Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: The Great Gatsby; Scatter My Ashes; notes
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2013-05-15

This article shared 6605 times since Wed May 15, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 classic novel The Great Gatsby has been a staple of high school English lit classes for decades. And though scores of folks have no doubt been moved by Fitzgerald's story of the fragile Southern belle Daisy—married to the wealthy brute Tom Buchanan—and her obsession for her onetime lover, the elusive mega rich Jay Gatsby, the movies have not had much luck capturing the novel's potent delicacy.

It's been more than 30 years since an attempt has been made. That would be the 1974, in the appropriately lavish though leaden version co-starring Robert Redford as a nearly somnambulant Gatsby and Mia Farrow as an ethereal but not-quite-of-this-Earth Daisy.

Gorgeous and vapid, director Jack Clayton's movie looked pretty and sounded right (Francis Ford Coppola did the adaptation) but never really caught fire emotionally and seemed to drown in its own good taste.

That criticism is unlikely to ever be lobbed at Baz Luhrmann's frenzied new version of the novel, a movie that taps into the director's excesses for both better (the 3-D really does look sensational for once) and for worse (the madcap, nonstop parties at Gatsby's Long Island estate wear out their welcome faster than the tempo of one of Jay-Z's rap songs on the soundtrack). It really is Luhrmann's frenetic, twitchy Moulin Rouge all over again, albeit this time it's set in the 1920s. When Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) comments that one of Gatsby's over-the-top bashes is "like an amusement park," he's describing the movie, too.

The effect of all those extras gyrating like mad, diving in Gatsby's pool, drinking all that bootleg whiskey and groping each other indiscriminately is of such bacchanalian proportions that it requires an act of will to sit there passively as the senses are not merely assaulted but pummeled into submission. It's akin to watching a play staged on a carousel. Ironically, when the movie finally slows down for the romance between Daisy and Gatsby, it starts to come to life.

Leonardo DiCaprio retains just enough of his baby-faced innocence, combined with a somber gravitas, to make his lovelorn, desperate Gatsby that much more tragic. I wish that Carey Mulligan, who has a lovely entrance, was a better physical match up for him. Mulligan doesn't have either the breathtaking beauty or the elusive qualities of Fitzgerald's creation, and it's hard to believe this Daisy would ignite the imagination of both Gatsby and Joel Edgerton as a very brutish Buchanan, the conservative WASP who has claimed her thanks to his vast fortune. Maguire—as Daisy's poor cousin, who watches on the sidelines—is his usual sad-sack self, forced to narrate the film in Luhrmann's negligible, invented framing device.

Perhaps Fitzgerald's novel—with its lyrical dexterity that makes one put the book down to momentarily ponder its gorgeous, insightful descriptions—will never get the film adaptation that it deserves. Luhrmann's movie, valiant attempt that it is, never gets past his ultimately uncomfortable, hybrid conception of mixing old and new. This Great Gatsby has moments of spectacular beauty, some bewitching visuals and even its share of scenes with actors getting at the heart of the material—but on the whole it never hangs together, hamstrung by the director's crazy-quilt, rather ill-conceived approach that can't make up its mind about how to look or feel. In short, the movie is Daisy incarnate.

We've had a plethora of documentaries on fashion designers and the fabulous folks who cover their creations—and now there's Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf's, a movie that focuses exclusively on Manhattan's one-of-a-kind department store that showcases its high-end wares. The film, which Matthew Miele directs, is a feast for fashionistas and not—unlike the myriad of fashion-themed flicks that have come before it—the high-wattage personalities often eclipse the electrifying clothes, shoes and accessories they're all so mad for.

The unique Bergdorf-Goodman emporium is a New York institution that, for more than a century, has prided itself on its outré clientele and outrageously expensive offerings. The film can't help but pick up the theme of conspicuous consumption that's the given mindset of both store employees and its customers. (This ain't a place for bargains, folks.).No criticism by outsiders (heaven forbid) of the obscene amounts spent in the store is allowed to sully this portrait of this couture department store. Instead, the day-to-day behind-the-scenes on the various floors of the oh-so-tasteful store and in the justly famed windows beckoning tourists and, one presumes, dreamers alike are explored in the movie's zippy 90 minutes.

In between a quick overview of the history of the store, we meet various department heads—all stylishly dressed, of course—as they go about the business of sizing new potential designers, imparting a few secrets to staying on top as a personal shopper and, most delightfully, revealing the insanely meticulous detail that goes into crafting the store windows. Dishy and fun (it's revealed that Yoko Ono, on one Christmas Eve, stocked up on more than 70 fur coats for family members), Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf's is close to hagiography—but who cares when faced with such an entertaining valentine as this.

Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf's opens Friday, May 17, exclusively playing in Chicago at AMC, 600 N. Michigan Ave.

Film notes:

—Julie Dash, who has the distinction of being the first female African-American director of a feature film, 1991's Daughters of the Dust, will be the guest at a screening of the movie (featuring a new 35mm print) on Tuesday, May 21 at 7 p.m. at the Logan Center Performance Hall at the University of Chicago, 5811 South Ellis Ave., Cobb Hall 306. The film, a revelatory historical drama, will be preceded by Dash's 1977 short film The Diary of An African Nun (also screened in a restored version). The event is part of a celebratory screening series titled "L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema," which focuses on the works of pioneering African-American filmmakers. Jacqueline Stewart will provide the introduction. http://filmstudiescenter.uchicago.edu/events/2013/daughters-dust

—The Chicago-based Wachowski siblings (Andy and Lana, who recently transitioned to female) co-directed the sprawling sci-fi epic Cloud Atlas, which spans eons of time, countries and cultures in an attempt to prove we're all connected. Starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Susan Sarandon, as well as Ben Whishaw and James D'Arcy as gay lovers whose romance provides the connecting device (via their love letters) between all the disparate elements, the movie is now on Blu-ray and DVD. Based on a best-seller, the three-hour film didn't connect with mainstream audiences but will hopefully do so in this feature-packed home release. It's a gorgeous, thought-provoking movie that rewards long after it's over.


This article shared 6605 times since Wed May 15, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Pritzker Military Museum, Library to screen TransMilitary doc, Q&A with special guests 2021-09-28
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL (September 27, 2021) On Thursday, Sept. 30, at 5:30 p.m., the Pritzker Military Museum & Library will host the screening of the 2018 SXSW Audience Award Winner for Best Documentary TransMilitary. The program will ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Transgender Talent, celebrity deaths, film festival, Whitney Houston 2021-09-26
- Transgender Talent—the trans-owned and operated management and production company—is looking to help Hollywood get better at portraying transgender and non-binary characters on screen with the launch of a new consulting ...


Gay News

MOVIES 24-hour horror marathon at Music Box on Oct. 23-24 2021-09-24
- "The Music Box of Horrors," sponsored by CreepyCo., will return to the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., from noon on Saturday, Oct. 23 through noon on Sunday, Oct. 24. The event will include special ...


Gay News

'Firebird' opens Reeling Chicago LGBTQ+ Internat'l Film Fest tonight 2021-09-23
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois — Tonight, the 39th annual Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival invites audiences to enjoy an in-person pre-party and theater screening of 'Firebird' for Opening Night at the Music Box Theater. Director P ...


Gay News

REVIEWS: Movies of Reeling 2021 2021-09-22
- Reeling: The 39th Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival will take place Friday, Sept. 23-Thursday, Oct. 7. After a virtual edition in 2020, Reeling returns with in-person screenings this year, kicking off with the Estonian romantic drama ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'Shang-Chi' actor in anti-gay controversy 2021-09-20
- Actor Simu Liu—the star of the latest Marvel action movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings—is embroiled in controversy over alleged Reddit comments he made about how pedophilia is "no different from being gay," ...


Gay News

FILM REVIEW Chastain mesmerizes in 'Tammy Faye,' but bio offers few surprises 2021-09-20
- Televangelists featured in some of the of the most spectacular falls from grace in the '80s. Television preachers who'd spent the better part of the '70s and the '80s insinuating themselves into pocketbooks, not to mention ...


Gay News

8th Annual Black Alphabet Film Festival on Nov. 5-7 2021-09-17
- The 8th Annual Black Alphabet Film Festival (BAFF) will take place Nov. 5-7 at the University of Chicago's Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. One of the longest running Black ...


Gay News

Brittany Devon meets a 'Platonic Girlfriend' 2021-09-15
- Queer, genderfluid actor Brittany Devon has created a brand new project to explore with Platonic Girlfriend. It is the story of a relationship between straight woman Alice and a queer, nonbinary person named Dev. Devon stars ...


Gay News

THEATER Out actor Dan Butler to be in 'When Harry Met Rehab' 2021-09-15
- Don Clark, a Chicago-based film/theater producer as well as co-owner of the Chicago Magic Lounge, will present the world premiere of When Harry Met Rehab—a comedy that takes sobriety seriously and is based loosely on the ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Boy Meets Boy,' Jennifer Hudson, 'SVU,' tennis honor, ABBA 2021-09-12
- Ariztical Entertainment is releasing the German movie Boy Meets Boy on DVD and VOD on Oct. 26. According to a press release, the plot of the 70-minute movie is as follows: "Harry has been partying for ...


Gay News

MOVES Talking about 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' 2021-09-08
- The new movie Everybody's Talking About Jamie tells the inspiring story of Jamie New, a young drag artist who overcomes hardship and homophobia in Sheffield, England. Out actor Max Harwood stars as New, who gets by ...


Gay News

Survivor shares the story of trauma and thriving in 'Untold' 2021-09-07
- WARNING: This article contains material of a graphic nature. Gina M. Garcia is finally sharing her story of thriving after trauma in her new docu-drama biography, Untold: This is My Story, which premieres Sept. 6 at ...


Gay News

MOVIES Fall films harvest famous names for LGBTQ+ stories 2021-09-01
- The film industry is featuring world-renowned names like Lady Gaga, Truman Capote and Tammy Faye on the big screen this fall season. Award-winning musicals, true-life stories and far-out fiction are all part of the fun in ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'On Broadway' to open Sept. 10 in Highland Park 2021-09-01
- As theatergoers prepare for the return of Broadway after an unprecedented absence of 18 months, Kino Lorber is releasing Academy Award nominee Oren Jacoby's documentary On Broadway. The tribute to one of the most vibrant ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.