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Dave’s Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

Letter Grade:
(?)

A-
The Good:

Dicaprio is Great
Great Ensemble Acting
Very Martin Scorsese-y
There's a Monkey in People Clothes


The Bad:

3 Hours Long
Lots of Sex and Nudity
Lots of Drug Use

Cast & Crew:

Directed By: Martin Scorsese
Written By: Terence Winter (screenplay), Jordan Belfort (book)
Starring: Leonardo Dicaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin

Rated R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence

As a general disclaimer before you read this review: Martin Scorsese is hands down my favorite director of all time. I am of the opinion that he’s the most talented and knowledgeable director working today and is pretty high up there on the list of best filmmakers of all time. I literally can’t get enough of Martin Scorsese. I am consistently enthralled by anything he’s involved with; features films, documentaries, discussions about film history and preservation, television commercials…anything. This year for Christmas I received not ONE but TWO signed photos of Martin Scorsese. One of my life-long dreams is to meet him and get to call him “Marty” instead of Martin. I even know which of my friends share a birthday with Thelma Schoonmaker, his longtime editing companion. To say that I enjoy Scorsese films would be an understatement, so factor that into your reading of this review. End Disclaimer.

The Wolf of Wall Street is a dark comedy that tells the real life tale of stockbroker/con-man/sleazy egomaniac Jordan Belfort who builds a dicaprio-wolf-of-wall-street-trailer-2Wall Street empire from the ground up based on debauchery, misleading clients, and scamming the system through unethical and often illegal tactics only to eventually become the focus of SEC and FBI investigations that will eventually be his downfall. Thematically the film, as is the style of these hard times, shines an accusatory light on the excess, materialism, and all-around low ethical standards that seemingly rule Wall Street culture. Belfort, while certainly the focal point of the movie, is not at all portrayed as the protagonist or “good guy” of the film. In contrast to Goodfellas (a similar Scorsese film) where mob-member Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta) is portrayed in a more favorable (almost heroic) light, I’m not sure you are ever really supposed to “like” Belfort. If he is the “bad guy” in this film, the “good guy” counterpart is the hard-working public that he so nonchalantly abuses and leaves in financial shambles without a second thought.

Technically this is a very well-done film that seemingly “stars” Martin Scorsese and his unique style just as much as any of the actors. There is no doubt that this is a Scorsese film. Many of the hallmarks of s Scorsese film can be seen in this meticulously crafted film. Characters talking directly to the camera, long tracking shots, exaggerated overhead lighting, beautiful slow motion shots, and even a few seemingly archaic screen wipes as a nod to the films of the past that he loves so much.

All that being said, this movie is not Scorsese’s best. It’s not bad by any means, in fact I would say I liked it quite a bit, it’s just not his best. In all fairness, saying this is not wenn5920366Scorsese’s best movie is a bit of misleading statement. It would be like saying that the “Last Supper” is not Leonardo Da Vinci’s best painting because the “Mona Lisa” is clearly better. The “Last Supper” is still a very good painting, just not his best. (Another Disclaimer: Most of my knowledge of Renaissance painters comes from Dan Brown books and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons. I only have a cursory knowledge of Da Vinci paintings and in no way actually know that either of these are his best paintings. If you happen to be reading this review and are a Renaissance expert, please don’t go yelling at me about my clear lack of knowledge…it’s just an illustration.) It’s perhaps too early to tell where The Wolf of Wall Street falls in the long list of Scorsese movies. Certainly below Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, The Departed, and Gangs of New York but almost certainly above Shutter Island, The Aviator, Cape Fear, The King of Comedy and probably several others.

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New Trailer: The Wolf of Wall Street

Scorsese. DiCaprio. A Midget. A Chimpanzee. Watch this trailer…like now.

I literally can’t think of anything I’m not excited about for this trailer. DiCaprio looks awesome as always (seriously, look at the movies he’s done. He almost never misses) in the true story of  Jordan Belfort, a New York stockbroker who refuses to cooperate in a 1990’s securities fraud investigation. This new trailer is chock-full of Goodfellas-like voiceover,  90’s Wall Street extravagance, midget tossing and monkeys dressed as people. What’s not to like?

Based on the autobiographical book by Jordan Belfort and screenplay by Emmy Winner Terence Winter. Directed by Oscar Winner, living legend and the all-around amazing Martin Scorsese.

Starring Oscar Nominee Leonardo DiCaprio (please, someone get that man an Oscar), Oscar Nominee Jonah Hill, Emmy Winner Kyle Chandler, Oscar Nominee Rob Reiner, Oscar Winner Jean Dujardin, and Teen Choice Award Nominee/perpetually stoned Matthew McConaugheyThe Wolf of Wall Street is set to be released on November 13th.








Jennie’s Review: The Great Gatsby

Letter Grade:
(?)

B+
The Good:

Leonardo DiCaprio is Fantastic
Visually Stunning
Encourages reading (or re-reading) the Novel


The Bad:

Slower paced than expected
The great music is not prominent enough

Cast & Crew:

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Writers: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Elizabeth Debicki, Isla Fisher, Amitabh Bachchan

Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language

As was expected, the style of this movie is stunning.  Every last detail seems to have been meticulously thought out, down to where the glitter lands on the hoards of extras at the lavish parties.  I spent the extra 3 bucks and saw the movie in 3D.  I enjoyed the 3D and thought that is was well executed.  I don’t know if I would go as far as to say you should definitely see it in 3D, but I liked it in that format.  I will admit (I’m sure to my mother’s dismay) that if I read The Great Gatsby in the past, I have zero recollection of it.  So, my reflections are purely about the movie and not judging it against the literature.

The film opens with Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) in, what appears to be a Psychiatrists’ office at a Sanitarium.  He is telling the story of how he ended up a committed, depressed, and hopeless drunk.  The doctor knows that Nick used to enjoy writing, so when he struggles to vocalize his emotions and experiences, the doctor gives him some paper and a pen.  And so, the setting is that Nick is writing this great American novel about his experience with “The Great Gatsby.” Occasionally through the film some of the writing and typing is superimposed into the scene.  This is a gimmick, but a gimmick I appreciated and thought worked perfectly with the style of the film.

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Rob’s Review: The Great Gatsby

Letter Grade:
(?)

A-
The Good:

Masterful performance from DiCaprio.
Superb visuals give the film a dream-like quality.
Gave me a much greater appreciation for the book.


The Bad:

Loses its way in the middle and meanders about for a while before picking up again.

Cast & Crew:

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Writers: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Elizabeth Debicki, Isla Fisher, Amitabh Bachchan
Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language

If you go into Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby just looking for a happy-go-lucky interpretation of the hedonistic Roaring 20s (and the party scenes ARE wondrous), you’re going to be disappointed. If you go in with an appreciation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel then I think you’ll be very pleased. (more…)








Weekend Preview: This Week’s New Films

We have two new movies opening today.  The Great Gatsby should be pulling in most of the Box Office, but Peeples is also looking for a few of your dollars. (more…)








Summer Movie Preview: May

Summer movie season is upon us with the release of Iron Man 3 this Friday, so the Cinedraft staff felt now would be a good time to take a look at what is coming up this summer.  We start out with what’s coming out in May…

Iron Man 3

Release Date: May 3rd

Synopsis: Robert Downey Jr returns for another go-round as Tony Stark as he faces off against Ben Kingsley’s Manderin. Shane Black directs, and this will get Felix exceedingly excited. Also stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, and either Don Cheadle or Terrence Howard, depending on how the coin flip turned out this time.

Our Thoughts:

Rob: This will be the real kick-off of the summer season. I’m not completely sold on Kingsley as the Mandarin, but I read that after seeing the Iron Man 3 finale Joss Whedon was upset because he didn’t know how he’d be able to top it for The Avengers 2, so expectations are pretty high.

Dave: I’m excited for Iron Man 3, I really am. I don’t doubt it will be a well made action film filled with funny Robert Downey Jr. one-liners. I suppose my only real worry about this film would apply to all Post-Avengers Marvel Universe movies… If the bad guy in Iron Man 3 is such bad news, why not just call in the rest of the Avengers to easily defeat him? Did they all have plans for the weekend that they couldn’t cancel? Seems like the conflict in this movie could be resolved by having the Hulk go in and slap Ben Kingsley around for a few minutes… problem solved.

Jennie: I am really looking forward to this movie. I think Robert Downey Jr is great and I generally have liked the Marvel movies over the last few years (not Ghost Rider of course). I like Ben Kingsly a lot and his voice sounds kind of awesome in the trailer, but I’m not sure how it will work with him as a action movie bad guy. I have no doubt that it’s going to be an entertaining movie. (more…)