“God himself could not sink this ship.” – Cal Hockley
SYNOPSIS: A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind, but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic. – via IMDB
So I watched this on the way back from Italy, first time I have seen it in years. I still enjoyed it, and there were so many more aspects that I appreciated in the film seeing it now that I am older. The story of the Titanic always fascinated me, and even now, all these years later, it’s still immensely interesting. Now, back to the film, obviously I was on board with this because DiCaprio. I started a ridiculous obsession with him when this came out (I was still a rugrat when it hit, but come on, Jack Dawson). It was also where I became a fan of Kate Winslet, whatever she may think of her performance here. I loved this dramatic romantic film growing up, and it is still a good film. Watching it I realised that, as much as it was the love story between Jack and Rose, there was still the love story of the Titanic, so to speak (or love letter to the ship and her passengers, whichever way you wish to see it). So much time was spent showing us the destruction of the ship, the way she went down, fell apart, the whole katoot, and there were chunks of time that lapsed that did not feature Jack and Rose, and that was okay. Titanic features some solid performances, most notably (obviously) from DiCaprio and Winslet, but also Kathy Bates, Bernard Hill, and Victor Garber, among others. Titanic also spent a lot of time differentiating between the classes, which was not easy to watch, especially when it gets to locking second and third class passengers downstairs so that they could evacuate the first class passengers first, and how the first class passengers didn’t want to mix with lower classes. It made me sick to watch, and though times have changed, classism is still a major issue the world over. It is evident that Cameron was incredibly vested in his project, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching this again. Gosh, I will never forget the popularity of this film when it came out – and that is saying something, when a kid takes in how ridiculously huge a movie is. To this day, it is so immensely popular. Look, there are flaws with the film, for sure, but for the most part, it’s a pretty damn good movie, no matter how super hyped up it is. It is funny, sweet, sad, heart-wrenching, will make you angry, and will definitely keep you entertained from the off.
I will now, of course, take a moment, purely to appreciate DiCaprio for… all sorts of reasons.
“My heart bleeds. But revenge is in the creator’s hands.” – Hikuc
SYNOPSIS: A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820’s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. – via IMDB
So obviously you all know that I was super amped for this. DiCaprio? Sold! Tom Hardy? Sold. But DiCaprio. That was my main seller. Let me tell you, I was not in the least disappointed by this. It was brilliant. It is a long movie, but never really felt that way. The length just serves the purpose of really showing you how hopeless Glass’s situation was. It flips from a tale of survival to one of vengeance, each getting their moment to shine. Then there is the cinematography. Oh. My. Gosh. It told a whole story on its own and it was beyond beautiful to look at. There are lens flares all over the show, but it worked and didn’t annoy me (but then they seldom do, hence I never understand the flak that Abrams gets). Emmanuel Lubezki perfectly showcases the harsh and unforgiving conditions that Glass had to soldier through, but at the same time the breathtaking beauty was highlighted every step of the way. There were certain shots that I wasn’t a huge fan of, but that’s because it made my head spin and ache to try and match it, so there was that. Alejandro González Iñárritu truly realises a gorgeous film. The soundtrack suited the film down to a tee, and it all came together very well. But now on the the really big seller – the performances. They were all wonderful. Seriously, DiCaprio came in and owned Hugh Glass (but who in their right minds would have expected otherwise?). We felt for this guy, he captivated us, he drew us in with the story of his son (which, incidentally, was a major plus for me and then totally not a part of the real Glass’s life). I was backing this man all the way and I wanted to see him succeed. Credit is due to DiCaprio because his character is a man of exceptionally few words, and yet this did not stop him delivering one stellar performance. As for Tom Hardy? It was the first time I had actively despised a character of his (and he has played some dweebs), but this guy? What a douche! Domhnall Gleeson, who is just everywhere nowadays (my celebrity unsavvy fiancé even recognizes him by now), gave a damn fine performance, too, and was well worth a watch. Overall, this movie might not be for everyone due to the length and silences that fill the run time, but I feel that every aspect worked together well to draw you in and tell you a harrowing story of survival and a driving need for revenge with an absolutely stunning backdrop. Worth every second for sure, especially to see DiCaprio and Hardy united.
“First, it’s a Saturday night thing when you feel cool like a gangster or a rockstar- just something to kill the boredom, you know? They call it a chippie, a small habit. It feels so good, you start doing it on Tuesdays… then Thursdays… then it’s got you. Every wise ass punk on the block says it won’t happen to them, but it does.” – Jim Carroll
SYNOPSIS: Jim Carroll is a high school basketball player. His life centers around the basketball, and his dream is being a basketball star. Once in a while he gets stoned with his friends, and step by step, he falls into the dark world of crime and drugs. Once his mother expelled him out of the house, he goes into the streets of New York, and together with his friends they take drugs for which they steal, rob and even kill. As the time pass, Jim’s situation becomes worse. It looks like he will never get out from his drug addiction. – via IMDB
Mark recommended that I check this film out if I am into DiCaprio, and it took me a while but I got to it a few months ago. It is one of the few DiCaprio movies that I hadn’t seen. It was actually a decent film depicting the terrible downward spiral into drug dependency, and I thought that Leonardo DiCaprio was a fantastic actor to have carried the story as well as he did, and he was so young when he did it, too. I could not feel pity for Jim Carroll, seeing as he got himself to where he was on his own and with no real reason; he crushed his dreams and potential when the rest of his life was on the brink of taking off. However, DiCaprio manages to carry the role that you still root for Jim to get clean and pull his life together, no matter what else is going on around him. Other times, though, the plot is lost and it seems more like a typical drug addict rehashing addiction and the “magic” behind it. I enjoyed Mark Wahlberg in here, he was impressive. I liked the way the movie showed how anyone can end up in dark places, and what influence friends can have on the entire situation. I did think that there were places where the movie simply just didn’t quite make it as well as I would have hoped, and I would really have liked to have seen how Jim started pulling his life together when he was clean – the movie seemed to romanticize the addiction more than anything else. Overall, worth the watch, especially for DiCaprio, but not really anything vastly different from other films based on addictions and broken lives.
“Can’t repeat the past? Why, of course you can.” – Jay Gatsby
SYNOPSIS: A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor. – via IMDB
This is an old review that I have updated since watching the movie again.
I know that a lot of people had a lot of different things to say about this film, but I must say that it exceeded my expectations. I went in there not expecting anything, but with tons of hope. The dialogue was pretty much taken out of the book just like that, and Tobey Maguire truly impressed me as Nick Carraway and the narrator. I am not a big Tobey Maguire fan (yep, let me just come right out and put it on the table), but this was the first time that I was actually really impressed with what he did. He brought that naivete to the screen so well. Joel Edgerton was spot on for Tom. There were a few things that were changed toward the end, but that do not detract from the story overall. I loved how the adaptation stayed very true to the book, and I was very pleased to have read it beforehand. I must say it makes the world of difference. Now to address the style that everyone has either been raving about or knocking, let me say this: it truly (in my opinion) captured the essence of the parties, the abundance and the decadence, as well as the total emptiness of it all. It was so beautiful to watch! Leonardo DiCaprio was perfectly cast as Jay Gatsby, and was again just spectacular to watch. I liked him and Daisy together, the way it was captured on film was beautiful, though I do wish that Mulligan had been used a bit more. The Great Gatsby is a tale of hope and betrayal, and watching Jay build up his hopes about Daisy was crushing, especially knowing how the whole thing was going to turn out. Gatsby was a character I both admired and pitied – he worked his way up from nothing, had a certain naivete about him, and yet knew nothing of people just doing nice things for him, favours that did not have to be paid for in turn. There was also enough humour in it, but not enough to overshadow the actual story that was being told. The shirt scene was absolutely wonderfully done, that is just one scene I would like to highlight. The soundtrack threw me when I heard it start up, it really just did not strike me as correct for the film. That is probably my biggest criticism – I really hated it. Immensely. The outfits and costumes were just stunning, and I thoroughly enjoyed it in 3D, and again now on Blu-Ray (I am totally moving up in the world). Baz Luhrmann really did a good job, I enjoyed the movie, I am a fan. As I said, there were things that changed a bit from the book to screen, but not enough to derail the entire production. I would recommend this movie, really, despite what all the reviews say – both positive and negative. This is the type of film you need to see for yourself, something that people will either love or hate, but I suggest going in there and deciding for yourself!
“Did my heart love ’til now? Forswear its sight. For I never saw true beauty ’til this night.” – Romeo
SYNOPSIS: Classic story of Romeo and Juliet, set in a modern-day city of Verona Beach. The Montagues and Capulets are two feuding families, whose children meet and fall in love. They have to hide their love from the world because they know that their parents will not allow them to be together. There are obstacles on the way, like Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt, and Romeo’s friend Mercutio, and many fights. But although it is set in modern times, it is still the same timeless story of the “star crossed lovers”. – via IMDB
Gah! Can we just take a moment to truly appreciate DiCaprio’s beauty…
And then again in black and white because it stays so absolutely delicious:
Just adding this one, too!
And because I certainly cannot resist one last one…
DiCaprio. Need I say more? I suppose you might want some more, so I will give it to you. Romeo+Juliet is such a Baz Luhrmann experience, no two ways about it. It is extravagant, flamboyant, in-your-face and fabulous. I loved this movie when I was growing up, I thought it was a really great modernization of the play, which I enjoyed. Plus there was young, dreamy DiCaprio. We can’t even deny that. And to see a young Claire Danes, pre-cuckoo crazy Carrie Mathison is just wonderful. I think that Luhrmann did a good job bringing this forth in a new way. It was innovative, and to keep the dialogue as it was in the play is disconcerting and refreshing all at once. Grief, but these two kids were melodramatic as hell, I won’t even attempt to deny that. It is one heck of a disturbing and unhealthy relationship, and nobody can tell me otherwise about that. I am not even going to get into all the insanity of this relationship – true love, just sex, respect, what? – because I am sure we have all covered it in school a million times. The camera work was really snappy in the movie, and the way it would flow and then sometimes race and be all edgy was something that worked very well. I think the whole cast gave solid performances and it was great to see Paul Rudd, even though his role was minor. He’s such a sweetie! The costumes were something else in here, outrageous, loud, perfectly suited for the whole affair. I had a few good laughs throughout, and this movie, while not perfect, is definitely something worth spending time on and checking out – though some might need to keep a more open mind in terms of the modernization.
“We don’t really move. I mean, we’d like to, but… my mom is sort of attached to the house. Attached is, I guess, not the right word. She’s pretty much wedged in.” – Gilbert Grape
SYNOPSIS: Gilbert Grape lives in Endora, a place where nothing much happens. The only times the police get something to do is when Gilbert’s autistic brother Arnie tries to climb up on the watertower nearby. Taking care of Arnie is mostly Gilbert’s task which can be pretty demanding, at least while you are working at the local grocery store. Then one day Becky and her grandmother pass through Endora getting trouble with the car. Gilbert falls in love with Becky, but gets problems when he tries to find time for his own private life. – via IMDB
I am sure most people have seen this, and if not, that is certainly something that needs to be changed! There is a lot to like about this movie, even after so many years. For one, DiCaprio. Of course I was going to start there, you all know I head up the DiCaprio club around here hahaha. No matter how young or how old, or how complex the role, DiCaprio never ceases to amaze me. His portrayal of Arnie was heartwrenching and heartwarming both at once, and his character was adorable. He really shines here, stands out, and is so totally believable every step of the way. Johnny Depp is not to be forgotten, playing Gilbert Grape, back when he still used to take on diverse roles. I was a fan of Gilbert, he was a complex and layered character, someone I could identify with and root for. The relationship between Arnie and Gilbert is beautiful, and DiCaprio and Depp give it so much power, too. The movie is a slow burn and a heavy drama, so don’t think you are going to sit down, get ninety minutes of simple film, and move on. The story tells us about Gilbert, the obstacles in his life, the people he is surrounded by, his friendships and his family, the burden he bears, and the responsibilities he perceives. Watching his struggles is quite an ordeal, and you admire Gilbert for holding things together for so long. I think he and Becky were a great fit for each other. The humour is very entertaining in here, and at the same time it can get so damn depressing you actually feel it inside (think – bathtub, slaps). The supporting characters all contribute to the story in their own way, too, and help make this film something that lingers after you have seen it. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape gets you thinking on a lot of things in life, and is shot well, the pacing is right, drawing you into a lazy day in Endora, showing us that small town and the life it holds and the people that populate it. I enjoyed this, and would highly recommend this, even after all these years it holds up quite well.
“Look at us. We’re just like everyone else. We’ve bought into the same, ridiculous delusion.” – April Wheeler
SYNOPSIS: Frank and April Wheeler always see themselves as far-removed from the conventionality of suburbia. Yet that is exactly what creeps up on them when they buy a house in Connecticut. He toils 10 hours a day in a job he hates, while she, as a 1950s homemaker, yearns for fulfillment and passion. Rebelling against the torpor of their lives, the couple plan an escape that may push them to their limits. – via Google
I really enjoyed Revolutionary Road. I suppose true love is not quite as the couple would have imagined after surviving the Titanic and all that. Alright, I am kidding. It started off very sweet, and the couple that was adorable married and had their perfect little life, but soon the cracks and splinters in their relationship were visible. Do not be mistaken, this is not your average romantic film, overly predictable and soppy as sin (I really cannot stand those to begin with), but this one was different. It approached the whole thing in another light. It was sweet to see the Wheelers try so hard to get things together and get them right to live their lives to the fullest, but the longer you watch, the more cracked April seems. Yep, I mean it. The longer I watched, the more I was like damn, this woman is losing the plot and hiding all her decisions and justifications behind her husband, and then when realism sets in, he is the awful one. As a couple they also have to fill out the role of parents and look after their children, and the whole affair becomes a painful and tangled mess. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, it was a good drama and well-constructed, with a deeper looked into marriage, expectations, and then the reality of everything. DiCaprio absolutely shone in this movie (as if I would think anything else – but seriously, he was just excellent), and between him and Michael Shannon they really carried the film for me. Kate Winslet and Kathy Bates were also worth checking out, as always. Winslet was particularly well cast to play April, and her and DiCaprio manage to work very well alongside on another. Michael Shannon was a massive draw, and he played his role incredibly well here. He was brutally honest and didn’t really have a social buffer, but he was the one that told things like he saw them, and they were invariably correct. He had a strong character, and is definitely worth looking into. I know that not everyone is going to love this film, but I thought it to be solid, well put together and littered with great performances.
Obviously there was a lot to love in The Wolf of Wall Street, and there were plenty of scenes that were hilarious. However, the most memorable of all the crazy and the one that stands out to everyone and cannot be denied the giggles is most certainly when DiCaprio’s Belfort skipped the drug drooling phase and skipped straight into the cerebral palsy phase.
If you have a scene that you would like featured, drop me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with a picture/gif/video of the scene and an explanation as to why (should you want to include it).
“We have a question: Do you want to be a cop, or do you want to appear to be a cop? It’s an honest question.”
– Oliver Queenan
Francis “Frank” Costello (Jack Nicholson) runs the Irish organised crime in South Boston. He is smart and values education, and clever at picking out loyal gang members. At a very young age he picks Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) and cultivates him to be one of his finest assets. Sullivan trains and enters into the Massachusetts State Police, and now acts as a perfectly placed mole within the police force. However, luck would have it that Sullivan gets moved into the Special Investigations Unit, which deals directly with hunting for Frank Costello and taking him down. It seems Costello’s efforts with Sullivan will pay off. Meanwhile, William “Billy” Costigan works his way through the police academy, but is approached by Captain Oliver Charles Queenan (Martin Sheen) and Staff Sergeant Sean Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) to infiltrate Costello’s gang, going undercover. They cannot hide that he was at the academy, but they can have him arrested and incarcerated to have a believable background. Costigan has family ties back to organised crime that is most helpful to get him in with the right people.
Costigan flushes his life away and goes to prison. Coming out, he meets up with his cousin Sean (Kevin Corrigan) and starts running drugs. Slowly but surely, he starts getting in with the right people. Costigan gets an introduction with Arnold “Frenchie” French (Ray Winstone) and later meets with Costello himself, who after a painful interrogation decides that he could use a guy like that. Both Sullivan and Costigan are on their way to infiltrating properly, and Sullivan starts seeing psychiatrist Dr Madolyn Madden (Vera Farmiga), though their relationship it not peachy. Costigan is actually seeing Madolyn for his state mandated psychology sessions for probation. He is attracted to her, and when things get rough between her and Sullivan, she starts something up with Costigan. Costigan is proving himself to be a real asset to Costello, and climbs the ranks rather quickly.
It soon becomes evident to the Special Investigations Unit that they have a mole, and Costello and Sullivan suspect that there is a rat within Costello’s ranks. Sullivan is tasked by Queenan to find the mole, who happens to be himself. Costigan and Sullivan are now desperately hunting each other, both terrified of what would happen if they were discovered. Costigan had already tried to get out of the life though Queenan begged him to stay on just a little bit longer. Costigan fears for his life, and is horrified by the terrible things that he sees daily. Sullivan’s perfect little life starts unravelling when it becomes evident that he had better come up with the mole’s identity, but he cannot very well give up himself.
Will Costigan find out who the mole within the State Police is? Will Sullivan discover the identity of Costigan, Costello’s rat? Will Queenan stick to his word and get Costigan out before it is too late? What will Dignam do with the way the investigation is being run, and the fact that he does not like Sullivan? How safe is Costello really? Is he as untouchable as it is all made out?
The Departed scores a solid 9/10 for me. I absolutely love this film and it really never gets old for me. It has a damn fine cast with a pretty slick plot that is laid out incredibly well. There are no arb jumps and things that leave you lost and confused. The acting is top notch and the tension keeps you hooked from the get go, with never a dull moment working its way into the precious minutes of your life that are being dedicated to this film. It is long but never, ever drags out. Jack Nicholson is impressive as Irish gangster Frank Costello, and his relationship with Matt Damon’s Sullivan was worth checking out, too. Sullivan was slick and smooth and completely believable in his role of mole within the police force. DiCaprio was a wonder (as always) to experience as Billy Costigan, and gave the character so much colour and flair. He went from angry and badass to terrified yet loyal to the job. Wahlberg’s character was such a douche, and he gave him so much life! I really thought the characters were constructed well. There is so much to say about this movie, so much that worked about it. One of the best movies I have seen in ages, something I continually go back to and love. I thoroughly enjoyed the soundtrack for The Departed. Probably my favourite use of Gimme Shelter in a movie. The movie is fast paced and thrilling, and has you at the edge of your seat for the duration of it. It is one of my favourite movies, and Martin Scorsese did another phenomenal job with his people on this one. What a thrilling flick! For a far more in depth review of what I thought about this, you can go check it out here.
“This right here is the land of opportunity. This is America. This is my home! The show goes on!” – Jordan Belfort
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a young and idealistic man with big dreams for his future and to make money, and establishes himself as a stockbroker at a frim on Wall Street. His lifestyle and what he thought he knew is drastically changed when Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) tells him what he should expect, and that sex and drugs are what will keep him going, and that making the clients’ money is not the name of the game. However, when Black Monday rolls around, Jordan finds himself without a job. When he is ready to give up, his wife Teresa Petrillo (Cristin Milioti) spots an ad in the paper for a company that is actually hiring stock brokers. Jordan goes for an interview, and after what he is used to on Wall Street is shocked to find a dilapidated old building with a bunch of rejects trading penny stocks.
Desperate for work, Jordan takes it and makes a fortune trading the penny stocks. Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) approaches Jordan one day seeing as they live in the same apartment building. He cannot believe that Jordan makes the money he claims he does, but quits his job immediately to come and work for Jordan when he is shown a payslip indicating what Jordan earns. The two branch off and open up their own firm, and Jordan calls in his pot dealer friends to run it – Brad Bodnick (Jon Bernthal), Chester Ming (Kenneth Choi), Nicky “Rugrat” Koskoff (P. J. Byrne) and Alden “Sea Otter” Kupferberg (Henry Zebrowski). They come in and start making a lot of money on the penny stocks, and soon Jordan changes the name of the game. He calls the firm Stratton Oakmont, and they are going for the big fish now, selling off stock that people will recognise but making a fortune on the penny stock just under that. The company rapidly expands and becomes a billion-dollar company, with plenty of employees from whom he has garnered much respect and reverence.
Jordan is living the life of a rockstar – sex, drugs, money, prostitutes and endless entertainment is the name of the game. Jordan’s parents, “Mad” Max (Rob Reiner) and Leah (Christine Ebersole) are brought in to deal with the finances. Jordan’s marriage with Teresa collapses when he falls in love with Naomi Lapaglia (Margot Robbie). Jordan is addicted to all sorts of drugs and sleeping with numerous women. The marriage was doomed. Jordan and Naomi get married, and their new life together is supposed to be a glorious affair for a while. They even have a daughter named Skylet together. The FBI, meanwhile, has started looking into the dealings at Stratton Oakmont, and is headed up by agent Denham (Kyle Chandler). The investigation continues and gains heat and momentum, and it is becoming more and more difficult for Jordan to hide the things that are going on in his firm, and things get back when Donnie and Brad get into a huge fight, and Brad gets locked up. Jordan is worried seeing as Brad has been helping smuggle his millions of dollars into Switzerland so that the FBI will not be able to track and/or seize it. As if matters are not bad enough, Jordan learns through his private investigator that the FBI has bugged his phones. Max tries to get Jordan to step down from Stratton Oakmont and take a deal, though Jordan refuses.
With everything that is heating up, will Jordan be able to continue running the massive scams he is? Will Jordan be able to keep his money hidden and out of the eyes of the FBI? Will Jordan have to sit down and speak to the feds, making a deal with them and stick to it? If presented with such an offer, would he even take it? Will Jordan be able to go straight, both in terms of the business that he runs as well as with his drink and drugs? Will his company eventually collapse, be taken down in a brutal and thorough investigation? Will Jordan and Naomi be able to stay strong through whatever may come?
A 9/10 for The Wolf of Wall Street. I went in with really high expectations and will not even kid around – they were met to the extremes. I have been waiting for this movie forever, and made sure that I got to it this weekend. Leonardo DiCaprio just waltzed in and stole the show again, giving a hell of a performance as Jordan Belfort. He had no scruples, he had no boundaries, he did not care and embraced a dark and gritty, money-filled life and ran with it. Everything about the young man he was got lost, and so quickly, when he got onto Wall Street. His new life of drink, drugs and sex took over, and he had standards to maintain. DiCaprio plays Belfort with a specified flair, which is nothing short of what I had expected him to do. Jonah Hill gave a solid performance as Donnie, and he really was gross and disgusting but clever. I can see now why people have praised his performance. Seeing how everyone plays on Wall Street was a reward unto itself, and Scorsese was just amazing bringing the life and the feeling of everything to the screen. The soundtrack was fitting, the camera work amazing, everything came together so well! For a three hour movie it certainly zips by, keeping you hooked to the story and progression without an issue! You know you are going to get something beautiful when he and DiCaprio pull things together. I know that there were people that had moaned about the nudity and the swearing in this film, but trust me, it doesn’t detract from the viewing experience. It didn’t phase me in the least, though I know it is bound to make some uncomfortable. I really wish that this would be DiCaprio’s Oscar year, he really does deserve one. I laughed a hell of a lot in this movie, just at how ridiculous and ludicrous some of the things that they were doing were, how they just got away with things, how these people lived their lives and the things that they did. It’s disgusting and reprehensible, and nothing about Jordan Belfort says that he was sorry, though it is an interesting look back over the experiences he had. Overall it was a hell of a good watch and something that I would recommend going to see. Definitely my movie of 2013!