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Even though “The Great Gatsby” has gotten the movie treatment several times in the past, no film adaptation has ever really stood out as the definitive version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s celebrated novel. Director Baz Luhrmann’s film is certainly the most visually arresting interpretation of “The Great Gatsby” ever produced. Catherine Martin, who previous worked with Luhrmann on “Moulin Rouge,” “Romeo + Juliet,” and “Australia,” deserves multiple Oscar nominations for her hyper sets and eye-popping costumes. As wonderful as Luhrmann’s “Great Gatsby” is to look at, the enchanting visuals are also ironically the movie’s downfall. In the midst of the art direction, costumes, and music, the story and characters that made Fitzgerald’s book a classic become a mere afterthought.
Jewell Parker Roades, the Virginia G. Piper Chair in Creative writing, meets fans and discusses "Sugar," her new novel for middle readers. It tells the story of a 10-year-old girl who lives on a sugar plantation on the banks of the Mississippi and takes it upon herself to serve as the cultural bridge between the plantation residents and the Chinese workers who come to harvest the cane. Roades will sign copies of her book after the presentation.
It’s not often art lovers get to see a work in progress let alone contribute to it, but Arizona Opera gives fans the opportunity to do just that this weekend when they present the first reading of “Riders of the Purple Sage” — an original opera based on Zane Grey’s western novel, set on the Arizona-Utah border.
Even though “The Great Gatsby” has gotten the movie treatment several times in the past, no film adaptation has ever really stood out as the definitive version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s celebrated novel.
If any piece of classic American literature should be depicted on film with wildly decadent and boldly inventive style, it's "The Great Gatsby." After all, who was the character of Jay Gatsby himself if not a spinner of grandiose tales and a peddler of lavish dreams?
The adage “truth is stranger than fiction” is proven in “The Lost Wife,” by Alyson Richman. She has succeeded in blending both for an unforgettable reading experience.
When one thinks of the Holocaust film genre, dramas such as “Schindler’s List” and “The Pianist” instantly come to mind for their harrowing portrayals of victims and survivors who suffered at the hands of Nazis. But what about the German survivors – more specifically, the children of Nazi war criminals forced to come to terms with the atrocities of their parents? This is a question posed by the exceptional new German-language film, “Lore,” Cate Shortland’s follow-up to her acclaimed 2004 feature “Somersault.”
"Mud" has the feel of a classic, although it's perhaps not enthralling enough to be one. The third and most elaborate feature to date from writer-director Jeff Nichols seems to have been adapted from a novel that doesn't exist -- something by James Lee Burke, perhaps, or Cormac McCarthy, or some other specialist in frequently violent tales about the challenges to masculinity and the forging of new identities that face rural people who belong to a sprawling modern world -- who might be hanging out in a supermarket parking lot one moment and falling into a creek full of deadly cottonmouths the next.
"Oblivion” is another movie that seems better suited for a video game than a motion picture. Watching the characters engage in endless shoot outs and explore vast, abandoned terrains, all you want to do is get your hands on a controller. Since a movie is unequipped with game play, though, you’re forced to sit back and merely observe the story. Then again, most modern video games have more three-dimensional characters and smarter plots than “Oblivion.” This science fiction mystery from director Joseph Kosinski isn’t completely without some good ideas, elevating it above “Transformers” schlock. It’s just unfortunate those ideas never meld into anything that intriguing.
Robert Redford does his most compelling work in some time as both actor and director in "The Company You Keep," a tense yet admirably restrained thriller about a fugitive forced out of hiding after 30 years to prove his innocence. Adapted with clarity and intelligence by Lem Dobbs from Neil Gordon's novel, and lent distinguishing heft by its roster of screen veterans, this gripping drama provides an absorbing reflection on the courage and cost of dissent.
Riveting, intelligent and a masterclass in acting, “Beyond the Hills” is likely to be the best film you’ll see this spring or maybe even this year.
The first image you see in "The Place Beyond the Pines" is of Ryan Gosling's shirtless torso, ripped and tatted atop a skin-tight pair of leather pants.
With all the gizmos, gadgets and electronic media available these days, it can be tough for parents to get kids to sit down with good old-fashioned books. But regular reading, done for fun, is linked to better school performance and can expose kids to a world of knowledge.
I have read so many good books lately I couldn’t decide which one to review. It was a toss up between “The Obituary Writer,” by Ann Hood and “The Secret Keeper,” by Kate Norton (I don’t know about you but any title that contains the word “secret” draws me like a magnet — maybe it was that early Nancy Drew conditioning).
One of the most novel events of the spring? Arizona Polo Club’s Picnic and Polo Clinic.
Six months after fire destroyed Copperstar Repertory Company’s offices and scene and costume shops, the East Valley theater company is scheduled to host its first production of “Les Misérables School Edition.”
What should be a hilarious, long-overdue pairing of two hugely likable, superstar comedians ends up being a major disappointment with "Admission."
Much like recent arthouse films “Weekend” and “Keep The Lights On,” “North Sea Texas” is a realistic portrait of gay life and romance – not the frequent clichés one may find on TV’s “Modern Family” or “The New Normal.” Adapted from the novel “This is Everlasting” by Flemish writer André Sollie, the film follows a young teen growing up along the Belgian coast as he falls in love with a neighborhood boy. Unlike the star-crossed lovers at the heart of “Brokeback Mountain,” this story luckily has a more hopeful ending for its burgeoning protagonist.
“Fifty Shades of Grey.”
In the same vein of “To Kill a Mocking Bird” and “Catcher in the Rye,” Rudolfo Anaya’s “Bless Me, Ultima” has evolved into one of the most widely beloved and challenged books of all time. In some high schools this best-selling Chicano novel is considered a mandatory reading. Other schools have banished the book for its use of profanity, references to witchcraft, and religious themes.
If you had told me a month ago that my Oscar predictions would look anything like this, I probably would have advised you to go do a little more research. “Argo” poised for the Best Picture win sans a Best Director nod? Unthinkable. Emmanuelle Riva and Naomi Watts as viable Best Actress contenders against youthful powerhouses like Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain? You’re pulling my leg.
By now it's clear that nothing and no one can kill Bruce Willis, whose fifth film in the "Die Hard" franchise, the horribly titled "A Good Day to Die Hard," opened last week.
February is the month we glorify “love” and “The Fault In Our Stars,” by John Green, is a glorious love story. A love story not just between a boy and a girl, but with life itself. You’ll find this book in the Young Adult section, but don’t let that keep you from reading it; its message is universal to all ages because it is about living each day to the fullest, as if your days were limited.
After “A Walk to Remember,” “The Notebook,” “The Last Song,” “The Lucky One,” and “Dear John,” Nicholas Sparks is obviously running a campaign to become president of sappiness. His novels have inspired a number of hokey adaptations chock-full of one-dimensional archetypes and scenes ripped off from other romances. This guy loves seeing people get caught in the rain more than Michael Bay marvels at the sight of explosions. The latest picture from the novelist turned producer, “Safe Haven,” is every bit as cheesy and mushy as one would expect. It’s about as original as a Lifetime movie designed to brazenly manipulate our emotions. Maybe I’m becoming easier to manipulate, but this melodramatic cornball kept me completely invested from beginning to end.
It's easy to understand why Hollywood loves doing business with author Nicholas Sparks. His books are huge best-sellers, and several of the films adapted from his novels - "Message in a Bottle," ''The Notebook," and "Dear John" - have achieved impressive box office grosses. The latest Sparks adaptation, "Safe Haven," will probably continue his winning streak, especially with its Valentine's Day opening pegged to lure female fans. A thriller element that has not been present in earlier Sparks movies is designed to draw reluctant male viewers to see the picture, but they won't respond with the same enthusiasm as his core audience of woozy romantics.
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