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The Wolf of Wall Street 01 Leonardo DiCaprio, Jordan Belfort, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley, Cristin Milioti, Christine Ebersole, Shea Whigham, Katarina Čas

Wolf of Wall Street: based on the memoirs of a drugged-up banker that did a load of bad things. Most obviously, three hours is just far, far, far too long for this story, which is essentially: motivational speech, loads of drugs, party harder than Andrew WK, repeat x20. The premise is classic Scorsese – rise-and-fall – but they way in which it’s told, what he chose to film, and how he chose to film it is anything but. There’s so much skin, sex, sensationilsm, and alpha-male testosterone in here that it felt like Michael Bay defiling a Scorsese sceenplay. Another huge problem is that the main character – Jordan Belfort – isn’t even remotely likeable or interesting; just a one-dimensional, remorseless asshole. On the plus side the script it great, the casting is magnificent and Scorsese really gets the most from them. It’s also very funny, funnier than most comedies, although it does have a lot of time to play with. Sadly, it feels a bit cheap coming from someone that’s brought us films like The Departed, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, Taxi Driver… and it made me remember how good a film Boiler Room was. Scorsese – you’re above this. Studios – no director is above cutting empty & pointless scenes from! Not Scorsese, not Tarantino, nobody.

Score: 4.5/10

The Wolf of Wall Street 03 Leonardo DiCaprio, Jordan Belfort, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley, Cristin Milioti, Christine Ebersole, Shea Whigham, Katarina Čas The Wolf of Wall Street 02 Leonardo DiCaprio, Jordan Belfort, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley, Cristin Milioti, Christine Ebersole, Shea Whigham, Katarina ČasTHE WOLF OF WALL STREET

From Russia With Love: James Bond must assist a Soviet Defector, while watching his back as SPECTRE are out to avenge the death of Dr No.

Bond and Bey - an espionage dream team

First appearance of Ernst Stavro Blofeld - Number 1

As with Dr No, this film expands on several more recurring themes in the series; most notably Q Branch and the gadgets, pre-title action (although technically a mini mission), and Red Grant – the first of Bonds larger-than-life opposite numbers – and more generally ‘henchmen’ carrying out the grunt work on behalf of the main villain. More than anything else From Russia is quite the sexist film, with crass lesbian overtones, full-on belly-dancing credits, a ridiculously overlong scantily-clad girl fight and continual put-down of the women – what happened to the ladykiller from Dr No?!?

Tatiana Romanova - Bond Girl and defecting agent

For me this film is summed up by “Trains and Tunisia”, as it takes around an hour for anything substantial to happen. Unfortunately, Bond doesn’t even make it to Russia (Cold War tensions were high at the time), yet the film’s full of Terrible Russian – and English – accents. For being one of the most celebrated and highly rated films I personally don’t think that there’s much to like in From Russia, and that the majority of the film is mediocre and forgettable.

Score 4/10

Red Grant - the first of many muscelmen

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Rosa Kleb – looks mean, pointy shoes but killed by the Bond Girl! – 5
Henchmen: Red – benchpressing benchmark for super-strength bad guys / Footnote for chess Grandmaster – 7
Bond Girl: Tania – Hot Russian – 8
Action: Train fight, helicopter, Boat Chase – 3

The main weapon - "she got her kicks"

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Doomsday: Sci-fi action following a hot police babe (Mitra) as she searches post-apocalyptic Scotland for a virus cure. Anything with a pulse is blown up or gunned down in extreme fashion; from axes to the face, tanks rolling over bodies and rabbits being shot to pieces, Doomsday has the bloody quota well and truly covered splattered! Marshal does well with the action here, from a girly sword-fight between two models to a car chase, it’s all handled like a pro. Brilliant vision of a ruined Scotland – tongue in cheek but totally tribal and well realised right down to the little touches like an “out of fucking service” bus sign. The Scottish (& South African) highland scenery is magificent, with a lot of swooping shots of hills, glens and castles!  The strong homegrown cast are also great, with nobody letting the team down. The only thing that this film’s weak on is originality. Whilst it’s not all bad it borrows from a catalogue of classic sci-fi/horror films from Escape from NY to Omega Man, to Resident Evil and everything in between. It’s a good fun splatter-fest that doesn’t take itself too seriously (Two tribes go to war) yet still ticks all the boxes. Definitely worth checking out!

Score: 7/10

The Killer Inside Me: American Noir set in the 1950s – a chilling character study of a sociopathic sheriff. Pretty much every review focuses and questions the two violent scenes so here goes: in my opinion the violence is shocking, but isn’t just a cheap shock; it’s to help us get further into Lou’s head, showing the audience that he has absolutely no boundaries or morals. Is the film misogynistic? Yes, but that’s because Lou is, and at least it doesn’t glamourise violence like so many other flicks. Beatings aside, whiny Casey Affleck fits the lead role perfectly, and considering he’s in every scene he never becomes boring, stale or overbearing. His believability and end-to-end range really shine through here. The rest of the cast are good, but all feel like bit-parts. Winterbottom’s style is pretty slick and although it’s clearly well-directed, aspects like the offbeat soundtrack and try-hard Noir vibe weary thin by the end. There are also some very, very dark bits of humour usually through Lou’s misunderstanding of normal people, but it probably wasn’t funny to most. Then there’s the ending, which for me was so ridiculous and out of tone with the rest of the story that I’m 95% sure it was a dream. The walkouts through the screening emphasised that this isn’t for everyone, mainly because it’s probably the closest you’ll get to feeling like a serial killer: we hear Lou’s every thought & justification and see both his flashbacks and events in his perspective. You will watch some bits through your fingers, but as much as it’s divided critics, it’s probably the single best example of a director harnessing the power of cinema to manipulate his audience in years. This is our generation’s, much more effective, Henry: portrait of a Serial Killer.

Score: 7.5/10

Watchmen: (Blu Ray) A gang of retired vigilantes squeeze back into their costumes to figure out who’s trying to kill them off. The story itself is a near perfect blend of action and dystopian Noir mystery, although it’s no Sin City rip off. Picture and surround sound are both absolutely stunning and could easily be used as test/demo material. All aspects of the visuals are totally slick, and bone-splitting graphic violence has never looked this good. The run time may put some off, at 2:45, but it’s all about the characters past and present. A few streaks of hardcore physics to melt your mind, and older viewers will remember the constant fear of a potential nuclear holocaust. On a downside the soundtrack’s very dominating, trendy and generic for such an original story, and it’s never good seeing a huge blue wang, ever. Haven’t read the graphic novel so can’t compare them, but as a stand alone film this is certainly a great achievement. Plain awesome viewing.

Score: 8/10