Posts Tagged ‘Leonardo DiCaprio’

Infiltrating the Magnificent

Killers of the Flower Moon

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert de Niro, Lily Gladstone, John Lithgow, Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser, Cara Jade Myers, Jason Isbell, Scott Shepherd

Running Time: 3 hours and 25 minutes

Film Rating: 9 out of 10

Based upon the non-fiction book about the murders of the Osage native American Indians in Oklahoma in the 1920s written by David Grann, Oscar winning director Martin Scorsese constructs a masterful opera of a film on a grand scale in his new epic tale of oil, greed, infiltration and subjugation of the indigenous American people by the white population in the Midwest in the artfully constructed Killers of the Flower Moon.

Audiences before watching this film, read up about the history and check that you are comfortable sitting through a three and a half hour film.

At the devilish heart of Killers of the Flower Moon are three brilliant performances by Oscar winner Leonardo di Caprio (The Revenant) as the brutish and slightly dumb Ernest Buckhart who goes and works for his nasty uncle William Hale expertly played with just the right mixture of nuance and notoriety by Oscar winner Robert de Niro (Raging Bull, The Godfather Part II).

Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio

At the crux of the manipulative relationship between uncle and nephew, is Mollie Buckhart, a very wealthy Osage woman who along with her mother and sisters hold all the oil rights on their tribal land in central Oklahoma, a superb and stately performance by Lily Gladtsone who deserves a Best Actress Oscar for her sublime performance as she has to slowly realize that the husband she trusted is not what he seems.

Scorsese opens this epic with the Osage dancing and celebrating magnificently as oil pours lavishly out of the hardened soil of Oklahoma, making these tribal American Indians one of the wealthiest in America in the 1920’s but also causing them to become a magnet for infiltrators, con artists and low life criminals.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone

Through planned intermarrying on behalf of the white population, the Americans all conspire like wolves to take down the Osage and use their marital rights to acquire the oil rich lands of this magnificent and stately indigenous tribe, beautifully dressed, aloof and regal. Like the first descendants of a mysterious royalty, an ethnographic image of the other to be captured and subdued.

With authentic costumes by Jacqueline West who was Oscar nominated for costume design for Quills, The Revenant and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Killers of the Flower Moon is a fascinating tale about greed, crime and unrelenting corruption. It’s a beautiful ode to the Old American West as it was shedding its allure as an untamed land and becoming an environment for gentrification, embracing all the dangers which come with sudden affluence.

Janae Collins, Lily Gladstone, Cara Jade Myers, Jillian Dion

This is a very long film, but if you as a viewer invest in this film you will be the richer for it.

With crackling dialogue by Eric Roth and Martin Scorsese, de Niro and Di Caprio do not disappoint nor do any of the vast supporting cast including Oscar winner Brendan Fraser (The Whale), Oscar nominee Jess Plemons (The Power of the Dog) and Oscar nominee John Lithgow (Terms of Endearment, The World According to Garp) as the prosecutor Peter Leeward who eventually seeks rightful justice for the Osage in a Federal Court.

Killers of the Flower Moon paints a vast and cruel, yet magnificent canvas – a film so rich in detail and information that as an epic it will be treasured as another great entry into Scorsese’s mind blowing filmography of auteur cinema which stretches from Raging Bull through Gangs of New York to The Wolf of Wall Street and beyond.

Killers of the Flower Moon gets a film rating of 9 out of 10 and is a treasured yet masterful cinematic epic. Recommended viewing for those that enjoy fascinating cinema.

Extinction Event Deluxe

Don’t Look Up

Director: Adam McKay

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Tyler Perry, Jonah Hill, Timothee Chalamet, Mark Rylance, Melanie Lynskey, Ron Perlman, Ariana Grande, Himesh Patel

Film Rating 5.5 out of 10

Running Time: 2 hours and 18 minutes

This film is only available to watch on the Netflix streaming service.

Similar to the absolutely disastrous 2019 film Cats in which The Danish Girl director Tom Hooper assembled an A list cast with high expectations, only for the film version of the musical Cats to absolutely flop at the box office and be completely ridiculed, director Adam McKay’s 2021 film Don’t Look Up is as big a disaster as the comet which threatens to obliterate earth and kill everyone including the vacuous media personalities, the egotistical politicians and the general American population encapsulated by a stoner performance by Oscar nominee Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) as Jude.

Oscar winners Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine, The Aviator) and Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady, Kramer vs Kramer and Sophie’s Choice) unfortunately fail to lift this disastrous black comedy. Don’t Look Up just proves the theory that Netflix can attract A List stars to act in dreadful films. Next time all their agents should be shot at dawn.

Thankfully I never watched this film in a cinema.

With the exception of director Jane Campion’s excellent The Power of the Dog, Netflix films do not have that much to offer. Let’s face it the streaming service is facing a content crisis, now that everyone is back in cinemas watching Spiderman, Dune and No Time to Die.

Back to Don’t Look Up, while aspects of the script were rather funny, it really just shows how vacuous and gullible the American public are, believing everything they see in the media and on Television. That’s according to Adam McKay’s script and not my personal opinion.

Unlike Adam McKay’s brilliant take on the 2008 financial crisis in the critically acclaimed The Big Short and his even better take on politics in 2018’s Vice, Don’t Look Up falls way short of these two superior films. Even the satire and black comedy is not written with intelligence or an ounce of wit.

Don’t Look Up appears to be a spiralling pastiche of an impending extinction event in which everyone from the crazy politicians embodied by Meryl Streep’s American President Orlean and her ambitious son and chief of staff Jason wonderfully played by Oscar nominee Jonah Hill (Moneyball, The Wolf of Wall Street) to the incredibly vacuous cougar and TV presenter Brie Evantree in the Daily Rip brilliantly played by Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, all of whom seem blissfully unaware of a large meteor heading towards earth and wiping out humanity.

While Leonardo DiCaprio seems to just replicate his anxiety ridden performance in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood to a much lesser degree in Don’t Look Up and Jennifer Lawrence looks slightly confused at being in the presence of such big name stars in a film which is essentially going to be watched on an Iphone, unfortunately this deluxe extinct level event fizzles out despite the ensemble cast. Don’t Look Up is everything that genuine cinema shouldn’t be.

Don’t Look Up gets a film rating of 5.5 out of 10 and thankfully one doesn’t need to purchase a cinema ticket to watch this disaster. You can just pause the film and look away.

Acting as Artifice

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Leonardo di Caprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Dakota Fanning, Maya Hawke, Timothy Olyphant, Austin Butler, Damian Lewis, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Margaret Qualley, Damon Herriman

Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay for Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained, writer and director Quentin Tarantino returns to the big screen with his 9th feature film the brilliantly titled Once Upon a Time in Hollywood starring Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) and Brad Pitt as buddies actor Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth in a fictional tale set in Los Angeles in 1969.

1969 was the year that the real life film director Roman Polanski’s pregnant wife Sharon Tate was brutally murdered by the followers of the Charles Manson cult which shocked the American film industry to its rotten core. Charles Manson is played in the film by Australian actor Damon Herriman.

Firstly two disclaimers: this is an extremely long film and secondly it’s really only aimed at serious movie buffs and serves as Tarantino’s ode to the end of Hollywood’s Golden Age before the film making industry got taken over by corporations, sequels, digitization and streaming.

Margot Robbie as actress Sharon Tate

Tarantino artfully pays homage to the act of buying a ticket and going to the cinema in a rather poignant scene when the young actress Sharon Tate superbly played by Oscar nominee Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) actually pays to watch a film she is starring in at a Westwood cinema.

The rest of this marvelously meandering film belongs to the two major stars, DiCaprio who is superb as the washed up TV actor Rick Dalton who is desperately trying to make a Big Screen comeback but lands up starring in a string of Spaghetti Westerns in Rome.

Oscar nominee Brad Pitt (12 Monkeys) is phenomenal as the stunt double past his prime Cliff Booth in one of his best onscreen performances yet especially the gorgeous scene when he takes his shirt off on the roof of Dalton’s Hollywood Hills mansion in the scorching Californian sun to fix the TV aerial.

Booth also inadvertently stumbles across the hippie cult followers of Charles Manson in an abandoned studio lot in Chatsworth, California featuring some great cameos by Dakota Fanning (Ocean’s 8, War of the Worlds) as Squeaky Fromme , Oscar nominee Bruce Dern (Nebraska) as George Spahn and Margaret Qualley (The Nice Guys) as the seductive hippie hitchhiker Pussycat.

Tarantino expertly captures the zeitgeist of Los Angeles in 1969 at the peak of the counter-culture movement with lurid production design by Barbara Ling and costumes by Oscar nominated costume designer Arianne Phillips (Walk the Line, A Single Man, Nocturnal Animals, W. E.).

With some expertly placed cameos including Oscar winner Al Pacino (Scent of a Woman) as hot shot producer Marvin Schwarz and Damian Lewis as real life star Steve McQueen.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is slowing moving in the first two acts of the film, while the third act is phenomenal especially the hippie flame throwing sequence.

Tarantino could have quickened the film’s pace in the beginning to actively propel the narrative forward but he is a notorious auteur and not interested in packaging films to please audience expectations.

Unbelievably, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood did get a standing ovation at its glittering film premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival so Tarantino did something right.

This film gets a rating of 8 out of 10 and accurately portrays acting as artifice.

This is not Tarantino’s best work but written and directed in the vein of his crime thriller Jackie Brown, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood is strictly recommended for Tarantino fans and those that enjoyed Pulp Fiction, Django Unchanged and Inglourious Basterds.

88th Academy Awards

The 88th Academy Awards / The Oscars

Sunday 28th February 2016

OSCAR WINNERS AT THE 88TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS

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Best Picture: Spotlight

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Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – The Revenant

Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

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Best Actress: Brie LarsonRoom

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Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

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Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl

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Best Original Screenplay – Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer – Spotlight

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Best Adapted Screenplay – Adam McKay & Charles Randolph – The Big Short from the book The Big Short written by Michael Lewis
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Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul (Hungary) directed by Laszlo Nemes

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki – The Revenant

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Best Costume Design: Jenny Beavan – Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Hair and Makeup: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Film Editing: Margaret Sixel – Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Sound Editing: Mark A. Mangini and David WhiteMad Max: Fury Road

Best Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road

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Best Animated Feature: Inside Out by Pete Doctor and Jonas Rivera

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Best Visual Effects: Ex Machina

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Best Documentary Feature: Amy directed by Asaf Kapadia and James Gay-Rees

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Best Original Score: Ennio Morricone – The Hateful Eight

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Best Original Song: The Writings on the Wall by Sam Smith – Spectre

Source: Oscars

 

69th BAFTA AWARDS

THE  69th BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 14th February 2016 in London

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

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Best Film: The Revenant

Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant

Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

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Best Actress: Brie Larson – Room

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Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

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Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

Rising Star Award: John Boyega

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Best British Film: Brooklyn directed by John Crawley

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Best Original Screenplay: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer – Spotlight

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Best Adapted Screenplay: Adam McKay and Charles Randolph – The Big Short

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Best Costume Design: Jenny Beavan – Mad Max Fury Road

Wild Tales

Best Foreign Language Film: Wild Tales directed by Damián Szifron (Argentina)

Source: 69TH BAFTA AWARDS

 

 

The Wild Ones

The Revenant

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Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck, Lukas Haas, Paul Anderson

According to the Oxford Dictionary, Revenant means a person who has returned supposedly from the dead.

According Oscar winning Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant has a far deeper mythical connotation. After the success of Birdman, Inarritu follows up that whimsical taste of Broadway with a gruelling historical epic, The Revenant casting two of the best leading actors in contemporary cinema: Leonardo di Caprio and Tom Hardy.

The Revenant is a harsh masculine film, set in the American wilderness in 1823, the early years of settler exploration along the Missouri river near the Canadian border. Gorgeously shot by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant takes on a slightly Terence Malick feel in the first hour, but then the audience is thrust into a bitter tale of survival about a group of men who are not only attacked by roaming Pawnee Indians but by the neighbouring French.

DiCaprio plays a bearded and mostly silent yet skillful tracker Hugh Glass in one of his best performances for years. DiCaprio’s role is so grueling and utterly physical that is completely opposite to anything done by the actor before which makes it all the more engrossing to watch. His previous roles in The Great Gatsby and The Wolf of Wall Street focused on characters that were debauched and surrounded by lavish wealth and power.

In The Revenant, this is DiCaprio laid bare both physically and psychologically as he battles the most hostile terrain in the icy parts of North America. In probably the best scene of the film, Glass is viciously attacked by a grizzly bear and severely injured, the filming of this scene deserves an Oscar in itself. Glass is left for dead by the half-scalped hunter and dangerous John Fitzgerald, in a career best performance by Tom Hardy who manages to permeate all his scenes with the same chilling sense of menace as he did, playing Bane in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises and most recently as both the Kray twins in Legend.

The tension between the two men is palpable although Hardy is the one with the most lines, while Di Caprio expresses his pain with his eyes and body, an entirely physical ordeal, a gut-wrenching soul destroying battle for survival. The environment too has own character as these two men not only battle each other but also have to survive in a semi-explored icy landscape, where settlers and native American Indians are bartering and killing each other in a continuous bloodthirsty war over land, occupation and women.

Ethnographically, The Revenant is an important film, a vivid tale about the early American settlers who encounter the other, or the savages as the French call them. A primal battle which Inarritu elevates to myth, beautifully capturing the essence of the unforgiving yet stunning landscape, while emphasizes the terrain’s nefarious creatures and events, from vicious bears to avalanches.

At two and a half hours long The Revenant is not easy viewing and, the viewer does get a sense that the second act drags a little, yet the performances are so captivating and the sound editing so brilliant, that any minor criticisms can be forgiven. Warning: this is not an easy film to watch.

The Revenant is violent, gory and at times just plain cruel, but also sets the standard high for revenge themed adventure tales. Hardy and DiCaprio are both utterly terrific. The Revenant is a highly recommended and critically acclaimed film sure to attract a cult following.

Cinematically, The Revenant is nothing short of a masterpiece.

73rd Golden Globe Awards

73rd GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 10th  January 2016 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

GOLDEN GLOBE WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORIES:

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Best Film Drama: The Revenant

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Best Film, M/C: The Martian

Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu – The Revenant

Best Actor Drama: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

Room_PosterBest Actress Drama: Brie Larson – Room

Best Actor M/C: Matt Damon – The Martian

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Best Actress M/C: Jennifer Lawrence – Joy

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Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone – Creed

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Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

Son of Saul

Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul  directed by Laszlo Nemes (Hungary)

Source: 73rd Golden Globe Awards

71st Golden Globe Awards

71st Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday 12th  January 2014 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

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Best Film Drama – 12 Years a Slave

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Best Film Musical or Comedy – American Hustle

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Best Actor Drama: Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club

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Best Actress Drama: Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine

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Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street

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Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Amy Adams – American Hustle

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

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Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle

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Best Director: Alphonso Cuaron – Gravity

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Best Foreign Language Film – The Great Beauty (Italy)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/71st_Golden_Globe_Awards

62nd Golden Globe Awards

62nd Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday 16th January 2005 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

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Best Film Drama: The Aviator

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Best Film Musical or Comedy: Sideways

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Best Director: Clint Eastwood – Million Dollar Baby

Best Actor Drama: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Aviator

Best Actress Drama: Hilary Swank – Million Dollar Baby

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Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Jamie Foxx – Ray

Being Julia

Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Annette Bening – Being Julia

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Best Supporting Actor: Clive Owen – Closer

Best Supporting Actress: Natalie Portman – Closer

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Best Foreign Language Film – The Sea Inside (Spain)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/62nd_Golden_Globe_Awards

Scorsese’s Satyricon

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The Wolf of Wall Street

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Kyle Chandler, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Shea Wingham

The much anticipated explosive new film about Wall Street Stock broker Jordan Belfort by acclaimed director Martin Scorsese is an orgy of drugs, hedonism and consumerism held tightly together by one of the best on screen performances that Leonardo DiCaprio (The Great Gatsby) has ever given. The Wolf of Wall Street can best be described as Oliver Stone’s Wall Street highballing on crack and speed with large amounts of sex, swearing and swindling thrown in.

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The three hour film about the rise and fall of one of Wall Street’s most notoriously decadent stockbrokers is fascinating, bizarre, crude and highly entertaining. The Wolf of Wall Street is Scorsese’s sleazy and salacious Satyricon, a drug fuelled  hedonistic journey into the heart of America’s consumerism, while ripping to shreds its number one bastion Rampant Capitalism. For according to Belfort there is no nobility in poverty.

Audiences meet Belfort when he is a young would be stockbroker as he arrives off the bus on Wall Street soon to be taken in by the foul-mouthed cocaine sniffing chest thumping mentor Mark Hanna an expertly played cameo by Matthew McConnaughey.

Belfort after the Stock Exchange crash of 1989, goes into penny shares in a two bit stock brokerage in Long Island, where he revolutionizes the bunch of weirdo pot selling brokers into a serious blue chip Wall Street company rebranding it as Stratton Oakmont. Soon Belfort motivates his entire team to sell penny shares (those companies that cannot afford to be listed on NASDAQ) to the very rich, and after much cavorting and convincing, earns huge amounts of cash where the brokerage becomes a literal madhouse of drugs, greed and absolute debauchery.

With the help of his wing man Donny, a brilliant performance by Jonah Hill of Moneyball fame, Belfort catapults Stratton Oakmont into a serious stock brokerage to rival Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and the late Lehman Brothers in New York whilst at the same time committing serious securities fraud with imaginary IPO’s.

At the heart of The Wolf of Wall Street is a story about corruption, unrelenting drug addiction, rampant sex and partying, a frenetically paced tour de force of the arc of an absolute sinner energetically played by DiCaprio who is in virtually every scene of the film. Memorable scenes include his blond wife Naomi (a wonderful turn by newcomer Margot Robbie of the TV series Pan Am) walking in on a gay orgy in their plush Manhattan apartment, a bizarre incident with Belfort driving his white Ferrari from the Country Club while literally dazed on sleeping pills, a luxury yacht riding massive Mediterranean waves en route to Monaco, a sex-crazed air hostess humping trip in first class to Switzerland and that’s just to name some of the few crazy episodes in The Wolf of Wall Street. Scorsese’s film is a sublime Satyricon meshing elements of Casino, Shutter Island and The Departed proving that he is a consummate director and cinematic visionary.

Belfort’s eventual downfall comes at the hand of  conservative securities agent Patrick Denham played by Kyle Chandler (Super 8) but not before he has moved large parts of his vast fortune off shore to a Swiss Bank account with the help of a slimy banker Saurel seductively played by Jean Dujardin of The Artist and Naomi’s British aunt Emma played by Ab Fab star Joanna Lumley who utters the immortal line “I have lived through the Sixties”.

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Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is frenetic, shocking and superbly acted by DiCaprio along with an incisive script by Terence Winter, a tour-de-force of a film, a reason to love the art of cinema. A highly recommended montage on the destructive nature of greed and addiction, The Wolf is not for sensitive viewers, but packs a powerful punch held together by an Oscar worthy performance by DiCaprio whose rousing motivational trading floor speeches are the stuff of cinematic legends. After all if you can sell a pen, then you are a salesman…

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