The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Link: The Wolf of Wall Street

Summary: The true story of how Jordan Belfort scammed clients out of millions of dollars and wound up in prison.

Thoughts: Overall, this film is pretty standard Scorsese, especially with his penchant for tragic biopics.  So while it’s nothing dramatically new when compared to Scorsese’s previous work, it’s still masterful filmmaking.  For the most part, the pacing and rhythm of the film keep it very engaging.  It is probably the most comedic of Scorsese’s films, especially with actors who can deadpan as well as Jonah Hill; you know Belfort’s scheming ways aren’t going to end well, so the film doesn’t even bother trying to create any amount of tension over it.  While a good amount of the humor works well, a good portion of it also becomes the film’s greatest weakness, as long segments of the film feature little more than crude debauchery, as if the film wants to be a classy American Pie film.  These segments aren’t funny or interesting to watch and they add nothing to the film; they are only a sad, evil, and tiresome waste of all the talent involved.

Taxi Driver (1976)


Link: Taxi Driver

Summary: After a crazy man is rejected by the woman he admires, he goes even more crazy in a self-created loneliness.

Thoughts: This film was a bit too meandering for me.  Although the character is fictional, this movie has the pacing and tone of director Scorsese’s biopics Raging Bull and The Aviator.  Although Goodfellas was also a biopic, it seemed more plot-driven, where as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The Aviator seem much more “exploratory” to me.  I suppose the pacing is just too slow, or the character goals remain ambiguous for too long.  Or maybe I just can’t empathize with the main characters enough in general.