The Wolf of Wall Street

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Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government. (Source: IMDb)

Martin Scorsese’s latest movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, has certainly caused a stir among the critical masses. On one hand, this tale of excess – both mental and physical – has been lauded in certain circles; it has earned a Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for DiCaprio and Hill respectively, as well as Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for Oscars 2014. And then on the other hand, a number of dissenters have pilloried the movie for being misogynistic, vulgar, navel-gazing and ‘boring’ (last one being Mark Kermode, 2014).

I am not sure if this says something about my personality, but I found The Wolf of Wall Street and, more significantly, Jordan Belfort, immensely compelling. Even when he is acting his most debauched, there was a part of me that felt a modicum of fist-pumping machismo for the character. Perhaps it is my fondness of DiCaprio that I only strayed from the side of the protagonist once – during a scene with his daughter – yet that is not to take anything away from a performance that would in any other year be a dead-cert for Best Actor; unfortunately for Leo he is up against Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave. The energy DiCaprio brings to the movie is nothing short of incredible. In the past, he always embodied his characters, but there was the ‘he was Jack in Titanic‘ aspect to his on-screen presence. It’s thanks to his talent and Scorsese’s direction in The Wolf of Wall Street, that I feel this Leo’s coming of age role, and now he can be considered as one of the modern greats. Turns from Jonah Hill, Naomi Lapaglia (in her first role), as well as Rob Reiner and Jon Favreau were all brilliant, and there was even a fantastic cameo from a certain favourite around here, Matthew McConaughey, as Belfort’s career role model, Mark Hanna.

At three hours long, one could expect oneself to go on a mental stroll, however the pace, biopic-nature and playful yet dark tone of the movie is very reminiscent of Goodfellas, a comparison which has undoubtedly been drawn, but is relevant nonetheless. There are scenes of cringeworthy humour, shocking drug misuse and abuse, and a lens that falls often on bare naked ladies (no, not the 1990s pop band). However, I don’t for one second feel that Scorsese’s camera is any way misogynistic; the excess of Belfort’s life is a literal orgy of naked flesh, drugs, and money, with one capitalist fist-pumping scene after another. Yet, even though there are some women in this movie that are tools for Belfort’s pleasure, I feel the leering ends up being at Belfort while he is of his face on drug cocktails (and more drastic these scenes become), and not at the breasts on screen; they are very matter of fact breasts, if you will.

The Wolf of Wall Street was a fantastically fun movie to watch. It ticked all my taboo boxes, one of which I didn’t even know I had, and albeit for one scene of genuine darkness and abyss-staring, it was a romp and a half. It won’t win any of the Oscars for which it is nominated, but in an ideal world, 12 Years would have been released this later this year and Leo would get the recognition he truly deserves.

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10 iconic wedding movies and scenes

This may appear a weird list when considering what we usually post here on FrameRates, so here is some context: Lauren, my FrameRates buddy, is getting married on tomorrow! *cue cheers*. She’s currently getting the kilts ready and making the final preparations, so I have put together a special list!

So, to celebrate, here are 10 movies with marriages as a plot device or a key scene!

1) The Graduate

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When you get referenced in a movie, regardless of how shitty the movie is, you know you are relevant and well-known enough to the cinematic lexicon. Wayne’s World 2, the above average sequel to Wayne’s World, contains a scene that directly references the end of The Graduate. There are so many scenes in this certified classic that have gone down in history, and none more so than Ben (Hoffman) hammering on a window above a congregation during his love’s wedding to another man. Part of the Hollywood New Wave era, The Graduate is a standout example of how to construct a story with great characters, a solid script, as well as technical adventurousness.

2) Romeo and Juliet

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Oh, Leo, how lovely it is to see you grow into the actor you are now. The child star that scowled his way through such early 90s movie like This Boy’s Life and The Basketball Diaries, really hit the dizzy heights of Hollywood stardom when he trod the boards as Romeo in Lurhman’s Romeo and Juliet. Lurhman transported the Shakespeare classic into modern day America, and while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s a solid enough reimagining, complete with contemporary music and a colour palette that would make Pixar squint.

3) Wedding Crashers

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I’m not a comedy snob but I find it quite difficult to like Vince Vaughn. It’s to his testament that he nails it in Wedding Crashers, an interesting take on the ‘buddy movie’ we have all become so comfortable watching. Fast-talking Vaughn and Owen Wilson play a pair of ballsy business partners that spend their summer vacations crashing weddings and boning bridesmaids. That is until they crash a lavish wedding, during which they fall for two women who are their equal match. It sounds like your average Hollywood snorefest, but this is a decent movie with a lot of laughs!

4) Four Weddings and a Funeral

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“Is it raining? I hadn’t noticed.”

CRINGE AT THE TERRIBLE ACTING! Putting that single-worst line of delivered dialogue in cinema history aside, Four Weddings and Funeral stands up as Richard Curtis’ best work to date. Complete with a bumbling Hugh Grant, a rainy London and some clever laughs, this is probably the seminal movie about weddings in recent times, if not ever. It was, however, responsible for the Marty Pellow/Wet Wet Wet song, Love is All Around Me; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQQ6SfPZggw. I used to sing ‘I roll them in my fingers, I roll them in my toes, bogeys all around me, I got them from my nose.’ 7 year old me was such a funny guy.

5) The Hangover

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I want you to take a long, hard look at yourself, The Hangover, and report back when you can admit your mistakes. I won’t regale you with Stag Do stories about Lauren’s groom-to-be, however his tooth has been fixed now and Latvia has just about recovered.

6) The Wedding Singer

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The second-least annoying Sandler role after Punch Drunk Love, The Wedding Singer tells the story of Robbie and Julia, a singer and waitress engaged to the wrong partners, that eventually find out each others’ love for the other. This was the first movie I saw on my own at the cinema, which may sound lame, but I was only 11 so fuck you. I jest, of course. I’d like to reiterate that it is Sandler’s second-least annoying role, which should be reason enough to check it out.

7) Match Point

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The last Woody Allen outing that got reviewed on FrameRates was not received well at all. It’s a shame, because when he is on form, Allen can craft a story that will engage the most ADHD among us. Match Point is no exception; set in the opulent world of London’s elite, a marriage between a loving couple gets shaken to its very core with the introduction of a busty, blonde siren. Rhys-Myers plays the bachelor-then-husband that succumbs to the charms of Johansson (who wouldn’t?), and by the time the credits have roled you may be shocked as to where this movie has taken you.

8) Father of the Bride

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A remake of a classic always creeps up on our lists, and this is one of them. Father of the Bride is a remake of the 1950 classic about a dad that cannot accept his daughter is a grown woman making her own decisions. While not being Martin’s best role as the titular father, George Banks, he still manages to convey the character as having his daughter’s best interests at heart, in between all the comedic moments that one would expect from a wedding movie. The original is probably more of a classic, but if you’re a Martin fan then this is certainly not his worst work!

9) Downfall

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Probably the most infamous wedding in modern history. Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun got married while holed up under the streets of the Reichstag, Berlin, 1945, just days before committing suicide together. Downfall (or Der Untergang in German), tells the story of the last weeks of Hitler’s life. Critics of the movie have stated it paints too human a portrait of the dictator, and while this could be substantiated, it doesn’t detract from how good this movie actually is. You’ve probably all seen the parody videos of Hitler’s rant, however, when in the context of the movie, that scene is Hitler coming to terms with the fact his Reich is coming to an end.

10) Sideways

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I’ve never been middle-aged. That said, if I get to a certain vintage and am still not married, I’d like to take a week off before my wedding to eat fine food and drink fine wine. Sideways is a smart, slow but hilarious movie that is as much about food and wine as it is about getting older, feeling young and friendship at all costs. 22 year old me loved this film, and while at that age I had nothing in common with any of the characters, who doesn’t love a movie about booze?

Do any of you have any you’d add to the list?

Also, congratulations, Lauren (and James!)! You guys rock 😀

10 films we can’t wait to see in 2013….

Ain’t them Bodies Saints

Exciting cast, interesting narrative and some positive rumblings from its Sundance Première.

Cast: Rooney Mara, Ben Foster and Casey Affleck

Director/Writer: David Lowery

IMDB Synopsis: The tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met.

Est. Release: Aug.2013

Trailer: N/A

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Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck in Ain’t them Bodies Saints

Runner, Runner

Ooo I do have a soft spot for the Afflecks. Ben Affleck can do no wrong for me at the moment.

Cast: Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake and Gemma Arterton.

Director:  Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer)

IMDB Synopsis: A businessman who owns an offshore gambling operation finds his relationship with his protégé reaching a boiling point.

Est Release: Sept. 2013

Trailer: N/A

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The only proof this film is happening. No stills from the films or a trailer have been released yet

Anchorman: The Legend Continues

Please don’t be shit, please don’t be shit, please don’t be shit…

Confirmed Cast: Will Farrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, Harrison Ford, Kristen Wiig, James Marsden

Rumoured Cast: Luke Wilson, John C. Reilly

Director: Adam Mckay (Anchorman)

IMDB Synopsis: The continuing on-set adventures of San Diego’s top-rated newsman

Est Release: Dec. 2013

Trailer: 

Elysium

Loved District 9, love Matt Damon and, if done well, this could be amazing.

Cast: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster

Director: Neill Blomkamp (District 9)

IMDB Synopsis: Set in the year 2159, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station. The rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, and a man embarks on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.

Est Release: Sept. 2013

Trailer: N/A

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Matt Damon in Elysium

Kick Ass 2

If the writing and the story is as good as the first then I’ll be happy. Sequels are tricky beasts so I hope this retains the simplicity and class from the original. 

Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Jim Carrey, Christopher Mintz Plasse, Donald Faison

Director: Jeff Wadlow (Matthew Vaughn directed Kick Ass)

IMDB Synopsis:  The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins forces with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows.

Est Release: July 2013

Trailer: 

Mud

Trailer looks fantastic. Matthew McConaughey has been reborn as an actor with some real weight. The supporting cast aren’t half bad either.

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Shannon, Sarah Paulson

Director: Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter)

IMDB Synopsis: Two teenage boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his true love

Est Release: May 2013

Trailer:

The Iceman

Michael Shannon (his second feature on this list) stars; he is fast becoming one of my favourite actors. Fantastic cast. Compelling story. What could go wrong?

Cast: Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, James Franco, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer

Director: Ariel Vromen

IMDB Synopsis: The true story of Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer and family man. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters have any clue about his real profession.

Est Release: June 2013

Trailer:

The World’s End

So excited by this!! The cast, writers and director are enough to have me pre ordering my cinema ticket already. If this isn’t funny then I give up.

Cast: Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Rosamund Pike, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine,

Director: Edgar Wright

Writers: Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg

IMDB Synopsis: Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival.

Est Release: Aug. 2013

Trailer: N/A

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Freeman, Considine, Pegg, Frost and Marsan in The World’s End

Monsters University

Monsters Inc. was such a delight, I’m excited but scared for this sequel/prequel. Fingers crossed it will retain the magic and wonder from the original.  Trailers looks great though.

Voice Cast: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Helen Mirren, Steve Buscemi, Alfred Molina,

Director: Dan Scanlon (Cars)

IMDB Synopsis: A look at the relationship between Mike and Sulley during their days at Monsters University — when they weren’t necessarily the best of friends.

Est Release: July 2013

Trailer:

The Wolf of Wall Street

DiCaprio. Scorsese. Bosh.

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey

Director: Martin Scorsese

IMDB Synopsis: A New York stockbroker refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, corporate banking world and mob infiltration.

Est Release: Nov. 13

Trailer: N/A

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Leonardo Dicaprio in the, first look still from, The Wolf of Wall Street