberate compositions in order for the effect to work and massively-cumbersome rigs to be created - the process had, seemingly, cured him of his worst habits by effectively strapping a cinder-block to his camera.

Now, it appears 3D might have worked the same magic on another hodgepodge auteur; the badly-in-need-of-a-hit Baz Luhrman. Below, the trailer for his big XMas Oscar Bait release, "The Great Gatsby 3D."


It's just a trailer, but if it's an accurate representation of the final product this is easily the best looking thing Luhrman has ever turned out; all his strengths (opulence, enthusiasm, earnest bravado) with his weaknesses (see: everything after "Romeo + Juliet") seemingly mitigated by the technology.

What's left is the truth of the matter: Love him or hate him, Luhrman is perfect for this material; and I'm feeling like it's going to be a real treat to see a version of "Gatsby" go all-in on the era-appropriate exuberance and ribaldry that previous attempts haven't quite captured. The "Roaring" 20s is a fascinating period, but it's seldom been done justice onscreen - partially because so much of what made the period interesting in terms of art, culture, fashion and social behavior went back to being taboo after The Depression/WWII... in fact, in many respects we're only just now getting back to where we already were then.

25 comments:

Omorka said...

I am beginning to wonder if DiCaprio's instructions to his agent now include "film must include at least one scene in period clothing." Dude rocks the pre-'60s good suit look, but I almost never see him in anything else these days.

And yeah, I've occasionally wondered where we'd be if the strides the US made towards being a more sex-positive culture hadn't been so thoroughly made irrelevant in the Depression and then deliberately erased by the manufactured "new normal" of the post-WWII, pre-'60s era.

Anonymous said...

I think the "cinder block effect" is the only good thing that I can say about 3D movies, for right now I still get motion sick trying to watching them.

Jacob Beck said...

We watched the '74 movie in my (high school) English class. Interesting to see that we went from Robert Redford and Sam Waterson to Leo DiCaprio and Toby MacGuire.

biomechanical923 said...

I'm just excited to see the opulent art-deco aesthetic pushed to an almost fantasy-like level.

I might have wasted the money to see Atlas Shrugged if it was a period piece rather than a modern re-telling.

Daniel R said...

I still maintain 3D will eventually become a benefit to film. Sure we still have the occasional dud like Wrath of the Titans but then there's also the breathtaking use of space in films like Hugo and err... Hugo!

Yeah fine, nothing else besides Hugo. But sitting in that theater, watching the train station come to life in a manner different to anything I've ever seen before was amazing.

Then again, the only great use of 3D is brought to us by Scorsese a cinematic master.

But this trailer shows that directors are slowly but surely learning to frame a 3D scene correctly, and as you said its limitations help keep a shorter leash on modern cinema's more bothersome tendencies. Lets just hope those limitations last long enough for the lessons to sink in on a deeper level.






Oh and...
Look, I'm really sorry to post this here, I fully understand if you decide to delete this comment Bob, as its kind of an inflammatory question and it will probably end up derailing the conversation. Its just that I didn't know where else to go since I don't frequent any forum site like 4chan or its ilk and I really would value you're thoughts as well as several other commenters' thoughts on the situation.

Alright here it goes;

I've mentioned before the fact that I am bisexual, as of right now I am closeted. I've largely refrained from coming out for the past year or so. But, right now I'm really sick of hiding the real me, especially from my friends and family. I am REALLY conflicted as to whether I should come out and how exactly I should do it.

I think my family would take the news pretty well.
My older brother is one of the most progressive people I know so he'd probably take it best, he even refuses to eat at Chick Fil-A whenever we visit the US, because they contribute to anti-gay rights organizations. He may already have suspicions, the other day we rewatched The Avengers and he kinda caught me ogling at Thor.

My sister would probably also take it well, I'm pretty sure she has a couple of gay friends so having a gay younger brother probably wouldn't shake her.

My Mom has also made it very clear she has nothing against gays, but I've heard her say bisexuals are just homosexuals who haven't accepted themselves. I'm pretty sure I'm bisexual, I know what I'm attracted to, and its not a single gender. I don't know how she'd take the news.

My Dad,
I just don't know. I've never heard him say a single word on wether he's against or for gay rights. But I do know he's never doubted me, and all throughout my childhood he supported my decisions to forego traditional boys activities, he never once stopped me from auditioning to school choirs and musicals or force me to join the soccer team.

So my family'd probably be okay with it.

Daniel R said...

School on the other hand.

I'm pretty sure I'd lose a couple of friends who've made it very clear in the past that they hate homosexuality, one even called it unnatural.

I'm also pretty sure I'd gain a few cool points with some kids who pride themselves in being 'progressive'. Although, I'm not sure if you'd call that a positive.

I also think I'd end up with at best a few threats and at worst several beatings.
Last time homosexuality was MENTIONED in my Character Education class, several jerks spent the rest of the class bragging about how they've made other gay teenagers' lives miserable. One of which apparently beat up and left some poor kid tied up in his underwear next to a hotel hot tub while he was on vacation with his friends. So yeah, I'm sort of freaked out.

This won't endanger my life in any serious way, if it gets to a point where I believe they might try something I'll just need to ask this big friend of mine to start walking to my car with me. It's an incredibly short walk, but still.
Embarrassing? sure.
Safe? Hell yeah.

I've thought this through, I'm just conflicted as to whether I should do it, or whether I should wait, at least until I'm out of high school.

Oh and, sorry again Bob for this HUGELY out of topic comment, once again I wouldn't hold anything against you if you want to delete it. It's you're blog, I just hope you forgive me for posting something so provocative.
I honestly just don't know what to do or who to go to and you're opinion on this would mean a lot to me.

biomechanical923 said...

@Daniel
its 2012
coming out is a joke
Quoth John Waters
Just do what you do. No need to explain yourself to anybody. Any way you slice it, it makes no sense.

1. If your sexual preference is not a big part of who you are, then what's the point of telling everyone in your life?

2. If your sexual preference IS a defining part of your identity, then you dont have much of a personality in the first place, and define yourself by what you do, rather than who you are.

Anonymous said...

The art student inside me is rolling around on the floor from the orgasms induced by so much concentrated 20's design sensibility.

Anonymous said...

The character "Meyer Wolfsheim" is being played by a Bollywood actor? Really? Why?

Anonymous said...

First there's Jay-Z music in the "Gangster Squad" trailer, now in this one! Is Jay-Z really appropriate in selling the 1920's-40's, Hollywood? Yes, I understand the gangster "gangsta" connection (as inane as I still think that is), but trying to draw parallels between "The Roaring Twenties" and the hip-hop star lifestyle?

Anonymous said...

The music in this one isn't Jay-Z (I think it's Kanye West here), but still.

Taylor said...

GAAAAH BAZ LUHRMAN YOU INCOMPETENT FLIPPING DOLT MAKE CRAP MOVIES IF YOU WANT BUT LEAVE AMERICAN LITERATURE THE FLIP OUT OF IT!

Oh this looks so stupid. I don't want to hear "Ooh, it's all about vivid imagery and capturing the period" NO IT FLIPPING ISN'T THIS GUY DID MOULIN ROUGE! This is about turning the Great Gatsby into a flipping music video.

WHERE ARE THE WORDS! WHERE IS THE FITZGERALD! This is just people flitting about in big set piece after setpiece (And, for the record, the roaring 20s were big and image obsessed but it wasn't flipping mardi gras every single night)

Why let people INTERPRET moments like the colorful shirts when you can just have characters point it out for you.

This movie will be as much an abomination as any wretched garbage Luhrman has ever produced, but worse for assaulting the legacy of The Great Gatsby.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Taylor, though not in such an angry way. While the movie does look good, that doesn't really mean much. The original movie pretty much put everything from the book on screen and it looked good too. This just looks very watered down and it will probably lack a lot of substance from the original book.

The only reason I would see this movie is if it was more from the perspective of Nick. I always found him a more fascinating character than Gatsby. Otherwise, I'm not interested at all even if it does look pretty.

Anonymous said...

@biomechanical923:
"I'm just excited to see the opulent art-deco aesthetic pushed to an almost fantasy-like level.

I might have wasted the money to see Atlas Shrugged if it was a period piece rather than a modern re-telling."

Oh my God, somebody who gets it! Atlas Shrugged(which was IMO one of Rand's worst novels), could have been a good movie if it was re-imagined as this sort of Wagnerian fantasy(Terry Gilliam would have been the best person for the job), but instead we got a horrid propaganda piece. Of course, what I'm suggesting was never going to happen, but it should have.

Nicholas said...

Visually I agree with you, bob, that this movie looks pretty damn cool. But if the sound track is ANYTHING like the one for the trailer, god help us all. Whoever picked the music for this trailer should be fired on the spot. It completely ruined the tone and the '20's vibe.

Lets just hope it was a marketing ploy and not something we will find throughout the movie.

Joe said...

I've seen enough actual history ravaged by Hollywood to have tears to spare when they take license with classic literature--I was a history major, not a lit major. And I've always liked Luhrman, and didn't even know he had a vast haterdom until Bob posted That Guy With the Glasses' video (which I also liked). I also love Art Deco style, so it's fair to say I'm looking forward to this.

Anonymous said...

Is the Great Gatsby something that needed to be done in 3D?

Anonymous said...

The cinematography looks rather competent - but what's up with this god aweful cartoony-CGI in all those long shots over cities?

It really looks fucking atrocious and makes me question the money behind this thing and in what sections it soaked.

When you don't have the money - don't make fucking unnecessary establishing shots with dollars that could have been invested in more important sections.

MovieBob said...

@Daniel R,

Wow. So... I am so not qualified to offer any kind of advice in that regard; other than to say A.) if you really are feeling this conflicted you should probably take advantage of any life-counseling services offered by your school (in terms of how to proceed, I mean - obviously your sexual-identity isn't in need of "help" and I wouldn't imply such) and B.) good luck :)

Now, then...

@others,

Regarding the soundtrack, I understand that hip-hop (particularly radio-friendly artists like Kanye and Jay-Z) are overexposed in current advertising... I think it's amusingly appropriate here, and also in the Gangster Squad trailer.

Firstly, it works as an IMMEDIATE "we're doing something different" cue. The innate problem with "recent period" (re: earlier 20th century) movies is that there can be an immediate feeling of "this is old"/"I've seen this before" with even receptive audiences. The immediate incongruity of - to be blunt about it - contemporary "black" music underscoring the actions of period "white" events is a nice shortcut to "HEY! PAY ATTENTION!" It's an easily-abused trick, I'll grant, but it works for me in these cases.

Secondly... I'd go so far as to say the music would probably fit IN the movies (the rap tracks, I mean - the U2 song is the worst part of this trailer.) The language and aesthetic of hip-hop has cultivated associations both direct and indirect with the "glamorous ne'er-do-well" imagery of both 20s party-kids and 30s gangsters for awhile now. The 90s-00s 'gangsta' scene was a direct descendant of the similar romanticism afforded bootleggers and mobsters in those eras (hence hip-hop's fixation on "Scarface," itself a redressing of a 30s film); and I don't know how I'm NOT supposed to see a direct connection between opulence-for-opulence's-sake vibe nurtured by guys like Jay-Z and Kanye (re: newly-rich rappers cavorting in gleaming mansions in a constant state of party) and the garish social-scene at the center of Gatsby. This mashup makes sense to me, and if Luhrman WAS to score the whole movie to big-money hip-hop and avoided the thuddingly-obvious song/scene symbolism of Moulin Rouge I think he'd be close to something profound.

CJ said...

I'm not a huge fan of Luhrmann, as Australia was an incredibly mediocre, Americanized version of my country, but he's only made that and the Moulin Rouge! post Romeo and Juliet. And, frankly, Moulin Rouge! was awesome. So I'm not sure there's much point in the sentence "everything after "Romeo + Juliet"

CJ said...

Oh, and totally agree about "Atlas Shrugged"... Rand's best work was easily "The Fountainhead"

Daniel R said...

(Fair warning, melodramatic venting follows)

First of all, thank you very much for answering.
But I don't think the councilors could do much to help. They mean well, but things have a tendency to spread around the grapevine when they get involved. Everyone sort of finds out who did what with who, or who was crying in the office after being called names in the cafeteria.
That, and their usual response to a problem is simply; "Assembly!!"
And I really don't want to be outed in front of the entire school in the auditorium, or confronted in the middle of the cafeteria after the rumors have spread. If I'm gonna commit social suicide, I want to do it on my own terms, is what I'm saying.

As far as I can tell, there seems to only be one other gay kid in my grade, but he's so far into the closet he can see Narnia. So I guess he's out. I just really want to be myself, even if its with one person. I'm guessing I'll probably tell my Brother first, eventually. I just hope he doesn't tell anyone else, for now.

I know for some, coming out isn't a big deal, and in certain parts of the world I'm sure thats true.
And I may even be exaggerating things, maybe the entire school won't ostracize me and the hostile vibe I keep getting is simply a very vocal minority.

I'm pretty sure several of my friends won't think much of it. In fact one of them already asked me if I was gay a few months ago, I said no, but he didn't seem to have anything against the possibility.

I probably should get it over with, I'm just scared.

Scared some of my friends will start hanging out with me less and less.

Even the ones who'd have no problem with it.
Scared they'd act strange or defensive around me. Some of my greatest memories with them are mostly a product of them letting their guards down (I'll admit, sometimes via alcohol) and I fear that if I told them the truth those moments would just seize.

Scared the school tags me as "the gay kid" and that basically becomes my entire identity.

Scared most girls forget I'm bisexual and simply write me off completely and I get trapped in another sexual identity that isn't my own.

Scared my Grandparents who have so far been some of the most loving people in my life resent me for it.

Scared I get hoisted up as some sort of mascot to the school's "fair and caring education"

And mostly scared I'll get beat up or stuffed in a locker or drowned in one of the toilets or hanged up on the flagpole by my underwear, I don't know, I haven't been a target of serious physical bullying since I was in kindergarden, I'm just terrified what they might do. They outnumber me, and they aren't exactly kind right now.

I'm really really sorry, I'm sort off dropping all this baggage in you're blog. Its just that, its really the only place I feel I can openly air my grievances.

I'm not unhappy, I'm surrounded by people that love me and I could easily pass of as straight, I'm just angry that my closest friend doesn't really know me and I feel completely helpless about it!

but then what do i know said...

Okay, so I know you specifically asked Bob for his advice and I don’t even know yet if I have anything useful to say to you, Daniel, but I’m so struck with awe right now, that I have to write something. I’m merely an occasional reader of Bob myself so I don’t know your track record here but the hereby assumed fact that you chose a blog full of what one might call acquaintances at best to discuss your most private inner feelings on an unrelated side note is something I’m struggling to get my head around because it shows that there really doesn’t seem to be any place to go for you to unload this giant heap of feelings at all. This makes me sick as I’m just realising I believe to live in one of those places you mentioned where most of your fears would not matter. I might have been lucky with my experiences and may have been blindfolded enough not see anything contradicting them but I can’t even imagine sane people in a major civilized western area to brag about comic-like actions like toilet diving convincingly enough that one would actually believe them let alone doing this stuff in reality. And then just because you’re gay? I know that there are some human abominations and way too often one of them gets strong/smart/talented enough to actually have a word in how things are done but somehow you just burst a bubble for me. Now instead of being tightly stuffed into the far kept balloon saying ‘stereotypical pop cultural nonsense’, all the ridiculous things that people are doing to other people mostly in insensible American comedies that couldn’t possibly be anything but the excessive hyperbole of some script writer are spilled on the ground crying for me to acknowledge them as realistic models of human behaviour. Uah.
Maybe that’s because racism and brutality is a much bigger issue in terms of social atrocities (Calling the former that, not homosexuality.) here in Germany and we generally only got a low level awareness for anything related to sexual self determination.

So, world’s a bad place. Now even a bit more. But still.

I’m not gay myself (But now that I come to think of it, I have been asked if and even quietly assumed that I was gay a strangely numerous amount of times.) and so isn’t my best friend or something. I only know the fair share of 3 or 4 homosexual people most might know, so I’m far from being a qualified advisor, but as someone at the other end of one of your friendships I think that biomechanical923 and John Waters are right: There is no need for a gay bar mitzvah. Did any of your friends ever go around shouting “Look at me, I get sexually aroused by girls” (Well, they most probably did, but that’s not my point.) just to answer some awkward questions afterwards? Then why should you do so? If your thinking Thor is hot then feel free to say so. Your brother will surely admit the same for Scarlett. You feel like flirting with anyone? Then do so and see if he/she responds to that. Just like everyone does. The biggest problem for friends of homosexuals might actually be the coming out. Because it places them in the same situation they are when being with the other sex: They can’t understand those otherworldly feelings but this time they are confronted at once with an unexpected change and didn’t have a chance to grow into understanding. Give them the possibility to relate to your feelings not by turning their world upside down at once but giving them subtle everyday doses of how this might work out. Just be open and stay prepared if anyone actually is about to ask you for your sexual orientation.
So in the end I’m suggesting you not to gain your sovereignty by telling everyone what you feel but by letting everyone feel until they can tell. Or something like that.

Btw: Since this obviously is some kind of spontaneous outburst and my English is unfortunately far from even approximating something like a native level I hope you’ll forgive me my letscallit rough style.

Daniel R said...

@but then what do i know

Thanks for the advice, definitely taken into account and it means a lot to me that you took the time and effort to provide it.

A few things to address;

Yeah, the toilet/underwear/locker examples were more of an attempt at comic exaggeration by my part, ditto the Narnia bit. My attempt to lighten the mood really, I just want people to know that I'm not suicidal or anything. No, they don't stoop to such comically ridiculous levels of abuse.

I meant to say that I honestly have no idea what they'll do if they found out.
And by "they" I mean a specific group of about 20 or so homophobic thugs. They're really the only ones I'm afraid of in terms of physical abuse.
And BTW, these guys have it out for me even without knowing I'm gay, part of the dangers of being an introverted effeminate geek. So I think this might be the last straw for them.
Like I said before, several of them take a Character Education (basically Sex-Ed) class with me and the last time the teacher mentioned homosexuality they started bragging about; ways they've made other gay kids miserable (all out of school mind you so the teacher couldn't do anything about it, although she did reprimand one of them about the fact that they were being intolerant, but they didn't seem to care. I honestly still remember the terrifying cackle of laughter I heard when one of them mentioned the aforementioned hot tub 'assault', I still don't know wether he was lying or the kid was simply too afraid to come clean) and ways they would make them miserable if "they tried anything,"
Thats mainly what has me freaked out.

Daniel R said...

The rest of the school probably wouldn't resort to any physical harm, but I think they the worst of them would ostracize me or insult me and harass me with a bunch of questions and reasons why I should stop what I'm doing right the hell now. I also know for sure that at least some of them are completely fine with the idea of homosexuality and bisexuality.
Example; Last year my class read Romeo and Juliet. Eventually the question of Shakespeare's possible homosexuality came up. That was a fairly revealing discussion; about one third of the class (mostly boys) kind of went off about homosexuality being wrong and immoral and unnatural, another third didn't seem to talk that much so I couldn't really tell what they thought, and finally the last third seemed accepting-to-indifferent about homosexuality.

So I now that I've thought about it, most of the hate does indeed come from a very very very vocal minority. I just think that minority could potentially make my life a living hell if they find out.

As for you're advice;
You're right in that I should subtly introduce my real sexuality to my friends. I've tried in the past, but I usually panic halfway through and make some clumsy clarifying statement about my heterosexuality.

Looking back on my time with a few of my friends, I'm kind off surprised they haven't figured it out (that is, if they haven't, for all I know my closet could be about as transparent as they come)

Truth is;
Its just always seemed to me like something that would be a big deal to them. I knew a few of them would hate me for it and I knew a few of them wouldn't mind, but I've kinda always thought that it would illicit some kind of big reaction within the group.
Am I Self centered? Why yes, why do you ask?

But yeah, now that I realize it, I really can't see how a few of them don't know already but simply haven't mentioned it.
One of them caught me caressing his hair for christ's sake, followed by a very very awkward moment. It was late, we were tired, I really wasn't thinking straight (Pun intended).

I've noticed a few of them are a little bit more eager to throw around the "not that there's anything wrong with that" card when I'm around.

So... yeah, it seems you could be right. Thanks, that really is a load off my mind. I'm still a bit paranoid as to what I should do, but I feel a lot more confident in myself, if that means anything to you. Thanks! ^_^