Tag Archives: Jonah Hill

The Wolf of Wall Street

5 Feb

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Synopsis: Martin Scorsese directs the story of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort. From the American dream to corporate greed, Belfort goes from penny stocks and righteousness to IPOs and a life of corruption in the late 80s. Excess success and affluence in his early twenties as founder of the brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont warranted Belfort the title “The Wolf of Wall Street.” — (C) Paramount

 CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Jordan Belfort)

Jonah Hill (Donnie Azoff)

Margot Robbie (Naomi)

Matthew McConaughey (Mark Hanna)

Kyle Chandler (Patrick Denham)

Rob Reiner (Max Belfort)

Jon Favreau (Manny Riskin)

Cristin Milioti (Teresa)

Jean Dujardin (Jean-Jacques Saurel)

REVIEW:  Martin Scorsese has directed a controversial, raw story, of greed, debauchery, and addiction, filled with humor, shock and  lots of sex thrown in. The story is based on the autobiographical book, The wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort, the founder of the brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont.

Within the first few minutes, the film introduces us to Belfort, played brilliantly by Leonardo DiCaprio, he describes his life as images depict him snorting blow off the posterior end of a prostitute, crashing his helicopter down on the front lawn of his Long Island mansion  and various othe unbridled deeds of debauchery. The story grabs you and never lets  you go, it is at once comedic and tragic.

The film in flashback , recounts a young married Belfort getting his first job on wall street where his naiveté is obvious. His boss Mark Hanna, played by Matthew McConaughey, takes Belfort under his wings and explains the ropes of large commissions in what is possibly the funniest luncheon moment I have ever seen. Hanna starts to do a primal chant, to raise his energy and urges Belfort to do the same. He also urges Belfort to do cocaine as an brain opener followed by self release to temper the energy. The scene is hilarious and starts Belfort on his road to greed, addictions and debauchery.

When Belfort loses his job, due to the stock market crash of the 1980’s,  remembered as black Monday, he finds a job as a penny stock salesman in his home town on Long Island. He literally becomes their best salesman ever, 50% commissions on every sale, he decides to start his own company. He puts together a team of cronies and phonies, which also happen to be some of the best character actors around, the first person he recruits is a nebbish, Donnie Azoff, played hysterically by Jonah Hill. The two of them create an empire of selling selling junk stocks to the rich by first offering them blue chip stocks to gain their confidence. The commissions they make are staggering and the money seems to pour in.

Belfort creates the firm of  Stratton Oakmont as his success continues. He hires con-artists and salespeople with no brokerage background and makes them all millionaires with his schemes. As a reward he throws big parties with hookers, drinking ,drugs and becomes the leader and spokesman of his cult of believers.  His addictions grow exponentially with his power and greed, he and his cohorts partake in bacchanalian orgies, he downs Quaaludes like candy, divorces his home town wife, marries a super model, is stalked by the FBI for insider trading  and so on and so forth. Scorsese does not miss any sordid or hilarious detail. One question comes to mind, is this comedy about American business as usual?  If so, should we as a species ask ourselves what motivates people to act this way and is this a true look at who we really are?

The film never disappoints and has a energy and a style that only Scorsese can deliver. DiCaprio is becoming a true super-star and his bravura performance, supported by a superb ensemble of character actors, makes this a must see, to believe  film. Some people may be offended by the themes of misogyny and addiction, but the film does deliver with a one-two punch. The film has been nominated for a best picture Oscar for the upcoming 2014 academy awards.

Recommended: camera-film-icon11camera-film-icon11camera-film-icon11camera-film-icon11camera-film-icon11

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21 Jump Street

27 Apr

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Synopsis: 21 Jump Street is a reboot of the 80’s television show that starred Johnny Depp, Peter DeLuise and Holly Robinson Peete. The premise of the TV show, which was created by Stephen J. Cannell, centered around a squad of youthful-looking undercover police officers investigating crimes in high schools, colleges, and other teenage venues. The reboot starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum is loosely based on the original.

Review: This uneven comedy/action film was written by Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall and is both an affectionate take on the original and a fun fest for stoners and geeks. The original series was as serious as this reboot is humorous. The films weakness is the constant barrage of dick jokes, the movie poster tag-line should give you an idea of where this is going, “The Only Thing Getting Blown Tonight Is Their Cover” bdump bump.

The plot revolves around two high school classmates one a chubby, geeky smart guy named Morton Schmidt, played to the hilt by Jonah Hill and a dumb jock named Greg Jenko played so realistically it rings true by Channing Tatum. In high school Tatum laughs and makes remarks as Schmidt chokes up trying to ask a pretty and cool girl to the prom.

Jump to several years later and the two meet-up and become friends at the police academy and help each other get through classes together. Schmidt helps Jenko pass the written tests while Jenko helps Schmidt pass all the boot camp training. They are teamed together on Park Duty and ride police bicycles around the park. They finally have an opportunity to prove themselves by arresting a drug dealer, however the department had to release the guy because Jenko didn’t read him his Miranda rights. When the department chief asks Jenko and Schmidt to recite to him the 52 words that encompass the Miranda rights Jenko screws it up. They are so immature,childish and young looking that they are assigned to join a special undercover division at 21 Jump Street, run by Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) in order to infiltrate a drug ring at the local high school. Dickson is no nonsense, foul mouth, I don’t give a crap about you, son of a bitch. Ice Cube plays it over the top for a few laughs.

Things have changed since they went to high school, everything has become politically correct and the type of geeks Jenko used to make fun of are now the cool guys,needless to say Schmidt fits right in. They are undercover as teenage brothers Brad and Doug, Brad being the brains and Doug being the athlete. They are like the stoner Laurel and Hardy, there are especially hilarious moments when their file gets mixed up and Schmidt is mistaken for Doug not Brad and Jenko for Brad not Doug. Their objective to find out who the school drug dealer is and then shut down the supplier before the drugs move to other schools. Needless to say they both take the drug and the effect on the two of them is one of the bigger laughs in the movie.

The strength of the movie is lies in the relationship between Schmidt and Jenko and how they bond while trying to get in with the cool kids and geeks.  They learn the lead dealer of the drug is the popular Eric (Dave Franco), but he is not the supplier.

They go to the dealing room where Eric forces them to take the drug right there and not wait. They attempt to throw it up but are unsuccessful, and they undergo the phases of the drug while talking to their P.E. teacher, Mr. Walters (Rob Riggle), and also while running track and during band practice. The mistakes that happen at the track meet causes Eric to take a liking to Schmidt.

Schmidt also falls for Molly (Brie Larson) and even tho he is in his 20’s now he emotionally relives his geeky past and works hard to make her like him, a little to hard as she already understands how sensitive and compassionate he is and thinks he is so cool.

The film also deconstructs action films because during the obligatory chase scene no matter how many flammable gas trucks get hit or fired upon non of them blow-up, Schmidt is dismayed that nothing blows up in real life like it does on TV and the movies.

There are cameo appearances by Johnny Depp, Peter DeLuise and Holly Robinson Peete for fans of the original series.

Understand that when Hollywood runs out of ideas they tend to reboot old TV shows with a 50/50 chance of success for example: Bewitched which was a disaster and a Star Trek Reboot that was brilliant. 21 Jump Street was somewhere in the middle, not bad but not a total disaster either.

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