11-20-2017  12:52 pm      •     
MLK Breakfast
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NEWS BRIEFS

SEI, Sunshine Division Offer Thanksgiving Meals to Families in Need

Turkeys are being provided to fill 200 Thanksgiving food boxes for SEI families ...

NAACP Portland Monthly Meeting Nov. 18

Monthly general membership meeting takes place on Saturday, 12 - 2 p.m. ...

Multnomah County Animal Services Waives Adoption Fees Nov. 17

Special runs from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday ...

Fitzpatrick Presents 'Pathway 1000' Plan Before City Council

Plan would restore involuntary displacement by building 80 homes per year ...

Sisters Network to Hold Monthly Meeting Nov. 11

Meeting to take place Saturday morning at June Key Delta Center ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Local Author Visits North Portland Library

Renee Watson teaches students and educators about the power of writing ...

Is the FBI’s New Focus on “Black Identity Extremists” the New COINTELPRO?

Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.) talks about the FBI’s misguided report on “Black Identity Extremism” and negative Facebook ads. ...

ACA Enrollment Surging, Even Though It Ends Dec. 15

NNPA contributing writer Cash Michaels writes about enrollment efforts ...

Blacks Often Pay Higher Fees for Car Purchases than Whites

Charlene Crowell explains why Black consumers often pay higher fees than White consumers, because of “add-on” products. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Kam Williams Special to The Skanner News

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is an era-defining, literary masterpiece convincingly capturing the decadence, debauchery and self-destruction of privileged elites living in the lap of luxury at the height of the Roaring Twenties. Set out on Long Island over the course of a very eventful summer, the tragic tale of love and betrayal unfolds from the point-of-view of social-climber Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a nondescript bond salesman who fancies himself a celebrated writer someday.     



At the point of departure, we find him renting a modest cottage sitting in the shadow of a sprawling waterfront mansion owned by Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), a self-made man given to throwing extravagant parties for fellow members of high society. Despite having his pick of a glittery litter of gold-digging flappers, the mysterious millionaire remains obsessed with Daisy (Carey Mulligan), an attractive young woman he had dated as a soldier before leaving the country to fight in World War I.           

While he was overseas, she met and married Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), an abusive adulterer from an old money family whose own mammoth estate is located on the other side of the bay. Nick comes to play a critical role in the proceedings once Gatsby learns that he just happens to be a distant cousin of Daisy's.         

Soon, the lovelorn tycoon prevails upon his new, next-door neighbor to serve as a go-between by inviting her over for what she doesn't know is a secret rendezvous with an ex-boyfriend. Sparks fly afresh, and it's not long before all the morally-corrupted central characters end up taking a ride aboard an ill-fated, emotional roller coaster.         

Perhaps more pertinent than recounting further the familiar plotline of a novel we all remember from high school is addressing its reimagining as a visually-captivating, ethereal fantasy by Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge). The bodacious director not only shot the New York story in his native Australia, but infused the soundtrack with hip-hop tunes by the film's executive producer, Jay-Z, and wife, Beyonce'.       

Before you join the rush to indict the anachronistic inclusion of rap as blasphemous in a movie supposedly recreating the Jazz Age, consider the fact that historical costume dramas generally tend to tell us more about the period in which they were made than about the one in which they transpire. Why else would anyone see fit to mount a fifth version of Gatsby?       

Reflecting the influences of both its producer and director, this riveting reinterpretation for the Hip-Hop Generation is apt to be best appreciated by fans of mind-numbing gangsta' rap weaned on shallow videos featuring materialistic misogynists enjoying free-flowing champagne while surrounded by a bevy of gyrating beauties. Bravo to Baz for effectively lending his trademark lush and lurid touch to a cautionary classic chronicling the downside of the American Dream!

 

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for sexuality, smoking, violent images, partying and brief profanity

Running time: 142 minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: The Greatness of Gatsby; "Within and Without" with Tobey Maguire; The Swinging Sounds of Gatsby; The Jazz Age; Razzle Dazzle: The Fashion of the 20s; Fitzgerald Visual Poetry; Gatsby Revealed; deleted scenes; and theatrical trailers.

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