In Martin Scorsese’s longest and now highest grossing film Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Jordan Belfort, an excessive stock broker who lives an extremely lavish lifestyle, queue drugs, sex, money laundering, etc. DiCaprio’s performance is good and Oscar-worthy but the character is not. There is no complexity to Jordan (see Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood, Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull) it is just a one-dimensional view of this lifestyle. I find that the film as a whole gets the tone right but there are tonal shifts that shouldn’t be there - wtf with the boat scene? However Scorsese once again shows that he does know how to create a good film even though it is not as good as his previous one, Hugo, which is a masterpiece - watch it.
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Everything is awesome. And this film is definitely awesome. Emmet (Chris Pratt) is just a “regular normal guy” until he finds a special piece of Lego which, as a prophecy foretold, means he will save the world. Despite a cliché of a plot this film is amazing. Gags are shot through a Gatling gun, animation so colourful and vivid your eyes melt and it has arguably the best Batman (Will Arnett) incarnation ever. This film gets what it means to play as a kid, not just with Lego, it’s the playfulness of combining ideas from different themes, Batman vs Pirates, Lincoln in the Wild West and Star Wars in the Middle Ages. It’s like taking a line of sherbet in a bath of gob stoppers while drinking Red Bull. It is awesome. 9/10.
Batman: “I only work in black. And sometimes very, very dark grey”
Jessica Alba stars in this Robert Rodriguez picture which is the fourth in the Spy Kids franchise. It has interesting concept, what if time really ran out?, but this film is devoid of any heart the original had, poor production quality, dreadful acting, CGI that looks like it has come out of a baby’s nappy and most of the “jokes” revolve around that idea. Even the positive message the film had was drowned in this sea of vomit and puerile one-liners. The fact that this film used “aroma-scope” as a marketing tool says it all really. Even if you had all the time in the world - DO NOT watch this film. 1/10.
Ashton Kutcher stars in this interesting yet deeply, deeply flawed exploration of matrimonial dynamics. It is poorly made but I’m a bit drunk and I had a good time. The picture does contain the immortal lines: “Pussy’s a mess”. And any film that doesn’t have a physics pun in it then it goes down in my bad books. 4/10
The plastics are back in this interesting yet deeply, deeply flawed exploration of High School political dynamics. It is poorly made but I’m a bit drunk and I had a good time. The picture does contain the immortal lines: “I said incognito, not in flamingo”. And any film that has physics pun in it then it goes down in my good books. 5/10
Directed by the Coen brothers comes a funny, yet quite sorrow, tale of the Dude, a laze about whom I feel sorry for. The film as whole feels episodic with no concurrent idea running through. That isn’t to say the Coens manage to bring an entertaining visual style to it all but from the creators of Fargo, I would like to think they can make a much greater, a much much greater picture that actually means something and has heart. 7/10
A man tries to escape from a prison. A simple but beautiful film shot by one of the greatest French directors of all time, Robert Bresson, comes a poignant picture, nuanced by crafty sound design and the claustrophobic sets. French director Jean Luc-Godard said after watching this film: “Robert Bresson is French cinema, as Dostoevsky is the Russian novel and Mozart is the German music”. 9/10.
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This sad and detailed account of a teenage girl’s rise to popularity and subsequent fall from grace is absolutely and utterly heartbreaking. It’s scarily convincing as drug abuse, physical abuse, peer pressure, sex and self-harming are shown candidly in this Catherine Hardwicke (of Twilight fame) picture. 8/10.
A 1957 black and white Swedish film about a professor travelling by car to pick up an honorary degree from a university does sound boring. In reality, however, this film evokes nostalgia, sentimentality and love. It screams life, through weird dreams and instances throughout his journey the professor reminisces and it is a pleasure to watch the masterful Ingmar Bergman at work. There are a few holes in it but brilliantly shot. 9/10.
Four college kids accidentally kill someone in a hit and run. The next summer they are haunted by someone apparently seeking revenge. Written by Kevin Williamson, there are obvious parallels between this and his magnum opus Scream (which I consider, coincidentally, to be Wes Craven’s finest work). Herein lies the problem, the same writer who wrote Scream wrote I Know What You Did Last Summer and with that the film lacks a Wes Craven to handle the material carefully and make it into something truly terrifying. What was so great about Scream was the ever growing tension and sense of dread - this has none of that. This isn’t to say it is without merit: the story is intriguing and some good scares. 4/10.
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We’re back in Slovakia as this time three American girls are sold to be tortured by paying clients. This time we hear more about the backstory of the torture factory and its boss. It didn’t have the shock and awe factor of the original, I did however feel a bit squeamish in places. Depraved, gory but at times funny (more light-hearted than the original). A solid ride. 6/10.
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