Mook Review: “The Great Gatsby” Part Two – Guest Post!

The lovely Stephanie of The Anxiety of Authorship has offered her pen to a guest mook review – a two part piece focusing on “The Great Gatsby.”  You can read Part One of her mook review by clicking here; an analysis on The Great Gatsby novel and the 1974 “The Great Gatsby” movie directed by Jack Clayton.  Stephanie has now provided me with her review and rating of “Gatsby” directed by Baz Luhrmann, and I must say I agree with her review whole heartedly!  Check it out below…

“Gatsby” - Directed by Baz Luhrmann

via Wikipedia.org

via Wikipedia.org

I wanted to like the new Gatsby movie more than I did. The build-up to it was tremendous–the stunning trailers, the talented actors, the creative and well-respected director, the Jay-Z produced soundtrack featuring huge names in music today. Like Gatsby’s invention of himself for Daisy’s approval, everything about this film is built to impress us. Though Luhrmann delivered the most entertaining Gatsby film to date, it did not reach the greatness I expected.

The main reason I can’t say the movie is great is because it includes a lot of unnecessary scenes, and also adds many unnecessary clichés to the story.  I tend to be open-minded to all kinds film interpretations of books, but I could not stand that Luhrmann turned this into a story within a story with Nick telling it all to a doctor in an insane asylum. The doctor then goes on to encourage Nick to write the story out on paper, leading him to write–you guessed it–The Great Gatsby. I often enjoy unique story structures, especially when there is a writer character involved, but I felt like I’d seen this structuring a million times before. There are other minor clichés in the film, such as cuts to shooting stars in the night’s sky (for some reason that really bothered me), cuts to the green light over and over again, and the hammering of “old sport” again and again. I know that “old sport” is Gatsby’s catchphrase, but I didn’t think he was supposed to say it that much. I think the film also tries to be too sweeping with all of the flash backs to Daisy and Gatsby’s lives before living in New York–again, such scenes were just unnecessary.

Despite the above, there are many things that work. The acting is great. There is a way each character speaks that just emanates the past. Each actor mastered a Golden Age accent specific to his or her character. Leonardo DiCaprio also brings much passion, obsession, and anguish to Gatsby as a character–and it works. I was only disappointed with Myrtle. Luhrmann chose not to focus much on Myrtle, though she’s supposed to be a quite loud and ridiculous personality. There was nothing wrong with the actress per say, but I thought she should have had a larger on-screen presence. The intermixing of modern and classic music throughout the film also works, although not in the way I expected.

It’s odd. I left the theater disappointed and a little embarrassed to be wearing my Great Gatsby book cover t-shirt. But since then, I’ve found the film sticking with me–I’ve been thinking a lot about what works/what doesn’t, thinking about my favorite scenes (Gatsby and Daisy’s first meeting scene at Nick’s house, and the Plaza Hotel scene), and downloading songs from the soundtrack. This must mean something. Although the film includes unnecessary scenes, and might feed into what popular audiences want, I know Luhrmann had good intentions, and I still enjoyed his surrealistic interpretation of such a classic story. I give this mook 3 stars.

Mook Rating – ★★★

About these ads

The Nominees Are In! Mooks Take Over the 85th Academy Awards

via GetGlue.com

via GetGlue.com

The nominations for the 85th Annual Academy Awards were released this morning and (to no one’s surprise) an astounding 11 book adaptations were nominated for an Oscar this year.  Particularly impressive in the Best Picture division, 5 out of 9 nominees were book adaptations including “Argo,” “Les Miserables,” “The Silver Linings Playbook,” “Life of Pi,” and “Lincoln” which were also all nominated in a variety of other categories.  Predictably the biggest winners out of this bunch will be “Lincoln” and “The Silver Linings Playbook” which is the only mook of the bunch to receive The Big Five (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay.)

The Academy Awards will debut live on ABC Sunday, February 24th at 7PM EST hosted by Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone.  You can read the full list of nominees here.  Who do you predict will be the big winners?

The End is Near: Final Mooks of 2012

When I think back to one year ago, it is hard to believe the spark for Mookology was just beginning to ignite.  Nearly 2,500 followers later, Mookology’s one year anniversary is well on its way along with a number of incredible mooks I know you are all looking forward to.  Closing out the year are two of the most highly anticipated mooks of the decade: “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2,” which will blow up theaters across the nation on November 16th, followed by (and likely surpassed by) “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” on December 14th.  Both of these mooks are the heart of large fan bases who are, undoubtedly, eager to see these stories come to life.

Aside from these fantasy series adaptations which are bound to be record breaking releases, there are a few mooks I am very anxious to see.  The adaptation of David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” debuts on October 26th, with a promising cast and lots of potential.  Toronto Film Festival favorite, “The Silver Lining’s Playbook” will be released in theaters on November 21st along with the adaptation for the award-winning “Life of Pi.”

Classic literature will also take the screen before the years end.  The 2012 adaptation for “Anna Karenina” will also make its way to the silver screen in November, but is likely to be ousted from the top spot by the Twilight franchise.  Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” adaptation is another mook that is sure to bring in viewers, starring actress of Twilight fame, Kristen Stewart.  Tom Hooper’s adaptation of “Les Miserables” will officially bring 2012 to its close with it’s Christmas debut.

Of course, 2013 will not shy away from adaptations as there are many eagerly anticipated mooks to be released.  Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the novels’ namesake, is set for a release date of May 10th after being pushed back from its December 2012 release.  “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is also lined up for release in November 2013, a mook with a very large fan base, however tween fantasy romance “Beautiful Creatures” might give The Hunger Games a run for its money debuting in February of 2013.   L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz gets a fresh take with Sam Raimi’s “Oz: The Great and Powerful”, while Stephen King’s psycho-thriller remake “Carrie” gets a fresh face with Chloe Moretz as the disturbed lead role, both set to release in March.

The year to come will have no shortage of mooks, that much is clear, and announcements for new adaptations are being made rapidly.  Two very popular young adult series’, Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” and Cassandra Clare’s “The Mortal Instruments,” are both slated for adaptations and are being both cast and filmed as of the moment.  What mooks are you most looking forward to seeing?  Which books would you love to see made into mooks?  Leave your comments below and keep on reading!

Mook Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Novel by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky, Coming of Age, Charlie and Sam, Charlie and Patrick

via Goodreads.com

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming of age novel and a staple piece of contemporary literature from my generation.  Stephen Chbosky presents us the character of Charlie who is writing anonymous, journal-esque letters to an unknown person.  Through his letters, we learn a lot about the troubled 15-year-old as this novel takes us through his first year in High School.

Charlie, like most of us once were, is an awkward teenager trying to fit in and make friends, however Charlie has a very difficult past that makes his awkwardness much harder to overcome.  When he finds friendship in Patrick and Sam, things begin to change for him and he explores what it means to be a teenager.

I loved The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  The characters are so well developed through Charlie’s thoughts and the story is gripping in the most raw and youthful way.  It truly is a coming of age story and Charlie is such a memorable person.  By the end of the book, you want to reach through the pages, give him a hug, and let him know that you will be there for him.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” Directed by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky, Movie, Summit Entertainment, Mook, Mookology

via Wikipedia.org

The adaptation for “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is unconventional and unique in the most awesome way possible; Stephen Chbosky, the novels author, is both the screenwriter and director.  This kind of thing rarely ever happens for mooks.  Needless to say, since Chbosky played a very important role in the making of this film I went into the viewing expecting flawlessness; I imagined this movie to be as close to a perfect adaptation as it can get with all aspects of the story perfectly weaved into film.

First, I need to commend Logan Lerman on his acting skills.  I was definitely skeptical of his performance at first considering the only two roles I’ve seen him in was Percy in “Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” and an 8 year old version of the main character, Evan, in “The Butterfly Effect.”  Neither were spectacular performances BUT I found him to be so perfect as Charlie in the movie I couldn’t get over it.  Kudos to you, Mr. Lerman.

The casting for this film was definitely well done (although I couldn’t help but hear Emma Watson’s British accent no matter how hard I tried).  One thing I really loved in this film was the comedy.  Particular moments, like when Charlie is tripping on Acid and shoveling a circle of snow, are laugh-out-loud funny and perfectly fitting for the film.  The comedy doesn’t come across as well in the book, although there are some funny parts, and Ezra Miller’s performance as Patrick definitely stole the show in terms of one-liners.

Obviously there were things missing.  Candace’s role in the film was cut to almost nothing which I was disappointed about but it would have opened up an entirely new dynamic of Charlie’s world that the screen just doesn’t have time for.  The one criticism I had was the way in which Sam and Charlie’s “romantic” relationship developed at the end.  In the novel, it seems that Sam just wants to show Charlie what it means to be loved where as in the movie her affection towards him was very romanticized.  In general, I found this film profoundly moving and an awesome representation of the book.  When it comes to translating the story it really didn’t get much better than what Chbosky gave us, and rightly so.

Mook Rating  ★★1/2

The Hunger Games: “Catching Fire” Updates, Casting, and More!

Readers, I need to sincerely apologize for being M.I.A. these past few weeks!  A lot has been going on, giving me barely any time to read (let alone blog!) but do not fret; your good friend Mookology has some awesome news for you regarding no other topic than our beloved “The Hunger Games” trilogy.

The Hunger Games DVD Blu Ray Jennifer Lawrence Josh Hutcherson Lionsgate Katniss Everdeen Peeta Mellark Suzanne Collins

via Amazon.com

First off, if you didn’t already know, the official DVD/Blu-Ray release of “The Hunger Games” is just over a week away, August 18th.  You can pick it up at any digital entertainment store or you can pre-order it off Amazon and have it safely delivered to your doorstep upon release day.

The dual disc pack includes both a Blu-Ray and Ultra Violet digital copy of the film, as well as a second disc including tons of behind the scenes goodies.  Some bonus features include a “Making Of” video, interviews with Suzanne Collins and Gary Ross, as well as the Propaganda films used by the Capitol and played throughout Panem.  Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy and relive the awesomeness of this movie.

The “Catching Fire” movie is set to begin filming at the end of this month and the rumor mill has been running its course deeply and quickly.  Replacing Gary Ross as the role of director will be Francis Lawrence, famed director of Will Smith’s zombie apocalypse flick “I Am Legend.”  Shooting for the sequel will take place in Atlanta, GA, and Wilmington, NC, where several casting agencies are looking for extras, as well as on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.  If you’re in these areas, definitely keep your eyes peeled over the next few months for your favorite Hunger Games stars!

Several well-known actors have been confirmed for the coveted roles in the sequel: Jena Malone as Johanna Mason,  Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, Amanda Plummer as Wiress, Meta Golding as Enobaria, and Lynn Cohen as Mags.  However, there are still some major unconfirmed additions to the Catching Fire team, particularly the roles of Finnick Odair and Beetee.  Although it has not been officially announced by Lionsgate, Sam Clafin has been named on IMDB.com as the actor filling Finnick’s role as well as Tony Shalhoub for Beetee.  Patrick St. Esprit is also rumored to be the aggressive Peacekeeper of District 12, Romulus Thread.

As of the moment, “Catching Fire” is set to be released November 22, 2013 but is, of course, subject to change.  Be sure to grab a copy of “The Hunger Games” when it hits stores next week.  I sure will be!

**UPDATES**

8/8: It has officially been announced that Bruno Gunn will be playing the role of Brutus, a District 2 tribute.

8/9: Alan Ritchson has been given the role of District 1 tribute, Gloss.

8/10:  The District 11 tribute Chaff will be played be E. Roger Mitchell!

8/17:  Congratulations to Liam Hemsworth’s “The Last Song” Co-star Stephanie Leigh Schlund on landing the role of Cashmere, a District 1 tribute and brother of Gloss.

The Mook List – #7

THE MOOK LIST – #7

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Movie, Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder

via Wikipedia.org

Why it worked: “Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination…”  There is no denying that the Mel Stuart-directed “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” musical is a classic childhood movie.  From “Cheer Up Charlie” to “Pure Imagination” to the Oompa Loompa songs that you will never forget, Stuart created a very magical film that impacted the lives of all who watched.  I, personally, loved Gene Wilder in this (I also thought my Dad looked exactly like him which was super exciting) and couldn’t get enough of this movie.  I have probably seen it over 20 times due to repeats on ABC Family and have the soundtrack on vinyl (obsessed much?)  You would be lying if you tell me you’re not a Willy Wonka fan…

Why you might disagree:  In “mook” terms this movie didn’t follow the novel it was adapted from, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, very well….  OK, so it barely followed it at all, and was more of a mash up between the two books Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.  The 2005 Tim Burton directed “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” which starred Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka followed the book much more directly in almost every way… but I just don’t think it holds a candle to it’s predecessor.  Roald Dahl was one of my favorite childhood authors and I did love the ‘Charlie’ books.  But in my opinion, the new movie was too high-tech and flawless for me.  I prefer the original, but not I know not everyone agrees.

“The Silver Linings Playbook” First Official Trailer Released

Jennifer Lawrence, the queen of mooks, and her “Serena” co-star Bradley Cooper are hitting theaters this November with another book adaptation “The Silver Linings Playbook.”  Based off the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick, the story follows a mentally compromised man named Pat, who has lost virtually everything, as he moves back home with his parents and tries to reconnect with his wife.  During this process, he meets Tiffany, a disturbed woman with her own set of baggage and problems.

Having not read the novel, this brand new trailer does have me eager to pursue it.  I am not a fan of romantic comedies or any sappy love stories in general, but something about “The Silver Linings Playbook” seems utterly quirky and wonderful.  It also doesn’t hurt that the film features exceptional actors; Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro and Jennifer Lawrence are the movies main stars.  Check out the trailer below and enjoy.  “The Silver Linings Playbook” is scheduled to be released November 21, 2012.

“Catching Fire” to be Released November 22, 2013!

Catching Fire Book Cover, Catching Fire, Suzanne collins, Katniss Everdeen, Jennifer Lawrence, Peeta Mellark, Josh Hutcherson

via Wikipedia.org

Don’t fret faithful fans! Lionsgate has officially announced the theatrical release date of “Catching Fire.”  The second installment to the wildly popular HG franchise will be in theaters November 22, 2013 which is also being filmed for IMAX digital release.  “Catching Fire” will begin it’s filming the fall of this year, three weeks of which will be spent on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Rumors have been circulating like crazy about casting for new characters.  In talks are Armie Hammer and Garrett Hedlund for Finnick Odair, while Kristen Bell has openly expressed interest in taking the role of Johanna Mason.  Reportedly, the role of Plutarch Heavensbee has been offered to Philip Seymour Hoffman, a move that would greatly contribute to the franchise’s already stellar cast.  If you missed out on “The Hunger Games” be sure to catch it on DVD/Blu-Ray when it is released this fall.

The Mook List – #8

THE MOOK LIST – #8

The Outsiders

The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton, Movie cover, Book Cover, greasers, Socs, ponyboy curtis, sodapop curtis

via IMDB.com

Why it worked: This story is one of the only things that I remember standing out to me in Middle School.  The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton was assigned to my seventh grade English class and I immediately fell in love with it.  I distinctly remember reading past the assigned chapters and reading intensely into the night, enamored by the world of Ponyboy Curtis.  The movie “The Outsiders” was something we watched in a grade-wide assembly, and these characters came alive on screen in a prolific and wonderful way, acting out scenes almost exact from the book.  To this day, I can still recite Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay” verbatim.  

Why you might disagree:  To be honest, I don’t know.  I fell in love with The Outsider’s and everything about it, both the book and the movie.  One thing from the movie that was maybe a little hokey was the stereotypical costuming of the Greasers and the Socs.  The Greasers were VERY greasy and Soc’s were super clean-cut.  Otherwise, this film was filled with up-and-coming stars (C. Thomas Howell, Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, Diane Lane, etc.) and was an important movie for it’s time.

Mook Review: Hick

Hick  Written by Andrea Portes

Hick, Andrea Portes, Book Cover, Luli McMullen, Eddie Kreezer, Mookology Review

via BN.com

Hick is the debut novel of Andrea Portes.  Kicking off in Palmyra, Nebraska, this story follows 13-year-old Luli McMullen, a runaway with ambitions to make her big break in Las Vegas.  Luli is raised in a household where she isn’t cared much about, having two alcoholic parents who don’t get along much.  Since Luli is our narrator, she explains how dismal and bored she is of her hometown, anxious to escape.  The first thing I noticed about Luli was her transcendence between youth and adulthood.  At points in her storytelling, it is very obvious that Luli is an inexperienced and vulnerable 13-year-old girl with an imagination that runs wild but, at other times, it is almost astonishing at how grown up she forces herself to become as she enters a very rough and scary new world.

The story really begins to unfold once Luli meets Glenda on the road, an older-sister type who takes Luli under her wing (in addition to giving her cocaine and teaching her how to steal).  Her previous encounter with Eddie seems out of place, but comes full circle once the two women run into him again.  The novel very much felt disjointed and without a traditional flow, which I liked.  It moved as an unplanned journey would.  The most problematic thing for me with this book was sometimes Luli’s voice felt muddled and not authentic.  Portes definitely could have delved deeper into the characters persona, instead of having drastically different components put into one book.

Hick isn’t a story for everyone.  Towards the end of the novel, Luli’s experiences become disturbing and quite heartbreaking, something that those who aren’t into darker stories may not want to read about.  Eddie becomes the catalyst for drama after he basically kidnaps Luli and uses her as his own sadistic possession.  When Glenda finally resurfaces and comes to Luli’s rescue, the moment of elation is soon overshadowed by violence and death.

In the end, I found myself rooting for Luli’s happiness.  She is a hick, there is no changing that, but the fact that Luli is able to recognize what she could have if she gets away from her old life is mature.  She does not have a solid family, so Luli needs to pave her own way.  Hick was a really cool book and I’d recommend it to those who want to read something slightly edgy and dark, but still easy enough to breeze through quickly.

“Hick” – Directed by Derick Martini

Hick, Movie, Movie Poster, Derick Martini, Chloe Moretz, Blake Lively, Eddie Redmayne, Andrea Portes

via IMDB.com

When I saw the preview for “Hick” I was pretty excited.  I thought it looked well-cast and had an edgy appeal to it that made me really want to see it.  Unfortunately, the film was a little bit underwhelming.  It wasn’t that the movie was necessarily bad it just wasn’t very good and I thought it was missing some major components.

They use Luli’s drawings in the movie to shed light on the fact that she is still just a kid, but I felt that the film honed in on the story of her stillborn baby brother rather than her family life or actual feelings.  The movie could have used the voice-over and art component to explain how, and when, Luli learns how to use her sexuality as a weapon.  In the novel, Luli realizes her power as a woman in the very beginning of the story when Ray tries to come on to her.  After this, Luli realizes that she can make a mans “eyes swirl” and get them to do whatever she wants just by being pretty.  This very important piece of Luli’s character is void in the film.

Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Eddie Kreezer was pretty spot on considering I don’t find Redmayne to be the most phenomenal actor.  There was something about him that was attractive and sexy yet perverse and frightening at the same time – exactly how Eddie is described in the book.  Despite the great casting for this role, I did not find the entire situation with Luli to be as dark as I wanted it to be.  In the novel, Eddie repeatedly rapes Luli and ties her up for days before being rescued, but in the movie it seems to be just a one day excursion.  Maybe it is just my affinity for making cruel situations realistic in a movie, but this entire aspect of “Hick” was really lost.  I feel that most people who see the film, without reading the book, won’t feel remotely anything for Luli’s well being.

“Hick” was not the worst movie ever made it just wasn’t as excellent as I wanted it to be.  Andrea Portes provided a really great story that could have worked wonders on the big screen, but poor directorial choices cause “Hick” to flatline.  If you have interest in it, go see the movie, but it is definitely not a must-see.

Mook Rating  ★★