Tag Archive: leonardo dicaprio


A few non spoilery thoughts on number 9 out of 10 from Quentin…

  • This was his love letter to the LA he grew up in, and it shows. The atmosphere is before my time, but Hollywood and some of the specific locations played well (especially with the LA crowd I saw it with). The Dome, the Valley, even a freeway on ramp I take all the time, but seeing it in the movie was a very ‘Oh wow’ moment.
  • Kind of crazy this is the first Leo/Brad collaboration. They reportedly want to work together again, and it shows on screen. Leo’s new school Methodness and Brad’s eternally laid back cool are perfect compliments. And in actor’s speak, for two of the guys of my lifetime to play actors who never came close to being ‘The Guy’; I’m sure that was fun.
  • The Manson Family: Wasn’t ruined for me so I won’t do it for you. Even within the film, the suspense of how ‘that night’ played out was not overly telegraphed. It’s the most Tarantino sequence of the whole movie, and the way it plays with history is generally accepted. Tarantino rarely wastes words or elements in his scripts, so things that are set up early (that seem meaningless) do come into play at the end, and I had to nod at the craft a little.

Enjoyable if not great by his own standard.

cranston

Here are the nominees for Best Actress in a Leading Role:

Cate Blanchett – Carol

Brie Larson – Room

Jennifer Lawrence – Joy

Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn

Who Should Win: Cate has been here. You can kind of feel the people are wearing on J.Law.  No more ‘Hunger Games’ helps, but she may need to do the Natalie Portman/Anne Hathaway ‘lay low’ move for a minute (and she’s still really young which is part of it).  Brie should win here.

Who I’m Not Cheering For: Charlotte Rampling.

Who I’m Cheering For and Who Will Win: She’s paid her dues (which actors love) and from the Q&A I went to, she seems to have remain grounded from all the years before this.  Brie Larson.

Here are the nominees for Best Actor in a Leading Role:

Bryan Cranston – Trumbo

Matt Damon – the Martian

Leonardo Dicaprio – the Revenant

Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne – the Danish Girl

Who Should Win: By degree of difficulty…it should be Redmayne going back to back right? That might be my Method bias…

Who I’m Not Cheering For: Matt Damon

Who I’m Cheering For and Who Will Win:

 

12-years-a-slave

Here are the nominees for Lead Actress:
Amy Adams
Cate Blanchett
Sandra Bullock
Judi Dench
Meryl Streep
Who Should Win
MALIK: It’s the freshest performance in my mind, but I think the most filled out performance was Judi Dench in Philomena.  Don’t think she’ll win though.
ART: I agree. Judi Dench is pretty great. But, Cate Blacnhett is fierce. Been a fan for years. Just one of those actresses where anything she does, you gotta take notice.
Who Will Win
MALIK: Probably Cate Blanchett, though I will always argue it’s way too much Blanche Dubois for my personal taste.
ART: You may be right, but she does a great Blanche. Sandra Bullock did an underrated turn in Gravity and I wish she received more recognition, but Cate will take this category.
Who We Want to Win
MALIK:  I’d like to see Dame Judi honestly.  Not saying I hope she retires, but it would be a nice capper to an impressive career.
ART: Whoever Malik wants to win, who is… kidding. I’m a fan of each actress in this category. But, Cate had the showiest role, with the least controversy. Certainly, Amy Adams is on the fast track to being a frontrunner, but the film, Blue Jasmine completely lives or dies based on Cate’s performances and it would not have the attention it has without her effort. She should take this.
And here are the nominees for Lead Actor:
Christian Bale
Bruce Dern
Leonardo DiCaprio
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Matthew McConaughey
Who Should Win
MALIK: McConaughey is on an absolute tear right now, but he’s earned it.
ART: I agree. He may pull a Bo Jackson in acting and win in an Oscar for his movie work and an Emmy for his TV work, because his acting in Showtime’s True Detective has been just as stellar. I’m not sure what happened, but it’s like somebody sat him down and was like, “Yo, people mostly know you for the mellow California accent and taking your shirt off, what you gonna do about that?” He’s on a roll.
Who Will Win
MALIK: Alright alright alright…
ART: Christian Bale already has an Oscar and Leo is Leo. Bruce Dern may be the sentimental favorite and dark horse and Chiwetel will be lauded for simply getting a nomination. Matthew McConaughey, the guy wasn’t taken seriously even three years ago, will take this. Oscar loves a great comeback story.
Who We Want to Win
MALIK: Even though I’ll probably lose every dramatic role I want for the rest of my life to him and David Oyelowo, it’d be nice if Chewie won.
ART: I really, really want to say Chiwetel, for obvious reasons. May still say it… His turn was the only one that nearly moved me to tears, especially within the last ten minutes of the film. But, Matthew McConaughey really went all out with his portrayal. That dude earned it this year.
Last post of the week will break down one of the most unpredictable Best Picture races in a few years…

‘Wolf of Wall Street’

o-LEONARDO-DICAPRIO-WOLF-OF-WALL-STREET-facebook

I was in as soon as I heard ‘Martin Scorsese’s new film’.  Doesn’t mean I’ll automatically love it (we’ll get to that), but I’ll see what he’s selling.

And Leo.  He’ll always have the blessing and the curse of Titanic, but as an actor, he almost always comes through with the parts (and choices) he makes.  Like DeNiro in his prime, working with Marty doesn’t hurt of course.

So that brings us to Wolf of Wall Street.  Marty and Leo take us through Wall Street before it came crashing down, when an ambitious kid learned how the system work (a great, great two scene contribution from McConaughey), then figures out where the loopholes are and takes advantage (until he inevitably gets caught).  It’s a very modern, American tale of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, with a lot of laughs (enter Jonah Hill) mixed into this ‘new school’ crime tale (this is still Scorsese we’re talking about).

My gripe with this film is a catch 22.  It’s three hours long.  And none of it is bad per se, but it is a 180 minute long movie.  As interesting as I think the world is, do I personally think we needed to stay here for a longer time than we spent with Goodfellas, The Departed, Raging Bull, the Aviator, Casino, or Gangs of New York?  Nope, I’d put all those films ahead of this one.  But who is going to tell Martin Scorsese how long his film needs to be?  Again, I don’t know if anything felt completely out of place, but at say, 2 and a half hours, I think it might have been in the same class as the six films I listed above.  Impossibly high standard I know, but he set it.

J. Edgar

 

I heard a lot of mild criticism when J. Edgar came out so I didn’t have my hopes real high when I finally got a chance to see it.  It’s not a bad film by any means, but against the best work of either Clint Eastwood or Leonardo DiCaprio, this film definitely falls into both men’s second tier.

The film tells the story of the rise of the F.B.I. and its controversial figurehead, J. Edgar Hoover.  This film isn’t an action flick by any stretch, so the sections about the Bureau (like the Lindbergh case) aren’t dramatically interesting until a third act revelation.  Like most character studies, this film revolves around the relationship the main character has with others.  In this case it’s Hoover’s relationship with his mother (an icy Judi Dench), and his ‘right hand man’ at the Bureau (played by Armie Hammer).  The real Hoover was supposedly a closeted homosexual, and where Eastwood’s film really shines is in exploring both why J. Edgar was repressed in his sexuality and even more telling, how living a secret life possibly opened the door to an obsession with other people’s secrets.  If you want to go all the way with it, does selling the world on one big lie make it easier to sell others (including yourself) on a hundred other smaller lies over the course of a lifetime?  It’s an interesting thought.

You can add me to the chorus of those who think Leo was miscast in this role, but can’t say it was a bad business decision.  Even with Clint’s pedigree, I doubt Warners would have signed off on Philip Seymour Hoffman playing the title character (but that would have been something!)

 

 

It seems no one is happy in Hollywood right now.

In this month’s GQ, Clint Eastwood and Leonardo Dicaprio sit down for an interview to promote their upcoming film, J. Edgar. During the interview, both men, who happen to be icons for each of their generations, lament on how difficult it is to greenlight serious dramas like the film they just colloborated on.  I feel pity for them (sarcasm), but it does beg the question: if two guys of the status of Clint and Leo aren’t happy with the studio system these days, then who is?

Is it the suits?  A week doesn’t pass without hearing one of my creative friends complain about pitching to someone who only sees their vision as some type of Moneyball formula: Actor X + Director Y = Genre Pic Z.  I know my fair share of suits as well though, and from their side of the table, Hollywood doesn’t sound like a seller’s market these days.

A lot of Clint and Leo’s nostalgia is for 70s era cinema, when the director had the freedom to try new things and be auteurs.  But those days are over unless your name is James Cameron.  Actors ebb and flow their way to the top of the food chain.  At their last peak, the action star era of the 80s, they were the movie stars.  But in our current era, the franchises themselves have become the movie stars.  What about writers?  In television, maybe.  In film?  Please.

Tyler Perry made the most money in Hollywood last year but…was he really ‘in’ Hollywood?  I’d argue no, which is part of why he’s so beloved and successful with his core audience.  And what about ‘the audience’?  In theory the goal of the game is to provide something that makes you want to leave home and experience it on the big screen in a dark room with a group of strangers.  But have there been any ‘must see’ films this year (if you’re not a Harry Potter fan)?

So to summarize, the bean counters have little to no incentive to creating ‘great art’, the artists may have the desire but rarely have the power to push their vision through, and the audience is rarely motivated to come out en masse for a film.  The question needs to be asked: will someone or something ‘rise’ that unites the business and creative sides of Hollywood, while pulling in the masses to see what the big deal is?

Was this whole post an elaborate ruse to post that trailer?  No.

Am I willing to give Hollywood a free pass for another 296 days if it means there’s a reasonable chance the system pumps out one more above average Batman film?  Yes.

Suck it America.

Suck it.