The Wolf Of Wall Street


Viewed 28 January 2014 Cinema

I will generally watch anything featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, who I believe to be one of the best actors of his generation and has turned out some quite remarkable performances over the years … highlights being Stephen Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can and most recently his villainous turn in Tarantino’s Django Unchained.  The same could be said for his long standing partnership with famed director Martin Scorsese, easily one of the best in the business.  And so we come to this their latest collaboration, but does it live up to their other works?

wolf_wall_street1

Based on a true story, DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort a man who becomes a millionaire during the eighties by working the stock markets to his favour, and lives life to the extreme, enjoying wealth, drugs, women, cars … and more drugs.  This hectic and outrageous film portrays Belfort as a man of excess, where he becomes addicted to a lifestyle that can only end badly.  Basically this is a rags to riches tale, and seems to follow the blue print of Scorsese own Goodfellas, swapping gangsters for crooked stock brokers but the theme remains the same. 

It’s a heady mix that Scorsese delivers with his expected style and expertise – fast and full of information, a wealth of side characters and cameos (was that Joanna Lumley?) and various stand out performances, including a hilarious Jonah Hill and a memorable Matthew McConaughey.  But of course this is DiCaprio’s movie and he’s is like a tornado – blowing through the movie and delivering one of his most crazy, complex and brilliant performances in years (think Gatsby on acid!).  Along with a director still at the top of his game and a shocking, riveting story (even if at times its unbelievably mad) this fired on all cylinders.  It also happens to be the funniest movie I have seen in a long time (the cerebral palsy sequence…yes, really). 

Jordan Bellfort may not be one of DiCaprio’s more likable roles, but the movie is a drug-fuelled ride of parties, sex, nudity and full-on-entertainment that’s very hard not to get caught up in.  Superb.

Verdict:  5 /5

Elf


Viewed – 21 December 2011  Blu-ray

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a Christmas movie.  Last year was a bit of a let down (cough, A Christmas Carol, cough), but this year I was borrowed this much-loved movie starring comedy star Will Ferrell.  Telling the tale of a baby who when Santa visited an orphanage, snook into his sack, and it wasn’t until Santa returned to the North Pole that he discovered he had a stowaway.  Deciding to bring up the human baby amongst the elves in his workshop, after 30 years, Poppa Elf realises that ‘buddy’ the elf should be told the truth, and so sends him to New York to track down his real father, a mean-spirited business man, played by James Caan.

This is thoroughly charming stuff.  At first I found it a touch too kiddie, with its near-cartoon like rendition of the north pole etc, but once events jumped to the big apple, I really began to enjoy myself.  Will Ferrell is clearly a gifted comedy actor, and reminds me of Chevy Chase to a degree, and his slapstick antics and just all round likability, made him very easy to watch.  Supporting Ferrell is James Caan in a role he’s done plenty of times, and doesn’t really deliver anything surprising (what, the mean business man discovers his softer side eventually?  Who didn’t see that coming?!), and love-interest Zooey Deschanel is gorgeous, but offers little more than a pretty face and a good singing voice, with wafer-thin characterisation.

This is clearly Ferrell’s show then, which is no bad thing as he’s often laugh-out-loud funny, with many of the fish-out-of-water situations really hitting my funny bone.  Considering up until now I was feeling a bit bar-humbug, this has got me in the Christmas spirit no end, and at this time of year, who can ask for more?  The ending also, was feel-good heaven.

Verdict:  4 /5

Movie musings 2011


This is the time of year when many of my viewing habits are of movies I missed out on seeing the previous year.  You can expect reviews of some of the summer blockbusters and lesser known releases of 2010, amongst new cinema releases.  This is one reason why an end of year top ten usually comprises of movies older than that year.  Something that has been of much deliberation to me lately considering that originally I had placed 21 Grams as my movie of the year, then thought better of it considering its age.  Yet that means classic movies such as The Sound Of Music will never qualify.  But you must have rules or else such an end of year list will have no comparison to other people’s end of year lists.

Anyway I digress.  In the coming months there are many movies I am looking forward to seeing, be it at the cinema or more than likely on Blu-ray.  Of the movies that have got me most excited, Zack Snyder’s ballistic looking Sucker Punch is much-anticipated.  Scantily clad babes with guns & samurai swords in a fantasy action adventure?  Where do I sign?  Also David Fincher’s adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is one of those movie’s that just can’t fail – especially with Fincher at the helm.  Wes Craven returns with the unexpected but no less appreciated Scream 4, a franchise I recall loving to bits, and hell, aren’t we in need of a clever-ass slasher movie after all the countless remakes we’ve endured?  Consider my seat booked.  It also has to be said, the Harrison Ford / Daniel Craig vehicle Cowboys and Aliens looks heaps of fun, and with Iron Man director John Favreau at the helm, all the ingredients are in place.

Movies I’m less looking forward to but could be worth seeing none the less are Cars 2, which knowing Pixar will be entertaining and look the biz, and this time with a secret agent storyline, may well be more interesting than the fish out of water plot previously.  Having not seen the last Pirates movie, At Worlds End I wont be rushing to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides until I have got myself up to date – but the trailer does look like it will be great entertainment.  Also Kung Fu Panda 2 is fairly assured entertainment even if it’ll be on the back burner compared to a few of the other big hitters.  Oh and the idea of Transformers: Dark of the Moon fills me with dread after the mostly abysmal last movie, but then again the first Transformers in my opinion was superb, so it could go either way.

To conclude though, 2011 looks like being a great year for the movie industry with some great looking stuff coming our way.  Colour me excited!!