This New Year I had the pleasure of watching two excellent films that bring hope to this film enthusiast’s heart and am excited to be highly recommending both of them to you. Out of all the mainstream films I saw in 2013, these films are by far my top recommended choices (and coincidentally I watched both of them on the last day of the year).
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET / dir. Martin Scorsese
The Wolf of Wall Street, which I caught yesterday afternoon at the Battery Park Regal Cinemas, is the latest Scorsese movie and boy is it ever a true Scorsese movie. With a narrative structure similar to Goodfellas and the intriguing charm and whit that comes with just about any movie DiCaprio is involved in, you can’t go wrong. Scorsese approached the material with his usual detached method, allowing the audience to make their own judgement on the central character and thus allowing room for reflection once the house lights came up.
Scorsese didn’t fail to remind us of his genius time and time again. Every moment of the film is priceless and there are plenty of moments that can extracted and used as an example of a “good cinematic moment”. My favorite scene is probably the most hilarious and poignant of the entire movie, as it illustrates in its own unique way, the point of the character and at large, the combined character of all the young men and women working on Wall Street. In the scene, DiCaprio’s character recounts a time when he had to drive back home, nearly incapacitated on drugs, without scratching the car or getting into any accidents. We believe him and that’s that until a few hours later when he’s woken from his drug induced nap and arrested by police. As he’s taken outside in handcuffs, we see the banged up Ferrari and then we flashback to the actual drive home, where DiCaprio manages to hit every single car between his point of origin and his destination. This scene is a wonderful metaphor for how these Wall Street criminals view their actions – as not being that harmful to anyone when in fact, they’re destroying everyone in their paths, including innocent bystanders.
Jonah Hill gave an Academy worthy performance and I would be willing to bet that if he were to collaborate with Scorsese in the future, they’d surely have a winner. The exhibition of the film was meaningful to some notable degree as the theater I saw it in is only a few blocks from Wall Street and only a block away from the marina at the World Financial Center, which was a prominent filming location for the movie (scenes of this location even made it into the trailer).
NOW YOU SEE ME / dir. Louis Leterrier
Last night I rented, through an on-demand service, the movie Now You See Me. This movie wasn’t available at every movie theater in the city and the theaters that were showing it had very inconvenient showtimes so it’s understandable why I missed it during its theatrical run. Of all the movies to get the shaft by distributors this year, it’s shocking that this is one of those movies. Aside from a few minor issues with the plot, it’s actually quite a good movie and a good example of classic Hollywood storytelling.
The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Melanie Laurent to name a few. The story revolves around a group of young magicians with a kick ass stage show that involves robbing banks right before the audiences’ eyes, jacking the bank accounts of slimy insurance companies and all that Robin Hood-esque shenanigans we love in our heroes. While some important elements are predictable, the film still manages to hold its own regardless of how crazy things seem to get.
This is a film I can see being passed around from friend to friend, being shown at parties and what not. It’s that cool of a movie. It’s what Clerks was back in the day or Snatch in 2001. It’s the movie everyone asks their friends if they can borrow for a get together they’re having. It’s good to see fun movies like this are still being made.
2013 NOTABLE MENTIONS:
The Great Gatsby | Disney’s Frozen | Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues | Kick-Ass 2
Thanks all and looking forward to 2014!
Happy New Year,