Gatsby’s Great Reuturn

 

At some point in your high school career, you were probably forced to read the Great Gatsby. If not, you probably scraped your way through the test with the help of Spark Notes or a friend’s scrambled summary given to you in the hall five minutes before class started. But even if you never actually read Fitzgerald’s celebrated novel, Baz Luhrmann’s modern twist on a classroom classic is well cast and scored as well as visually appealing.

The film’s cast includes DiCaprio as Gatsby himself, who never disappoints eager audiences of followers. DiCaprio brilliantly portrays Gatsby as a man so in love that he becomes lost and angry in a sea of brilliant characters whom he has invited to celebrate his sadness. The spirit of the roaring twenties is captured with all the thrills of a twenty-first century house rave, popular EDM and all.

The film’s soundtrack alone could sell its brilliance, with jazz and swing thrown into pop hits like Beyonce’s Crazy In Love. Mixed in with rising stars such as Lana Del Rey, whose Young and Beautiful is heard throughout the film in different versions and plot points, its score is sure to be stuck in your head for days after the leaving the theatre.

Although some of the director’s touches, such as text scrolling across the screen and over-the-top visual cues may be considered cheesy or in poor taste by some, they add to the film’s storybook feel. What Gatsby lacks in these areas is made up for in the absolute visual assault that is Gatsby’s house at night. A menagerie of entertainment and brilliant costume design makes you wish you’d been born a few decades earlier, or at least that you had a next door neighbor who knew how to party like it was 1923.

To an older audience who believes in sticking to the script, Gatsby may appear overly modernized. However, if you look at Luhrmann’s twist in the same light he did, it is clear that the film’s wild eloquence is stemmed from the ability of today’s tech-savvy generations to be able to picture themselves living Carraway’s story as though it was happening in the present.

Despite all the changes, the film sticks closely to the book’s plot.
I recommend seeing Gatsby with an open mind, though reading the book first may help one appreciate its true art. If you picture yourself alongside Daisy and Nick today, the film will leave behind the taste of a tragically beautiful fairytale.

Hangover 3: The Guys are in Trouble Again

hangover-3

Going to the theater I was expecting an expansion of the first and second Hangover movies; the typical same guys getting into similar situations with the same jokes. Granted, the first two were good, but I didn’t think I would feel the same for a third rendition of the same plot different day.  I also heard that the guys were back in Las Vegas where it all started.  In my mind it was “here we go again.”

However, the movie completely shocked me when it started.  Yes, the boys were back in Las Vegas but it wasn’t anything like the first two.  The jokes were different, the situation was different except that Doug was once again missing, and this time they were all fighting for their lives.  The focus was on Alan.  The movie brought back Heather Graham (the prostitute), and introduced us to William – played by John Goodman.

The boys face certain death as Chan stole millions of dollars in gold bars from William, which started when Alan purchased roofies from “Black Doug,” bringing Chan into the picture.  Now, William wants his gold back so he takes Doug as an insurance policy and sends the boys to find Chan who escaped from prison.  If you remember he was arrested in “The Hangover 2″.  If they don’t find him, Doug and the rest of the gang dies.

Once again “The Wolfpack” joins forces to protect themselves and to get their friend back all because of that night of debauchery in Hangover 1.  Both of the movies antics now come back to haunt them and they look to end the vicious cycle.

Through the journey, Alan finds love and “settles” his life.  He loses a father but finds himself as the final “wolfpack” member marries off.

This movie wasn’t as funny as the first two.  It does have some comedy, but brings in a little more drama; many questions are finally answered.  It was one of the few sequels that tied everything together which brought closure to the story.  If you think this is the last Hangover, it may not be; the end of the movie leaves room for a fourth edition.  The ending to this movie mimics the start of the first Hangover – none of the boys remember a thing and nothing is normal at all!

The Hangover 3 was a great movie, so I wasn’t disappointed.  The series was brilliantly written and the characters are timeless as we can all relate to at least one.

Beverly Hills Housewife Brandi Glanville joins On The Red Carpet at Oscars

Brandi-Glanville

KABC-TV today announced the addition of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Brandi Glanville to the On The Red Carpet at the Oscars team.   Ms. Glanville will be the “special fashion correspondent” for OnTheRedCarpet.com on Oscar Sunday.  “I’m so excited to be part of this because I’ve always been a spectator on my couch at home watching it, and to actually be there and see the stars as they arrive, I’m super excited.,” said Glanville.  She doesn’t consider herself a fashionista, but adds, “I was in the modeling business for over 20 years and I have a fashion line called Brand B.”

On The Red Carpet at the Oscars is hosted by Rachel Smith.  KABC’s Entertainment Reporter George Pennacchio will be stationed at the first live interview position on the red carpet, to greet and interview this year’s nominees, presenters and guests.  Former Supermodel turned Fashion Expert Roshumba Williams will join Smith throughout the broadcast to critique the red carpet couture.  Glanville will join Lawrence Zarian and Tina Malave who host the companion online show OnTheRedCarpet.com at the Oscars. “I’m a little sassier than both of them which can get me in trouble sometimes, but I’m not afraid to say I don’t like something,” said Glanville.  She adds, “I’m a huge Halle Berry fan.  I didn’t love what she wore to the Golden Globes.  I’m looking for her to make up for that.”

OnTheRedCarpet.com online coverage begins Oscar Sunday, March 24th at 4:30pm EP/1:30pm PT on OTRC.com/LiveOn The Red Carpet at the Oscars broadcast coverage begins at 5pm ET/2pm PT on selected ABC stations across the country and on networks around the world.  Check your local listings.

American Pie: The Reunion

Its been a few years since the American Pie gang got together to make another sequel to the hit 90s cult film that started it all, American Pie in 1999.  We saw their last days in high school where Jim became an overnight internet sensation.  We saw the college party that would never be forgotten.  We saw Jim and “Band Chick” get married.  Now the gang comes together for their high school reunion, and like the previous excursions, this one is just as messed up as the rest.

I was very excited to see Heather a.k.a “Choir Chick” and Oz back, as they were not present in “American Wedding”.  Sherman, Jessica and more were present for the reunion as well.  We even get to me Finch’s mom, who ends up with Stiffler in the end for the “ultimate” revenge.

There were a lot of twists and turns, many of the characters from past movies are now gay… can you guess which ones?  You may be surprised.

Jim, as always, has an odd sexual encounter to start the movie off but this time its not his dad who finds him.  It’s quite the shocker!

Also, Jim’s mom passed away in this series allowing his advice bearing, party ready father to get into the mix in a messed up yet hilarious night of debauchery.

As always, I am pleased to see that the writers keep to the theme but add different scenarios and age the movie as the characters age.  They don’t continue to make sequels where they are still in high school or college!

I know by watching the end of the movie we will see another American Pie movie in the distant future as Oz and Heather rekindle their romance.

This was a great movie, very little nudity even in the non rated version.  Its growing up yet the awkwardness still finds a way of rearing its ugly face on the gang.

Rise Of The Planet of The Apes Review

by Jonathon LaMella

This PETA approved film, which used the same technology that James Cameron used in Avatar for the NA’VI, stars James Franco and Andy Serkis as Caesar, the ape. The story revolves around scientist Will Rodman, played by James Franco, who is developing a drug to cure Alzheimer’s. He crosses paths with a baby ape whose mother was put down by security guards after she freaked and escaped throughout the company’s facility. He takes him home where lives with his Alzheimer’s stricken father. Will raises Caesar into adulthood when he discovers that he inherited enhanced genes from his mother was experimented at the company. From there Will takes his research to the next level and as they say, the plot thickens. I loved this movie and could watch it over and over again. If you haven’t seen it yet, buy it or rent it right away!

War Horse Review

by Jonathon LaMella

 I’ll be honest. I’m not into animal based movies even though I’m a huge animal lover, they just don’t entertain me. The last time I was truly enjoyed an animal themed movie was Marley and Me, which I really enjoyed. Then I went to see War Horse with my Mom and discovered an incredible story about the human spirit and its ability to triumph over hard times. The story is set in England in 1918 during the first world war. Jeremy Irvine plays Albert who trains a horse to work his father’s farm. He grows close with him, only to have his father auction the horse away to the British military. We follow his horse throughout his journey in the war. This horse brings out the best of people and brings together bitter enemies. The cast in this film was fantastic and Jeremy Irvine delivered such a good performance, I couldn’t ask for anything more. However, I would advise parents not bring their children to this movie simply because of the intense war scenes.

 

Apollo 18 Review

by Jonathon LaMella

When I first saw the trailer for this movie on television I knew I had to see it. If you enjoyed films such as Encounters of The Fifth KindorThe Blair Witch Project that was filmed in a documentary style and with “footage” of real life events, then you’ll enjoy Apollo 18. It isn’t for everyone but it is good nonetheless. The story follows a team of astronauts who go on a secret mission to the moon. As events unfold it, it becomes clear to them why they were sent to the moon. Tensions rise between crew members when mysterious medical aliments arrive with no known origin and they discover why their mission was top secret. Overall I was very impressed with the movie. The cast did a wonderful job and there was plenty of well-written dialogue and action; even though the whole film was made like a documentary. If you enjoy horror/scifi movies then you’ll definitely want to see this.

Man on a Ledge Review

The movie is about former cop, Nick Cassidy, who was accused of stealing a $40 million dollar diamond.  He was tried and sentenced to 25 years in jail for the crime, completely ruining his life.  With nothing left to lose, he risks it all to clear his name and bring the true culprits to justice.  While in jail, Cassidy concocts an elaborate scheme that is designed to “steal” back the diamond he was accused of really stealing to clear his name.

To get the attention he needs, Cassidy escapes from jail and plants himself on the ledge of a hotel in a fake suicide attempt.  It captures the media’s attention, which is something he wanted because just across the street lies the building of Englander Jewelry, owned by David Englander, the owner of the alleged stolen diamond.  Cassidy believes he had the diamond all along, and set him up as a thief so Englander could collect the insurance money on the prized jewel.

From the beginning to the end, the movie is packed full of thrilling  twists. It has the audience constantly wondering what is going on, including who’s good and who’s bad.  With elaborate plots, daring break-ins and near-death experiences, the suspense keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time.

The ending is fantastic, as you will finally see the whole elaborate scheme as it comes to light,  in triumph and amazement.

I have to admit, I am more of a comedy guy myself, but I really enjoyed this movie.  I would definitely recommend Man on a Ledge and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.  The cast  played their roles with passion and power, and the plot was outstanding.  Don’t expect to see a lot of special effects, but they certainly weren’t needed.  This is a movie that invokes thought, which makes it an epic classic.

Director:  Asger Leth

Writer: Pablo F. Fenjves

Stars: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks and Jamie Bell

The World of Art – John Campbell Writer of The Iron Lady

Jason Dowd, host of The World of Art sits down and talks with Jon Campbell, writer of “The Iron Lady” whose book led to the accuracy of the movie set to hit theaters soon. The movie stars Meryl Streep, who plays the first Prime Minister of the UK, Margaret Thatcher.

Get to know some of the insight about the movie by the man who’s book helped make it the success it is today. Get his take on the casting and find out why she was called “The Iron Lady”.

Rocky Karlage: His Days of Walking with Ghosts and Life on ‘The Farm’

Rocky Karlage wears many hats, and I’m not referring to the literal kind you take to baseball games or the beach.  What I mean is, the guy keeps busy.

Highly creative, intelligent and motivated, the Cincinnati, Ohio resident has worked as a producer, writer, creative consultant, photographer, and researcher just to name a few.  The man of many titles refuses to get bored.  “I’m always thinking and planning,” laughs Karlage during our recent interview.  “However, the hard part is making it happen.”

He doesn’t seem to have too much trouble making it happen though.  This past year, the talented Karlage produced an independent feature film titled, The Farm.  Not only did he act as the film’s producer, but he also worked as its screenwriter and web developer.  Steve Olander directed and edited.

According to Karlage, The Farm is based on true events, and let’s just say, it’s not exactly about cows and chickens.  Rather, the film focuses on a young, married couple while on their honeymoon.  The bride’s aunt, who is a realtor, loans her and the groom a rustic farmhouse to stay in after their wedding.  The country abode, however, is hardly charming and the couple’s romantic retreat turns into a horrific nightmare of sorts.  Estella and her new husband, Johnny, become stranded at the farm due to inclement weather and they soon realize they are not alone.  Ghostly events begin to take their toll on the couple, and whether or not they can escape their ordeal is left to be unseen- or at least for now.

Karlage will not discuss too many of the film’s details at the moment, as The Farm is still in the editing process.  He hopes that its full length version will be released the end of February 2012.  Currently, only a shortened version can be seen, which was run at a festival in Ohio in October of 2011.

The paranormal-horror film has the perfect trifecta for the making of a hit:  a creepy setting, several very talented actors and a brilliant production crew.  Karlage proudly states that Hollywood is already beginning to take notice of The Farm, and he hopes that after its spring release, the film will gain even more praise and recognition from not only big name critics, but also from audiences across the nation.

I, personally, have no doubt that Rocky Karlage will soon become a household name after The Farm‘s major debut, earning him a much coveted mark in the film industry.  In fact, the film did so outstandingly well at its Ohio screening in the fall, that it was also invited to be shown at the 2nd Annual Independent Film Festival in California in March of 2012.  Karlage further states the film will have a sequel, which hopefully will premiere sometime next year.

The Farm is not the only big project that Karlage has under his wing.  He is also the creator of  the much loved and highly respected Ghost Walk Saga.  Karlage’s Ghost Walk is an epic ghost story based upon historic events in late 1800s America, centered around the prestigious Lane Family of Cleveland, Ohio.  The fictional characters were  founded by Karlage; however, they may be more real than they seem.  “I have been told by psychics that the characters created for Ghost Walk are very close to “people who actually exist or existed.”  For instance, take Ghost Walk‘s most popular character, Little Lela.  Lela, the mysterious girl whose story is unfolded in the series, is based upon the “real” spirit known to Karlage as Lilly Rose.  The producer states that Lilly Rose has visited him in her ghostly form many times over his lifetime.

“Lilly Rose is a little girl ghost that is always around me.  She makes herself known quite abit,” explains the Ghost Walk creator.  Karlage goes on to state that Lilly Rose, who according to sensitives passed away over 200 years ago, looks for her mother who may be trapped, paranormally speaking.  Karlage feels this notion to be true as he communicates directly with Lilly Rose.  Considered to be an intuitive, Karlage often receives messages from this little spirit.  And, according to other Ghost Walk staff members, Lilly Rose is beginning to connect with them as well.  “Lilly Rose just wants to be heard.  She has reasons for reaching out to me and pushes me with my plans,” confides Karlage.  “She is an inspiration behind Ghost Walk .” 

Karlage continues on to say how all the characters in the saga are amazing.  Each and every one of them is beautifully complex and fascinating, adding to the drama and intrigue of Ghost Walk.  “To me, the saga is the ‘Gone with the Wind of the Paranormal’,” chuckles Karlage.  “In all seriousness, the Ghost Walk stories are very important.  They have meaning, are educational and full of history.  And within each story they feature dangers that are real.”

Some of Ghost Walk‘s other characters, in addition to Little Lela, include The Ladies Three:  Miss Dorian Lane, Mistress of Lane Estate and Manor; Leila Trent, Dorian’s best friend; and Sara ‘the hunter’, guardian of Lane Estate.  The Main Men of the Estate are as follows:  Taggart, the foreman of Lane Estate; Siegfried Lane, Master Lane of the Estate; and Jonathan ‘Jack’ Dawson, Lady Dorian’s fiance.  There are also the two children:  Little Lela (also known to many as Lilly Rose) and William, who is Lela’s best friend.  In addition, the Romy gypsies are characters in the saga, and their caravan lives on the eastern border of the Lane Estate.

Within the Ghost Walk series, “monsters” are said to walk among the so-called ordinary population, unbeknownst to others.  These dark creatures may look typical, acting much like “real” individuals, when rather they are far from it.  The three main female characters become entrapped in the supernatural schemes of the evil master of an ancient secret society.  All the while, times and places depicted within the stories are historically accurate.  Karlage is particularly proud of this, as he is a lover of history.  Ghost Walk‘s president and producer has worked hard on his saga.

Ghost Walk:  The Harvest Ball was screened at the Indie Gathering International Film Festival in August of 2010, a most honorable accomplishment indeed.  Karlage’s Ghost Walk company continues daily to develop a high concept story that incorporates many aspects of art, such as photography, video and musical composition.  “Ghost Walk Productions will bring the Ghost Walk story to book and even cinematic reality,” explains Karlage.

In addition to the actual saga, Karlage hosts a blogtalk radio show titled, Ghost Walk Mysteries, which airs every Monday at 6 pm EST.  The weekly broadcast of old-time radio from the mysterious to the downright frightening transports listeners to an era past.

Ghost Walk also features an online store, which can be found at http://ghostwalk.miiduu.com/index.php?route=product/allproducts.  Here, one can browse various items, some of which are a tad creepy.  Karlage sells haunted dolls on the site, which are quite popular nowadays.  The dolls are said to hold the spirits of the deceased either by choice or because the spirits were forced into the dolls (or hosts).  Dolls are “adopted” regularly through the online store.  Karlage also offers a variety of jewelry, worry doll accessories, and smudging kits.  This season Ghost Walk Productions has joined forces with the FreeStore Foodbank to help ease the hardships of families in need.  Therefore, the online shop will give 25% of all sales to the foodbank til December 31, 2011.

And speaking of haunted dolls, Karlage excitedly takes a moment to mention his good friends and colleagues, Tom and Traci Watkins of Knight Paranormal Investigation out of Albany, Pennsylvania.  The Watkins are the founders of the famous “Doll House Cam.”  The two paranormal investigators started the idea simply enough a few years ago at their home.  The couple set up video cameras in the hope of capturing evidence of their haunted dolls moving about on their own.  According to the Watkins and those who watch the videos through www.dollhousecam.com, the dolls will move slightly, without any help- at least from the living.  On one occasion, one of the Watkin’s cameras caught something pretty phenomenal.  On March 20, 2009, a camera facing an empty stairway, caught a most extraordinary ghostly image.  The apparition stayed in view for nearly two whole minutes, something quite rare when it comes to capturing evidence of this kind.  The image, most likely a small child, is very easily seen in the film.  Traci Watkins was out of town that day, and Tom was busy with their three children in another section of the house at the time.  The paranormal footage is now on YouTube under the title, The Apparition.  Karlage helped put the video together along with colleague, Sharon Watkins.  The video is well watched and continues to amaze even the most skeptical of viewers.

When Karlage is not busy with making films or videos, and isn’t working on his Ghost Walk projects, he is spending time on his publication, Haunted Path Magazine.  Karlage is the magazine’s publisher and consultant.  He started Haunted Path in August of 2010 and it has been growing rapidly ever since.  Haunted Path Magazine is both a printed and online publication, as well as a website.  The magazine features special industry and life interviews, topics involving the paranormal, horror, spiritual and human interest.  There are also write-ups on all the latest books, movies and works of art in the world of the paranormal.  Editor Sharon Watkins and General Manager Traci Watkins work alongside of Karlage and their outstanding efforts are easily seen in each and every issue.  In addition to the magazine, there is Haunted Path Live, which is the radio version of the popular publication.  The weekly show is hosted by Maria Mazur of Knight Paranormal Investigation.  Each week a new guest is interviewed for the show.

Karlage confides to me that he is currently working on forming a band in order to promote his latest projects.  Although the idea is just in its beginning stages, he is quite excited about getting members together and coming up with a unified musical group; yet another “hat” for Karlage to try on.

Oh, and did I mention that Karlage is also a professional photographer?  “I don’t have much time for this anymore, but I do still enjoy it when I can,” states the talented Ohio resident.  “I have done a lot with fashion models in particular.”

Karlage was also chosen for Stanford’s Who’s Who “Black Book” 2012 and was published and listed as one of “Ohio’s Top 77 Poets.”

No doubt Karlage is incredibly gifted and passionate, but he’s certainly not one to boast his achievements.  During our interview I found him to be a genuine and modest person; quite rare in this day and age.  I found his kindness and humble nature to be extremely admirable traits indeed.  “My dad, the best man I ever knew, always told me that if I wanted to have friends, then I needed to be a friend,” states the gentleman.

While chatting with Karlage recently, I found myself wanting to ask him more and more questions.  To say the least, I was intrigued.  I wanted to know more about his inspirations, his mentors and what got him interested in the paranormal and horror.

For Karlage, as long as he can remember, has been fascinated by things that go bump in the night. “I have always loved horror movies and have always been interested in the paranormal.  I love Hans Holzer books.  I used to be very much into H.P. Lovecraft, but it was a little too dark and creepy, so I got away from that after awhile.  I’m also a very big fan of Alfred Hitchcock,” says Karlage.  “I’m not so much into slasher films.  You know, the ‘in-your-face’ blood and guts kind of stuff.  I would much rather watch a suspense film, a psychological thriller, if you will.  Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy some of those gruesome movies at times.  They can be fun.  I respect the people who do those films, but I love something that makes me think and that’s why I love Hitchcock.”

“As far as mentors go, I would have to say Hitchcock again here.  I also must note William Stafford.  He was a college professor I had.  He was very well respected and his writing class was very hard to get accepted into.  He selected me; it was a huge honor.  I also look up to all the classical horror writers of the past,” says Karlage.

And as for inspiration, Karlage has no problem answering that question either.  “My wife.  She is incredibly supportive and she always encourages me.”

It is quite obvious to me that Mr. Rocky Karlage has a lot on his plate, but unlike most of us, he can handle it- and well.  Karlage is, indeed, a rarity in the film industry with his combination of friendliness, creativity and dedication.  His production, The Farm, will most certainly make even the hardest to entertain, stand up and cheer; a frightening cinematic delight that it sure to please.  Karlage has come far, but doesn’t plan to stop here.  His hardworking ways and determination will take him to places many others in the industry only dream about.  With his creative and brilliant mind forever churning, Karlage has no reason to hang his hats up anytime soon.

For more information on Rocky Karlage and his work, please view the following sites:

http://thefarmfilm.com/

http://ghostwalkproductions.com/

www.blogtalkradio.com/ghostwalk

www.linkedin.com/in/rockyohio

http://hauntedpath.com

www.facebook.com/littlegirllilly