Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street

Well lets just say Martin Scorsese nearly 72 years old, has definitely still got it! He managed to produce the film that is going to be hard to beat, and it is only the first month of 2014. The film is actually based on a real story that was written by the wolf, Jordan Belfort himself many years ago, then brought to life by Terence Winter. The film is rightly certified an 18 as it is so crashing the boundaries of film making which has not been done in quite some time. There is no pussy footing around any of the illegal activities but throwing them in the audiences face. A few people I know found the plot a bit garish for them, I guess they didn't expect the full nature of this film; we all saw the trailers but for once we weren't allowed to see too much as the best parts couldn't be aired publicly, though to be honest if that ‘Flora’ advert where the kids catch their mummy and daddy “wrestling” is allowed on day time TV then it’s hardly any worse.. Maybe I should rethink that but you get my point (naughty ad!). This is any lads dream film, it had money, boobs, sex, scandal, boobs, drugs, women and boobs, wait did I mention boobs already?

Leonardo DiCaprio is our main guy Jordan, coming from a very earnest start his only ambition in life is to get rich, he learns from Mark Hanna all the tricks of the trade, which are basically get high, screw the customers and ‘jerk off’ a lot, he describes these tips as not tips but a prescription. He quickly becomes Hanna’s prodigy but for all of about five minutes as the company goes bust when stocks plummet in the 1978 crash. So Belfort tries his luck elsewhere, he uses his new found skills and becomes the best earner in the dive he’s discovered gaining 50% of whatever shares he sells.

We then meet Jonah Hills character Donnie Azoff, who is Belfonts incest neighbour being married to his own cousin, and Donnie quickly becomes Belfonts best friend and partner in crime – literally. This leads to them two making their own company, selling penny shares and luring rich people in as victims. Many laws are broken, drugs taken, girls… well you know. Everything begins to spiral out of control and Belfont divorces his beautiful wife, and upgrades to Naomi, his number one bit on the side soon becomes his new wife. They build a family together in their mansion and enjoy the perks of being loaded, whilst it lasts.

A hell of a lot of drama comes their way when the FBI start a thorough investigation into the company and their money, the company which has got people queuing up to work for them. Money is being hidden in places in Sweden and Jordan calls on his wife’s English Aunt Emma, played by the one and only Joanna Lumley, to assist him in this process so it cannot be traced to him.

There is a tonne more to the story and what happens but I’ve given you the basic overview without ruining it for anyone who hasn't seen it! The cast of this movie is A list with the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Rob Reiner, Margot Robbie and so many more recognisable faces! I can’t believe Leo is 40 this year and has been acting for more than half his life with so many amazing movies under his belt, but it was this film that got him finally nominated for best actor, and not just one nomination, but three! It’s about time, don’t you think?! If you've seen this film, you’ll agree he deserve to win at least one of them. I would say Jonah Hills support was pretty flawless too!

This films breaks so many rules, pushes its limits to the max and is full of non stop drama, though be aware that the length of it isn't for the faint hearted as it is nearly three hours long! The emotional roller-coaster that is ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ brings you up and down, it is a tough one though because you follow the journey with Jordan, you see all of the terrible things that occur but you can’t not like him, well you at least are a little torn by him, he tries to repent and change but karma's a bitch and you can’t fight these things.

I may have disagreed with most of the plot for ethical reasons but I can’t deny it was a fantastic movie, critically acclaimed and given five stars by so many reviews. It was hilarious and creepy, wrong on so many levels but pure brilliance too. The acting was phenomenal, the cinematography was great, especially on the boat scene.

Story Line – 8.5
Acting – 9.6
Cinematography – 9.0

I highly recommend this movie to all who like a thrill, to be honest these aren't normally my kind of films but when something is so greatly rated you can’t help but be curious, and if it’s finally got that 18 rating then why not? It seems as though many films get a way with being rated a 12 nowadays, so I wondered what it took – now I know! Bravo!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Critique - Benefits Street

Benefit Street aired on January 6th and has since stirred up quite a debate regarding the up and coming benefit cuts. It is a really controversial program showing the lives of some who claim, though most of the audience is only seeing what is on the surface – Fraud, stealing and generally just judging their lifestyle when actually fraud and tax avoidance happen at a much higher scale in businesses too.
I really admired the sense of community on James Turner Street, the focus of channel 4's documentary. Despite their money issues, they still have each other. 'White Dee' is the 'mother' of the road and advice giver on anything benefit based. We also see 'Smoggy' who is a reformed struggling convict, using his entrepreneurial spirit to earn little money but help his neighbours. Known as the '50p man' he offers little pots of daily necessities, even giving some for free when it's clear they can't even afford what many of us would regard a measly 50 pence.
On the flip side we meet a couple laughing about the benefit fraud they recently got caught for, admitting "It wasn't funny at the time" - well, it isn't funny now either. The show has sensationalised the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to people claiming benefits. It has been edited in a way to emphasise the audience's prejudice; the camera pans the street picking up drug dealers passing by, children playing on dirty dumped mattresses and often cutting away to the prison situated at the end of the road, which is apparently a second home for some. I feel they shouldn’t try to manipulate the audience with too many negative shots as it discourages any empathy they might feel.


Hey! Hope you are all well!
I am applying for some work experience placements and part of the application process is to 'critique' a recent program in 300 words.
I find such questions difficult because as much as I love to do critiques and reviews (don't know if you've noticed) I find myself a little lost for words. As I have no idea what they are looking for, 300 words doesn't feel enough. Do I focus on the narrative of thee show or more the background and camera work? How will it be marked? Alas - I am clueless and will have to attempt my best!
I have decided to base it on 'Benefit Street' and taken a different perspective on it that most others.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Film Review: American Hustle

American Hustle

As you know I am quite in love with the cinema and this weekend I went to the big screen to see American Hustle. A story where 'everyone hustles to survive' and supposedly some of it is true... Yeah right! Written and directed by David O. Russell the plot is set in seventies and based around Irving Rosenfeld who is a born and bred hustler. Irving is played by Christian Bale who does not look good in a fat suit! 

Irving is trapped in a marriage with Rosalyn, played by the brilliant Jennifer Lawrence, he is trapped because he adopted her son and loves the boy more than anything. He's having an affair with his new right hand lady Sydney (Amy Adams) the two get themselves into trouble though and are stuck helping the FBI in order to save them selves heavy time.

The agent who caught them doing fraud is Richie DiMaso, a stubborn man who is desperate to become a somebody in the field instead of a desk jockey. He stupidly gets carried away and starts framing and and going after the wrong people and poor Bradley Cooper looks to inevitably land on his... um bottom!

I enjoyed this film. Jennifer Lawrence had quite a comedic character and she made the film in my opinion. I don't know if you can tell but I feel like she is really doing fame right. Seeing her take on a new style, nailing the Jersey accent and her portrayal of the ditzy housewife was spot on.

I felt Amy Adam did well in her role, except she flits between Sydney and Edith - her English hustler self. With this is an English accent which was quite good and typically posh but my only issue was sometimes with her 'Jersey' she would slip and it would be a mixture of the two accents... Other than that I liked her - minus the home wrecking part!

Bale was pretty flawless too. He is typecast usually to be a serious man - hello Batman! - and this film wasn't too different to be honest. He was in his element with a little extra to tackle and he does it really well.

The other actors involved are on top form. Cooper has a bit of a slimey scene where he is quite intense with Sydney and he is horribly convincing but this is the sign of a good actor!

I feel the film had its ups and downs. The linear story line follows a man who is involved in dodgy dealings and they only get worse. I loved the unexpected humour and the fact it wasn't taken too seriously. What I liked most of all though was probably the ass kicking in the style of hustling. I get giddy when people win by being clever. Obviously don't do it but hey watch it!

Recommend this film if you are up for a bit of seriousness and a laugh!

Story line - 7.9
Acting - 9.1
70's portrayal - 8.9

Hola again!

Wow it has been a while - sorry!
I've had a lot going on in the past few months such as leaving my job of five years teaching street dance and going blindly into the hunt for a real career and unfortunately I haven't been able to give time for this. However it is part of my to do list of 2014 to keep up with this and start really pursuing the dream career! This isn't exactly living the dream but it's a start no?

Well I'm going to crack on with a film I saw Saturday evening...