The Wolf of Wall Street has fantastic lead performances, but Scorsese disappoints with this over indulgent mess. The story rings hollow thanks to completely unlikable characters, a far too lengthy story that is 3 hours long, and an over reliance on sex and drugs to entertain. There's moments of gleeful exuberance, but it gets exhausting after awhile watching these characters go absolutely insane on drugs. I understand that this is a cautionary tale, but they could have cut back at least a little bit. The one positive I see from this is that they allowed all of this craziness without giving it a NC17 rating. There's a ton of nudity and language to go with the drugs and sex and I don't know how they got it through the rating system, but it is a win for anti-censorship. This was definitely my least favorite of the Best Picture nominees this year. I usually love Scorsese, but he went overboard with this film.
American Hustle certainly has problems sustaining its ridiculous story and characters, but this is incredibly lively filmmaking with solid performances from every cast member. The story is kind of hard to follow at times because they try to make you look one way while doing something else the other way, but it was very enjoyable. I liked the dynamics of the characters. Christian Bale and Amy Adams in particular were the most impressive. I love Jennifer Lawrence as an actress and she is decent here, but she did not deserve an Oscar Nomination. The whole movie is gorgeous to watch and completely envelops you in its style. It's really nothing more than an incredibly stylish caper film and I don't understand why it was nominated for so many Oscars, but it is a very enjoyable couple hours if you like more mature films. Just don't go in expecting it to blow your socks off.