Tag Archives: Kyle Chandler

Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

Wolf_of_Wall_Street_Poster“The Wolf of Wall Street” lets you relish in unparalleled no holds barred debauchery while increasingly disillusioning the fun and games with the nasty reality of the situation along the way.

The film is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a guy who kicked off his career on Wall Street with the best intentions, but threw all of his morals out the window in exchange for money, women and drugs. Jordan founded Stratton Oakmont and reveled in the lucrative business of selling fraudulent stocks at his costumers’ expense, but there was just so long he could carry on making scenes, crashing cars and drowning himself in Quaaludes before the FBI caught on.

Having read the real Belfort’s memoir, I walked into Martin Scorsese’s feature adaptation knowing what the character is capable of, but apparently I wasn’t capable of imagining the true extent of Belfort’s antics while reading the book because on screen, the behavior is above and beyond. There’s no reason to like the guy. He cheats on his wives, robs innocent people of their hard-earned money and is absolutely wasted the large majority of the movie, but at the same time, it’s so easy to understand why he gets away with it for so long. He’s a total charmer and an absolute blast to hang out with.

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Interview: Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and the Team Behind Wolf of Wall Street

Wolf_of_Wall_StreetIt isn’t easy getting a movie made, even for guys like Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese. Then again, considering the duo was out to make a movie about a notorious stockbroker with an insatiable sexual drive, obsessive lust for drugs and habit of indulging in highly debauch activities, it is somewhat understandable that studios were hesitant to bring Jordan Belfort’s story to screen.

The Wolf of Wall Street covers Belfort’s (DiCaprio) rise in the stockbroking realm in the 1990s. He walks in hungry for money, but strives to attain it honestly. However, the instant he gets a taste of life with the big bucks, it flips a switch and he’s got no problem throwing all of his morals out the window in exchange for enormous paychecks, an endless supply of Quaaludes and the ability to keep his firm on top, even if he has to scam his clients to make it happen.

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Review: The Spectacular Now

The_Spectacular_Now_Poster“The Spectacular Now” swaps storytelling truisms for the natural beat of life and thanks to outstanding performances from Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, that results in an exceptionally raw and poignant experience.

Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) isn’t a star athlete or class president, but he’s loved by all for being the life of every party. With his equally adored girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson) by his side, Sutter is unstoppable. That is until Cassidy dumps him. After drowning his sorrows in alcohol, Sutter wakes up outside, in the middle of someone’s lawn with absolutely no recollection of where he left his car. It could have been all downhill from there, but fortunately for Sutter, there is a silver lining to this episode, and that silver lining is Aimee Finicky (Shailene Woodley).

We’ve seen popular guys abandon all high school social standards to date the quiet, nice girl, but what makes “The Spectacular Now” stand out is that this time, you believe it. Sutter isn’t embarking on some grand adventure that climaxes with an unforgettable senior prom, rather he’s simply living life for a stretch of time as anyone might. The outcome is a film with varying stakes, emotions, and pacing, and also one with a strong backbone of impeccable character development and performances, making it extremely genuine.

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‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Interview: Director and Cast Talk Controversy, Courage & Torture

Zero-Dark-Thirty-Main-ImageWho’s ready to take on a ton of pressure? Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal certainly must have been. Not only did Bigelow and Boal have to follow-up their Academy Award-winning work in The Hurt Locker, but the pair chose the most challenging material to do it with – the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Forget all the required research, possible political scrutiny and delicacy of the material; making the project even more demanding, bin Laden was actually killed just a short while before Boal completed his script detailing the failed hunt for bin Laden in the Toro Bora mountain range.

While participating in a press conference in New York City, Bigelow recalls, “While Mark was working on the screenplay, actually quite far along in the screenplay, May 1, 2011 happened and we realized, after some soul searching, that it was going to be a little difficult to make a movie about the failed hunt for Osama bin Laden when the whole world knew that he had been killed.” And so the plan changed and Boal refocused his script on the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad – the raid that ultimately resulted in his death.

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Review: Zero Dark Thirty

Zero-Dark-Thirty-PosterUsing his experience with an American bomb squad to develop a fictitious story for “The Hurt Locker” is one thing, but writer Mark Boal’s decision to tackle the death of Osama bin Laden takes journalistic moviemaking to another level, one that comes with an immense amount of societal and ethical pressure, on top of the challenge of just making a good movie. But it’s a good thing Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow were the pair to take on that challenge because it’s highly unlikely any other duo could have pulled it off quite like them.

“Zero Dark Thirty” focuses on Jessica Chastain’s Maya, a top-notch CIA analyst sent to Pakistan to join a team tasked with tracking down high-ranking members of Al Qaida, with an ultimate goal of taking out Osama bin Laden. At first, Maya doesn’t take to the CIA Black Site’s brutal interrogation tactics, but as the years go on and colleagues lose their jobs and, in some cases, their lives, Maya’s determination peaks and she does whatever it takes to gather solid intel.

“Zero Dark Thirty” is a heavy-duty piece and Bigelow wastes no time putting the audience in the appropriate headspace. The film kicks off with a montage of 9/11 phone calls playing over black and the sequence is cut perfectly, rousing the heartache of that day through a sense of hysteria, but also by giving certain audio clips time to breathe, establishing a personal connection. By the time the film hits the “2 Years Later” title card, your heart is already pounding through your chest.

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Review: Argo

When the trailer for “Zero Dark Thirty” plays before a screening of “Argo,” you can’t help but to wonder if our society is crazy for having turned these devastating and/or historically significant events into sources of entertainment. However, as someone who wasn’t around during the Iran hostage crisis, the fact that I was moved enough by “Argo” to go home and Google until I had a thorough understanding of the situation goes to show that Ben Affleck did a better job than my history teachers ever could.

Centered on the true events of the Iran hostage crisis, “Argo” begins with the revolutionaries storming the U.S. embassy in Tehran. All of the embassy employees are taken hostage save for six who seek refuge at the Canadian ambassador’s home. The revolutionaries are unaware of the escape, but are slowly piecing together the paperwork the staff desperately shredded mere moments before the invasion, so it’s only a matter of time before they assemble the office roster including pictures of each and every employee.

Back in the U.S., the State Department works to figure out a way to get the six out safely and discreetly. Exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) proposes the idea of using a Canadian film as a cover. In an effort to make the endeavor as thorough as possible, Tony joins forces with make-up artist John Chambers (John Goodman) and producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) to make the sci-fi film “Argo” a semi-reality.

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Review: Super 8

After months of mysterious and intriguing promotions, forming preconceptions about Super 8 is inevitable. Now that it’s finally arrived, the question is, does it make due on those expectations? Yes and no and that ambiguity is what makes this film so special and effective. Writer, director and producer J.J. Abrams, knows how to build hype and has no trouble handling it thereafter. Super 8 is what we’ve hoped for, but also so much more.

It’s 1979 in the small town of Lillian, Ohio, and Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) and his friends are in the midst of a big production, a zombie film. With Joe on makeup duty, Carey (Ryan Lee) handling the fiery special effects, Preston (Zach Mills) stepping in as a background actor, Martin (Gabriel Basso) playing the detective and Charles (Riley Griffiths) behind the lens, all the boys are missing is their lead actress. That’s where Alice (Elle Fanning) steps in. The group hits the road and heads to the local train station where Charles sees an oncoming train as a timely “production value.” Well, that is until it crashes, kicking off a chain of events involving a complete army takeover of Lillian.

Joe’s dad, Jackson (Kyle Chandler), the town deputy, is forced to deal with the repercussions himself as the accident triggers a series of strange occurrences including missing dogs, appliances and people that send the town into a panic. With no valid explanation, Jackson must investigate himself all while dodging the intrusive and brutal tactics of Colonel Nelec (Noah Emmerich). Meanwhile, Joe and his friends attempt to finish their zombie film with the train crash site and army presence as yet another “production value.” However, those values ultimately lead them straight into an incredibly phenomenal and dangerous situation.

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