Fifteen years ago today, Frank Sinatra passed away. I’ve been a fan of Sinatra for as long as I can remember. I grew up watching him act, sing, and dance along side the great Gene Kelly in films such as “Anchors Aweigh” and “On the Town”. In my teenage years I became obsessed with his music and started collecting his albums. Frank had impeccable phrasing, which made every performance feel authentic, as if he was singing it for the first time. He always looked directly into the eyes his audience, to engage you in the song.
Frank was a great actor too. He even won the Oscar for his roll in “From Here to Eternity”. As mentioned before, he stared in several MGM musicals. Looking back on those films, I see just how impressive Frank was as a dancer. Keep in mind, he’s dancing alongside Gene Kelly, who was arguably the greatest dancer alive, and Frank did more than just keep up.
It’s important to remember people like Frank, because extraordinary talent like that only comes around once in while.
It’s not often that I read a book before watching the movie, but after seeing the trailers for Baz Luhrmann’s film, I decided to go ahead and read the classic Fitzgerald novel (I’d been planning to read it anyway). Now that I’ve seen the film, I have to say, I’m pretty impressed by what Luhrmann has done here. Is it a masterpiece like the novel? Absolutely not. However, despite it’s elaborate style and modern soundtrack, Luhrmann’s film is a surprisingly faithful adaption. Often the dialogue is literally word for word.
One could argue that the grand style may be a bit distracting, but it also adds something unique to the story. Keep in mind, Gatsby is a man who began with nothing, but with extreme determination created a whole new life for himself. Yet despite his wealth and riches — he’s extravagant parties and luxurious lifestyle — he still finds himself unable to gain the one thing he wants most dearly. Baz Luhrmann’s style works because the audience is just as dazzled by Gatsby as the characters are, so when his plans begin to fall apart, we start to wonder if all of these visions of grander might have be for nothing… and that’s heart breaking.
There’s a part of me that sees flaws in Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby”, but ultimately I really enjoyed it. With the outstanding performances (especially from DiCaprio and Mulligan), and the breathtaking visuals, this is probably the best adaptation of Fitzgerald’s masterpiece so far.
My filmmaking education consisted of finding out what filmmakers I liked were watching, then seeing those films. I learned the technical stuff from books and magazines, and with the new technology you can watch entire movies accompanied by audio commentary from the director. You can learn more from John Sturges’ audio track on the ‘Bad Day at Black Rock’ laserdisc than you can in 20 years of film school. Film school is a complete con, because the information is there if you want it. –Paul Thomas Anderson
“I’m lucky enough to be able to make films and so I don’t need a psychiatrist. I can sort out my fears and all those things with my work. That’s an enormous privilege. That’s the privilege of all artists, to be able to sort out their unhappiness and their neuroses in order to create something.”
Just finished watching Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s “A Matter of Life and Death” for the second time. Such a wonderfully romantic film. The first five minutes of this film tells a better love story than most do in a full two hours. I have to say, while there’s nothing subtle about the films of Michael Powell, it is refreshing to see such an exellently crafted love-conquers-all story. I love romantic cinema, but it’s so very rare that a film with such highly romanticized concepts of love actually works along side a great story. As a result, the romantic love feels real, rather than the fabricated rubbish we so often see in film.
On a side note, Powell and Pressburger’s films have got to be the most vibrant examples of technicolor. The look of their films is just stunning (“The Red Shoes” for example). Perhaps even more memorable than the striking color, is the lack of color in the scenes up in heaven. This is a surprising visual contrast, and it’s very effective.
If you haven’t seen “A Matter of Life and Death”, I highly recommend it.
My name is Joshua McQuilkin. I'm a passionate, hard-working film maker and co-founder of Advent Creative Productions.
I love art, music, books, but of course my greatest obsession has always been film.
I’ll probably spend a lot of time on this blog talking about films I like and music I’m listening to, but the primary focus of this blog will be to chronicle the adventures of our production team. This is also a chance for me to shamelessly plug and promote our various film projects.