Leonardo DiCaprio

Tarantino Delivers a Genius – and Peculiar – Masterpiece in ‘Once Upon a Time…’

Christopher Karr

The ending notwithstanding, there are times when the movie soars: The opening sequence that accompanies the credits is a breathtaking collage that plunges you completely into the headspace and milieu a different totally time. Brad Pitt gives the coolest performance of his career, and I mean “coolest” in the purest possible sense: cooler than Brando at his coolest, cooler than Steve McQueen (who appears as a character in the film long enough to give a monologue before disappearing completely). Pitt’s rapport with his dog is one of the more touching elements. 

‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ ‘Frozen’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

In “The Wolf of Wall Street,” director Martin Scorsese presents a picture of Jordan Belfort that is so over the top and unapologetically vulgar that it’s easy to write the film off as exaggeration… until one realizes that Belfort says everything is true. Belfort is a former Wall Street swindler whose fraudulent actions cost investors approximately $200 million. By his own admission, he was also a sexually promiscuous drug addict at the time of his crimes. ​

Movie Watch: A Look at This Year's Oscar Contenders

Forrest Hartman

With Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto winning best actor and best supporting actor from numerous awards groups, they are the unquestioned frontrunners in the Oscar race. McConaughey famously lost more than 40 pounds to portray real-life AIDS victim Ron Woodruff. The Dallas resident refused to see his disease as a death sentence and began smuggling experimental medications into the U.S., then selling them to others with HIV. Leto plays a transgender woman who was created by screenwriters as a composite of numerous people in Woodruff’s life. 

‘The Great Gatsby’ and the Loss of Hope and Innocence of an Era

John McGovern

A film robs you of imagining the world of a novel as you want to, while a novel cannot as accurately capture the televisual world we now live in. Part of Gatsby’s appeal is its depiction of a time when the American dream was a promising ideal, when the U.S. was not, as Horace from Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask (2010) puts it, a “fat, demented pimp.” The Great Gatsby was written when the U.S. was on the upswing, and now that the nation is in decline, it makes sense that there will be nostalgia for the ‘good-old days’. 

Oscar-Winning ‘Django Unchained’ Arrives on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

“Django Unchained” is a perfect example of the phenomenon. On its surface, the movie is a basic spaghetti western built on unlikely plotting and characters. Tarantino even uses old-school title sequences, like those from the “Grindhouse” project that he and Robert Rodriguez produced. These obvious nods to B cinema are exactly the things that make the movie so enjoyable because Tarantino is a master at walking the line between satire and drama.

 

“J. Edgar,” “Tower Heist” Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Much of director Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar Hoover biopic is speculative and thus runs the risk of coming under attack from historical purists. But for those willing to view it for what it is – a movie – there is much to enjoy. Clearly, Eastwood has taken liberties in his storytelling, but that’s not a bad thing. In so doing, he has crafted a fascinating vision of a well-known personality. 

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