Posts Tagged ‘Leonardo DiCaprio’

The Aviator – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Juni 23rd, 2010


In 1927, after his parents’ death, a young Howard Hughes (greatest actor of his generation Leonard DiCaprio) came to Hollywood and used his inherited business to make the most expensive film at the time, while also developing an interest in aviation. Over the next two decades, he rose to prominence in both fields before a fall from grace (and a plane crash) caused his neurosis to overcome his eager drive and he developed the most famous case of OCD in history. The biopic by Martin Scorsese is well-made and solidly acted, with some inspired ideas (I especially like the use of colour reflecting the film stock of the time), but it plays havoc with the true chronology of events and omits the last three decades of Hughes’ life completely. Sure, they were decidedly less interesting, but taking the most interesting items from them and inserting them randomly into earlier events does not serve the story.

Random Observations:

The Aviator at the IMDb

I really liked the scenes at the Coconut Grove, which made “old” Hollywood truly come alive.

It’s very odd to see modern day actors and actresses portray the greats of that time. Cate Blanchett does a surprisingly convincing Katharine Hepburn, but Kate Beckinsale’s Ava Gardner and especially Jude Law’s Errol Flynn are a disappointment.

For a man who loved aviation, aka flying, more than anything, the film spends relatively little time exploring that theme.

Also, the importance of Noah Dietrich (John C. Reilly) to the success of Hughes’ companies is vastly underplayed in the film.

Body of Lies – Minute Movie Review

Samstag, Mai 22nd, 2010


In this adaptation of David Ignatius novel, Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the best agent the CIA has in the Middle East. His superior is Russel Crowe, with whom he has nothing in common. While he works with the locals, Crowe personifies American arrogance, conducting his own parallel operations that threaten everything DiCaprio works for. Meanwhile, a new terrorist group has started bombings in Europe and now needs to be stopped, so they do everything they can to do that, with the help of the Jordanian security chief Mark Strong (who is almost as good as usual), while DiCaprio falls in love with an Iranian girl. All this makes for a solid, if unconvincing thriller, that makes the game of international espionage seem almost tedious.

Random Observations:

Body of Lies at the IMDb

What would it take for director Ridley Scott to return to making great films instead of middling ones? Would it be enough if he stopped his collaborations with the most overrated actor of our time, Russel Crowe? Probably not, but it would be a start.

I’m assuming that the budget for this film was quite big, so it’s especially embarrassing to have American Police cars in Amsterdam and Moroccan flags in Jordan. Sure, I wouldn’t shot in the Middle East either, but at least get the set decorations right.

Also: Arabic is not the native language of Iran…

Russel Crowe’s character is exactly how I imagine he is as a person: an arrogant, brash SOB.

Shutter Island – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, März 3rd, 2010


A Federal Marshall sent to an insane asylum on an island in Boston harbour to investigate the disappearance of one of the patients struggles with his own sanity and past as he tries to uncover a big conspiracy. The film is pretty standard thriller fare, including the usual twist near the ending and wouldn’t be the least bit noteworthy if not for the great direction by legend Martin Scorsese and the great acting throughout the film. The ending might seem a bit of a let-down (without spoiling it for those who still want to see the film), but the last line almost makes up for that. Nothing great here, but solid entertainment, much like Scorsese’s Oscar winning last feature film “The Departed“, just not as good.

Random Observations:

Shutter Island at the IMDb

Second film this year where I missed the first few minutes. I really have to work on my timing when going to the cinema. It is very hard to become fully engulfed in a story when you are constantly wondering whether you missed anything important.

Once more Leonard DiCaprio stars for Scorsese. How many times does that make?

The film has an absolutely incredible cast, with great actors like Jackie Earle Haley or Elias Koteas in small, third-tier roles. The cast also includes Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams and Emily Mortimer.

Avatar – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, Januar 21st, 2010


How do you judge a movie like Avatar? The answer to that question says probably more about you than about the film. After finally having seen it, there is no doubt in my mind that anyone will (seriously) debate that it is a technological breakthrough. The CGI, the motion capture, the 3D – it’s all very impressive. In the right theatre (i.e. a big screen with digital 3D technology), the film is a joy to watch. But is that really what a film should be judged for? What about story, originality, acting or just a unique world filled with awesome ideas? If those things matter, then Avatar is a horrible film. The story is about as new as a love story between two members of feuding families. The acting in this film would embarrass amateurs. The film is filled with many pretty pictures, but none of them is new, there is nothing that hasn’t been seen before. And that is why I hate myself for actually enjoying the film. Because I care about story and about ideas – and the film had none of that. But it was just so gorram pretty, so much fun to look at. So in a way, this film is a spectacular success. Just don’t ask me to join in with the idiots who call it a great film. Visually, it’s breathtaking, but film is a storytelling medium and there the film, as per usual with Cameron, fails.

Random Observations:

Avatar at the IMDb

James Cameron is a great technical director. He would be great as the SFX director on almost every film. But he is horrible at directing people. Just look at Titanic – there he managed to extract horrible performances from two of the greatest thespians working today – Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. Here, he works with far less talented people – and the results are disastrous to behold.

The film may be unique in the history of cinema in that it manages to include every single cliché possible. In fact, the whole film is one big cliché.

I just realized that I haven’t mentioned anything about the plot of the film in my “review”. But seriously, people, you aren’t going to watch it for the plot. Nevertheless, here a one word summary: Pocahontas.

I know, my slights about the film are about as original as the film itself. I’m influenced by my betters, what can I say.

Adventskalender 5

Samstag, Dezember 5th, 2009

Klick auf den Link, um das fünfte Türchen zu öffnen. Click the link to open the fifth door.

(weiterlesen …)

Catch Me If You Can – Minute Movie Review

Sonntag, November 1st, 2009


Supposedly completely true to life and at least based on reality, the film tells the story of conman Frank Abagnale, who impersonated an airline pilot, a doctor and a lawyer and all that before he was twenty-one. The film is highly entertaining with the cat and mouse game between Abagnale, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and the FBI investigator chasing him (Tom Hanks) being the central piece to the puzzle. There is no real substance to the story and no matter how much of it is true, it feels very much like a typical Hollywood fable, but it is expertly made and solid entertainment for the running time.

Random Observations:

Catch Me If You Can at the IMDb

The film tries very hard to have some actual meaning, with both Abagnale’s father (the always amazing Christopher Walken) shown as an example of where the events would lead, as well as some preachy scenes about the nature of crimes and the eventual comeuppance, but it ultimately fails in this respect. The conman’s life simply is to entertaining, at least on film.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, who really should stick to films like these instead of making “important” films like Schindler’s List, the most overrated film of all time. Sadly, people keep telling him that he is more than an entertainment director, which is a real shame because in that category he is one of the -  if not the – best.

My Favourite Contemporary Actors

Freitag, März 27th, 2009

As I said before, everybody loves Top Ten Lists. Especially me. So I thought I’d start a new, sort of regular, feature here, where I make Top Ten Lists of things I like. Now, the usual way to go about that would be to make lists like “The Ten Best Actors Working Today”, but even I don’t consider my opinion so important as to call it objective. So I will make lists like “My Favourite Ten Actors Working Today”, even if that title is a little longer. And so, without further ado, here are the ten actors whose body of work I enjoy so much, that just their participation in a film means that I want to see it, in reverse order. If you know all ten of them, congratulate yourself on having good taste. (weiterlesen …)

Minute Movie Review – Romeo + Juliet

Sonntag, Juni 22nd, 2008


Retelling the story of Romeo and Juliet is probably unnecessary – everybody knows the classical Shakespearean tragedy of two star-crossed lovers. The interesting bit is in the delivery of this Baz Luhrmann directed film: While he moves the story to a modern day, fictional Verona, he keeps the original dialogue. It is definitely an interesting experience, but one that does not always work. I can’t help but feel that I should either love or hate this movie, but in the end it left me rather uninterested.

Random Observations:

Romeo + Juliet at

Only Pete Postlethwaite, who plays the priest, speaks in iambic pentameters, in which the dialogue is written. This means that his “rhythmic” speech actually sounds the most natural.

This is another movie with an at least decent performance by Leonardo DiCaprio. I disliked him immensely after first seeing Titanic, but seeing his other work has made me realize that he is one of the best actors of his generation. If you haven’t seen them, check out What’s Eating Gilbert Grape for a truly tremendous performance when he was younger or The Departed for his more recent work.

Minute Movie Review – The Constant Gardener

Dienstag, Januar 15th, 2008


The Constant Gardener tells the story of a British diplomat in Kenia after his wife is brutally murdered. In flashbacks we learn about their life, her secrets from him, before we follow him as he slowly discovers them along with a plot involving major pharmaceutical companies. The movie is supposed to be a thriller, but is not very tantalising. It gets better in second part, when the story follows the husband, who at least has reasons for his search, but overall I felt the movie lacked anything to keep it truly interesting.

Random Observations:

The Constant Gardener at

If you want to see a movie that displays perfectly what is wrong in Africa (and how Western countries are responsible for it), I’d recommend “Blood Diamond“. Ralph Fiennes, who plays the lead here, is a fine actor, but Leonardo DiCaprio is much better.

The first part of the story is the flashback to the killed wife’s life and is rather boring for a simple reason: While idealists may be very commendable and should be admired and what not, they don’t make for a good story. Interesting is what moves people, what motivates people – and simple idealism is a very boring motivation. That is why the second half is better, because the murder of one’s wife is much more interesting. (I’m not saying idealism is bad, I just say it makes a very boring story.)

Rachel Weisz got an Oscar (and other awards) for her performance as the idealist wife and while her performance was okay, there was really nothing spectacular about it. Maybe she got those awards for the many gratuitous nude shots? (I’m a cynic, I know.)