Tag Archives: leonardo dicaprio

The Wolf of Wall Street

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Jordan Belfort, a real life stockbroker who made millions of dollars by scamming people in the ‘80s. He made tons of money, had sex with a bunch of women, did a lot of drugs, and inspired a lot of people to do the same by publishing his life story in a memoir. This film adaptation brings Jordan Belfort’s story to the big screen and turns Belfort into kind of a folk hero. This film celebrates Belfort’s crimes and pays no attention to his victims. I doubt Bernie Madoff would get that kind of treatment, but Belfort is depicted as a rock star.

Leonardo DiCaprio gives another brilliant (yet Oscar-snubbed) performance in another Martin Scorsese film. These guys have been making quality films together for over a decade now. They know how to work with each other, and more importantly, they trust each other. Jordan Belfort is brash, arrogant, and an asshole but you still root for him to succeed and feel bad when his past catches up with him. A part of you hates him, a part of you loves him, and that kind of emotional manipulation has become a trademark of Scorsese’s films.

The supporting cast is great. Jonah Hill is practically unrecognizable as Donnie Azoff. Matthew McConaughey has a brief but memorable part. Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, and Ethan Suplee have small supporting roles as well. But the beautiful Margot Robbie will be the one who benefits the most from this movie. She’s a relative newcomer yet she holds her own against Leonardo DiCaprio and is the most captivating person whenever she is on camera. She is beautiful. And she gets naked and that’s always a bonus.

The three-hour running time is a little too long. It could have been two hours long, maybe two and a half. It runs out of steam a few times and a few scenes are redundant. Yes, we know that everyone is making crazy money and doing illegal things. You don’t need to show that forty different ways. We get it. Still, this is a great movie and deserves to be treated as one. Watch it. It’s on the Netflix.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young


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Django Unchained

Django Unchained is a 2012 Tarantino flick. It fact, it’s Quentin Tarantino’s highest grossing film to date. It’s not his best film, but it’s worth watching (all his films are). It’s about a slave named Django who teams up with a bounty hunter. They go around killing bad guys and collecting bounties while searching for Django’s wife in an effort to free her. It’s an interesting story but it’s not as structured as Tarantino’s other films. It’s more rambling and loose, and it feels almost as if he was trying to stretch out the running time. Granted it’s Tarantino, so it’s never boring. There’s always tremendous dialog, beautiful visuals, an epic soundtrack, and glorious violence. It’s a great movie. It’s just not quite a masterpiece.

Jamie Foxx plays Django and he’s good and all, but Christoph Waltz carries the movie as Dr. King Schultz. Schultz is arguably the main character. He’s the one that sets the story in motion. He frees Django, he teaches him how to become a bounty hunter, and he helps him find his wife. This movie has tremendous actors in it. Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, etc. all had solid performances, but the movie wouldn’t have worked without Christoph Waltz. He won the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, and it was well deserved.

You can’t claim to be a movie lover if you don’t watch Tarantino movies. You don’t have to like them, but you have to experience them. Tarantino watches films, studies them, analyzes them, and incorporates certain aspects of great films into his films. He pays homage to classic cinema while simultaneously pushing the boundaries forward. Yeah, he overuses the N-word and has a foot fetish. He’s still a true artist and you can’t deny his impact on cinema and pop culture.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young


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The Quick and the Dead

Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, Evil Dead) directs Sharon Stone as The Lady, a deadly female gunslinger The Quick and the Dead. Sharon Stone enters a quick draw dueling competition in a small town run by Gene Hackman. Raimi directs an all-star cast and using every single cowboy movie cliché imaginable to create an original and entertaining period piece.

The Quick and the Dead pays homage to the early cinematic westerns that AMC used to show before they became a real TV network. They have the saloon and an evil sheriff and a hired gun and a reformed criminal and a trick shot expert and a clock tower and honor and redemption and revenge. But they also have a pretty diverse competition. There is an Indian, a black guy, a woman, a Swedish guy… pretty much anyone can enter if they want. And that’s nice and democratic.

There are a lot of stars in this movie. Some of them were still up-and-comers at the time, but some were established. Sharon Stone is the main character and Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Gary Sinise all play supporting roles. There are also a lot of character actors that you will recognize from a bunch of different movies.

It’s not the best western, but it doesn’t try to be. It is more of an homage to cowboy flicks than an attempt to be serious. It is very stylized, and there are a lot of elaborate sequences that are very distinctive of Raimi. You can recognize his style a mile away. It’s a B movie with a budget. It has heart. Being made with love makes it better than it is.

Critically Rated at 11/17

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James Cameron is one hell of a filmmaker. This is a movie where you know the ending. You know that the Titanic is going to sink. You know that it is doomed, but you don’t care. This was the first movie to make over a billion dollars at the box office, it just kept making money. Everyone and their mom saw this movie. It was everywhere. It didn’t even open at number one, people just saw it and kept coming back and it blew up by word of mouth.

This movie has it all: romance, adventure, death, destruction, DiCaprio…. The special effects are a little dated, but they still hold up because the story holds up. Everyone likes to make fun of this movie. They are ashamed they saw it three times in the theater and still get mad when Rose lets go. The fact is that a movie can’t make an absurd amount of cash if people aren’t going to see it. Titanic is like Nickelback, you shit on it in public, but you know every word by heart. They write some amazing songs guys.

Titanic has a case for being the best film of all time. It won eleven Oscars out of fourteen nominations. It made over 1.8 billion dollars. It was the number one film for fifteen weeks straight (until Lost in Space came out, remember that gem?).  Of course it’s not the best film, but that’s really beside the point. This movie was a sensation, it was an event. And it’s coming out in 3D so get ready for that.

Titanic really launched Leonardo DiCaprio’s career. It wasn’t his first movie, but it was bigger than anything anyone had done before. It set the tone for the rest of his filmography; he would never do a paycheck movie. He would chose quality scripts and even if they weren’t box office sensations, at least he was always good in them. Kathy Bates gets a shout out for playing the Unsinkable Molly Brown. She had a bit part, but stands out. Billy Zane steals the film as Cal. He is a very compelling actor, and I wish he starred in more films. He’s wearing a hairpiece in this film; he’s been bald since the early ‘90s. Kate Winslet did a decent job as Rose, but it was really amazing to be a kid and see full on boobs and nipples in a PG-13 movie. Maybe that’s the secret to box office success: titties for kiddies! 

There’s a lot of corny lines that get quoted often, but the most quoted is, “I’m the king of the world!” The thing is, when you go back and watch the movie again, that line is not corny. It is spontaneous, real, and a triumphant line. All those scenes at the front and the back of the ship are cliché, but they work because Cameron makes them genuine. He knows film, and he knows how to manipulate emotions. None of his stories are unique, you’ve seen them a thousand times before, but you haven’t seen them presented like this. It’s grandeur, it’s spectacle, but it’s also relatable. You try doing that.

The Titanic hits an iceberg and begins to sink. And then you see the best and worst of humanity. You see the greedy and corrupt lie and cheat their way onto lifeboats. You see others who have given up and decide to go out on their terms. You see mothers gently caressing their kids. You see people working together and fighting each other. The best and the worst often go hand in hand.

And of course there is that ambiguous ending. Is Rose dead? Is she dreaming? Will the top stop spinning? Does it matter?

Critically Rated at 12/17

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Kettle Zesty Ranch

Kettle Krinkle Kut Zesty Ranch chips are yet another decent flavor of Kettle brand potato chips. These are crinkled, which is always a bonus. There is a good amount of ranch flavoring, but it’s not as excessive as ranch Doritos. Kettle does bold flavors and it does them well, even though you might not be in the mood for that flavor. Kettle flavors are like the Leonardo DiCaprio of the chip world… he always does good critically acclaimed movies, and he is always good in them, but you can’t watch Inception all the time, and you don’t really want to either.

Critically Rated at 13/17

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