SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl reviews a trio of award hopefuls this week. First is "The Wolf of Wall Street," the latest collaboration between director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Next is "Her", Spike Jonze's near-future cyber romance about a lonely man's (Joaquin Phoenix) budding romantic interest with an operating system. Last is "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," a story about a man (Ben Stiller) who can't escape his own imagination.
KCBS Entertainment Reporter Jan Wahl:
Jan Wahl Movie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street, Her, & The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (R) 180 min
"The Wolf Of Wall Street" is based on the memoir of Jordan Belfort, a former New York stock broker, adapted by screenwriter Terence Winter and directed by Martin Scorsese. This is a drama and sometimes dark comedy about greed and the power of money to subvert personalities. Leonardo DiCaprio portrays a real-life Wall Street climber, who builds a hollow empire by tracking small investors. When he is flying high—we're talking serious drugs, sex, debauchery and decadence—nobody takes us there like Scorsese.
There's some "Goodfellas," some "Casino" and a lot of originality. It's three hours long and I didn't look at my watch once!
HER (R) 126 min
This year a film by Joseph Gordon Levitt titled "Don Jon" told a story about the danger of technology for lonely guys, showing it's easier to create intimacy with a machine. Now director Spike Jonze takes it a step further by telling the story of a man who falls deeply in love with his computer's operating system.
Joaquin Phoenix is the sad guy and Scarlett Johansson the voice that goes from Siri to serious. This is one of those movies that will be more popular with men than women. And it's very popular critically as well, but with movies out there like "Nebraska" and "Saving Mr. Banks," I'd wait on this one.
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (PG-13) 114 min
It was a 1937 short story by James Thurber and later it was a movie starring Danny Kaye. Now Ben Stiller directs and stars as the hapless dreamer of far-out fantasies. This should have been terrific.
The character has been changed to an employee at a magazine who loses a negative and then travels to incredible locations to find it. The direction is the problem here; it's not clear as to what is in reality and what we're actually supposed to be invested in. The plot is muddled. It's frustrating, but visually beautiful.
Home Viewing/DVD: Don Jon
You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl's movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.
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