Tag Archive: Leonardo DiCaprio


My 2016 Oscar Predictions

Oscars 2016 Collage

I love Oscar season. Even though these awards really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, it’s still a lot of fun following the race and trying to predict who will win. Most years have a clear front-runner for best picture, but this year’s Oscar race actually have three films leading the pack. The Revenant won the Golden Globe, the BAFTA and the DGA award, Spotlight won the Critic’s Choice and SAG awards and The Big Short won the Producer’s Guild award. This is all leading up to an exciting ceremony that could actually surprise for once. But if there aren’t a lot of surprises, I have to say that I’m pretty confident in my predictions. Don’t forget to watches the Oscars this Sunday and check out my predictions after the jump!

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The Film Hound’s 2015 Year End Awards

Best of 2015 Collage

The Oscars are this Sunday, which means another night of me yelling at my television when the Academy inevitably awards the wrong movies. But this blog gives me the perfect opportunity to honor those that I believe are truly worthy of a gold statue. While this may not be quite as prestigious as the Academy Awards, it’s a great way for me to honor the best in film from 2015. This year even features the new category of Best New Character! So without further ado, I present to you the 3rd annual Film Hound Year End Awards! Check them out after the jump and let me know what you think!

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Alejandro González Iñárritu’s last film was the Academy Award winning Birdman. While that film received rave reviews from most critics and award circles, I thought that it was pretty overrated and far from the best film of 2014. Iñárritu’s latest film is The Revenant, a visceral revenge film that highlights the brutality of nature. It’s definitely a step up from Birdman and features an incredible performance from Leonardo DiCaprio who is operating at the height of his acting ability. Its script has a few problems that hold it back from being truly incredible, but this is definitely a cinematic experience that needs to be seen on the big screen.

DiCaprio stars as Hugh Glass, a 19th century hunter and fur trader. Led by Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson), their expedition is interrupted by a brutal attack from a Native American tribe. The group is forced to divert from their normal course and escape into the woods. While walking through the forest one morning, Glass is savagely attacked by a bear and left on the brink of death. When his injuries threaten to slow down the expedition, several men decide to stay behind with Glass, including his own son (Forrest Goodluck) and the angry John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Realizing that staying behind with Glass will cause them to be discovered by the Native American tribe, Fitzgerald leaves Glass for dead after murdering his son. But Glass isn’t just going to roll over and die and he embarks on a mission of vengeance across the dangerous frontier.

Most of the conversation surrounding The Revenant has focused on DiCaprio’s performance and for good reason; the guy practically bears his soul on the screen, effortlessly playing a skilled frontiersman struggling for his life. But it’s the connection that DiCaprio is able to establish with his son and the audience that really makes the performance memorable, especially since his character isn’t very well fleshed out on the page. The screenplay from Iñárritu and Mark L. Smith is actually quite simple, but the film’s use of obvious symbolism and strange imagery make it feel like its reach exceeds its grasp. The film would have actually benefited from Iñárritu cutting out more of the abstract and instead focusing on the simple story of revenge. But even with a few stumbles along the way, The Revenant is epic and undeniably great. Not only is it a great modern western, but it’s also another solid entry into DiCaprio’s impressive filmography.

The Revenant receives 3.5/4

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The Academy Awards are this Sunday night and they are bound to bring their share of joys and disappointments. To combat the disappointment that I feel when my favorites don’t win, I decided to hand out my own awards to the films that I believe are most worthy. Here you will find my favorites of 2013 in categories ranging from Best Actor to Best Original Song. Agree with my choices? What categories would you do differently? Let me know in the comments below!

If you are interested in viewing my top ten films of 2013, click here

 

Best Director

Ethan Coen & Joel Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis

Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity

Abdellatif Kechiche – Blue is the Warmest Color

Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave

Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

 

Best Actor

Bruce Dern – Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio- The Wolf of Wall Street

Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave

Tom Hanks – Captain Phillips

Michael B. Jordan – Fruitvale Station

 

Best Actress (TIE)

Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock – Gravity

Adèle Exarchopoulos – Blue is the Warmest Color

Greta Gerwig – Frances Ha

Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks

 

Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips

Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave

James Franco – Spring Breakers

Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street

Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

 

Best Supporting Actress

Scarlett Johansson – Her

Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle

Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave

Léa Seydoux – Blue is the Warmest Color

Octavia Spencer – Fruitvale Station

 

Best Original Screenplay

American Hustle – David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer

Blue Jasmine – Woody Allen

Her – Spike Jonze

Inside Llewyn Davis – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Nebraska – Bob Nelson

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

12 Years a Slave – John Ridley

Before Midnight – Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy

Blue is the Warmest Color – Abdellatif Kechiche

Captain Phillips – Billy Ray

The Wolf of Wall Street – Terence Winter

 

Best Cinematography

Gravity

12 Years a Slave

Prisoners

Spring Breakers

Inside Llewyn Davis

 

Best Art Direction

12 Years a Slave

Gravity

The Great Gatsby

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Her

 

Best Visual Effects

Star Trek Into Darkness

Elysium

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Pacific Rim

Gravity

 

Best Sound

Gravity

All is Lost

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Captain Phillips

12 Years a Slave

 

Best Original Score

Gravity

12 Years a Slave

Frozen

Saving Mr. Banks

Her

 

Best Original Song

Atlas – Hunger Games

I see Fire – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Let it Go – Frozen

Ordinary Love – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Please Mr. Kennedy – Inside Llewyn Davis

 

Best Animated Film

Despicable Me 2

Frozen

Monsters University

 

Best Editing

12 Years a Slave

Captain Phillips

Gravity

Inside Llewyn Davis

Prisoners

ImageDrugs, sex and money; these are the three things that consume the life of stockbroker Jordan Belfort. Based on Belfort’s memoir of the same name, The Wolf of Wall Street chronicles this man’s addiction to the lavish, and sometimes disastrous, lifestyle that becoming a stockbroker on Wall Street provides. Director Martin Scorsese has picked a story that shares a number of similarities to his 1990 masterpiece Goodfellas, but instead of giving us a glimpse into the mafia, he’s engulfing us in the shark tank that is the US stock market. Scorsese and his longtime collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio dazzle us in every scene, creating a picture that truly pops.

At the film’s onset, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a naïve young man, who hopes to make it on Wall Street as a stock broker. He gets a job as an intern and his boss Mark Hanna (played hilariously by Matthew McConaughey) tells him that the only way to make it on Wall Street is with sex and constant drug use. When the stock market falls to disappointingly low numbers, Belfort loses his job. He eventually gets hired by a much smaller company who specializes in selling penny stocks. Belfort is able to sell these worthless stocks at ridiculously high prices and he soon starts his own company with the help of Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill). They soon begin making more money than they know what to do with and all seems well until they arouse the attention of an FBI investigation, led by Agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler).

With a nearly three hour runtime, the film should feel long, but it never does. There is not a single moment that feels slow or too drawn out. Credit this to Scorsese and screenwriter Terence Winter, who keep the pace up and leave the viewer unable to predict what is going to happen next. Like its lead character, the film is on a constant high. The original cut of the film was reportedly four hours and, while that may have been a bit too long, audiences will be so engrossed with what is appearing onscreen before them that they won’t want this cut of the film to end.

Viewers should be made aware of the graphic sexual content that is present in the film. It’s there for a reason, showcasing the party lifestyle that Belfort and his coworkers lived for, but it’s shocking nonetheless. The sexual content in this year’s Spring Breakers feels like a watered down TV version, compared to what is on display here. Belfort pops Quaaludes, has sex with prostitutes and then snorts cocaine off of the women that he just had sex with. We get to see him dissolve from a once hopeful young businessman into a deplorable scoundrel and this wouldn’t have been possible without DiCaprio’s energetic performance.

In his fifth collaboration with Martin Scorsese, DiCaprio gives one of the best performances of his career. Belfort is a firecracker of energy and emotion and you won’t be able to take your eyes off of him. DiCaprio knows how despicable his character becomes in certain parts of the movie, but he never overdoes it. Even when Belfort does things that go beyond normal human decency, we still want to watch him to see what he does next. DiCaprio is riotously funny in the role, as is Jonah Hill who gives the film’s other standout performances. A scene in which Belfort and Azoff take too many Quaaludes is a standout moment in the film and showcases each of these actors at their unrestrained best. This has been a competitive year for acting, but hopefully Oscar nominations are in both of their prospective futures.

Some viewers may scoff at The Wolf of Wall Street, but they are missing the point. This is a film where anything can happen at any moment and it pretty much does. Equal parts satire and black comedy, the film will have audiences laughing and marveling at everything they are witnessing on screen. Three hours has never gone by so quickly.

The Wolf of Wall Street receives 4/4

 

This past week was very exciting in regards to trailers. We got our first look at Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, The Perks of Being a Wallflower starring Emma Watson, and Disney’s upcoming Wreck-It Ralph. Check out all of this week’s trailers below.

 

Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino is one of my favorite directors, so my expectations were high in regards to his newest film. After having viewed the trailer, my anticipation for the film has grown even greater. This is truly a Tarantino film, filled with stylized violence and humorous dialogue. The use of a James Brown song in a western may seem like an impossible feat to pull off, but it is the perfect fit for Tarantino. I sincerely hope that he will use more songs like this in the actual film. Performance wise, everybody appears to be doing a great job, but Leonardo DiCaprio is the clear standout. I don’t want to speak too soon, but if his performance is as good in the actual film as it is in the trailer, than we might see him secure his first Oscar win. The film may look a little too similar to Inglorious Basterds, but the plot seems to be a little more straightforward than his previous film. We will all be able to unwrap this entire present, when the film is released this Christmas.

 

 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I’m a big fan of Emma Watson, so I was looking forward to this film just because she was in it. But I must say that this film actually appears to be fairly interesting. I have not read the book that the film is based on, but I hope to read it before it is released. The performances from the three leads appear to be very good and Emma Watson is as charming as ever. Thanks to the use of the song “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons, this is a trailer that I cannot get out of my head.

 

 

Wreck-It Ralph

After learning that this film would contain cameos from actual video game characters, I was really looking forward to it. In the trailer, we see appearances from Bowser, a ghost from Pac-Man and a zombie from House of the Dead. While it was cool to see these characters in a movie, the rest of the trailer is pretty awful. They are clearly trying very hard to get kids interested, because the humor in this film is very juvenile. Also, the use of the song “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida feels tacked on and it completely ruins the second half of the trailer. On a positive note, the visuals for the film look very good and John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman appear to give great voice performances. But unless Disney can release a better trailer, my interest in the film has plummeted.

 

 

Flight

I actually didn’t know anything about this film before viewing the trailer, which might be why I enjoyed it so much. I was expecting a bland movie about an airplane, but this film actually looks really good. Denzel Washington appears to be as excellent as he always is and the visuals for the film (particularly in regards to the crash) are astounding. This could be a case of a trailer that is better than the actual film, but hopefully it won’t be. In any case, this is a film that I will be looking forward to.

 

 

Other trailers released this week include 360 and The Babymakers.

 

360

 

 

The Babymakers

 

Quentin Tarantino’s newest film, Django Unchained, is still filming, but some new images for the film have been released online. These images feature Jamie Foxx as the title character, Christoph Waltz as Dr. King Schultz and Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin Candie, the plantation owner who owns Django’s wife. If the final image is true, Quentin Tarantino also appears to have a supporting role in the film. All of the images are visually satisfying, with the image of Foxx and Waltz on horseback being my personal favorite.

It also appears that the teaser trailer for the film will be shown before Prometheus. While this has not been confirmed, it was tweeted by Variety’s Stuart Oldham. Hopefully this is true, because I have been anticipating this trailer for months.

Django Unchained is scheduled for release this Christmas.

Check out the rest of the new images for Django Unchained below:

This past week saw the release of several trailers, two of which are among the most anticipated of the year. The new James Bond film Shyfall released its first teaser trailer and the first trailer was released for the newest adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Check out all of this weeks trailers below:

Skyfall

The general consensus is that Quantum of Solace was a step down from the fantastic Casino Royale. While Casino Royale is one of  my favorite Bond films, I still enjoyed Quantum of Solace. Ever since that film, I have been eagerly anticipating Daniel Craig’s return as Bond. The teaser trailer for his newest film features stunning cinematography and the locales featured in the film seem to be very unique to the series. This also appears to be much darker than most Bond films, which would be a return to the Casino Royale style. While we know very little about the story, the action appears to be very engrossing. I was looking forward to this film, but after having seen this trailer, my anticipation has skyrocketed.

The Great Gatsby

Most of us are familiar with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story, with many people considering the novel to be an American classic. This newest adaptation stars Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, Tobey MaGuire as Nick and Carey Mulligan as Daisy. The trailer begins by playing Jay Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild”, while we look at dazzling visual imagery of Gatsby’s parties. The rest of the trailer is equally engrossing, making a fairly dull story seem like an exciting movie. Whether director Baz Luhrmann is able to make the actual movie exciting remains to be seen, but this is a fantastic trailer. DiCaprio and Mulligan appear to be perfectly cast as Gatsby and Daisy.

The Master

The teaser trailer for The Master reveals practically nothing about the movie. The reason that the film is worth talking about is because it Joaquin Phoenix’s first acting role since the film I’m Still Here, in which he publicly humiliated himself for the sake of the film. This is also from director Paul Thomas Anderson, who hasn’t made a film since 2007’s There Will Be Blood.

The Apparition

These days, it is rare to find a horror movie with a unique premise. The Apparition appears to have an interesting premise and the story could actually be fairly intriguing. However, the acting and the dialogue appear to be absolutely awful. It also looks like the film is partly found-footage, a storytelling device that is beginning to grow tiresome. Ultimately, this horror film appears to be more goofy than scary.

Other trailers released this week include Finding Nemo 3D, Whole Lotta Sole, Holy Motors, and Union Square.

Finding Nemo 3D

Whole Lotta Sole

Holy Motors

Union Square