93 responses

  1. Bryce Forestieri
    December 17, 2013

    Wolf of Wall Street is the best film of 2013

    !!! !!! !!!

    WOW. I can’t wait. I don’t care if it isn’t’ as innovative and immersive as LEVIATHAN!

    • Sasha Stone
      December 17, 2013

      It’s just my opinion. 12 Years a Slave, Inside Llewyn Davis, All is Lost, Nebraska – those are up there too. 12 Years is probably number 2. The reason being, Scorsese is a master of the craft of filmmaking. I believe he’s earned his due to be #1. McQueen is almost there, however, and a worthy winner this year. I’m rooting for 12 Years to take it all.

  2. JESUS
    December 17, 2013

    Wolf of Wall Street is the best film of 2013.

    Are you fo relz, Sasha?!

  3. Felipe Mejia
    December 17, 2013

    Sasha, I can’t read the review properly.. there seems to be some problem with some characters like the apostrophes. Or is it just my computer?
    Thanks

    • Ryan Adams
      December 17, 2013

      Felipe, are you seeing apostrophe problems on any other posts?

      and can I ask other readers if any of the rest of you are seeing a formatting problem in this review?

  4. mileshigh
    December 17, 2013

    “Wolf of Wall Street is the best film of 2013.”

    I am not at all shocked a Martin Scorsese film that critiques American capitalism and the rich 1% has the Sasha Stone seal of approval. ;) I’m looking forward to this one even more so than before (if that was even possible).

  5. Daveylow
    December 17, 2013

    I can’t believe David Denby slobbered all over American Hustle with praise and dismissed The Wolf of Wall Street as fake. Denby lost me a few years ago. I can’t wait to see this.

  6. Bob Burns
    December 17, 2013

    yeah… wow!!!

    thanks for the Gatsby connect. we never see the awfulness behind Gatsby’s millions, just his pathetic grab for redemption.

    Now, if Belfort had given a small fraction of his take to some good cause (like David Koch) we would be toasting him in charity banquets.

  7. Daveylow
    December 17, 2013

    I so appreciate that Sasha Stone gets Scorsese. I remember she was a true Aviator supporter way back when.

  8. Bryce Forestieri
    December 17, 2013

    I saw an interview with David Demby on Charlie Rose. He’s missing basic “movies 101″ stuff from his “knowledge”. And he said he and people liked the Harry Potter movies because of the British accents and other similar claims.

  9. Ernie Powell
    December 17, 2013

    Great review, Sasha. Can’t wait for this movie.

  10. phantom
    December 17, 2013

    WOW, and here I thought I won’t have any trouble with WAITING six more days to see it. Thanks Sasha, you ruined my week :)

    • Ryan Adams
      December 17, 2013

      In case people have forogotten

      Some of the Boston Film Critics actually got to see The Wolf of Wall Street — but even those critics were saying Wolf would have done better in their awards if every critic in their group had a chance to see it (many did not).

      Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
      runner-up: The Wolf of Wall Street
      Best Director: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
      runner-up: Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

      But let me get this straight in my head… When 12 Years and American Hustle wins everything, then people complain that there’s no variety.

      Then when The Wolf of Wall Street makes a strong impression on someone or anyone dares to suggest Wolf is an important film, then everybody is skeptical because the same critics you said were sheep an hour ago are now the only authorities you trust?

  11. Vily
    December 17, 2013

    Thank you, Sasha! What a wonderful review! Thank you for sticking to your guns!!! :-)))

    “DiCaprio breezes through this film full throttle. He never backs off an inch from any of it, which is a testament to the kind of actor he has become.”

    That sentence alone just made my day. Can’t wait to see this movie! Whether Leo gets nominated for an Oscar or not is irrelevant. The GREAT actor Leo is fearless, brave and always improving.

    If there are any doubters, I truly hope that after this movie, there will be none!

    PS. Check out this hilarious new clip:

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/572933#i0,p0,d2

  12. KT
    December 17, 2013

    This movie needs EVERYTHING if it’s to have a decent showing in the Oscar nominations. The critics and the “critic’s choice” body were afraid to pick it, less they not predict the Oscars and what might finally be David O. Russell’s year. SAG voted without seeing it. Buzz needs to generate, people need to see it as Academy members consider their nominations. Your article in a small way helps to bring attention to the film and hopefully gets people voting for Leo. I did not support a nomination for J. Edgar, but if he misses for this with the reviews some people have written…….well, I really hope he makes it. I felt his interview in France about awards season and all the crap he has to deal with was very genuine, I want this for him if it is indeed his best work.

  13. g
    December 17, 2013

    Waiting to see this on my birthday, January 10th. But oh my lord it’s going to be hard after reading this fabulous review! I am so excited!

  14. Vily
    December 17, 2013

    @KT @Ryan Adams

    Ryan, by the way Leo was also Runner-Up as Best Actor in Boston.

    Interestingly, the London Film Critics’ Circle nominated both Leo, Marty and TWOWS for Best Picture while they barely mentioned American Hustle (not nominated for Best Picture)

    KT, If Leo makes BAFTA, he may make it. At this point I am not sire who they’ll drop – Hanks or Redford but either way it’ll be hard for whoever gets left out. Seems to me that both Redford and Hanks have won before so it shouldn’t be extremely hard on them. Ejiofor, Mcconaughey, Dern and Leo haven’t won. Redford hasn’t won as an actor but he has won an Oscar nonetheless.

    I’m just happy that Leo has delivered yet another masterclass of a performance and that’s enough for me. If it isn’t enough for the Academy, so be it.

    It seems like, this movie will have its following, have a great box office and it will do EXTREMELY well in Europe and overseas. It’s much more relevant than American Hustle and even though it’s divisive, I’d rather fall in love with it than just be part of the majority that just likes it very much.

    That’s the definition of a dark masterpiece – a sharply divisive film which either you love or you hate but can’t deny its brilliance.

  15. James
    December 17, 2013

    Still gotta wait till Christmas day and I doubt I’ll see it then unless I can convince my family. The ultimate Christmas film, “Hey guys nothing says giving like robbing, Okay that doesn’t make any sense, but my point is that we should go see Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street.”

  16. Antoinette
    December 17, 2013

    It actually kinda sounds like a sequel to AMERICAN PSYCHO. Hmm… Why is it so bright though? Like pastels and all that? Or is it just the clips that look that way?

    Can’t believe you had to wait this long to review it. Who makes the embargo dates anyway? I can’t think it help with its awards buzz.

    • Ryan Adams
      December 17, 2013

      Not having been able to see The Wolf of Wall Street yet, I whet my appetite with the methadone buzz of Belfort’s memoir on which the movie is based.

      In his book, Belfort was not interested in writing an indictment of himself. He wanted to try to describe the glitzy allure that led him into temptation. He affects a colorful breezy exuberance throughout most of the first 3/4ths of his story.

      These banksters don’t need to operate in dimly-lit seedy nightclubs at night. They steal in bright broad daylight. They commit their felonies in sunny corner offices in deluxe highrises or cavorting on yachts at lavish oceanside estates, right? It was the 80s. Look at music videos from the 80s. It’s not Th Godfather type of crime in shuttered rooms. It’s white collar crime. Bright white, perfectly manicured, immaculately tailored.

  17. Clara
    December 17, 2013

    Another great review, Sasha! Thanks. Ryan – I think the formatting thing is a browser issue. I see the whacked-out formatting on Firefox, but not Chrome. Hope that helps.

  18. daveylow
    December 17, 2013

    For the poster who compared this movie to American Psycho–you do realize that this movie is not about a serial killer?

  19. A.J
    December 17, 2013

    Look’s like we’ve found Sasha’s film for the year. Can’t wait for all the opinion pieces on how it’s better than X and why it lost X and how it’s a travesty. Not that I mind.

  20. Morpheos
    December 17, 2013

    The film seems to be a divider; Those who love it, really do love it. The other side of the coin is that those who don’t like it, really hate it. It’s the reason I think it most likely will not get as high critical approval as American Hustle, let alone Gravity or 12 Years A Slave. It will get the nomination, but it’ll be for show.

    I’d be surprised if DiCaprio or Hill get nominated. Specially the latter. I still don’t understand how his performance in Moneyball was anything nomination-worthy.

    In regards to DiCaprio; I’ve yet to see him do anything impressive or interesting this side of the 2000s. He comes of as an image-actor, instead of an actor. Not that it’s a requirement to get nominated.

    He should play a villain or choose a role that plays with his image. Brad Pitt did it in Burn Notice. And he will probably have an Oscar in his hand come March.

    PS: Is it me, or does it seem like we get 3-4 MASTERPIECES each year? It’s so casually used that I’m starting to doubt the word means what I think it used to mean. Please stop calling everything MASTERPIECE.

  21. Vily
    December 17, 2013

    Just like the legendary Roger Ebert once said:

    “It’s not what a movie is about, it’s how it is about it.”

  22. Rich
    December 17, 2013

    So Sasha and Ryan, when will we get to see your top 10 lists of the year?

    • Ryan Adams
      December 17, 2013

      I still need to see 4 or 5 major films before I can rank my list. I haven’t seen the wolf of Wall Street or American Hustle yet. 47 Ronin either.

      • Ryan Adams
        December 17, 2013

        Marshall Flores put together a list of major honors The Wolf of Wall Street has earned the past couple of weeks.

        The Wolf of Wall Street
        Best Picture at the Boston Society of Film Critics Awards – Runner-up
        Best Picture – Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globe Awards
        Best Picture at the San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards – Nominated
        Best Picture at the Satellite Awards – Pending
        Best Picture at the National Board of Review – Top 10
        Best Picture at the New York Film Critics Online Awards – Nominated
        Best Picture at the Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards – Top 10 (#4)
        Best Picture at the Austin Film Critics Association – Top 10 (#4)
        Best Picture at the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association – Top 10 (#7)
        Best Picture at the London Film Critics Circle – Nominated
        Best Picture at the American Film Institute – Top 10
        Best Picture at the Southeast Film Critics Association Awards – Top 10 (#10)
        Best Picture at the Critics’ Choice Awards – Pending
        Best Picture at the Indiana Film Journalists Association Awards – Top 10

        Cast
        Best Ensemble at the Boston Society of Film Critics Awards – Runner-up
        Best Ensemble at the Critics’ Choice Awards – Pending
        Best Ensemble at the Detroit Film Critics Society Awards – Nominated

        Martin Scorsese
        Best Director at the Boston Society of Film Critics Awards – Runner-up
        Best Director at the Detroit Film Critics Society Awards – Nominated
        Best Director at the San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards – Nominated
        Best Director at the Satellite Awards – Pending
        Best Director at the Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards – Nominated
        Best Director at the London Film Critics Circle Awards – Nominated
        Best Director at the Critics’ Choice Awards – Pending
        Best Director at the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards – 5th Place

        Leonardo DiCaprio
        Best Actor at the Boston Society of Film Critics – Runner Up
        Best Actor at the Detroit Film Critics Society Awards – Nominated
        Best Actor – Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globe Awards – Pending
        Best Actor at the San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards – Nominated
        Best Actor at the Satellite Awards – Pending
        Best Actor at the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards – Nominated
        Best Actor at the London Film Critics Circle Awards – Nominated
        Best Actor in a Comedy at the Critics’ Choice Awards – Pending
        Best Actor at the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards – 5th Place

        Jonah Hill
        Best Supporting Actor at the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards – 5th Place

        Terence Winter
        ** WON Best Adapted Screenplay at the National Board of Review Awards
        Best Screenplay at the Boston Society of Film Critics Awards – Runner-up
        Best Adapted Screenplay at the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards – Nominated
        Best Screenplay at the Detroit Film Critics Society Awards – Nominated
        Best Adapted Screenplay at the San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards – Nominated
        Best Adapted Screenplay at the Satellite Awards – Pending
        Best Adapted Screenplay at the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards – Nominated
        Best Adapted Screenplay at the London Film Critics Circle Awards – Nominated
        Best Adapted Screenplay at the Critics’ Choice Awards – Pending

        Thelma Schoonmaker
        Best Editing at the Boston Society of Film Critics – Runner Up
        Best Editing at the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards – Nominated
        Best Editing at the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards – Nominated
        Best Editing at the at the Critics’ Choice Awards – Pending
        Best Editing at the San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards – Nominated

  23. Antoinette
    December 17, 2013

    For the poster who can’t read names,

    You obviously can’t watch movies either. What I said makes sense. I knew someone would find a way to read something negative into that.

  24. Bryce Forestieri
    December 17, 2013

    Is it me, or does it seem like we get 3-4 MASTERPIECES each year?

    Sounds about right. The some good years we get 4-5. If you go back to eh 70′s and 60′s, even more each year. It’s World Cinema. Or are you one of those in the LEVIATHAN crowd that only recognize one per decade? people like Jonathan Rosenbaum who God knows what wanted to be as a kid and had to settle with movie citric. What’s it used to mean anyways?

  25. daveylow
    December 17, 2013

    So it turns out that although The New Yorker’s David Denby panned The Wolf of Wall Street, another of the magazine’s critics, Richard Brody, chose Scorsese’s film as number one of the year, tied with To the Wonder.

    • Ryan Adams
      December 17, 2013

      +1

  26. phantom
    December 17, 2013

    Morpheos

    “He should play a villain or choose a role that plays with his image.”

    You mean like the horrifyingly cruel racist ubervillain he played in DJANGO UNCHAINED and – according to reviews – the fearless, vanity-free turn he delivered in this film ? Apparently there is a candle scene that will do more than just ‘play with his image’.

    IMO he has been doing the best work of his career in recent years. The Academy couldn’t have cared less. Let’s see maybe this year they’ll get the memo, his raves sure sound loud enough this time around.

  27. Bryce Forestieri
    December 17, 2013

    phantom,

    Who does Leo replace?

  28. Vily
    December 17, 2013

    That’s a pretty sweet list. Too bad the wins are going to 12 Years a Slave.

    Realistically, if Leo and Marty get nominated at the Oscars and Leo wins the Golden Globes and the Critic Choice’s Best Comedic Actor on top of getting nominated at the Oscars and BAFTA as Best Actor and Producer, it will be awesome.

    If we even get there, it would pretty sweet and even if he doesn’t win, it would be awesome boost for his career going forward.

    Chiwetel seems to strong this year and is getting all the critical accolades. But you never know. Oscar Nominations are on January 16th . BAFTA nominations are on January 08.

  29. Felipe
    December 17, 2013

    With all due respect, Sasha, I don’t get it. I’ll always root for my favorite film of the year to win awards. (Not that it matters. Reinforcement from other groups or people is nice, but at the end of the day, I believe in what I believe.)
    There are always films that will make me almost not mind (and films that will make me want to puke), but I’ll always root for the one film I think is the best.
    (This is not a knock on any particular names of your list, by the way. I actually am a fan of all of those you mentioned there.)

  30. Sasha Stone
    December 17, 2013

    Felipe – I don’t really look at the Oscars that way, though sometimes it happens to line up – like Lincoln last year. People go to movies for different reasons. Some go to be moved, some to be schooled, some to be enlightened, some for romance or fantasy – I go to be enthralled. I don’t mean by visual effects but by awesome filmmaking, writing and acting. I could never expect most people to love Wolf of Wall Street. How do you love something that icky and dark? You have to also remember Scorsese is my number one. Each movie he releases is either my number one or very close to the top. He makes movies I happen to love — partly because he packs them full of information – visual and otherwise so that when I go back to them I uncover more and more. I hate nothing more than a movie I can get the first time through. I will generally discard it pretty quickly. If there is more to get each time, if I almost see a different movie each time I go back to it, THAT is the kind of movie I love. There are a few this year that are that dense — but none so much as this one. I also like how it spits in the face of the nicey nicey bullshit so many Hollywood films have become lately. If the only complaint people can come up with about this is that you don’t care about the characters — well, heard that song before. It means nothing to me. I don’t need to care about them. I just need to be dazzled…

  31. Sasha Stone
    December 17, 2013

    And p.s. the Oscar voters aren’t going to vote for a movie about characters they don’t care about. The characters they SHOULD care about are in 12 Years a Slave…It is more than a worthy winner for the Best Picture Oscar and there isn’t a better contender than that. I would also be enthusiastic about a Gravity win, except that it would mean 12 years had to lose and that would suck.

  32. Bob Burns
    December 17, 2013

    Any given year there are 5-10 worthy BP’s and further choice says more about oneself (or the awarding body) than it does about the films themselves, IMO.

  33. Antoinette
    December 17, 2013

    Why wouldn’t they care about the characters from 12 YEARS A SLAVE? They’re the good guys.

  34. Ashwin Pinto
    December 17, 2013

    Scorcese’s recent movies ‘Gangs of New York’ ‘The Departed’, ‘Hugo’ have ranked as number one on many critics lists. Only ‘Shutter Island’ disappointed some but that too I felt was a great film.

  35. Felipe
    December 17, 2013

    Sasha, interesting point of view.

    Now, see, I’ll always *hope* that people (in general, or the Oscars, in this case) will agree with me, but not really *expect* them to. (Not because my opinion is particularly special, but because I respect that everybody comes with a different baggage that will inform their opinions.)

    That said, I absolutely agree that I want to be enthralled by films. Sometimes they also move me; sometimes I can relate to the characters and sometimes I absolutely can’t.

    Oh, and I think that Scorsese is one of the two true masters of the form working today. (Or I should say one, since the second one announced his retirement a few months ago.) I should start toning my expectations of “Wolf..” down, to be safe, but this is a project that has been high on my list since I learned about it. It’s going to be a long week.

  36. Film Lover
    December 17, 2013

    I agree – Best Film of the Year! Great review, Sasha. You nailed it.

  37. daveinprogress
    December 17, 2013

    The review has severely whet my appetite for this movie! I’m champing at the bit to taste this movie. Your passion leaps off the page, Sasha.

  38. Buford
    December 17, 2013

    Wolf aint going to win B P and Leo aint going to win an oscar , but he’ll beat Dern at the golden Globes

  39. Tero Heikkinen
    December 18, 2013

    I just came from the screening. I’m too tired to read Sasha’s review now. I will later. The movie is fucking crazy. It’s not gonna win any Oscars – unless Thelma takes 4th for Editing.

    Leo is in top form. Should he consider being a comedic rather than dramatic actor? He sure can do BOTH. I have sort of taken Jonah Hill NOT seriously (not even in Moneyball). I love him now. LOVE. He is an amazing actor.

    I just say that it’s mostly not laugh out loud funny. Kind of awkward even. But there’s this one scene that – what feels like almost ten minutes – is the funniest thing I’ve seen in movies since Borat. My eyes were completely wet from tears of laughter.

    The three hours is worth it for that one bit only!!! Man, comedy is subjective, but if that does not make you even smile, you have no sense of humour. I know, it’s one of those things you should not laugh at.

    I can’t get the Matthew McConaughey’s humming out of my head (after the movie you’ll know why).

    I have to digest this movie. Really digest. Scorsese threw 5hrs worth of material in front of my eyes in 3hrs. Right now I feel that it’s not going to be at the very top of 2013, but TOP TEN material, for sure.

    Is Goodfellas a pure comedy now? This movie might change your view on that.

  40. SallyinChicago
    December 18, 2013

    Sasha, honestly. How many of these films have been made in the past two years. I can think of two: Margin Call and Arbitrage. There’s probably a couple of more.
    Plus, I don’t want to see 40 yr old Leo (OMG, is he THAT old?) playing another 20ish man.

    • Ryan Adams
      December 18, 2013

      “Sasha, honestly. How many of these films have been made in the past two years. I can think of two: Margin Call and Arbitrage. There’s probably a couple of more.”

      Oh my, Yes, ENOUGH! Right? We have Arbitrage! We saw enough in Arbitrage already! What more can there be to these stories that a meh movie like Arbitrage didn’t already show us? And didn’t Django Unchained already fully cover every conceivable interesting aspect of slavery already? What is the point of 12 Years a Slave? Same old same old. Is that how you feel, SallyinChicago?

      Please Hollywood, moar stories about the endless fascinating variety of kings and princesses and indestructible superheroes, and please more movies about people making movies. Please more movies where Jennifer Lawrence gets to be BRASSY.

    • Ryan Adams
      December 18, 2013

      “I don’t want to see 40 yr old Leo playing another 20ish man.”

      SallyinChicago, You probably already figured this out, but if you don’t want to see “another” movie like this, you can avoid the irritation by not buying a ticket to see it. Skip it. Stay home.

      But can I ask a favor? Can I ask that you pick 20 movies that you have no interest in seeing and report your lack of interest in just those 20? I worry it’s going to become tedious if you tell us about 250 movies every year that you don’t care about, movies that bug you because you saw a similar movie in the past couple of years. Cap these lack-of-interest reports at 20 titles, will you do that for me?

  41. SallyinChicago
    December 18, 2013

    (where’s the edit button)
    Interesting observation:
    Police ended up finding a crime scene on the train, which departed the Lawrence Avenue station and was eventually stopped in the CTA yard south of 95th Street, police said. Authorities found blood near the operator’s station in the train.

    ^^ You gotta ask yourself, when you leave the theater do the characters leave with you? The characters of the Butler and 12 Years did leave with me. Not only did I tear up, but I kept wondering about the “afterword” — what happened to Patsy? What happened to Solomon once he got home?

  42. Bob Burns
    December 18, 2013

    Just from the POV of oscar-watching, I would enjoy seeing a late release win – expand the playing field beyond the big festival roll out we have seen the last few years – it’s gotten too pat, become stale.

  43. phantom
    December 18, 2013

    Bryce

    Tough call. Right now the four strongest seem to be Ejiofor, McConaughey, Dern, Hanks and then the fifth is Redford who only missed the SAG nod…although that’s a pretty crucial one to miss.

    Then on paper SAG nominee Whitaker should be seriously considered but I think the fact that his film isn’t doing as well as expected in the BP race is hurting him big time.

    Bale’s film is doing unexpectedly well so he could ride that wave and knock out someone from the consensus five, probably Redford who didn’t end up being the frontrunner a lot of us expected. Only ONE win from the critics groups, no SAG nod and no BP buzz.

    Then again if WOLF emerges in the next few days, weeks, They should make room for DiCaprio but how ? Well…snubbing precursor fave Hanks. Who loved DiCaprio loved his turn with passion and that could be crucial in the end. Like Hanks now, Swinton had the perfect set of precursors two years ago and then a year later Cotillard had the same…they didn’t make the cut probably because voters. couldn’t get excited enough about their films, they were excited and passionate enough to nominate a late entry newcomer in a controversial role not unlike Jordan Belfourt (Mara), their youngest (Wallis) and their oldest (Riva) and they also snubbed Hawkes – who had the same SAG-GG-CC trio Hanks does – in favor of SAG snubinee Phoenix whose supporters were vocal enough to help the perception that ‘his legendary- bound performance cannot be denied’. Common wisdom says the same mentality will help Redford to a nomination this year…but I won’t be surprised if it will be DiCaprio..or both.

    P.S. Not to mention acclaimed leads of other strong BP contenders Phoenix and Isaac are still in play and who knows with the news of his recent death there could be more interest in the Mandela film than we think. Elba got raves, the film was praised by the NYT and LAT and he could easily score a BAFTA nod, they like to embrace their fellow countrymen, add the Weinstein-factor and maybe even Elba could have a say in the final five. Too damn crowded.

    For the record I expect Ejiofor, McConaughey, Dern, Redford, DiCaprio in the top five, in that order and a Hanks surprise in supporting for Saving Mr. Banks.

  44. Christophe
    December 18, 2013

    Sasha said: “Oscar voters aren’t going to vote for a movie about characters they don’t care about. The characters they SHOULD care about are in 12 Years a Slave…”

    Reminds me I was looking at my Top 5 list of ’13 and thought to myself: “Wow, ALL those films feature Rich White Guys dealing with Cranky White Women, lol!” so I guess that’s what I care about.

    The Great Gatsby – Gatsby vs. Daisy
    Saving Mr. Banks – Disney vs. PL Travers
    Blue Jasmine – Hal vs. Jasmine
    The Wolf of Wall Street – Jordan vs. Teresa/Nadine
    Gravity – Matt vs. Ryan (I have no idea if Matt was supposed to be rich, but Clooney definitely is in real life, so that’s enough for me)

    But you’re right, after all, 12 Years A Slave does also show a Rich White Guy (Epps) and His Cranky White Wife, but that’s wasn’t the point of the fillm, was it? I guess that’s why it felt like a less engaging experience to me.

  45. Leo
    December 18, 2013

    Sasha:
    Great review! And actually others reviews praise the movie a lot, specially the director and of course Di Caprio performance. Do you think that suddenly this movie could turn up side down the oscar race? Something like what happens 3 years ago with The Social Network ( this year´s 12 years a Slave ). I think that the release date can help a lot and if the movie becomes a box office hit, i can see at least 4 oscar wins: picture, director, actor and adapted screenpaly. I don’t see it winning editing, because in that field the competion is huge!

  46. Bryce Forestieri
    December 18, 2013

    As much as I appreciate the performances in ARBITRAGE, it just isn’t a great film. And Richard Gere’s daughter is highly annoying. The subject deserves a masterful unforgettable statement –whether you agree with it is another matter, but a cinematic reference point. A WALL STREET for a new age. The only thing I remember about MARGIN CALL is the Gossip Girl actor crying in the bathroom about something. I can’t believe how many people bought into it, including me.

  47. Eric P.
    December 18, 2013

    I guess I’m one of the few who thought “Margin Call” was a masterpiece. That script is airtight. The performances are all pitch perfect. And it had a fantastic look to it.

    I enjoyed “Arbitrage”. Mostly for Gere’s performance. And the wonderful supporting turn from a much too absent Susan Sarandon. But I wouldn’t put it in the category with “Margin Call”.

    As far as Gere’s daughter (played by Brit Marling being annoying, I completely disagree. I thought her character had some very interesting facets to her, and I was totally invested in her emotional journey as she discovers who her father truly is.

    Speaking of Brit Marling, I just watched “Another Earth” yesterday and was completely enthralled by her performance and the whole concept of the piece (which she co-wrote BTW).

  48. Bryce Forestieri
    December 18, 2013

    Sofia Coppola signs up for what’s likely to be the one of the worst movies of 2015, and takes her daddy issues one step further to gay daddy issues. Already the most disquieting movie in the works that I have knowledge of!!

    http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Sofia-Coppola-Going-1980s-San-Francisco-Next-Project-Fairyland-40758.html

  49. Tero Heikkinen
    December 18, 2013

    Some 2013 films I’ve seen so far (to show where WOLF falls in) and I can’t wait to see non-English films soon… TOP 10:

    1. Gravity
    2. Blue Is the Warmest Colour
    3. 12 Years a Slave
    4. The Wolf of Wall Street
    5. Before Midnight
    6. The Way Way Back
    7. Captain Phillips
    8. Side Effects
    9. Prisoners
    10. Blue Jasmine

  50. Antoinette
    December 18, 2013

    Great review of TWOWS, Tero. Informative while avoiding all the spoilers. Thanks. :D

  51. JPNS Viewer
    December 18, 2013

    “Wolf of Wall Street is the best film of 2013.”

    That was quite a bold statement, Sasha.
    Simple but powerful and, considering this seemingly strong year, so bold a sentence you have put here.

    Thanks for a good read, too.

  52. Paddy Mulholland
    December 18, 2013

    I love how your reviews, Sasha, are often more than just a review of the films you’re writing about. They’re reviews of society, and culture, and humanity. I attempt to achieve the same thing in my reviews, and don’t even come close to the kind of brilliance you’ve demonstrated here. Great read, gal!

  53. Zach
    December 18, 2013

    So Sasha, who is and who deserves to be nominated for Best Actor? I would love to see an updated piece if you’ve now seen all of the top contenders. You also seem to be the rare voice online who is enthusiastic over both Redford and DiCaprio.

    Hanks as Disney just doesn’t look that good to me, and everyone is going out of their way not to nominate him so far! I don’t see him missing both categories this year, and everyone is more supportive of his Phillips performance and sees him as a leading man more than a character actor anyway. Dern seems pretty set too, but who knows. And then Bale is doing well too. He seems easy to dismiss but is such a brilliant actor. Is Leo’s role baity like The Aviator?

  54. Patryk
    December 18, 2013

    Wow is right. Definitive review right here.

  55. SallyinChicago
    December 18, 2013

    It’s just my opinion. 12 Years a Slave, Inside Llewyn Davis, All is Lost, Nebraska – those are up there too. 12 Years is probably number 2. The reason being, Scorsese is a master of the craft of filmmaking. I believe he’s earned his due to be #1. McQueen is almost there, however, and a worthy winner this year. I’m rooting for 12 Years to take it all.

    ^^ Everybody ignore my copy/paste in prev. message. Mistake! (where’s the edit button?)
    I’m going to see AH this Saturday, but let me write this. The movie that wins the Oscar will be either Gravity, 12 Years a Slave or the Butler. Why? Because they had heart and they made people either cry at the end of root for the protagonist at the end.
    You’ll notice that the last few movies to win had “heart” whether it was Argo (rooting for the Americans) or the Artist (just great movie making and it had “heart”).
    I wasn’t on board with Argo winning; I thought it should have been Beast, but that being stated….Hollywood likes those feel good endings….and if neither AH or Wolf have those type of endings, they won’t win best picture.

  56. SallyinChicago
    December 18, 2013

    Edit please! — If neither AH or Wolf DON’T have those type of endings, they won’t win best picture.

  57. SallyinChicago
    December 18, 2013

    ero Heikkinen December 18, 2013 at 8:49 am -
    Some 2013 films I’ve seen so far (to show where WOLF falls in) and I can’t wait to see non-English films soon… TOP 10:
    ^^
    The movies I’ve seen:
    1. 12 Yrs
    2. The Best Man (just meh)
    3. Black Nativity — as you see, I’m throwing my movie money to the Black-themed movies :)
    4. The Butler
    5. Mud
    6. Gravity — my fave along with 12 yrs
    7. Mister and Pete — walked out, too depressing

    I used to get free passes, but that’s passed….so now I have to pay for my movies, so I put aside a stash for online viewing, DVDs and theater movies.

    The ONLY musical this year was Black Nativity. Kasi Lemmons was the director and there was nary a mention of her being the ONLY black woman to direct a movie.
    Jennifer Hudson had three movies out this year, and nary a mention of that. I think it’s a record; no?

  58. steve50
    December 18, 2013

    I love when you review a movie that takes you, Sasha. It sounds as though this could rank with Scorsese’s best (?). If so, that’s remarkable because he’s been hitting most of them out of the park for 40 years.

  59. Jorge clooneigh
    December 18, 2013

    Great review – can’t wait to see this. Margot Robbie is stunning too, always thought she’d hit the big time. She lights up the screen.

  60. Antoinette
    December 18, 2013

    @Ryan

    I thought it was supposed to be the 90s. That’s why I was confused about the pastels. Okie doke. I try to stay spoiler free so much that I sometimes don’t even know what the movies are really about until I see them.

  61. brian
    December 18, 2013

    This race is over … 12 Years a Slave will win Best Picture at the Oscars. Bet on it … the farm and every last penny you have.

  62. Suzanne
    December 18, 2013

    “Jennifer Hudson had three movies out this year, and nary a mention of that. I think it’s a record; no?”

    No. Matthew McConaughey had three movies out this year, and they were all good – 2 are probably getting nominated for BP and the third deserves to be. Amy Adams will probably be in 2 BP nominees also, and she was in Man of Steel in addition. Scarlett Johannson has earned raves for Her, Don Jon and Under the Skin. I’m sure there are other actors who were in 3 movies this year as well.

  63. Yvette
    December 18, 2013

    I’m hysterically hyped for Wolf…
    This sounds like it just might be what Bonfire of the Vanities (film) never was. It’s got Leo, Marty and Mcconaughey, and I’m still buzzed about his turns in Mud and Dallas Buyers Club.
    The last time Scorsese blew me away was Goodfellas – The Departed, The Aviator etc.. were good, but lacked the balls and craziness of the early years. This sounds like its a return to vintage Marty.

  64. Kane
    December 19, 2013

    Suzanne, I don’t think that’s what SallyinChicago was getting at.

  65. jack
    December 19, 2013

    Uh oh Sasha! It looks like we’ve found your Social Network/ Lincoln…

  66. Tero Heikkinen
    December 19, 2013

    jack: the biggest difference is that Social Network and Lincoln had at least a slight chance to win Best Picture. Wolf doesn’t, and Sasha knows this.

  67. SallyinChicago
    December 19, 2013

    No. Matthew McConaughey had three movies out this year, and they were all good – 2 are probably getting nominated for BP and the third deserves to be.

    ^^ Black female. There have been plenty of white males who release 3-4 movies a year.
    But I can’t think of one (modern) black female who had 3 movies released. Hattie McDaniel did, but she’s the only one.

  68. phantom
    December 19, 2013

    Sally, this year Viola Davis starred in three studio films (Ender’s Game, Beautiful Creatures, Prisoners), plus a festival hit (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby) that was picked up by Weinstein for a 2014 release. It is so great to see someone. so immensely talented doing so well now. Having said that, obviously you have a point.

  69. Howard
    December 19, 2013

    “I can’t believe David Denby slobbered all over American Hustle with praise and dismissed The Wolf of Wall Street as fake.”

    He explains his reasoning clearly in his review:

    “The Wolf of Wall Street” is a fake. It’s meant to be an exposé of disgusting, immoral, corrupt, obscene behavior, but it’s made in such an exultant style that it becomes an example of disgusting, obscene filmmaking.”

    “As the critic Farran Smith Nehme pointed out to me, one of the filmmakers’ mistakes was to take Jordan Belfort’s claims at face value. In his memoir, Belfort presents himself as a very big deal on Wall Street. The movie presents him the same way—as a thieving Wall Street revolutionary—whereas, in fact, he was successful but relatively small time.”

    “The pouting Margot Robbie tries hard, but she’s no match for Jennifer Lawrence, who has a similar role in “American Hustle,” as well as a much better script.

    “DiCaprio, who keeps selling rather than acting his character, is the ultimate victim of Scorsese’s over-driven vitalism.”

    What’s hard to understand about that? His thought process is clear. He’s saying, which is undeniably true, that Jordan Belfort is full of shit, yet Scorsese and Winters took him at his lying word, and he also accuses the movie of hypocritically glamorizing the very behaviour it pretends to condemn.

    Not a very hard argument to grasp, and not at all “unbelievable” that this would lead Denby to pan the film.

    • Sasha Stone
      December 19, 2013

      “The Wolf of Wall Street” is a fake. It’s meant to be an exposé of disgusting, immoral, corrupt, obscene behavior, but it’s made in such an exultant style that it becomes an example of disgusting, obscene filmmaking.”

      “As the critic Farran Smith Nehme pointed out to me, one of the filmmakers’ mistakes was to take Jordan Belfort’s claims at face value. In his memoir, Belfort presents himself as a very big deal on Wall Street. The movie presents him the same way—as a thieving Wall Street revolutionary—whereas, in fact, he was successful but relatively small time.”

      Missed the point dot com.

  70. Free
    December 19, 2013

    Guess I’m in the deep minority who actually enjoyed the hell out of The Great Gatsby.

  71. Howard
    December 19, 2013

    Simply claiming that he missed the point doesn’t make it so.

    How is it irrelevant that Scorsese took at face value a bunch of tall tales? The advocates of the movie – or indeed any movie “based on a true story” – always hide behind the “but that’s really happened!” defense if anyone criticizes it.

    It’s worth pointing out that that’s not what really happened, so the defense is invalid.

    La Dolce Vita effectively satirized the excess and debauchery it depicts, but I’ve seen many other so-called satires that fetishize the behavior they pretend to abhor, which is what Denby accuses Scorsese of doing here.

  72. Edkargir
    December 19, 2013

    I just saw the wolf of Wall Street. Good movie not in the class of Goodfellas. To slow I like American hustle a lot better. Wolf is no threat to 12 years a slave for bp.

  73. The Wolf of Wall Street
    December 20, 2013

    The last few Scorsese pics left me a little disappointed. I had begun to think Marty had become a ‘gun for hire’ and that his brilliance may have been spent (his earlier works were some of the best movies ever made). I attended a screening of The Wolf of Wall Street this evening, and was expecting to be unimpressed. I am happy to say I was completely blown away. This pic is Marty at his best. I laughed, I cringed, I related (with fond memories as well as a bit of guilt) and I TOTALLY believed every unbelievable moment. A good book, a great screenplay and a delightful cast were formed and molded into what I believe should get Scorsese a best director Oscar, and likely a Best Picture Award for the movie. Leo DiCaprio has grown into a versatile actor and his creation of this super hero dirtbag’s roller coaster ride in this crazy (true) story is really honest and delightfully entertaining. Jonah Hill pulled out all the stops too and this is definitely his best work. Thank you Mr. Scorsese for delivering the goods so brilliantly!

  74. SallyinChicago
    December 21, 2013

    It is so great to see someone. so immensely talented doing so well now. Having said that, obviously you have a point.

    ^^ Thank you I missed that. BUT– anybody else notice how SMALLER Viola’s roles are getting? She hardly has ANY dialog in these movies.

  75. phantom
    December 21, 2013

    I know, and as much as I can’t wait for the Fassbender-Cotillard pairing, I wish every now and then Hollywood wouldn’t try go ‘younger’ with the classic adaptations and think a bit out of the box. Viola Davis mentioned in the THR Actress roundtable that Lady Macbeth is her dream role…and I wished in that moment that someone like Ava DuVernay or Kenneth Branagh would listen and do a version with her, a one-man show if you like that would have focused solely on Lady Macbeth played by the luminous Viola Davis. It would have been the golden opportunity to do something fresh with a done to death classic not to mention it would have been another rare project that would NOT have wasted the remarkable talent of one the greatest working actresses of our time.

  76. SallyinChicago
    December 23, 2013

    Wow oh Wow? Thewrap is reporting that the Wolf screening didn’t go too well:

    Actress says Scorsese’s wild, divisive three-hour bacchanalia prompts elevator confrontation at AMPAS screening in Los Angeles

    Martin Scorsese knows that “The Wolf of Wall Street” is not for everyone, but he probably didn’t expect to be lambasted by an Academy member when he arrived for the official AMPAS members screening of his film on Saturday night.

    But according to a Facebook post from actress Hope Holiday, that’s what happened. Referring to the graphic three-hour film about the sex-and-drug-filled lifestyle of stockbroker Jordan Belfort, and then to the arrival of Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater, she wrote:

    “[L]ast night was torture at the Academy — ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’ – three hours of torture – same disgusting crap over and over again – after the film they had a discussion which a lot of us did not stay for – the elevator doors opened and Leonardo D. Martin S. and a few others got out then a screen writer ran over to them and started screaming – shame on you – disgusting –

”

  77. Ra S.
    December 25, 2013

    JUST GOT OUT FROM SEEING THE WOLF OF WALL STREET! Freaking amazing, it is now my best movie of the year..sorry Gravity. The theater that I went into was full packed, and the audiences were really into it. They even clapped in the end of the movie. I’ve seen so many films this year. WHAT AN AMAZING YEAR FOR MOVIES.

    HERE ARE MY TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2013

    1. The Wolf of Wall Street
    2. Gravity
    3. Saving Mr. Banks
    4. 12 Years A Slave
    5. Rush
    6. Inside Llewyn Davis
    7. Frozen
    8. American Hustle
    9. Captain Phillips
    10. Her
    Honorable mentions: short term 12, blue is the warmest, desolation of smaug, catching fire, philomena, before midnight, enough said, and monsters university.

  78. Gb
    December 25, 2013

    This was nothing but porn & a total pos. god help any poor creature that happens on it. Phuy &. Pfffffff

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  81. Tzizzo
    January 9, 2014

    am i the only guy out there that thinks that BOTH Wolf and Hustle are great?

  82. BlondandBlonder
    January 23, 2014

    If I could I’d want to BE VENICE!Tamed the wolf into her little puppy.Or mine!So fabulous!

  83. ITTY OUT
    January 23, 2014

    OLIVER STONE’s done to death droppings.

    STEP AROUND!

    ——-STEP AROUND!

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