Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Wolf of Wall Street

In Martin Scorsese’s latest film, The Wolf of Wall Street, the director reunites with frequent collaborator, Leonardo DiCaprio, to tell the story of a wealthy, hedonistic stockbroker who gets too in over his head as we watch his debauchery-filled rise to power, as well as his pathetic fall from grace. Seem familiar? Naturally it would, because it is. This is DiCaprio’s second film this year where he portrays a young, opulent socialite (the other film being The Great Gatsby); but unlike Gatsby (or at least the source material from which it was adapted), Wolf fails to provide much substance to the plethora of sex, drugs, and money that will be shoved down your throat over the course of this long-winded affair.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Saving Mr. Banks

I can confidently say that not only is Mary Poppins one of my favorite Disney films, but also one of my favorite movies, period. The whimsical atmosphere, impressive blend of live and animated action, coupled with an eternally memorable score supplemented by the amazing charm and talent of Julie Andrews and others… it’s practically perfect in every way. How could anyone hate Mary Poppins? That is, anyone except for the author of the original novels on which the film was adapted from, P.L. Travers. In Saving Mr. Banks, Disney attempts to portray on-screen the struggle between Walt and Travers for the rights to the latter’s works, while Travers also has to come to terms with her personal demons. Does Disney sugarcoat the reality of the situation with various liberties…? Well, yes. But despite doing so, the results are impressive all the same.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Bard of Avon himself, William Shakespeare, wrote in Hamlet “Brevity is the soul of wit”. In other words, “Keep it simple, stupid”. In other words, “Don’t waste our time”. Unfortunately, it’s hard not to feel strung along when you’re watching the second installment of a trilogy of film adapted from a novel that barely scrapes 300 pages. The film, of course, is The Desolation of Smaug, the second film in The Hobbit series. Despite the unarguable passion that director Peter Jackson has for original author J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, one might find himself wondering if there’s truly any relevance to half of what he (or she) is watching in the film outside of an equally unarguable and frivolous attempt by the studio to prolong their current golden opportunity at a cash grab.