Tag Archives: jonah hill

Film Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

After losing his job as a Wall Street broker on Black Friday, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) goes it on his own selling penny stocks. Together with his best friend Donnie (Jonah Hill), they become rich beyond their wildest dreams and embark on a lifestyle of utter debauchery.

There aren’t many directors out there who attract such attention when they release a new film. Normally, the focus is firmly on the actors starring in the film rather than the person calling the shots behind the camera. However, Martin Scorsese unleashes a new film, the world sits up and takes notice.

And once you’re sat up, The Wolf of Wall Street slaps you round the face, snorts cocaine out of your arse and doesn’t let you sit down again for its entire three-hour runtime. Those of a sensitive disposition should definitely go see something else.

Drugs, prostitutes, dwarf tossing, sex, drugs, bribery, sports cars, public masturbation, and drugs. Pretty much every kind of excess and debauchery is present and correct and Scorsese doesn’t hold any of it back. He rarely ever does.

It’s pretty easy to see that The Wolf of Wall Street owes more than a small debt to some of Scorsese’s previous work, such as Goodfellas and even The King of Comedy, in offering us somewhat of an anti-hero and charting their rise to success (or perceived success) and subsequent downfall. Some of Scorsese’s directorial choices, such as sweeping long takes also instantly recall many of his earlier films.

For much of the film, Belfort is a repugnant character, yet there’s something in there that draws you to him. His hedonistic lifestyle of excess is absurd and totally unsustainable, yet you still want to see which direction it’ll take next. It’s almost impossible to look away, and much of the credit for that has to go to Mr DiCaprio.

The Wolf of Wall Street marks Scorsese’s fifth collaboration with DiCaprio, and this could well be a career best for the actor. At the outset we see Jordan Belfort fresh faced and eager on his first day in Wall Street but it’s not long before he becomes arrogant and drunk with power, and this is where Leo’s acting really goes full throttle. An already renowned scene in which he takes some out-of-date drugs is physical comedy at its best that is reminiscent of Chaplin or Keaton.

But it’s not just Leo on top form; Jonah Hill also has to take a lot of credit for proving he can hack it in a (relatively) serious role. Donny has some of the best lines in the film and Hill delivers them perfectly. In other supporting roles, Margot Robbie and Matthew McConaughey also give excellent performances as Jordan’s wife Naomi and slightly psychotic Wall Street trader Mark Hanna respectively.

This is clearly a film of excess and that description extends to its runtime, too. It throws a lot at you and at three hours it does feel a little on the lengthy side. It’s never boring but some of the fat could be trimmed to no detriment to the film.

There’s no doubting that The Wolf of Wall Street is a somewhat shallow experience, but it doesn’t need to be anything else. It’is crass, debauched and misogynistic, but my word it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Pros

  • Brilliant performances from DiCaprio and Hill
  • Laugh-out-loud funny
  • Huge amounts of fun
  • Margot Robbie

Cons

  • A little on the lengthy side

4 and a half pigeons

4.5/5 pigeons

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Film Review: This is the End

this-is-the-end

Whilst at James Franco’s housewarming party, Seth Rogan and Jay Baruchel are suddenly faced with the apocalypse. Holed up in Franco’s house with a number of other celebrities, they must survive the fire and brimstone closing in on them as well as settle some personal differences.

If you’re not a fan of the specific brand of humour that Seth Rogan and his merry gang have largely built a career around, then there’s not a huge amount in This is the End that’s going to convince you to the contrary. However, for those who find nothing funnier than Seth and friends riffing of each other, then there’s plenty to enjoy.

In terms of the humour, we know pretty much exactly what we’re getting for most of the film. There’s plenty of the standard drug and dick jokes that raise a giggle the first few times but ultimately become a little stale and repetitive. There is also a fair few references to previous films the actors have appeared in, so if you aren’t well versed in their filmography, some jokes may go a little over your head.

Much of the humour, however, particularly in the first half of the film comes from the novelty that everyone is playing themselves, although usually twisted, over the top versions. The decision to do this is a masterstroke but sometimes comes across as a bit of self-congratulatory circle jerking. If they had played ‘proper’ characters then it would have lost a lot of its humour and arguably its largest USP, but there are times when the self parody goes so far that it just feels like they’re patting each other on the back and saying how awesome they all are.

Thisistheend-cast

There are some excellent interactions between some of them, however, with Danny McBride probably providing most of the laughs. He’s not afraid to send up most of his buddies, and an argument between him and James Franco over a ‘used’ porno magazine is disturbingly hilarious. Jonah Hill as an uber nicey nicey version of himself is also worth a few laughs although, like Seth Rogan, if you’re not a fan, there’s little here to change your opinion.

Having several other celeb cameos popping up throughout raises a fair few laughs and further adds to the novelty factor of the whole thing. Michael Cera as a coked up sex pest, for instance, is pretty funny, whilst Emma Watson’s feisty five minutes is also a highlight.

The second half of the film actually mixes things up a little, dispensing with the straight up comedy angle and actually becoming more of an action film. This change of pace really gives the film a bit of drive, stopping it from becoming too stale and gives some of the characters more of a sense of purpose. There are also a bunch of fun references to horror films, including Rosemary’s Baby, Ghostbusters and The Exorcist.

So, whilst This is The End is funny in places, it’s also pretty inconsistent and for large parts isn’t nearly as funny as it thinks it is. It relies a little too heavily on Seth Rogan’s tried and tested formula and feels a little too familiar in places, despite the setting. Having said that, when it’s funny, it’s very funny and for fans of Rogan et al, this could well prove to be one of this year’s funniest films.

3 and a half pigeons

3.5/5 pigeons

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Quickie: Knocked Up

Knocked UpThere are now certain expectations when you see names such as Judd Apatow, Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill on a film’s billing, but Knocked Up moves away from most of those expectations to present a much more rounded experience that offers drama and sentiment as much as it does comedy.

Layabout Ben Stone (Seth Rogan) lives off compensation he receives for an injury and works on a website with his stoner flatmates that documents when nudity occurs in films. On a night out he meets the career-driven Alison (Katherine Heigl), one thing leads to another and they end up gettin’ it on, so to speak. However, due to a misunderstanding in the bedroom, Ben doesn’t use protection and Alison ends up pregnant. The two of them then have to overcome numerous difficulties to discover a solution that’s best for them and their soon-to-be-born child.

The film’s strength undoubtedly lies in the chemistry between Rogan and Heigl. They work very well together and are able to confidently convey the problems that many who go through such a situation will no doubt experience. Paul Rudd also puts in a shift as Alison’s brother-in-law and there is plenty of crass humour for the Superbad fans from the likes of Jonah Hill and Jason Segel.

However, one of the main problems with the film is that it suffers from some all-too-familiar stereotypes. Essentially, all the women are power crazy nutjobs and the men are idiots who fuck everything up. This leads to a little too much predictability and we therefore end up exactly where we thought we would. Despite that, Knocked Up is light-hearted, easy to watch and provides enough humour and drama to successfully straddle both genres whilst providing a lesson in neither.

Words: Chris Thomson

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Film Review: 21 Jump Street

There are very few films that make me laugh out loud, so when it comes to comedy movies I’d say I’m pretty hard to impress. I’ve only watched a handful of truly funny flicks in my lifetime and, in my opinion, a good comedy is one I would watch again and again, such as Bridesmaids, The Hangover, Elf and 500 Days of Summer. So, would I add 21 Jump Street to that list? Yes.

It’s a surprisingly funny film for two reasons. One, I never thought Channing Tatum could have such comic timing. Two, it’s a format that been done time and time again – but this time it really worked.

So, without giving too much away, the story is simply about how two guys who hated each other in school become friends after graduation and are forced to go back to High School undercover. Fresh out of the Police Academy, the pressure is on for these two best friends to nab their first arrest, but they really don’t make it easy for themselves or their friendship.

Like most comedies, you know what’s coming but that doesn’t make the journey any less enjoyable. The situations they find themselves in are undoubtedly over the top yet compelling, and the two leading men have great on-screen chemistry that’s kind of reminiscent of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon – except this film focuses more on the comedy than the action.

There was also a surprise cameo in there that I did not see coming, so if you haven’t already heard about it then you’ll probably be impressed that it features such a big Hollywood star.

So, if you are looking for a feel good movie to watch this weekend, then make it 21 Jump Street. It’s funny, it’s action packed and it’s got a good brother-from-another-Mother story.

Words: Lis King

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