Lone Survivor is undoubtedly a noble effort by Peter Berg. He spent years trying to get it made, and it pays tribute to the real soldiers who are depicted in the movie as well as to the military in general. That being said, as a movie, it's only decent. It begins and ends with about 5 minutes of stock footage which doesn't contribute to the movie itself. After the stock footage at the beginning, there is about twenty minutes of tedious exposition to each of the four Navy Seals until it finally reaches the issue at hand: their mission-gone-wrong. As soon as they first encounter trouble when a group of goat herders spots them, the movie gets much more entertaining. Suddenly there's a sense of danger and intensity as things escalate from bad to worse to worst. The action is pretty typical of a military movie, although it's noticeably more graphic. The four characters suffer so much visible trauma, not only from bullets but also from nature as they stumble down rocky cliffs, that it's frequently hard to watch. The gore is meant to be realistic, but at times it seems a bit excessive. Even if you endure the violence onscreen though, it ultimately doesn't pay off, as the characters are fairly shallow and there isn't much to gleam from the movie besides that war is brutal. It commemorates these men and honors them, but otherwise Lone Survivor ends up being extraordinarily violent with having the plot or characters to justify it.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a loud, flashy, and unfathomably vulgar movie populated by a wide variety of repulsive and narcissistic characters. In the hands of a lesser director, it could have easily ended up being unpleasant and unwatchable. However, thanks to acclaimed director Martin Scorsese's clever satirical touch and a witty script that surprises at every turn, The Wolf of Wall Street is a wild and uninhibited thrill-ride of a movie that's hard to forget.
The movie tells the true story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a man who went from struggling to pay his bills to being one of the most wealthy but immoral and corrupt stockbrokers in the country. As he leads an increasingly reckless and dishonest life, Belfort quickly transforms from a law-abiding citizen to an uncaring white-collar criminal.
Leonardo DiCaprio may have finally found his Oscar-winning role playing Jordan Belfort. Although his character is far too selfish to be likeable, DiCaprio's spirited performance makes Jordan endlessly fascinating in his depravity. Jonah Hill gives an equally impressive performance as Donnie, Jordan's best friend and the co-founder of his firm. Hill's loud-mouthed and often inconsiderate behavior as Donnie makes for some of the funniest scenes in the movie.
Although many of the scenes are far from light-hearted, The Wolf of Wall Street is ultimately a comedy. The characters' wildly reckless and irresponsible actions provide most of the humor. One particularly funny and memorable scene involves Jordan trying in vain to reach his car and drive home while under the influence of drugs he had taken. Unable to stand up and walk to the car, Jordan is forced to slide and drag his way across the floor, all the while yelling incoherent slurred sentences.
Running in at 165 minutes, The Wolf of Wall Street is not a short movie by any means. Although it's always enthralling, there are a few scenes that could have easily been cut to shorten the running time. One series of scenes that wasn't necessary involves Jordan Belfort getting into a dispute with a butler over $50,000 in cash that went missing. The scenes are entertaining enough, but they have no relevance to the story as a whole and aren't essential to the movie.
The Wolf of Wall Street is not the sort of movie one would expect a 71 year-old man to direct. Director Martin Scorsese is far from an ordinary 71 year-old man though, and with The Wolf of Wall Street he has crafted his most lively, compelling, and outrageous movie in years.
I liked so much about Stoker, which is why I'm so confused as to why I only found it to be good and not great. The movie is visually unique and has a sort of modern gothic feel to it, the acting is top-notch from Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode, and it has an atmospheric quality to it that gives it a suspenseful and mysterious vibe. It took me a few days to realize that the story is what brought the movie down a little. It starts off interestingly enough, but by the end of the movie it gets a little too convoluted and it's ultimately more mediocre and acceptable than great. Although the story gets less clever near the end, it's still much better than many other movies, and Stoker is a unique and eerily creepy thriller that entertains despite its occasional faults.