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Stocks and Stoned: "The Wolf of Wall Street" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 29 December 2013 20:20

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall StreetTHE WOLF OF WALL STREET

The Wolf of Wall Street is Martin Scorsese’s three-hour black comedy about the grotesquely indulgent life of felonious stock trader Jordan Belfort, and Leonardo DiCaprio gives a ferociously alert performance as the title character, even when, in a scene of perfectly executed physical slapstick, a Quaalude high gone wrong leaves him nearly, and hilariously, immobile. The movie is filled with memorable set pieces and blisteringly profane dialogue, and several supporting actors – Kyle Chandler and Matthew McConaughey especially – are in utterly spectacular form. There’s filmmaking energy, even bravado, on display in just about every scene. And after dozens of releases in a career spanning more than four decades, it’s the first Scorsese picture that I’ve ever actively hated.

 
O Christmas Three, O Christmas Three ... : "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," and "Grudge Match" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 29 December 2013 20:16

Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter MittyTHE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, and GRUDGE MATCH

With apologies to Keanu Reeves fans and the true Beliebers among you, I still haven’t gotten around to 47 Ronin or Justin Bieber’s Believe. (In the case of the latter, I’m not sure I ever will, although stranger things have happened, I guess ... .) But among the numerous titles that opened opposite The Wolf of Wall Street on Christmas Day, I did manage to catch a few of ’em ... .

 
Con Fab: "Amerian Hustle" and "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 22 December 2013 15:49

Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Jenifer Lawrence in American HustleAMERICAN HUSTLE

You wanna have a good time this winter? Grab some friends, see American Hustle, hit the coffee shop or bar of your choosing, and enjoy a spirited debate over which performer in director David O. Russell’s con-man (and -woman) comedy gives the best, funniest performance. Better yet, enjoy a spirited debate over which performer has the best, funniest hair. Either way, there are no wrong answers.

 
The Fraudulent World of Disney: "Saving Mr. Banks" and "Walking with Dinosaurs" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 22 December 2013 15:39

Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks in Saving Mr. BanksSAVING MR. BANKS

Saving Mr. Banks concerns the efforts of the crinkly-eyed Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) in getting the persnickety, Hollywood-averse British author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to sign over the book rights to Mary Poppins. (Spoiler Alert: He does.) And as it’s a Disney movie about a Disney movie with Disney products and Disney people – including Uncle Walt himself – popping up nearly every time you blink, the cynic in me resisted director John Lee Hancock’s dramatic comedy for as long as humanly possible. Then Thompson’s seemingly impenetrable Travers broke down while watching the Banks family sing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” at Mary Poppins’ first public screening, and I was a goner. Aw crap, I thought while wiping away tears. Two more minutes and I would’ve been fine.

 
Smaug Alert: "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" and "Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 15 December 2013 22:34

Martin Freeman in The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugTHE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

The first great sequence in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – and, sadly, one of the few truly great sequences in Peter Jackson’s second (or fifth, if you’d rather) J.R.R. Tolkien installment – is an escape scene. At its start, hobbit protagonist Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf companions sneak out of the Elven dungeon cells in which they’ve been imprisoned, and hope for clean getaways by stashing themselves in empty wine barrels and floating down a nearby river. Sounds simple. And it might have been if it weren’t for the rapids, and the waterfalls, and the whizzing arrows, and the savage orcs, and Orlando Bloom gingerly bouncing atop our heroes’ heads.

 
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