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The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Poorly presented recycled story about enormous greediness
Wolf of Wall Street is one of those movies that should be great on paper. It has great director, great cast, even greater budget and based on seemingly interesting tale from real life. The clumsiness of this one, however, is almost unbearable.
The storyline follows the craziest years of the "Wall Street Wolf" named Jordan Belfort who starts to build his way up to the stock markets, starting from the so called penny business and ends up challenging the well established Wall Street stock companies. Much of this road happens to be illegal and almost exclusively amoral. It follows pretty much the classic route of these kind of movies - becoming successful and then slowly going crazy and ending up with the biggest mess.
OK, no doubt that we've seen something similar before. Probably the most similar fashion is known from the Scorcese's own Goodfellas and also, perhaps to even a bigger extent, from the Scarface. Mind you, this really isn't a point of criticism for me, because the two mentioned movies are really damn good as far as I'm concerned. The movie is extremely predictable though.
Also the Wolf of Wall Street's mafia relatives have the sense of tension from the first second - many people will be easily fascinated by the no good gangster life, but is it true about the stock brokers? Well? Of course not! Only thing interesting about it is the money and in the Wolf of Wall Street they made some. Well, pretty much actually. And spending it is something that would make people interested. Especially if it's something fancy, in your face or just illegal. This became the disguise of the mediocre script, non-existing character development and made the entire flick repetitive as hell.
The large part of the film showed coke snorting, pill swallowing, drinking and hookers. I'm not the one who has some moral dilemmas, but come on - enough is enough. For me this is one of the biggest problems of this one. Not only is this repetitive, but it also gave the feeling that the creators tried way too hard to shock the audience. This attempt became a flop pretty quickly though, but as said this probably disguises many of the weak points fairly well. At least the overall rating suggests that. The same can be said about the jokes which fell flat for the most part. These seemingly had shock value, but they just lack that something. Most dialogs in the movie are sloppy and end up nowhere. We could see some lines going on in the character's heads while in conversation. These were awful and amateurish for the most time as well, again considering what caliber the movie is supposed to have.
It takes special talent to make characters as one dimensional and unlikable. There was no one to bond with, no one to cheer for. The only small character development was with our main character, when he changed from a Wall Street freshman to an absolute douche. After that he and everybody surrounding him had only money, money, money in mind and cared for nothing and nobody. Well, Belfort played by DiCaprio did seem to be generous with his employees, but family for example didn't mean a thing for him. Almost three hours of non ending soulless malevolent hustling by the Belfort crew sure got on nerves.And there were at least four scenes where we were told how great such lifestyle was. The complete lack of the main characters moral was intended to be balanced by the father of Belfort, but the only thing he seemed to care about was the son's prostitute addiction. Drugs or illegal business was seemingly OK in daddy's eyes.
The illegal side of the whole Belfort's business should have been explained a little better as well. We saw DiCaprio explaining it quickly, but then canceled it by saying "You don't care anyway." or something like that. Another example of lazy writing. Right, let's watch some orgy instead. That fixes everything.
As critical as I've been, I'm going to say that the movie is not all terrible. Most of the jokes are rubbish, but few of these work nicely. As little as the actors had a chance to work with, most of the performances are good. I'm not too sure about this being DiCaprio's best role, but he put on a good show for sure. Also scenery is nice and seemingly flawless wherever the action is going on, but that shouldn't be too big of a surprise.
In the end this film remains a disappointment. What we have here is a recycled crime story that shows us bland Wall Street style hustling which is artificially "spiced" by the endless partying and sex scenes. This film offers nothing new or interesting. It is incredibly predictable and boring, additionally lacking any sort of character development or interesting plot twist. I just feel this movie was incredibly needless, at least the way it was served. Finally I'll have to admit that with all the hype surrounding it, I had actually really high expectations, but The Wolf of Wall Street failed to deliver.
Wheeler Dealers (2003)
The best automotive show out there
Wheeler dealers is a British motoring show where an used car, that needs a bit of care and love, is bought and mended or sometimes more thoroughly restored and sold afterward, hopefully with a profit. Seems like there are tons of similar shows out there, right? Answer is yes, there certainly are but Wheeler Dealers have some simple touches that makes it stand out the rest.
First of all the cars featured are all somehow special, often referred as modern classics. In this show you will not see any hyper cars and outrageously expensive classics, like Ferrari F40 or rare Talbots. What you are going to find are cars affordable nowadays by most average persons. Cars range from few hundred quid worth Austin Mini to more (but not stupidly) expensive sport cars, like BMW 8. series and Lamborghini Urraco. Earlier episodes had really small budgets but have grown as the series has progressed.
The best part is the way that the work is presented. The emphasis is actually on mending and rebuilding, instead of ridiculous drama that many American shows (American Chopper, Running West Coast Customs etc) sadly feature. The process is pretty detailed and some interesting technical characteristics of each car can be seen. You can actually learn thing or two about the mechanics by watching the show. For me, this is the key point which makes Wheeler Dealers an absolute classic.
The show is presented by Mike Brewer - the dealer and Edd China - the mechanic. Mike buys and sells the cars and tracks down some parts needed and gives some consumer advice while Edd takes care of the car and wonderfully explains everything he does.
Wheeler dealers is not very popular show and is mostly known by real car enthusiasts. As being one myself, I can't really speak for "regular" people but it really is presented in a fun manner, not in Top Gear's way, but even so I think almost anyone is able to enjoy it.
So if you have even a little interest about the technical side of cars, the show is highly recommended. A must for enthusiasts!
This one finally had something
Fast and furious 1 and 2 were one of the most awful car action films ever. Mostly the third one followed similar route but it was better in many ways.
Plot was again pale, perhaps a little better than it predecessors had but still. Some action, some criminals, a non interesting love interest - all familiar from the previous films. There really is nothing to enjoy in that sense.
Dialouges and characters were little better and so was acting.
What makes it better was simply drifting. Now we could really enjoy some driving skill too. Some of the scenes were pretty technical and not very easy to do. Cars still looked rubbish though but the fact now our heroes and villains needed to actually do something else than drive a quarter mile made me pleased.
Still - it went too far. There is no way when racing for a best place drifting would get you faster to the destination than regular driving. And the film frequently tried to convince us the other way. Drifting competitions are judged by the beauty, smoke and driving on the edge like being really close to other competitor but not by speed.
But as I said at least there was something to watch not like in the first film for example where were only few boring and stupid races and nothing to enjoy at all.
This one was slightly better in every way but it was far from perfect. Don't expect too much 6/10
Mafia II (2010)
From the biggest fan of Mafia I....
Mafia: The city of Lost Heaven is for me the greatest game ever made. It has everything, from great missions to incredible storytelling and some awesome quotes from the main character.
That being said of course my expectations to Mafia II were high and I mean extremely high.
In the minute I started to play the game, I was simply stunned by the graphics. It's almost like your controlling a real human. A great idea which I had been missing from sandbox style games was winter time. This also looked amazing.
Game play was pretty good as well. Nothing bad can be said about the action. Driving was also made pretty fun, especially great was driving with a lorry, which was made very hard to stop. Similary to last GTAs, you could climb which made the game more enjoyable.
The story gave me mixed feelings. It was a good one but not that great as I would have expected. It was slightly darker than Mafia I, had lots of betraying etc, but this brought quite a big downside for the game as well, which I am going to talk about later. Many videos made were great but in the end gave the game too much of a film feeling which didn't feel very great.
The really bad thing was that Vito only wanted to improve his life and he really didn't care for whom he was working and so did Joe. This made the couple disloyal and not much of a mafioso type. They were rather just thugs. This converted the game into a GTA style game, but it sticked to Mafia I roots where you had to complete the missions linearly as well. I felt like a GTA was stuck in Mafia style of plot if you know what I mean.
Also an ordinary routine, which was all over the game, started to get annoying. Even though it added some realism, you can't say it was very interesting.
GTA influenced clothing and gun shopping wasn't bad. The car work shops topped that which were made way better than in GTA series.
But there's more negative. Some things what made Mafia I incredibly realistic were left behind because of an unknown reason. These include running through red lights penalty, limitation of how many weapons could be carried and lost bullets when reloading a weapon.
Also I felt Mafia II somehow unfinished. Nothing really came out of an relationship between the girl who had winked Vito sometimes and was once saved by him, or what happened to Vito's sister.
Missions could have been more interesting as well like they were in the first game. In here you mostly only listened to your assignment, then drove to the place and whacked all the bad guys. Nothing really interesting wasn't; for example in Mafia I: You lucky bastard where Sergio Morello always managed t survive different attacks or when you shot a man at his birthday in public.
Of course we all miss freeride and the thing that made Mafia I a very special game - freeride extreme.
And of course the game was too short as well. Some TLCs have been released, but the main story should be still far greater than it was.
So to conclude - I believe this game could have been better, although I definitely don't regret playing it. It's still a good action game, bringing in some innovation to the genre but failed to be as exciting as Mafia I for me at least. I would recommend it to play once, but the high expectations will likely be shattered by doing that.
So all in all I give it 7 out of 10.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
This was definitely one of the weakest films by Tarantino. And there was a simple reason why.
He chose too serious and dramatic topic for his style. Yes, it fitted perfectly for Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs but to rape World War II in that way is a bit too much.
First scene was very promising when the Nazi was explaining the French man why Nazi regime hates Jews. Secondly we were introduced to Inglorious Basterds. The group of brutal Jews killing Nazis. First I thought it was a fine idea but later it got pretty tiring.
Then everything started to go downwards. Too long table scene showed the Jew girl Emanuelle who had escaped in the beginning from Nazis thinking about showing the great Nazi movie in her cinema. Afterwards another very long and weak table scene came by which ended with shooting.
And then the finale where Emanuelle let her lover burn down the Nazis filled cinema including Adolf.
Some big mistakes were that the table scenes and empty discussions were awful. They didn't lead nowhere. History rewriting in such a way wasn't believable as well. All great Nazis including Hitler were killed in a movie theater. And finally of course Tarantino's jokes which for me have been usually fine but put in such a plot wentjust too far.
Still, if you can put it up you may enjoy this film. I wouldn't say it was a complete waste of time but Tarantino crossed the line from where it got controversial for even myself.
More on the plus site there was some fine acting, some laughs and overall interesting point of view.
So let's just say below average, don't expect it to be Pulp Fiction.. 4/10
The Fast and the Furious (2001)
The king of the car films??
SOME SPOILERS CONTAINED!
The fast and the furious.... If this title is told many people think about the coolest film on earth, the greatest cars and the greatest drivers. I don't know yet why though.
I am personally into cars. I'm also interested in mechanics and electronics in general and I do know about that topic so don't tell me I have no clue what I'm going to talk about.
The film is made for 6-year-olds. There are "cool" (in my point of view pretty stupid) paint jobs, roaring engines and of course NO2! And then there is Vin Diesel who plays cocky Torreto. So they race illegally and the young cop is sent out to investigate the racing.
The racing is nothing spectacular. 400 meters straight line, the best built car wins or whose engine can manage the most turbo pressure or nitrous in other words. In total there are only few races throughout the whole film and it's rather boring to watch them. The cars the characters are racing could not be as powerful as real drag racing cars so the handling should be relatively easy as well. That fact already doesn't make the racers heroes in front of my eyes.
But racing is acceptable. The worst part of the movie is Torreto's gang truck robbing. It is so unrealistic and stupid that I don't have words for it. Every thinking person can understand how lame it looks. You can't hold on the truck with nothing to worry about when a truck is traveling about 100 km/h. And just how it looks. Truck drivers don't really do anything to get rid of them except the last one who starts shooting the gang.
And finally the whole story limps. It's very stereotypical and overall boring. I'm not gonna spoil too much but basically the undercover working cop merges into Torreto's gang and eventually starts defending Torreto. In the end he still founds out that Torreto is involved to truck robbing and tries to put the end to that. He also flirts with Torreto's sister. Some gang members speculate he's a cop but Torreto doesn't take that seriously etc. In other words quite boring story.
All in all I'd say that Fast and furious is a weak movie, unrealistic and quite boring. I don't know how this movie is so highly respected because for me it really doesn't look anything special.
What was this all about ??
I'm gonna be short on this one. Why should anyone remake a perfect classic movie from scene to scene ? This is a talentless remake, nothing is added or changed. Only this version has more colors and different actors... But that's it.
Acting is acceptable, although original actors feel somehow more natural. Especially original Bates.
If you've seen original psycho, don't waste your time with this version. If you haven't seen original it's worth watching because it's the same movie. There's nothing different. But since it's so pointless remake, it gets 1 star from me. And I think that's fair.
What is honor
I saw it once again on yesterday. It's really tough movie which has been made for shocking. And it definitely fills that role.
Storyline is rather easy and predictable but the action is tough to watch. Joosep was a quiet student who wasn't very social nor athletic which led up others bullying him. In the film Joosep gets sabotaged by the main bully and the whole class is suddenly against him. A new boy Kaspar starts to defend him and later they are both constantly terrorized by the main bully Anders and his loyal followers in the class.
The most tragic part is obviously the violence and how from the smallest sabotage an entire class can stand up against one boy. It shows how the entire class ignores or even enjoys it. Although some girls sometimes said that Joosep had had enough, they still really didn't care about the violence. It was also sad to see those who wanted to be Anders' friends followed his every move. The best example how majority of class bootlicked Anders is this in my opinion.
ANDERS: Why did you defended Joosep today ? KASPAR: I didn't defend him. PAUL: Hey, if Anders told that you defended him then it was so.
Now some things that may distract you a little bit. The number of form wasn't actually mentioned but in description it says that Kaspar and Joosep were 16 years old which means they must have been in 9th or 10th form but this kind of bullying takes usually place in 6th or 7th form. Also they were a bit too brutal with Joosep and Kaspar sometimes.
But these are small things compared how touching this movie was. Although few years ago it was reported that some boys had got ideas from the beach scene and actually bullied some boys in such way here in Estonia, I believe that the effect has been positive. This film really makes you think about important values and your own life, whether you've been or are in Anders', Joosep's or Paul's position.
All in all it is really a great movie, it is made to shock you and it will.
Ohtlik lend (2006)
The best Estonian series
"Ohtlik Lend" is a series that many have waited for. It's a perfect crime series in my opinion, it's not too complicated but story lines are very well made.
The key character is Andres Västrik who's often called "Vistrik" which means a pimple in Estonian. He's anything but a stereotypical cop. He doesn't often care about other people opinions and is who he is. He can be described as a bully and often being mean to other people. Despite being an important investigator he remains human, for example he drinks beer and sometimes gets really drunk. When driving alone he often listens to thrash metal. He has an ex-wife called Katrin but who's always called Kats. He also has a teenage daughter with Katrin. Even though Andres isn't the most intelligent and is a politically incorrect cop he still does a good job as an investigator. He's able to make connections needed when investigating a crime. Andres often uses some hilarious phrases.
The other important character is Andres's partner Rita. She's a complete opposite to Andres. She's an intelligent and way more polite than Andres. She's able to remain calmer than Andres although she could often get really mad at him. Also she's rather moody and not as cold as Andres. She often comes up with many good ideas and she's a needed part for solving the cases.. She also can stand up for herself and use a gun like an old hunter.
The story lines are nearly perfect. Some serious problems over the whole world are involved and these are mixed with an Estonian popular culture. Starting from a simple murders which are caused by relationship problems ending up with an international crime. Ohtlik Lend deflects perfectly everything what Estonia has to offer. Deep forest, small villages, a life in a small island or a big city life in Tallinn, you name it. Also there were some historical cases featured in the series. Cases which need to be solved aren't too complicated but still rather unpredictable and enjoyable.
But it has some of the most common bad sides as well. First of all, which is no one's fault, is the fact that again the same actors were brought in. That's because of having 1,3 million people living in Estonia. A guy who's a good one in other series is a bad one here and so on. This was the main reason why the series was canceled - all the actors had already been acting in the series. And the end of the series... well at least in my opinion should have been different. In the final episode there was shown how Andres and Rita both found each other fell in love.
Despite all that it's still one of the best crime series ever and the best series at all ever made in Estonia. It's original and even a littlebit national as I described before, not like "Kelgukoerad" which is a bad copy of CSI. At least for all the Estonians who haven't seen it yet I'd recommend it. And why not for Finnish people as well. Other nations probably wouldn't understand a word. Most episodes can be found at ETV archive.
GTA San Andreas has many pros and cons. A lot has been improved when comparing older versions yet many small things could have been better.
San Andreas is a fictional island lying in somewhere western USA. There are three major cities, Los Santos, San Fierro and Las Venturas. You don't have to be a scientist to figure out that the cities of SA are have been made according to real US cities (Los Angeles, San Fransisco and Las Vegas). Many places in the cities are familiar from the real life. Twisty and mountainous roads in SF, many casinos in LV and Vinewood in LS. Map may not seem huge at the first look but if you start driving through it you must admit it is. SA map is so far the best one in GTA series. After three huge cities there are some deep and dark forests, many lakes and rivers, different highways and gravel roads, a vast, mostly empty and abandoned desert area and many small villages. This is everything a GTA map should have.
Storyline is also good. After returning from Liberty City the main character CJ saw how his gang had changed. CJ thought that would leave right after his mother funeral but decided to stay in order to settle things back to normal again. Throghout entire storyline CJ was terrorized by corrupt cops called Pulaski and Tenpenny. CJ wanted a revenge for his mother and his weakened gang. In his journey CJ met different people and by the time he traveled back to Los Santos as a rich business man he had nearly forgotten why did he stay in San Andreas at first place. After his brother had called him to the earth they finally made their gang strong again, they destroyed hostile gang Ballas and got rid of Tenpenny and the gang members who had betrayed them.
Most of the characters are made to be funny and they definitely are. The videos in San Andreas aren't the best but because of hilarious vocabulary and great variety of characters it is sure fun to watch them.
Game-play is also quite good. The best features are climbing and swimming which makes San Andreas way more fun to play than previous releases. Bad side is that CJ is often doing missions alone against hundreds of men. Also I was hoping that spinning guns, armor and health would be gone in San Andreas.
San Andreas has many different types of vehicles. Many cool planes were introduced. Also there are a way more different cars and motorcycles than in the previous versions. The best part is handling. Each car, plane and boat acts in it's own way. Multi Theft auto San Andreas race mod is because of that and kick-ass map editor one of the best GTA multiplayer mods ever made.
Even though it isn't perfect it is still a good game and worth playing.