THE WOLF OF WALL STREET **** (2013)
In The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a Long Island penny stockbroker who served 20 months in prison for defrauding investors in a massive 1990s securities scheme that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street and in the corporate banking world, including shoe designer Steve Madden.
This movie has had a lot of controversy over the last few months over Scorsese’s runtime issues with the film but the most notable controversies have involved the consistent use of the F word, orgy scenes, very raunchy material, and just so much more that would make Grandma have a heart attack.
But as a movie goes, I really dug the hell out of this movie for a lot of reasons.
For a director like Martin Scorsese, it’s great to know that he’s a guy who still hasn’t resorted to settling down and just taking whatever script comes his way. Scorsese is a guy who’s made many different types of movies for different genres and different audiences and puts his heart and effort into all of them.
And this movie is no exception.
The cast in this movie is incredible in this with DiCaprio having a lot of fun in the role of Jordan Belfort. Even though I thought he did a great job here as Belfort, I thought DiCaprio gave a much stronger performance in the lead role of The Great Gatsby. In that role, he was more subdued and more memorable in the role of Jay Gatsby than he was here. But then again, that’s just my opinion.
I was amazed at how Jonah Hill came into his own as an actor in this. Here, he really gives a great performance unlike anything we’re used to seeing him play. I think he might actually have a good chance of snagging a supporting actor nomination and as of right now, I think he could win.
The other standout of the film is Margot Robbie, who play Belfort’s wife for the majority of the film. Not only is she a gorgeous woman but she really gives a great performance in the film. Robbie is somebody who’s been making a good name for herself in the last few years with such roles in the criminally underrated and short lived Pan Am, Midnight In Paris, & more recently in About Time.
We also get great performances from Cristin Miloti, best known as the mother on How I Met Your Mother, Matthew McConaughey (in a brief role), Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, Jon Berenthal, Jean DuJardin, Joanne Lumley, Spike Jonze, Ethan Suplee, and many more.
For a movie that’s at three hours long, the movie does move at a good enough pace that you don’t really realize that you’ve been sitting there for three hours…okay, towards the end there’s about a couple of points where the movie could’ve ended but it decides to continue but they are very few and far between.
The over the top scenes are so fun to watch even if sometimes they get really insane for no real reason. It’s so insane, it makes me wonder what the original cut of this movie looks like…maybe in a couple of months, we’ll get the director’s original cut of this.
Overall, I thought The Wolf Of Wall Street was a fun, solid, over the top time at the movies. While I don’t think it’s one of the stronger movies that came out in 2013, it is one of Scorsese’s stronger films in the last few years, maybe his best film since The Departed. The cast sells the movie, the run time is, for the most part, carefully handled, the story is very understandable, and the out-of-control moments are nicely handled.
Not one of the best movies of the year but one of Scorsese’s best films in a while.
WORLD TRADE CENTER **** (2006)
A few months after United 93, we got Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, easily the best Nicolas Cage movie to come from him since Leaving Las Vegas. The film revolves around two New York City cops, John McLoughlin (Cage) and Will Jimeno (Michael Pena), on September 11th as they venture into the burning World Trade Center following the plane crashes. The building collapses as both cops are trapped under the rubble fighting to stay alive. Both of them make it out alive with injuries all around. Oliver Stone has been known for many years as a dark director as well as a very controversial one directing such films as JFK and Natural Born Killers. World Trade Center doesn’t quite reach controversial levels and maybe that’s for the best but you can still tell it’s an Oliver Stone film. Unlike United 93, World Trade Center has a more satisfying ending mostly because we have proof that people actually did survive this event. In fact, I never found out there were any survivors of the WTC attacks until I saw the film. I mean, who would believe that people could actually survive something this tragic? I’ve seen World Trade Center more times than United 93. While it’s kind of hard to watch, it’s not as incredibly hard to watch as United 93 is. Even though I watch World Trade Center more times, I still think United 93 is the better film. But that doesn’t mean World Trade Center is a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a great movie, it’s one of the best movies Stone’s ever done.