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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 Monuments Men

Art is a very important part of my life and all aspects of art history fascinate me.  When I heard about the plans for The Monuments Men, I was beyond excited.  There is a wonderful documentary written by the same man (Robert M. Edsel) who wrote the book this movie is based on.  The documentary (which is also based on a book) is called The Rape of Europa and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.  I will probably watch it again before seeing this film

This trailer is a lot funnier than I expected.  It’s leaning more towards an Oceans movie than I would have thought.  The screenplay was written by George Clooney & Grant Heslov, who are good team (The Ides of March & Good Night, and Good Luck).  They are also the producers and have both had pretty good luck with that recently too, Argo in particular.

With this cast, the potentially wonderful writing, and the story, this is looking like a movie that should not be missed.

*Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Publicity








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.