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The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Over acted, repetitive, every scene and the film itself too long
A group of us watched this film with high expectations, but by a third of the way through everybody seemed to be shuffling in their seats with the repetitive boredom of it all; but no-one daring to actually say out loud what they were thinking. It seemed to be an over indulgent love-in of quality actors overplaying everything, the director trying to show off how fast he could get the cast to talk over each other with irrelevant excruciatingly long conversations of no interest to anybody except presumably the writer; and every character a ridiculous overplayed cartoon cutout. Even the steadfast investigating cop had to become a wisecracking Caprio mark 2 when the pair finally got together for their "showdown". The movie ground on relentlessly with orgy and coke snorting scenes: OK, we've seen you can do that: please can we have some plot now and learn in much more detail how he got to the top and how he fell from grace? A waste of too much time.
Like a film about Titantic without the sinking
I felt frustrated with this film in the same way as with The Iron Lady; if I go to a film called Lincoln about such a great historical character, I really want to find out about the great sweep of his character through the most turbulent times in US history. Just as the Margaret Thatcher movie should more accurately have been called Dementia because that was 90% of what it dealt with, a more honest title for Lincoln should have been The 13th Amendment. This felt like a TV spin off from a proper movie: one action scene at the start to hook us in, then endless similar scenes of men talking in darkened smoke filled rooms to save money and fill out the interminable length of the film. A movie about Lincoln could easily fill 3 hours if we had much more about his life: but for most of this movie you could shut your eyes for fifteen minutes, open them again and you were in the same scene with the same conversation. Because of the God like status (thoroughly deserved) of Steven Spielberg, perhaps he's allowed to get away with anything, but really this is a very tedious film. Looking round the theater during that first couple of hours there was lots of seat shuffling and people dozing off; that speaks for itself.... We were even cheated at the end of seeing the great man shot dead in the theater; just somebody announcing it in a different theater. Why?!! It was like seeing a film about Titanic just showing the passengers talking about how unsinkable it was for three hours then not showing us the sinking at the end. Sorry, but I think this was a missed opportunity to have a proper film about Lincoln: let's hope there's a decent remake soon...
Anna Karenina (2012)
Style over substance
I went to see the film in the hope of being absorbed and immersed in a great story with great characters. Unfortunately Joe Wright's desperate attempt to do something different completely destroyed any real engagement with the characters; each time I started to get involved, another trick theatrical effect came along and spoiled the moment. If I want to see a stage play with curtains opening, scenery moving around and toy trains, I go to a theatre: if I go to a cinema, I want to see a film. All the acting performances were excellent, no complaint, but this was the worst kind of self indulgent "I want to get critical plaudits" direction possible. If told as a straight narrative this could have been a great film: as it is, it's extremely clever but extremely annoying.