Tag Archives: goodfellas

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.








Dave’s Review: The Iceman

Letter Grade:
(?)

B
The Good:

Amazing acting performance by Michael Shannon
Reminiscent of 70's cinema
Fascinating character study


The Bad:

Subject matter is not for everyone

Cast & Crew:

Writer: Morgan Land, Ariel Vromen
Director: Ariel Vromen
Stars: Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer (That's right, David Schwimmer...in a mob/hitman movie...)

Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language and some sexual content

Co-Writer and Director Ariel Vroman’s The Iceman tells the real life story of mob hitman (and all around psychopath) Richard Kuklinski (played chillingly by Michael Shannon). Kuklinski, who was apparently a generally unstable person and murderer prior to getting involved with the mob, is hired by a New Jersey crime boss (Ray Liotta) to do their dirty work…and he’s good at it. Over the course of 20+ years Kuklinski kills over 100 people before finally being apprehended by the authorities. During this time Kuklinski gets married , has two daughters, a lucrative (and fictitous) investing job and a successful family life in the suburbs of New Jersey. When Kuklinski was captured in 1986 his wife (Winona Ryder) and family had no idea that he had been a ruthless killer for the past 20 years. This film not only tells the story of Kuklinski’s mob killings (which would have been good enough for me…but i’m a little twisted) but also deals with his constant (successful) battle to hide the killer inside of him and maintain the fragile family life that he has established despite his anti-social and psychotic tendencies.

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Dave’s Movie Review: Iron Man 3

Letter Grade:
(?)

A
The Good:

Robert Downey Jr. is amazing as always as witty and confident Tony Stark
Very Funny
Great Special Effects
Not Your Typical Superhero Action Movie


The Bad:

Perhaps too similar to 80’s/90’s action films
A little too violent for a comic book movie
Not Your Typical Superhero Action Movie

Cast & Crew:

Director: Shane Black
Writers: Shane Black, Drew Pearce
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Sir Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce

Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content

After two wildly successful Iron Man films, Director and Producer Jon Favreau (and Marvel/Disney) has turned the franchise over to action movie Writer/Director extraordinaire, Shane Black. Iron Man 3 is obviously the third movie in the Iron Man franchise and takes place after the events of Marvel’s Avengers movie. Unlike the over the top, comic-booky (I‘m almost certain that should be a word despite what my spell check says) villains in the previous Iron Man movies (an Iron-Suit-Clad, maniacally evil Jeff Bridges and Iron-Suit-Clad, electric-whip-wielding, and generally dirty looking Mickey Rourke), Tony Stark/Iron Man now battles the international terrorist group lead by The Mandarin. Played with great range by Sir Ben Kingsley, the Mandarin is an all too realistic modern-day-style terrorist who has taken credit for anti-American bombings across the world. After the terror strikes a little too close to home, Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) issues a challenge to The Mandarin which ends in the destruction of Stark’s seaside mansion and general way of life. Stark is then left alone and with only his ingenuity and clever wit to solve the mystery, catch the bad guy, and prove that Tony Stark can be a hero without all of Iron Man’s hi-tech gadgety things.

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