As a piece for the actors to go wild, August: Osage County excels at every opportunity. However, a relatively bland story with weak drive and often strange stylistic choices distract from the powerhouses on screen. That being said, I never thought Meryl could over do it, but in fact she does and ruins one of the most powerful scenes in the whole film by being an intolerable "strong-willed" Weston woman. The only characters that seemed to have any redeeming qualities were Chris Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch by being truly the only "nice" people in the film. Overall it wasn't great and it wasn't awful, it had the potential for both but instead choose to rest much like the setting of the film, smack dab in the middle for better or worse.
Performances were great as expected but the story was nothing extraordinary. I felt for Leto through and through but Matthew McConaughey was a nice add. While he wasn't as amazing as I had hoped, it was still a touching performance.
Nothing truly superb here other than the acting from Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner. It brings nothing new to the con-man genre in the idea that the audience is quite aware that everyone is playing everyone. Part of a great con film is that the audience needs to behind the con men that are pulling the job, unfortunately you don't feel for any of those characters until nearly 3/4 of the way through it. The direction only improved when the obscure camera movements were dropped and focused more on the intimate scenes between certain characters. The setting was only enjoyable to see the terrible cliche's that were drummed up. That being said I was never truly bored during the film and did enjoy specific sequences.
The Wolf of Wall Street is exactly what you expect it to be. A drug fueled romp through the inner workings of an extremely corrupt business, led by the physical embodiment of the "American dream". Despite it being misogynistic, it still remains enthralling for the three hour duration. Many of my fellow movie patrons would have to disagree with that notion but when you are watching this man party to the top and have a crash and burn of epic proportion, it's hard to peel your eyes away. This film is a constant reminder of all the major players just how great they are at their job. Jonah Hill steals every single scene he's in and Leo of course knocks it out of the park. The only problem with the film is it does seem somewhat haphazardly thrown together. However, I chalk that up to the thriving chaos of Wall Street. In short, see this film and hopefully you'll come out not wanting to do a lot of cocaine and have sex with hundreds of hookers.