Weekend Watch List: Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle & More
Just about everybody’s aware that Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio are back with their fifth film together in their Wall Street bacchanal The Wolf of Wall Street. But Marty and Leo aren’t the only game in town. We take a quick look at what’s out in theaters this weekend as we wind down this incredible year in film.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Based on the book by stockbroker and former cretin Jordan Belfort, Scorsese takes his considerable gifts for capturing mayhem to the extreme in this nearly three hour film about insane excess. If it can be snorted, smoked or ingested, you'll see it in this film. DiCaprio's opposite exists in the film in the form of Kyle Chandler's Agent Patrick Denham, a man patient enough to let Belfort implode and implicate himself .
Based on the true story of four Navy SEALs on a doomed mission in Afghanistan, Peter Berg delivers a visceral, harrowing experience, sinking you down into the SEALs boots. Mark Wahlberg stars as Marcus Luttrell, the SEAL who’s book the film is based on. The title tells you where this story is headed, but knowing how it turns out doesn’t lessen the tension in the slightest. Instead, Berg uses Luttrell’s impending dire situation behind enemy lines to his advantage.
August: Osage County
Tracy Letts adapted her play, about the strong, volatile women of the Weston family, for the screen, landing the likes of Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. A family crisis (dad’s walked out and is probably dead) brings everyone back to Oklahoma where no one is immune to matriarch Violet Weston's (Streep) bombastic personality. The stellar cast also includes Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis and Sam Shepard.
This no man’s land between Christmas and New Year’s is a great time to just relax and not think too hard. You can do all the thinking you need starting New Year’s day, when you begin failing to live up to your resolutions. Until then, a film like 47 Ronin, which is beautiful to look at, is a nice way to waste a few hours. The reviews aren’t super great, but this weekend, who cares? It’s Keanu Reeves in a 3D samurai film—what more do you, does anybody, really need?
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Perhaps one of the best moves Stiller makes in his adaptation of the James Thurber story is casting Sean Penn as adventurous photographer Sean O'Connell, not the first person you think of for a comedy. Stiller has also created something else rare for a comedy—a lush, stylish, gorgeously shot film about the titular day dreamer who escapes into his imagination when his real life becomes too listless and sad.
Raging Bull meets Rocky in this film starring Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone as two aging boxing rivals who come out of retirement to go a few more rounds together and end up creating a viral sensation instead.
David O. Russell’s hot streak continues with this crackling ensemble film starring a bloated Christian Bale, a greasy, curly haired Bradley Cooper and two megawatt performances by Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams. Sort of, kind of, very loosely based on the real life Abscam scandal in which the FBI initially operated a sting to target trafficking stolen property that ballooned into a public corruption investigation that ultimately nabbed a US Senator, six members of the house and several other state officials, Russell and his cast have created an unforgettable riff on self invention and greed. It's probably the most fun you could have in the theater.
Featured image: (l to r) Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence in Columbia Pictures' American Hustle. Courtesy Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Classics.