The Great Gatsby

Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton | PG-13 |

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DRAMA

There's nothing wrong with excess - but honey, there's just so much of it! Director Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic, about the self-created Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio) and his breathless love for socialite Daisy Buchanan (Mulligan), is a noisy, overstuffed, gaudy thing. The minor miracle is that it still delivers an emotional payoff, no matter how much it gets in its own way.

The film trips on its spats with a noisy first act reveling in the high times of New York millionaire Gatsby, as told by his neighbor Nick Carraway (Maguire). If frantic cuts of flappers and fellas coming at you in 3D don't convince you you're having fun, maybe the rap music will. Or not. The mania mellows once old lovers Gatsby and Daisy reconnect, letting us focus on more important things - like clothes and jewels.

Oh, I kid. Yes, Gatsby looks sumptuous, with lavish costumes and set design, but the performances do come through. Edgerton is the best of the bunch, in a bullish turn as Daisy's cheating husband, Tom. DiCaprio and Mulligan, meanwhile, don't seem like star-crossed lovers so much as a delusional man in love with a bauble of a woman. Maybe that's intentional. But looking for meaning is like trying to spot Gatsby at his parties: Difficult at best, and beside the point.

Peeples

Kerry Washington, Craig Robinson | PG-13 |

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COMEDY

There's nothing new about Peeples, a shaggy blend of Meet the Parents and Jumping the Broom. Nothing, that is, except the chemistry between Robinson, as striving kids' party singer Wade Walker, and David Alan Grier as his would-be father-in-law, Judge Virgil Peeples. When Wade crashes girlfriend Grace's (Washington) tony family weekend in the Hamptons, the clash is predictable but funny. The stinker is Grace, who lies to Wade and her folks. You may wonder, "How did he get her?" But you'll leave saying, "Why does he want her?"

COMMENTS? WRITE TO ALYNDA: alyndasreviews@peoplemag.com

WINONA RYDER

WELCOME BACK!

You're earning great buzz for The Iceman. What's different about acting now than in your teens and 20s?

I'm 41 now. For roles nowadays I can't tell if people want me to look young or old. I've always looked younger. I have to give credit to my grandmother. She was 102 and looked 45. But when people grow up with your movies, they're attached. If you want to play a lawyer, they say, "But you're from Beetlejuice!" Kids still come up to me about that. Little kids!

Which of your past movies is your favorite?

It's hard to pick because I've been so lucky. The Age of Innocence and The Crucible were some of the greatest experiences. With Black Swan, it was great to [work with] Natalie Portman. I definitely have a soft spot for Beetlejuice. And Heathers!

You took a break from working a few years back. Where did you go?

I went back to San Francisco. I grew up there; my family's there. With early success, I admit you get caught up in it all. I was so exhausted at one point. But there I was just a normal person.

Did getting away from it all help?

I think it's so important to get perspective, for your life and for acting. I remember just sitting down, having the perfect sip of tea, and it was a moment of clarity. I wanted to live more humbly. I know it sounds corny.

Now you're playing a killer's wife in The Iceman. That's pretty dark.

You hear a lot of actresses talking about strong roles for women, but I think sometimes playing weaker people can be just as interesting and challenging. Deborah Pellicotti is in a lot of denial. We've all dealt with denial, but not on this level. I'm not perfect, but I'd hope I'd have a radar for a sociopathic killer!

Are you choosier about roles now?

I guess I'm selective. I'm at an age where I really like my life. As you get older and you're cranking out films, suddenly a whole year of your life goes by. If the work isn't interesting, you're better off doing other stuff. A film has to be something special to make me want to leave my life.

VENUS AND SERENA

The notoriously guarded tennis stars open up more than you'd expect—about the game, religion and their controversial dad—in this documentary. But trying to cover two of the most important careers in the sport in 99 minutes is pure folly.

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KON-TIKI

Even if you've never seen the Oscar-winning documentary (1950), this feature about Thor Heyerdahl's (Pål Sverre Hagen) stunning journey across the Pacific on a raft is worth it for the cinematography alone.

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WHAT MAISIE KNEW

The better literary adaptation of the week retells Henry James's novel through the eyes of Maisie (Onata Aprile), tossed between selfish parents (Steve Coogan and Julianne Moore).

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