Art

The Wolf Of Wall Street Review

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Leonardo DiCaprio despite being very famous and rich often gets so much stick. People often overlook the fact that he is a great actor. He has given loads of great performances over the years and  now he has reunited with director Martin Scorsese to make The Wolf of Wall Street. It may shock many people after watching the movie that this is based on a true story and if you Google Jordan Belfort you can find interesting and shocking interviews about the time he was on wall street.

First of all I will say that this is an odd film for Scorsese to make. Recently he made Hugo which was a children’s film and The Wolf of Wall Street is far more adult but it seems to have a very different tone from his other films. I did question if Scorsese was the best choice of director for this project but he does a great job regardless of what I think. Scorsese is a great director and he has the influence and the fame to do what he wants. A criticism of the film is that it is long running at 179 minutes and Scorsese allegedly had editing issues to cut it down to that. The length is an issue with this film in my opinion, some claim that it flies by but despite the film being entertaining I do think people are very aware of the time passing as they watch it. I do think the film is really well made and I would go as far to say this is an iconic piece of cinema. However the opening of the film which includes Photoshopped images and the visual effects seem very sloppy and unfinished. Some people may think it looks great but during the boat scene I could tell that all of it was visual effects.

DiCaprio really throws himself into the role of Jordan Belfort and the fact that he was able to use Belfort’s book as well as the person himself for research the role is really genuine. Despite some really crude and extreme scenes this may be one if not the best performance DiCaprio has ever given. I know DiCaprio is a really good actor but I am suprised at how much of this role he embodied. Belfort does break the fourth wall in the film and narrates a great deal of it which I don’t think was the best thing to do. It works out at the end as it appears

The supporting cast is also great, Jonah Hill has really changed as an actor and really delivers in this film. Hill started off in comedies and despite this being a dark comedy it is a more serious film than people think. Like the Golden Globes class this film as a comedy. Jon Bernthal also gives a great performance but I felt he was underused a great deal. Jean Dujardin also has a small role in the film and it is good to see him in bigger films after having done nothing that noteworthy after winning an oscar for The Artist. Rob Reiner also has a small role as Belfort’s father. Margot Robbie who plays Belfort’s wife in this in my opinion is a weak point. I did not think she ruined the film but I felt she was nothing special. That may be jsut because she is not really the focus of the movie but as I said Jon Bernthal and Jean Dujardin have small roles but they are more rememberable than her.  I am sure that this film will allow Robbie to have a greater career and well done to her.

Overall this is a solid film with a great director, a great story, a great ensemble and a great leading man. DiCaprio also picked up a Golden Globe for this role and may even go on to get an Oscar nomination and maybe even a win. However it seems that the academy awards hate him for some reason but we just need to wait and see. I do think that the length of the film will put people off and cause many people to wait for it to be released on DVD and Blu Ray. If you don’t mind sitting in the cinema for over 3 hours as there will be adverts check out this film.

8/10

What did you think of the film? Please comment below and thanks for reading.

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Do The Academy Awards Matter?

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Everyone likes to get praised for their work. Awards season for the film industry is important to so many people and winning an award really matters to them. The Academy Awards is considered the most prestigious film award a person can win. Actors dream of winning Oscars in particular and many not just actors but anyone who works in the film industry would be so honored to have their work recognized. However with mixed opinions on films and performances do awards really matter? There have been many roles by actors which I feel were undeserving of Academy Awards and many actors who have missed out on an Oscar nomination despite receiving praise by other awards for their performances. Some have actually made me really angry and even though some may be my personal opinion towards a performance or film I can still show my disapproval and approval of what happens at the Academy Awards.

Meryl Streep is a fantastic actress and has received so much recognition from the Academy Awards but one thing has really annoyed me recently. She won best leading actress for The Iron Lady. Now I can only say this is my opinion but I know many agree with me. In The Iron Lady it is not a powerful biopic about Margret Thatcher it is a pathetic attempt at a dementia awareness the film. He performance was so weak and she only got nominated because she gets nominated. There were better roles that year for the actresses who would have loved to have won an Oscar instead. Also many of Streep’s nominations mean that other new actresses are not getting recognized just because of the Academy’s stupid obsession with Streep. Some nominations are good but some are just put there for the sake of it and it is unfair.  I really don’t get how she won and it really makes me angry. I think this is one of the biggest mistakes the academy has ever made.

Tommy Lee Jones is a fantastic actor and gives great performances in all his films. However he won an Oscar for The Fugitive. Now if you have seen the film it is hardly a pioneering film in the world of cinema and Jones basically plays himself. Its not a terrible performance but its not an Oscar worthy performance. Compared to the other nominees in that category I am surprised that Jones came out on top. I personally would have awarded the Oscar to either Pete Postlethwaite for In The Name Of The Father or Ralph Fiennes for Schindler’s List. The other two nominees were John Malkovich for In The Line Of Fire and Leonardo DiCaprio for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. These were all worthy performances except for Jones who has done many better roles than The Fugitive that were worthy of Oscar nominations and even wins. What were the academy thinking when they gave the Oscar to him? I really don’t know.

There are many snubs made by the academy. Some have been nominated and still have not won whereas some great performances have been ignored  completely. As I said there were many better performances when Tommy Lee Jones won. Also more recently I felt Anne Hathaway was an unworthy winner of the academy award for Les Miserables.  I felt her role really lacked something but that is my opinion. Someone else should have won but I am torn at who should have though.

Gary Oldman finally received a Oscar nomination  for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy two years ago. However he did not win despite giving a fantastic performance. Jean Dujardin won for The Artist which I think is another overrated film. That is only my opinion. Oldman has been snubbed by the Oscars on many occasions but I would not have wanted him to win for just because the academy was trying to make up for snubbing him on in my opinion on 5 separate occasions. I feel that the academy did this with Russell Crowe. He won for Gladiator which was a great performance but I think he only won to make up for him not winning the previous year for the film The Insider.

Michael Fassbender received recognition for his role in Shame at the Golden Globes but was snubbed at the Oscars. He gave a really intense and powerful performance but the academy deemed the topic too sensitive and ignored his fantastic performance. Will Ferell a well known comedy actor gave a brilliant performance in Stranger Than Fiction which I felt was Oscar worthy as well as actor Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. I thought that range would be recognize range in performances.  I worry this will be done again for this years academy awards with Steve Carell. He is playing a serious role in the film Foxcatcher but because of his body of work the academy may snub him. I think the Academy needs to look at range of actors performances and not just the performances they are being marked on.

Snubs are not just for actors but it has been done for directors as well. Martin Scorsese winning for The Departed seemed to make up for snubs for his films such as Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Raging Bull and Casino. Although I liked The Departed I felt some of his other films are more deserving of recognition. The Departed is actually a remake which most people don’t know.

It has also been done for best film at the Oscars. The Hurt Locker won Best Picture a few years ago and I don’t think it was the best film of that time. I felt District 9 was more deserving of recognition. Also it is controversial that Forrest Gump won Best Picture over both Pulp Fiction ans The Shawshank Redemption. There two films are considered some of the best pieces in cinema history and The Shawshank Redemption is number one on Internet Movie Data Base’s top 250 list. I personally did not like Forrest Gump and I think most people would say that both The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction are much better films despite the Academy disagreeing.

Overall I do like to keep up with the Academy Awards and other awards but I do think they have made the wrong decisions on many occasions to the point that if you work in the industry that winning an award is a bonus and may help your career but sometimes the voters don’t have a clue and it is down to personal preference and if something is good but not recognized critically it does not mean it is any lesser than a film that has received recognition.

What do you think about the Academy Awards? Do you think they are unfair and they make the wrong decisions often? Please comment below and thanks for reading.

My Top 5 Film Directors

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There have been many great films over the years and I have had joyous and wonderful moments through the art of cinema. This is due to a lot of factors. But I like to give credit to the person with the vision. The Director. There are many directors who I admire and so many I could put on this list but I had to keep it to five. Here are my top 5 directors.

5. Clint Eastwood

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Clint Eastwood  started off acting and got involved in directing later on. Now many people will know him mainly for his roles in westerns but Eastwood has shown his directing range and made interesting and entertaining films for the mass audiences. He has directed westerns which is what he is known for but has branched out into different genres. His film Unforgiven received Oscar nominations including best director for which Eastwood won. He then went on to get another win for directing for Million Dollar Baby. As well as receiving nominations for other films such as Mystic River and Letters From Iwo Jima.  He has also demonstrated great acting and directing in his films over the years and the fact he was an actor adds to his directing skill I think.  And he is still directing now at 83 years old. He is currently working on Jersey Boys and may be directing the film American Sniper about Chris Kyle shortly after.

4. Steven Spielberg

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Steven Spielberg is possibly the most famous and most commercially successful directors to have ever lived. He has showed both range and consistency in his directing. Working on action adventure films such as Indiana Jones, working on intense pieces like Schindler’s List of working on animation in Tintin. Now his films do vary with their critical acclaim but I think it is fair to say that Steven Spielberg is a highly skilled director and really knows what he is doing. He also is involved in producing lots of projects which both are successful critically and commercially. its good to see a director work on varied films. He has directed almost 50 films on his career and it is clear that he loves to work and devoted to high quality. You just need to watch any of his films to understand how good a director he is. His most recent film was Lincoln which received critical acclaim and for a biopic it did very well at the box office.

3. Ridley Scott

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Ridley Scott is known to be a very difficult man to work with and despite he may not be as calm as other directors whilst working he seems to get the job done. He has made some iconic films and has been involved in producing many other projects. He has directed some of the most iconic films of the 20th century such as Alien and Blade Runner and at 75 years old he is still working. I like the fact that his films are varied and that he can deliver in both small films with few actors and a small scale such as Alien and then work on epic pieces of cinema like Black Hawk Down. For me is is a truly great director. I also heard a story about Alien. His storyboards were so good and clear about conveying the vision to the producers that he got the films budget doubled simply for the detail and effort he put into per-production. His next film The Counselor comes out this month and has a great ensemble cast and the screenplay was written by the great Cormac Mcarthy.

2. Quentin Tarantino

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Tarantino has a unique style and his characters are in deep with pop culture references which really adds so much to his films. It appears that all his films take place in the same universe and that he has created a parallel world which has interesting characters and fun plots. Writing his stuff from scratch rather than adapting novels or stories he has really been able to leave his mark on the world of directing. Tarantino without doubt is the auteur of this generation and will be remembered as one of the most iconic directors of all time. He works very well with actors he has worked with before and is very involved in casting his projects as he tends to write characters for specific actors. I think this highlights that he has a clear vision of what he wants his films to be and that is a sign of a great director.

1. Christopher Nolan

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Christopher Nolan is my favorite director at the moment because I think he is a fantastic director and I will even call him an auteur. He seems to get the very best out of his actors and everyone who works on his films to make high quality motion pictures. I know he does not like to use visual effects in films and prefers the use of special effects and stunts. The corridor scene from Inception was all filmed on a rotating rig. The snow scenes were shot up in the mountains. In The Dark Knight the truck was really flipped. Some directors would not take the challenge of being so practical with effects but he does. Also his films do contain a great mix of action and plot and he makes a film interesting both visually and through his high story telling skills. I have not hated any of the films he has done and I am looking forward to his next project Interstellar which will be released next year.

What do you think about these directors? I know I have missed some classic directors off this list but I felt this list reflects the time we live in now. Thanks for reading.

CGI in the world of film

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Computer Generated Images or CGI have become as much as a part of some movies as the actors, directors or writers. Some films seem to just be focusing on the spectacle of the way a film looks rather than story telling. This may be degrading the story and the art of the movie but a new art has been formed. Movies once were considered pieces of art some still are but tend to be very vague and boring. And despite to contrary belief the audiences of cinema are passive no matter what expects say. The use of CGI and special effects allow a new reality to be created within in film. Landscapes can be shot to look as if they are right in front of us. Characters can be created from scratch and show facial expressions and the hairs on their heads move in the wind.

If you look at a film like Avatar which was shows a completely new planet with a race of giant blue aliens and floating mountains. However you can still see that this is not real. We believe it is but the audience know the difference between something generated from nothing and something that was filmed on camera. Or do we? Technology is always advancing and images can be placed over and rendered to real life images to create new worlds. As we know it is not real we do not question it, we as the audience still are amazed by landscapes and characters created from nothing. This is particularly helpful in Science Fiction moves. New worlds and creatures are shown and over the next few years it may be impossible to tell the difference.

Although CGI is not needed to make a film. Some films look incredible without the use of CGI. There Will Be Blood included a spectacle of an oil pump on fire and this was done for real. And the fact that it was real makes a load of difference to the viewing experience. An old school film that looked incredible was Rear Window. That relied on the set being built no background with a green screen simply one set built from scratch. The whole of Rear Window takes place in one place and the set contained a block of flats which had running water and electricity and running water. It looked incredible even to the audiences nowadays. Although it is sometimes apparent that this is not a real place but as the audience are passive we refuse to question it. The same with alien planets and 100 meter tall robots. They can’t be there but we believe they are.

This just shows us the new art of cinema that films can look like a beautiful painted canvas as well as include moving stories, believable characters and shocking moments.