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?

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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

Cyrus


Viewed – 14 September 2010  Cinema

I wasn’t really planning on seeing this, but the movie I had gone to see had been cancelled due to a faulty print.  So I am glad to report that this was a pleasant surprise.  John C Reilly plays a bachelor still hung up on his ex-wife who meets a vivacious woman at a party (Marisa Tomei), and sparks fly, with them both soon ending up in bed together.  Yet this woman has a 22 year old son called Cyrus, who John at first befriends.  But it isn’t long until we discover that Cyrus has no intentions of allowing this man into his and his mother’s life, and plots to split them up.

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall


Viewed – 29 November 2009  Blu-ray

Part of a wave of comedies recently that don’t seem to know if they want to be romantic or toilet humour crude, lurking in that middle ground that isn’t either.  Knocked Up was such a film, and this is another, although with plenty to recommend it if you’re after something that will make you smile but not necessarily rolling on the floor laughing.  Jason Segal plays TV music composer Peter who is dumped by his long term TV actress girlfriend (Kristen Bell) who leaves him to pick up the pieces.  Helped by his brother-in-law from a previous break-up, Peter is advised to ‘get away from it all’ and goes to Hawaii.  There predictably he bumps into his ex and her new lover, brit-comic Russell Brand, admittedly the main reason I had avoided this one like the plague.  Simple set up leads to many comically awkward moments (stand out – the dinner scene) as sad, pathetic Peter is forced to cope with his break up and eventually falls for the kind-hearted receptionist who befriends him. 

Surprisingly, Russell Brand makes for a very enjoyable actor and steals the show, which isn’t hard considering that Segal & Bell are phoning their performances in, with Bell walking around in less and less clothing, which I admit is certainly appealing, but after seeing her in Heroes, I was expecting more.  Segal is a likable looser, and the receptionist does seem to bring some spark to the otherwise by-the-numbers storyline, yet any comedy seems too gentle or forced, cameos from Paul Rudd & Jonah Hill only go to show how much better this one could have been given a better script, and to make matters worse, this has to be one of the poorest examples of high definition I have yet seen.

So if you like your comedies tame, by all means give it a rental … otherwise, steer clear.

Verdict:  2 /5

Superbad


Viewed – 10 February 2008  DVD

So here we have a concept that is as old as cinema itself – or at least as old as the eighties teen movie-boom.  Two nerdy guys due to graduate high school (newcomers Michael Cera & Jonah Hill), pull out all the stops to score with those hot babes they’ve been eyeing up all year.

No this isn’t American Pie: The Divorce, but actually a rather well constructed and genuinely funny movie with two  likable leads who after promising said hot chicks to get beer for upcoming party, become embroiled in countless adventures in their quest to get laid. 

What helps this not just disappear under the weight of similar films, is its infectious energy and sheer fun factor, even if the often graphic language may put off some.  This boarders on South Park sometimes for its (admittedly imaginative) swear-quota.  Thankfully though it never spoils the film, and all the way through you are there, routing for these guys, right up to the rather slushy but also heart-warming ending.

Verdict:  3 /5