Oscars

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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Golden Globe Winners 2014

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So another year to wait for the golden globes 2014 but the awards season from this year is far from over. The Oscars is the big award show the one that people deem that matters but the nominations are not even out yet. The oscar nominations will be announced in a few days and the award show will take place on March 2nd which is very late this year. Anyway last nights awards have caused a stir in my opinion but I am glad that it has. People seem to be upset about the winners and the nominees so far and this makes me look forward to he oscars as I don’t think the people who won at the golden globes will necessarily win at the oscars. I was surprised to see that Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender lose out to Matthew McConaughy and Jared Leto. I do think awards shows are strange as 12 Years a Slave won best Drama but the actors did not win. If it was voted best film surely it should triumph  in all categories. It missed out on everything except best drama. I still predict that 12 Years a Slave will do well at the Baftas and I reckon at the oscars it may clean up as well.

I was also surprised to see Jennifer Lawrence win as I felt her role in American Hustle was very underwhelming. I do like her a lot but if she goes on to win an oscar this year she will just become the next Meryl Streep who gets nominated for the sake of a nomination rather than actually being one of the best roles. DiCaprio won for best actor in a comedy and took a jab at the Hollywood foregin press by joking about his fellow comedians who were nominated. Unfortunately I think DiCaprio may miss out on an oscar nomination and I feel that even if he picks up a nomination he will not win. So far in the film awards it is interesting and this may be one of the best awards seasons in years as it doesn’t seem to be predictable.

Bryan Cranston rightly won for his role of Walter White in Breaking Bad and the show itself won for best drama. This was a really fitting send out for the show. So many people were impressed by Breaking Bad and having Cranston win was predictable but it was what everyone including myself wanted. It was also good to see Robin Wright win for House of Cards which is due to return on Netflix in February.

Here is the full list of winners.

DRAMA

Winner: 12 Years a Slave

MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Winner: American Hustle

ACTOR IN A DRAMA

Winner: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club as Ron Woodroof)

ACTRESS IN A DRAMA

Winner: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine as Jasmine Francis)

ACTOR IN A MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street as Jordan Belfort)

ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Winner: Amy Adams (American Hustle as Sydney Prosser)

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA, MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Winner: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club as Rayon)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA, MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Winner: Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle as Rosalyn Rosenfeld)

DIRECTOR

Winner: Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)

SCREENPLAY

Winner: Spike Jonze (Her)

ORIGINAL SCORE

Winner: Alex Ebert (All Is Lost)

ORIGINAL SONG

Winner: Ordinary Love by U2 and Danger Mouse (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

ANIMATED FILM

Winner: Frozen

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Winner: The Great Beauty

TELEVISION

DRAMA SERIES

Winner: Breaking Bad

MUSICAL OR COMEDY SERIES

Winner: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES

Winner: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad as Walter White)

ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES

Winner: Robin Wright (House of Cards as Claire Underwood)

ACTOR, MUSICAL OR COMEDY SERIES

Winner: Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine as Jake Peralta)

ACTRESS, MUSICAL OR COMEDY SERIES

Winner: Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation as Leslie Knope)

ACTOR, MINISERIES OR TV FILM

Winner: Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra as Liberace)

ACTRESS, MINISERIES OR TV FILM

Winner: Elisabeth Moss (Top of the Lake as Robin Griffin)

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Winner: Jon Voight (Ray Donovan as Mickey Donovan)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Winner: Jacqueline Bisset (Dancing on the Edge as Lady Livinia Cremone)

MINISERIES OR TV FILM

Winner: Behind the Candelabra

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.

Early Oscar Predictions 2014: Best Picture

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There are many films that will likely be nominated for best picture this year at the Academy Awards. I have not seen some of these but they are ones that are currently getting a lot of attention and hype. Here are some of my predictions for the nominations.

12 Years A Slave

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This seems a highly likely choice to be nominated for Best Film. Django Unchained was popular last year but this film will take slavery more seriously as it is based on a real life person and rather than being glorified to be entertaining I think this film will deal with heavy issues seriously. Slavery is ignored a great deal in the world and following such an intense and true story of Solomon Northrup will allow audiences to understand the hardship of slavery whilst being compelled by someones real life survival story. I think this film has the makings to get recognition from the academy and early reviews are positive and I am sure it will get a nomination.

Gravity

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Like most of these films I have not seen this yet but early reviews are praising Gravity as the new Avatar. It is also doing extremely well at the box office. If I had to make a bet now at this years winner I think I would have to say Gravity. I have not seen the film or anything but people are loving it. I am not a fan of Sandra Bullock but I do like George Clooney is some films and the director Alfonso Cuaron directed Children Of Men which is a film I really enjoyed. I will have to see it as soon as it becomes out in the cinema for me.

American Hustle

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American Hustle seems like a film that will get nominated. It has a lot of Oscar power behind it. It is directed by Silver Linings Playbook and The Fighter director David O’Russell who has been nominated for directing for both mentioned films. Maybe the academy will reward him for this film. Also the film has two oscar winners starring in lead roles as well as the other leads all being nominees in the past. Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress last year and Christian Bale won best supporting actor a couple of years ago. Jeremy Renner, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams have also all been nominated for Oscars. This is bound to pick up attention form the academy and will likely get a best picture nomination.

The Monuments Men

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Frankly this film seems to have been made for the purpose of attracting the attention of the academy awards. I know very little about this film but I think its major theme will appeal to the academy. It is set in world war 2 and about soldiers who preserve art. Now I would think the academy would love to preserve art. The film has a great cast including George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and Jean Dujardin. Nice to see Jean Dujardin in something. Its been a while. But this film will get nominated just because of Clooney’s involvement I think.

Captain Phillips

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Tom Hanks is a favorite at the Academy Awards and this film is already getting a great deal of recognition. The film is based on real life events and its themes are due to get audiences attention as well as its intense story. I do think the academy loves films based on real life and this is very recent. Pirates have been in the news over the past few years so it is a subject that cinema should deal with. The fact that Tom Hanks stars does not hurt its chances of receiving a nomination.

Wild Card

The Counselor

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For me The Counselor is a wild card because I think it is going to be a hit or miss film. I think it has the makings of being a nominated picture but unlike other films its content is a heavy contributor. Where as a film may just get nominated for its subject this could be a generic crime films or one of the greatest films ever made. We don’t know. It has a great cast and had Ridley Scott directing as well as being penned by Cormac McCarthy. I will make my decision when the film comes out and reviews are in.

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom Trailer

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Despite the trailer for this coming out over a month ago this film has only just come to my attention over the past couple of weeks. I have started to write about trailers more often now and I think that this is a good one to write about.

Nelson Mandela is no doubt one of the most famous people in the world and is considered a hero by many in South Africa. His story is know around the world but to my knoweledge a film about his personal life has not been done like this before.

Invictus a film directed by Clint Eastwood saw Morgan Freeman take on the role of Nelson Mandela. That film was set when Mandela was president and this film will follow Mandela’s early life and the run up to his imprisonment.

From the trailer Idris Elba looks and sounds incredible as Mandela. I think he is a shoe in to get an oscar nomination and I think his chances of winning for this role are quite high.

The film does show a different Mandela. People forget that he commited acts of terrosim against South Africa. Its not for me to say if it was justified or not but following that story is far more intresting that him as president.

Overall the trailer really has me excited for this film and will likely win oscars because of its backing by The Weinstein Company. Idris Elba is also becoming more known in Hollywood. He has already won a Golden Globe for his portrayal as John Luther in ‘Luther’ so it is likely more awards will come his way.

What do you think of the trailer? Please comment below.

Women in film

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I am ashamed to say this but I do not think women are equal when it comes to movies. The portrayal of women always follows the typical stereotype of either being a mother or a sexual object. Even with some of the best performances given by female actresses. I feel that there are no decent roles for women in Hollywood. This may simply be down to society. I decided to right this after reading about a quote from film director Danny Boyle. On talking about the film Trance:

‘”Elizabeth’s obviously a classic femme fatale, using her allure, her beauty to manipulate the men but I didn’t want the icy blonde Hitchcock kind of thing…

It’s a big problem for a lot of those actresses. They play the apparent lead in a film but when you look at the part it’s not that great, they’re like a figurehead.”

I feel that what Boyle is trying to say is no matter however good the role is for the woman, they will always be portrayed in the same way. One film that I hoped would be different from every other film was The Iron Lady. Meryl Streep portrayed the late Margret Thatcher the first and only British prime minister of Great Britain. This was an incredible role for any woman actress to have. Still elements of her life include being a mother which is true so could not be ignored but it was to follow the struggle of her  being oppressed as a woman politician in a world dominated by men. The film however was not good. rather than focusing on the determination of a woman overcoming the battlews of being a female in politics, it was watered down to a pathetic film about dementia. This showed Margret Thatcher struggling to deal with the loss of her husband rather than something that could have been so special. I feel that this is one of Meryl streep’s worst performances ever and I think it is an insult that she won the academy award for this role.

But most other roles for women make them objects of sexual desire and nothing else. Jennifer Lawrence received an Academy Award this year for Silver Linings Playbook. As much as I liked the film I felt that her performance was too typical of a woman playing a woman and nothing else.

Men appear to be far more versatile in movies and I think if you only had one academy award fro performance and not actor and actress most years if not all years the male actors will always pick it up. Perhaps because there is too much pressure on women to wither be objects of sexual desire or a mother their roles in films are limited. Women do hold a place in society and most woman stay  their place in a matriarchal society rather than fight this. Mothers are important for the role of life and I am not having a go at woman just merely pointing out that roles in films are limited and rarely have the right amount of grit for actresses to give a decent performance.

For non matriarchal roles most actresses continue to be objects of sexual desire.The femme fatale is a common role for a women in a film and many people believe roles like these to be empowering, however these characters are using their sexuality to get what they want rather than logic. Some women do find the idea of using their sexuality empowering but that should not be the way to get what you want.

I hope that writers will be able to create better roles for women but also I can understand them keeping with how they are now. That is how society sees women and therefore it will be a difficult transition. This seems to be more of an equality to issue rather than a writers issue. Until 100% equality is reached between men and women, women will continue to be portrayed in this way in cinema.