Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Wolf of Wall Street

untitled “The Wolf of Wall Street” will hook you just like Jordan Belfort was hooked on the high of selling stocks to desperate people and drugs and alcohol.

But Martin Scorsese’s film with screenwriter Terence Winter (“The Sopranos”) is a little difficult to stay focused on after hour number two.

The length of the film (three hours in all) is its main downfall.

Leonardo DiCaprio is the lead as Belfort, a stockbroker coming up in New York in the 1980s and 1990s with his own firm serving as a hub of investment fraud.

Scorsese and Winter’s telling of the story focuses on Belfort’s rise up and his demise sought by FBI agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler.)

The visuals and script, filled with monologues and motivational speeches by DiCaprio, are enticing but again a bit much after the two-hour mark.

Many of the scenes that showcase Belfort’s lifestyle and addictions could have been cut or transformed to further reveal the man behind the suit — that is if there is more to him than the need for money and his ability to take advantage of anyone to keep it intact.

Either way DiCaprio’s perfection as Belfort is not marred by the fact that there are one too many scenes allowing (or at times forcing) the viewer to peek into his greed.

The performance actually reminded me of DiCaprio’s role as Jay Gatsby in “The Great Gatsby” earlier this year. Both characters are the focus of the films and present monologues for the viewer to take in and decipher.

Overall I wouldn’t let knowing the length of “The Wolf of Wall Street” deter you from seeing the film, especially if you’re a regular Scorsese or DiCaprio fan.

I am glad I stayed through the film (some people in the theater did not) but I am also curious why Scorsese made it his longest feature to date.

Maybe it was just to give DiCaprio the screen time he clearly excels at when developing a character or to top some of his other lengthy films (“The Aviator” or “Casino.”)

The end result for critics and DiCaprio fans to watch for is if he will earn the accolade of an Oscar in 2014. He’s already nominated for a Golden Globe, which could be one ticket to a win at the big show.

It’s fun to watch the race, especially with the sense that DiCaprio isn’t as much in tune to it as his fans and critics.

I hope he wins for his performance as Belfort, his library of work, and for the opportunity to see DiCaprio in the role as himself giving an acceptance speech.

The Oscars are not on until March 2, which leaves more time to see the work of the nominees.

I am planning to cross American Hustle and Inside Llewlyn Davis off my list with a double feature on New Year’s Day.

There are certainly plenty of titles from 2013 to check out if you should want to ring in (and recover from Dec. 31) the new year on the couch.

If you’re in the mood for some oldies but goodies, check out “The Black Stallion,” or “Almost Famous,” which I revisited over my holiday break.

Back that blog up

I’m baaaaaccccck!

imagesCABXQNUPHaving two blogs must be too much for me to handle in between working two jobs, trying to keep up with a social life and the host of television shows and movies that I want to see. #Priorities.

Even though I have no reviews here to prove it, I have actually seen some films during the last few months.

I need to start fresh now as Oscar season (yay!) approaches, but I do have a few titles to recommend before 2014.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon was a highly-anticipated title for me this year.

Gordon-Levitt is the writer, director and star of the film about a pornography addict who finally meets his match, Scarlett Johansson.

I am too biased about this fellow to see anything negative about one of his projects, but my advice is to not judge the film for its superficial plot. There is definitely more to the story and characters than the ups and downs of a Jersey boy who is at the club every night.

The cast also includes Tony Danza and Julianne Moore, whose character is critical to the story. Don Jon is no longer in theaters, but Rotten Tomatoes lists that it will be on DVD Dec. 31. Boom.

If that’s not enough Joseph Gordon-Levitt for you, please take 10 minutes to watch his lip-sync battle with Stephen Merchant and Jimmy Fallon. It’s a peach.

Also stay tuned for his HitRecord television show. Gordon-Levitt started HitRecord as a way for artists to collaborate with their writing, music, film and more and now the work will be broadcast on TV! Anyone can submit their work online and have a chance to partner with “Regular Joe.”

Before I move on to some official Oscars talk, I must also praise “Blue Jasmine” and “Enough Said,” as two of my favorite films this year.

Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” is due on DVD Jan. 21. The story has plots for each of the characters that all center on the role of Cate Blanchett, who really made the movie.

Deadline reports about Oscar buzz for her performance dating back to the film’s release in July.  Oh the anticipation …


Sadly, James Gandolfini’s role in “Enough Said” may earn him an Oscar nod after he passed away. His chemistry with Julia Louis-Dreyfus was just perfect and it’s nothing but bittersweet to watch the film knowing it was his last role.

Gandolfini deserves the honor for his performance and his entire career. The Oscar nominations aren’t out yet, but critics are definitely in talks about the competition for best picture and best actor.

Bill Simmons and Wesley Morris reviewed the best actor race in their recent podcast, which made me realize how many movies I need to see before the red carpet is rolled out.

“Dallas Buyers Club,” “All is Lost,” “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “12 Years A Slave,” and “Her” are all titles Simmons and Morris feel could produce the best actor winner.

Could it also be Leonardo DiCaprio’s year for his performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street?”

That question will have to be answered in a separate post.


As I ponder Leonardo’s chances to take home a gold statue, I am also counting down the days until my cat Fletch has his big screen debut in the Coen Brothers  movie “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

If you don’t believe me, check out Fletch’s audition tape.

Stay tuned for some actual movie reviews. It’s good to be back.

P.S. the “Godzilla” trailer released today gives me chilis.