Money for Nothing: Martin Scorsese Makes Leonardo DiCaprio The Wolf Of Wall Street

Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio, right) may be the Wolf of Wall Street - but at home, 'pussy runs the show' in the shape of his wife Naomi (Margot Robbie, left).
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio, right) may be the Wolf of Wall Street – but at home, ‘pussy runs the show’ in the shape of his wife Naomi (Margot Robbie, left).

After some rather unconventional career choices lately, Martin Scorsese has finally returned to the world he knows best – that of the real-life gangsters transported to the big screen. For The Wolf Of Wall Street, he has also brought back his favorite actor of the last decade and a half, Leonardo DiCaprio. This time, however, the seasoned director and his disciple haven’t taken on the challenge to deal with some of the lowlifes from their previous collaborations. The protagonists of The Wolf Of Wall Street are New York stockbrokers that actually existed and chiseled millions out of unsuspecting, mostly working-class victims. With Martin Scorsese back in his element at last, will he be able deliver another masterpiece?

Read More

The Golden Mile: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost & Edgar Wright Celebrate The World’s End

Andy Knightley (Nick Frost), Peter Page (Eddie Marsan), Gary King (Simon Pegg), Steven Prince (Paddy Considine), and Oliver Chamberlain (Martin Freeman, from left to right) don't believe their own eyes.
Andy Knightley (Nick Frost), Peter Page (Eddie Marsan), Gary King (Simon Pegg), Steven Prince (Paddy Considine), and Oliver Chamberlain (Martin Freeman, from left to right) don’t believe their own eyes.

Acting duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have worked together on and off the screen ever since the British late 1990s cult sitcom Spaced. With the zombie spoof Shaun Of The Dead, comedians the two and their director friend from the same show, Edgar Wright, entered the film landscape with a bang in 2004. Three years later, the threesome came back with the utterly brilliant police comedy Hot Fuzz. Now, about a decade after their first movie success, the trio returns for more with The World’s End. One big question remains: Will it be more of the same, in a good sense, or have their tricks suddenly become old in the meantime?

Read More

Fun in Space: Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills Not Only in This World

Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo) shoots his way through Mexico, Texas - and even into outer space.
Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo) shoots his way through Mexico, Texas – and even into outer space.

There were times when Machete was but a bloodthirsty creature from one of the many fake trailers for the Grindhouse double-dip of Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof and Planet Terror by his old friend Robert Rodriguez. Yet a full-blown effort by fans eventually forced the hands of the two filmmaking buddies, and the character re-emerged as the hero of a trilogy of full-length features much in the same manner as the previous Grindhouse entries. Now the knife-throwing Mexican scarface is back for more with Machete Kills, but will he be deliver?

Read More
Alyona (Valeria Lanskaya) has just received a call from the future.

Future Management: Funny and Romantic Disaster Control in The New Year Calling Plan

Alyona (Valeria Lanskaya) has just received a call from the future.
Alyona (Valeria Lanskaya) has just received a call from the future.

New Year’s is an entirely different beast in Russia than in most other countries. For historical reasons, it’s basically Christmas and the rest of the holiday season rolled into one. The turn of the year is what Russians celebrate big time, and it’s also when they receive their gifts. That is why every December romantic, often fantastic films about the magic of New Year enter the movie theaters of the former Soviet Union. The New Year Calling Plan is a 2008 representative of the genre, a modern Russian equivalent of Back To The Future meets romance that practically hasn’t drawn any attention outside the country since it was released.

Read More

Flash For Fantasy: Returning to Middle-Earth in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is scored of the prospects.
Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is scared of the prospects.

Upon its late 2012 release, the first The Hobbit movie by Peter Jackson, An Unexpected Journey, was greeted by rather mixed reviews. Still, fans of the Kiwi director and of Middle Earth creator J.R.R. Tolkien alike have been desperately waiting for the second part of the trilogy, The Desolation Of Smaug, for a year. While we’ve come to expect epic filmmaking from Peter Jackson, the beginning of the saga was fairly disappointing in many ways. For that reason, there’s one big question surrounding the sequel. Is The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug able to correct some of the flaws of An Unexpected Journey?

Read More
Nick Campbell (Owen Wilson, left) and Billy McMahon (Vince Vaughn, right) pursue their Mountain View dream.

Google is Your Friend: Shawn Levy’s The Internship, Or a Commercial of a Different Kind

Nick Campbell (Owen Wilson, left) and Billy McMahon (Vince Vaughn, right) pursue their Mountain View dream.
Nick Campbell (Owen Wilson, left) and Billy McMahon (Vince Vaughn, right) pursue their Mountain View dream.

‘Frat Pack’ members Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson have been partners in crime on several comedy projects in the past, most notably as the genuinely funny womanizing Wedding Crashers. So on paper, their latest collaboration, The Internship, directed by Shawn Levy and co-penned by Jared Stern and no other than Vaughn himself, sounds like a great idea – especially when you factor in appearances by John Goodman, Max Minghella, Rose Byrne, and Will Ferrell. In theory, the star-laden $58 million film looks very promising, but what about in practice?

Read More

The Sand Pebbles

The Sand Pebbles
The Sand Pebbles

The Sand Pebbles, starring the “King of Cool” Steve McQueen, is one of the best films of the 1960s. The film focuses on the journey of a Navy Engineer by the name of Jake Holman in the year 1926 in China, a time of great political upheaval. After nearly a century of foreign domination, with countries such as Japan, America, the UK, Russia and other states slicing China up into different spheres of influence under the ‘unequal treaties’ China finds itself in a great civil war with nationalists and communists vying for influence. Meanwhile many missionaries, military men, foreign businessmen, diplomats and academics still found themselves in China.

Read More

Basket Case: James Stewart Defends Ben Gazzara in Otto Preminger’s Anatomy Of A Murder

Paul Biegler (James Stewart, center) is caught between a rock - Frederick Manion (Ben Gazzara, right) - an a hard place - Laura Manion (Lee Remick, left).

James ‘Jimmy’ Stewart is one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors of all time. His noteworthy movies range from an Oscar-winning performance in Frank Capra’s The Philadelphia Story to becoming an Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite in Rear Window and Vertigo. After ‘Hitch’ had infamously ditched him for Cary Grant on North By Northwest, James Stewart managed to team up with another great European émigré director, Otto Preminger, for one of his better roles – the leading part in the courtroom drama Anatomy Of A Murder.

Read More

Devils & Dust: The Corruption of Nicolas Cage in John Dahl’s Red Rock West

Drifter Michael Williams (Nicolas Cage) stares into the radiator of a car - and into the face of death.

Remember when Nicolas Cage was one of the more respected actors of the Hollywood family? It may appear like eons ago, but in the 1990s, he had a remarkable run of movies that worked and increased his reputation. Nicolas Cage couldn’t do any wrong – or so it seemed. He had the male starring role in David Lynch’s Wild At Heart, became a rom-com favorite with such films as Honeymoon In Vegas and It Could Happen To You, and even scooped an Oscar as best leading man for Leaving Las Vegas. Then he turned into an action hero in the Jerry Bruckheimer blockbusters The Rock and Con Air. One of the underrated gems from this period in Nicolas Cage’s career is Red Rock West, an indie road movie/noir by John Dahl.

Read More

Excess All Areas: ‘Deflowering’ the Disney Girls in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers

Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson), Cotty (Rachel Korine), and Faith (Selena Gomez, from left to right) are caught in the act.

You can probably say an awful lot of things about Harmony Korine but not that the man has ever shied away from controversy. In fact, he seems to embrace it, at least occasionally. In 1996, the American filmmaker stormed the Hollywood landscape when he wrote the semi-autobiographical screenplay for Larry Clark’s disturbing Kids. His own films from Gummo to Trash Humpers have followed a similar pattern. Since, Harmony Korine and his output have been open to dispute, and there are even voices that keep clamoring for his immediate retirement from the director’s chair. His latest work, Spring Breakers, continues the trend. Once again, opinions on the movie diverge, although the premise of the film is pretty intriguing.

Read More

A Little Bit of Finger: Chicken and Other Assorted Goodies in The Bone Man

Brenner (Josef Hader, right) and his new lover Birgit (Birgit Minichmayr, left).

Austrian films have been the secret stars of the German-speaking landscape in recent years, not just because of the eccentric Michael Haneke and his Oscar-winning drama Amour. In artistic terms, many of these usually indie pictures have outperformed the more expensive productions from the bigger neighboring country. Lately, one of the mainstays of Austrian cinema has been the Brenner comedy mysteries by director Wolfgang Murnberger. Based on the novels by bestselling author Wolf Haas, these movies impress with their quirky mixture of grotesque crimes and typical Austrian humor. As the third installment of the series, The Bone Man has been one of the most successful movies made in the Alpine Republic. In other parts of the world, however, the film has largely flown under the radar.

Read More

Screaming in Digital: Pixar Takes Us to College in Monsters University

Monsters University
Sulley and Mike chase a fraternity mascot.

Ever since John Lasseter’s Toy Story in 1995, the Disney-owned Pixar Studios have been leading the charge when it comes to computer-generated animation movies. Like the parent company, however, the CGI pioneers have been struggling in recent years – hitting rock bottom with head honcho Lasseter’s Cars 2 in 2011. Despite Brave winning the Oscar as Best Animated Feature Film in February, the studio’s latest releases wowed neither critics nor audiences. Now Pixar has brought back some favorites from 2003’s crowd-pleaser Monsters, Inc. with the hope of returning to former glory. Will Dan Scanlon’s $270-million prequel Monsters University do the trick?

Read More

Bitter Sweet Symphony: Terrence Malick Takes Us To The Wonder

Neil (Ben Affleck, left) and his old love Jane (Rachel McAdams, right).

There is no other director like Terrence Malick. Granted, you could probably say that about pretty much every other filmmaker out there. The American director, however, remains a peculiar case. After all, we’re talking about an eccentric, reclusive artist who deliberately stepped away from the limelight and the Hollywood industry after a really promising debut, Badlands, and an equally fascinating sophomore effort, Days Of Heaven, before finally resurfacing with the anti-war movie The Thin Red Line and reaping a whopping seven Oscar bids.

Read More

The Millionaire Waltz: Rekindling the ‘Roaring Twenties’ in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby

The eccentric, enigmatic millionaire Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) is literally the toast of the town.

With his leading role in Baz Luhrmann’s modern version of Romeo & Juliet, Leonardo DiCaprio burst onto the Hollywood scene in grand style in 1996. So when the news spread that the charismatic superstar and the director of the Oscar-winning musical Moulin Rouge! would reunite for an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby, expectations were enormous. How would the filmmaker’s flamboyant audiovisual style mesh with the source material, in itself a harsh criticism of its own raucous era, America’s ‘Roaring Twenties’?

Read More

Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em: Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter, or a Different Kind of Sucker

Vampire hunter Captain Kronos (Horst Janson, left) with his beautiful female companion Carla (future Bond girl Caroline Munro, right).

The movies by British studio Hammer Film Productions might be among the most fondly remembered shockers in the history of cinema. Some of them have even held a cult status in fan circles for decades and made their leading men and women world-famous.

Read More