Film Review

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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American Hustle Review

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American Hustle has already received a great deal of attention from the big awards and I predict that it will pick up a fair amount of awards. The film rightly receives attention for being a great film. This does have the elements of an art house film but at times it is highly entertaining at parts. The film follows Irving Rosefeld (Christian Bale) a con artist and his partner in crime Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) who are swooped up by the FBI agent Richie DiMasso (Bradley Cooper) and asked to aid the government in bringing down corrupt politicians. The story starts with an attempt to catch Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) to capture him taking a bribe. When the opportunity presents itself DiMasso wants to go after higher up officials.

This film does have a great cast and they all work really well together. Bale and Adams had previously worked together on The Fighter and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence previously worked together on Silver Linings Playbook which were both directed by David O.Russell. It seems that O. Russell has a good relationship with his actors that he can collaborate with them on many different movies. O.Russell is known for having a temper on set but it seems that in his recent films the actors and crew he works with work with him well and he has no need to lose his temper. From a directing point of view O.Russell seems very skilled in his craft and his other films have really brought him into a new light as a filmmaker. I do very much look forward to what he will do next.

The film also features a cameo from Robert De Niro who plays a mob boss named Victor Tellegio and Louis C.K gives a decent performance as Richie DiMasso’s supervisor. Despite these two having small roles in the film their performances are really great and they did really stick out to me. I do think that Bale, Cooper, Adams and Renner really deliver in this film and I am glad to see that they all except Renner have received nominations. Lawrence have received nominations for awards for her role as Rosalyn Rosenfeld, however I did not think her role in this was anything special. I know she is loved by many people and I do like her other work as well but I felt her performance really lacked when compared to the other actors in the film.

One criticism I do have with the film is that it is not consistently entertaining. For me entertainment is really important when watching a film. Art can be fun despite what some people say. The film is interesting when it is not entertaining though but I would rather it consistently delivered. The first part of the film is a lot less entertaining than the second half of the film but that does not mean any of the film is bad. With the mix of great performances, great story and great film making this film is well crafted and is a must see film.

Overall this film is a solid piece of cinema and may even be considered a modern classic. The film has so many good moments and with a great cast and crew there is no surprise that this film was successful. I am sure this will pick up a few awards when the time comes and with such an excellent cast this will continue to have financial success. Although some moments are duller and less interesting than others the film is defiantly worth checking out. As always I fear that the film will be lost on the larger audience but with a cast of A list actors I am sure people will check this out and will struggle to hate this.

8/10

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

Les Miserables Review

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Director Tom Hooper gave us The King’s Speech as well as the miniseries John Adams which were both fantastic. You would think that as he has directed on a large scale with historical context you would think he would be able to make a great film with Les Miserables. This is a musical film and I knew that going in but the cast and the director gave me hope watching it. I don’t think all musicals are bad but it is something that I don’t really watch because it just doesn’t appeal to me.

This is the first time a musical did live recordings of the performances. Usually they would record the soundtrack in the studio and then lip syncing on the set of the film. I did think live seeing added something but that hardly saves the film. I am glad that Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter feature and provide the much needed comic relief to the film. I think it would be too dull without something to break up the drama. I don’t think any of the cast are bad singers at all but I feel that they deliver forgettable performances. I expected a lot more from a cast of such talented actors.

I don’t like long films and if they are long they need to be interesting. I am sure this film is interesting to some but it wasn’t for me. After and hour I was checking the time. I remember joking to my friend about 20 minutes before the film was due to end that there was another hour and a half to go. He said’ You’re f**king kidding me?’ I think that proves how boring the film is. My friend had lost his sense of time and was annoyed when he thought it was no where near the end.

The film did manage to pick up some Oscar nominations and Anne Hathaway took away best supporting actress Oscar. This really was not deserved at all in my opinion. A lot of people liked her performance and think it was deserved but I felt it was too over the top at times and too subtle at other points. Also the fact that she is hardly in it makes me wonder why she got the Oscar. Even a supporting actress Oscar is too much praise in my opinion.

Hugh Jackman picked up an Oscar nomination for his role of Jean Valjean although he missed out on the win. I felt that this films only good bits had Jackman in them. It is good to see that Jackman can play an intense character other than Wolverine and he demonstrates his performance skills as well and a great deal of emotion. I don’t really know how this film could be improved at all. I know it is easy to criticize the film without giving solutions but I really have no interest in giving solutions for this film. I do appreciate that any motion picture has so much effort put into it and that is something to be proud of. But the film failed to keep me entertained but I don’t want to take away its success. Me not liking it is just my opinion.

Overall, this film does have some impressive sets and a decent cast but that cannot save the film from how dull the plot is. I don’t think fans of musicals would like this film that much either as it is so different. The film may have deeper meaning but it was lost on me because I felt the film was so boring and it was a painful experience to watch. Regretfully I have to give this a low rating. I think I am being generous but I did like Jackman’s performance but a lot more than one decent performance to save this miserable film.

4/10

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

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug Review

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After waiting a year for part two, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug has been released in cinemas all over the world. I was really excited about seeing this film as I am a fan of the book and a fan of the films The Lord Of The Rings.

First of I will say something negative about the film. I first read The Hobbit before The Lord Of The Rings films. The middle earth I visited in my head when I was a child. After watching Lord of The Rings it did not match my vision of middle earth but when reading the Lord Of The Rings books I could not help put picture the visuals I had seen from the film. The Hobbit film is Peter Jackson’s interpretation of the book and not mine. I’m not saying it is bad but it is just very different.

Many people are angry with the fact that there is so much extra content in the film. I understand why they have done this beyond the fact to make more money. The Hobbit is a children’s book and at points does not go into great detail. Turning that into an epic would be difficult. We need to have more characterization and we need more gaps to be filled in. As the story has been split into three films each film needs to have a three act structure in order to be coherent. That is why I feel there are sub-plots that are not in the book. They do work well for what they are.

The film has a faster pace and is more action based. There is still plenty of story but I am happy that the film contains many set pieces which are visually stunning for the audience. Jackson has said in interviews that these films could not have been twenty years ago because the technology to create brand new worlds did not exist or at least did not look real. The fight scenes and the scenes in Erebor with mountains of gold and Smaug  looks so amazing.

I really did not know what to expect when seeing the dragon but I liked everything about him. Smaug does look incredible. His look and his voice are brought to life through the voice and motion capture of Benedict Cumberbatch. I do think that Cumberbatch’s voice is so perfect. It is the right tone or evil and it really adds depth to the character. Benedict Cumberbatch also voices the necromancer. There is a variation in his voice but it is still clearly Cumberbatch doing both voices. However The necromancer speaks mainly in black speech and is more like sinister noises and chants rather than audible language. The Necromancer sub plot was really good even though it was brief but I think that we will get to see a lot more in There And Back Again in a years time. I think that The Necromancer fight will be the set piece of the third film even over the battle of the five armies.

The film does contain a few sub plots that do break up the main story. We see character development of Bard the Bowman who in the book is a very minor character. We have the sub plot of the necromancer and this film introduces a love triangle between Tauriel, Legolas and Kili. The film has had no female characters and introducing  a love plot into the film was something that would allow the introduction of a female character and allow the film to appeal to a wider female audience. However the love triangle is very brief and in a film of this length if people are only interested in a female character and her relationship with male characters I would suggest seeing a different film.

The main characters in the film get plenty of development. We see Bilbo becoming corrupted by the ring slightly even though he remains pure. Thorin becomes more weary and angry over reclaiming Erebor. I thought that his change would be too quick but the film laid it out perfectly and believe his suffering and anger. Gandalf has less screen time I felt however when him on screen you are focused on what he is doing. Gandalf is such an interesting character and he has so much presence. You cannot help but be interested in what he is doing. Every action no matter how small feels important.

Overall this film is a major improvement from the first one and its tone and themes are more like The Lord Of The Rings. I do think that this film is good in its own right and that people new to it would enjoy it. I would not recommend seeing this without seeing the first Hobbit film but I would suggest watching The Hobbit series before watching The Lord Of The Rings. I am annoyed now that we need to wait another year for the conclusion and I hope by that time the series has not been turned into four films.

8/10

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

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review

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I actually read all three of The Hunger Games books before the first film came out and I am glad that I did. I did like the first two books a lot but Catching Fire is my favorite. I am not just saying that because I am reviewing the film. I felt the book was more interesting and I had a better vision of the world that this story is set in. I felt that this film would look great on screen. Firstly I felt that the visuals that we were going to get in this film would look far better than the first one. I always thought I would like this film and I am really glad to have seen it.

Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen who has just survived The Hunger Games and is forced to support the president is controlling an uprising. Katniss feels she can not keep living a lie and despite attempts to convince people and mainly President Snow she is still causing an uprising unintentionally. Eventually Katniss is forced into the arena once again as President Snow sees no alternative in an attempt to kill her. The first part of the film follows Katniss trying to adapt to life after the games and the story of her and Peeta being forced to participate in the games once again. The second half of the film is the set piece which follows the characters fight for survival in a new arena. In the first film the arena is a forest but this time is is a tropical jungle and provides a more interesting threat as well and a more appealing sight for the audiences.

I do also think that the love triangle relationship between Katniss, Peeta and Gale is far more interesting a clear in this film. I also think that Lawrence gives a better performance as Katniss in this film. That may be because the story is more engaging but I also feel that The character has more pressure on her and therefore the performance would be more interesting as more skill is needed to portray Katniss in some intense and emotional scenes. Ill be honest the scene in the first one that featured Katniss crying over the death of Rue seems a bit put on. Where as in this film the emotion really comes out of Lawrence and the other cast members.

We do see the return of characters from the first film and introduction to some new ones. I did really like seeing Woody Harrelson has Haymitch again and I felt his role in this film was expanded from the first one and he had more depth and development to his character. I think that Donald Sutherland who plays President Snow was the perfect choice for the role and in this film he really gets to show off a darker evil side. We always know he is the bad guy but in the first film I felt his role was passive. He had a more active role in this film. A new character Johanna Mason a previous winner of The Hunger Games is forced to take place in the games again. In this she is played by Jenna Malone and even though her role was small compared to others I felt she had great presence on screen and was a really interesting character. I did think the casting of Finnick was quite poor. Sam Clafin plays the role and although I don’t think he ruined the role it was just very different from how I imagined him in the book. This is a minor issue and I am happy to let it slide.

I did feel that the length of the film was decent. Many people say it is too long and I could see it being cut by 5 or 10 minutes but it didn’t bother me. I think too long would mean it was boring and too short would have missed out a great many details that I would have wanted to see. I think the filmmakers got it right when making this film when it came to its length. A criticism of the first film was it took ages for the games to start. The games in this film started quite late on but I felt the first half of the story was interesting enough without throwing us into the action of the arena too soon. I think the first film waited too long till introducing the arena but I do think that film works fine.

I did also feel that along with a better story this film had better direction. Francis Lawrence took over from Gary Ross and Ross felt he needed more time to develop the film. I think Ross dropping out was a really good decision. Lawrence made the film more pleasing visually and something I hate in all films and something I really hated int the first film was the use of shaky cam. I don’t like the use of shaky cam and in a big budget film it seems silly to use. The Cinematography in this film was slick and clean and out did the first film. I think that Francis Lawrence is a better director than Ross. Visually the landscapes and the lighting throughout the film was a lot better. Both films had decent budgets and you can tell that this film was far better crafted than its predecessor.

Overall this is a fantastic film and although it will not be known as a cinematic great it really stands out to me as an interesting and engaging film as well as looking fantastic. Unfortunately the third book will be split into two films. I am personally not a fan of that but I can understand the reason for doing it. The main thing about this that annoys me is that there will be a large gap between part one and part two despite shooting back to back. I am glad that director Francis Lawrence is working on the other two films rather than Gary Ross as I felt this was a better film than the first one but that may just be down to the fact I liked to story of Catching Fire a lot more than the first book.

8/10

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

Premium Rush Review

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Despite this film was released in 2012 I only got round to watching it the other night. I did not really know what it was about I had heard of it but I didn’t know the premise. All I knew was it had Joseph Gordon Levitt in it and he rode around on a bicycle.

The film follows Gordon Levitt’s character Wilee who is a bike messenger who gets caught up delivering an important message which attracts the attention of a dirty cop. The film is fun, interesting and does contain a story of hope which is uplifting. The film contains many sub plots which show the motives of the main characters but this is not cluttered. They are all done really well.

The film is a lot more than that. I really loved it. The film uses flashbacks to show how the events of the film unfolded as well as using elements of real time which I enjoyed. The film is not particularly long either which I appreciate so much. A lot of films are over two hours now and even approaching 3 hours in some cases. It has become hard to sit in the cinema or put on a DVD for so long.

Back to the film though. The cast worked together really well. There was a real sense of ensemble whilst watching the film. Joseph Gordon Levitt does steal the show whereas Michael Shannon who plays a crooked cop and the villain of the film also gives us a notable performance. He plays a really creepy character and at some points this seems forced but I think that goes along with his characters personality of being a dirty cop.

The concept of the film was interesting and it gave me an insight into the world of bike messengers something I knew very little about and I assume they are a dying breed due to technology.

This film was highly entertaining and watchable. The concept may not be appealing to everyone but I watched it with an open mind knowing nothing about the film and I came away loving it. I do recommend this film for its entertainment value but it wont be known for being a classic film.

The Hangover Part III Review

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When The Hangover came out everybody loved it. Then the second one came out and people thought it was shit. I went to see Hangover Part III today and I was very surprised by it. I was simply expecting a comedy with ridiculous jokes and many repeated ones at that but I was wrong. I have to say the film was really good. Most people automatically hate sequels (The Dark Knight is an exception) and like I said I thought I would hate this to but the film really appealed to me. It was consistently funny and had a fresher more grounded story.

When I say grounded I mean we still have the crazy characters and hectic situations but the story felt far more digetic and less forced than the other two movies. I may be the only one that thinks this but the films plot could have worked as a crime thriller if the laughs were taken out. I did feel that this film had the best story in the trilogy. However despite the lasting good impression I give you readers of the film, it is far from perfect. Some moments include very cheap laughs and some cameos seem forced and add no real soul to the story. However Mike Tyson is not in this one so that is a good thing.

If you did enjoy the other Hangover films then you will love this and I hope like me this is your new favorite of the trilogy, and if you didn’t like the other films I would recommend checking this one out I don’t think you will be disappointed. To any haters of the franchise this will be the last one as it sums up the characters story arcs and the film has been pitched to us and the finale. (Never say never though)The film will not appeal to everyone who goes to see it but no film appears to the masses. Despite mixed reviews and opinion on its comedic value this is definitely a film worth checking out.