Here's what to see, what to skip and what to seek out this weekend at the movies.
See This:The Great Gatsby:
Oh look, a disco ball exploded all over the Jazz Age! Of course director Baz Luhrmann's take on F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic is an overstuffed, overblown mess (in 3-D, no less), but what are you gonna do – not be part of the conversation surrounding the buzziest movie of the weekend?
Besides, there are some gems here. Loads of them, in fact – the jewels are amazing, but the clothes and set design should get some awards-season attention, too.
Oscar love for the actors, however, is iffier. Leonardo DiCaprio attempts restraint as the self-created millionaire Jay Gatsby, in love with cultivated rose Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), but he's as overwrought as Mulligan is underwhelming. But Joel Edgerton as Daisy's bullish, racist husband, Tom, gets it just right.
Skip That:The Big Wedding:
Putting Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton and Robin Williams in horrendously unfunny schlock like this is like painting Michaelangelo's David hot pink and using it as a lawn ornament.
De Niro and Keaton play long-divorced parents to Ben Barnes, who's marrying Amanda Seyfried. Sarandon is Don's longtime love, elbowed aside because the groom hasn't mentioned to his conservative Colombian birth mother (Patricia Rae) that his parents aren't together. Williams is thrown away in a tiny role as a priest. Most of the jokes are mean-spirited, which would make for solid satire if they were funny.
Mainly, they're just sad.
Seek This One Out:What Maisie Knew:
The far better literary adaptation of the week is an update of Henry James' way-ahead-of-its-time 19th century novel about girl shuttled between her estranged parents.
This Maisie (Onata Aprile) is the daughter of a rock star (Julianne Moore) and an art dealer (Steve Coogan), fighting to see who can be more self-obsessed and obnoxious as they separate, and ostensibly over custody of little Maisie. We see everything through her eyes, hearing only snatches of the conversations – no, screaming matches – she hears.
Aprile's sweet face transforms subtly from trusting to knowing, while Moore and Coogan are superb as, well, jerks.