The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Official Score: 3 1/2 stars
Well, this is definitely not one for the under 18 crowd. This movie had more nudity and vulgarity than all of Martin Scorcese’s previous movies combined. It’s basically Goodfellas/Casino without the mob violence, or more or less last half hour of Goodfellas where Ray Liotta spirals out of control, just stretched out into an entire movie. Leo plays basically the same role he played as Howard Hughes in Aviator, or the Great Gatsby, and sort of in Django Unchaned etc; basically a rich powerful megalomaniac with no self control. Jonah Hill is his usual doofus self, but with more money and whatnot obviously.
Story in a nutshell. Guy gets rich from conning people with bad penny stocks. Takes a few companies public with his firm and makes a boatload of money skimming on the side and making back table deals. Snorts a ton of cocaine, and other drugs, sleeps with hookers, crashes a yacht, goes to prison, loses a bunch of money, but in the end is still a spoiled rich brat.
There many cool moments and great gags, but I found it to be too excessive for my liking, and I didn’t really care to see a P.O.S like Jordan Belfort get glorified, which he is, since even though the movie does not say he was a “good guy”, he is still the protagonist and people will inevitably root for and sympathize with him even though there’s no telling how many lives he ruined. He’s basically a “sexier” TV friendly version of Bernie Madoff. The movie is extremely well made though, as you would expect, hence the good rating, it is entirely too long though, by about an hour I would say.
Broken Lizard’s Club Dread (2004)
Official Score: 1 ½ stars
Coconut Pete (Bill Paxton) owns a resort island known as Pleasure Island where partiers go for a week of fun, relaxation, drugs, alcohol, and sex. Unfortunately for his staff, a mad man with a machete has decided to carve them to pieces. Not as funny as Super Troopers (no where near as funny actually), but I can never totally frown on a movie with decent frontal female nudity.
The Lego Movie (2014)
Official Score:4 ½ stars out of 5
This may surprise some people, but this has been my favorite movie of 2014 so far. This is a kid’s movie that adults will enjoy as much or more than their children do. With any luck this will become a childhood classic over the next few years, at least I know at my house it will. My daughter loved it for the talking Lego blocks and the generally cute characters. I loved it for the great “subversive” storyline contained in it that gives big bland soul sucking corporations a really well deserved drubbing, and all of the great little in-jokes tucked in everywhere. Just a great, great movie, and one that caught me off guard as I really did not have high expectations for a movie based on a toy company(let’s look at the track record of how often that works). The only drawback here is that you will wish to stab yourself in the eardrums to get that “Everything is Awesome” song out of your head, other than that, this one is an absolute can’t miss.
Official Score: 2 ½ stars out of 5.
I don’t have the irrational hatred of remakes that many other lovers of film do. If a remake is worthy, then fine, if not, it’s not like the original isn’t still there to enjoy. This remake of the classic Paul Verhoeven action movie kind of reminded me of RoboCop light. It went down smooth, and was neither boring or needlessly complex. It was enjoyable for the duration, but after it was over, I found myself simply ready to move on with my life and forget about it entirely. The updated special effects were nice, Michael Keaton is a fine villain, and Samuel L. Jacksons makes a great “Black Glenn Beck” for lack of a better comparison, but this movie is missing the twisted heart of the campy (and graphically violent) original. The original RoboCop is a movie that, love it or hate it, will stick with you long after your first viewing, this movie will be forgotten by most everyone who sees it, and rather quickly at that.
Bad Words (2014)
Official Score: 2/5 Stars
I’ve seen this movie before, and done better. Bad Santa did it best. Bad Teacher did it okay. Bad Words adds nothing new or worthwhile to the Mix. The joke is that Jason Bateman has found a loophole that allows him to compete in children’s spelling bee’s across the country. This of course pisses off all the parents, rightfully so, and traumatizes many of the children. There is a deeply veiled personal secret that inspires him to do this, and a reporter lady following him around for this bizarre story, whom he also degrades, insults, and occasionally sleeps with. Of course our “hero” eventually befriends one of the kids in the competition, which means they will eventually square off in the final Spelling Bee match up. In between all this is just a lot of crude humor that is old hat at this point, and just Jason Bateman being an unlikable asshole that we’re somehow supposed to find funny and charming. I found him, or this movie, neither.