Davis: Gifts keep rolling out of Hollywood
Even though Christmas is done, Hollywood is not quite finished giving. Five new movies opened on Christmas Day, with something to appeal to almost everybody.
The critical darling is The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, marking the fifth time they have worked together on a movie.
It tells the true story of Jordan Belfort, a Long Island penny stockbroker who defrauded investors in a massive 1990s securities scheme that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street and in the corporate banking world.
Taking on territory that has already been explored by Oliver Stone, Scorsese makes his own twist on Wall Street greed somewhat humorous, also casting Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill and fellow directors Jon Favreau and Rob Reiner.
DiCaprio is already nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical—the real question is will this be the role that finally nets him the Oscar?
Another frequent Scorsese collaborator returns to an on-screen profession that they both made famous. Robert DeNiro made the boxing character of Jake LaMotta one of the two most famous on-screen boxers in cinema history. In Grudge Match, he goes up against the actor who made Rocky Balboa the other—Sylvester Stallone.
DeNiro and Stallone play aging boxing rivals who are coaxed out of retirement to fight one final bout—a match-up 30 years in the making.
Is it clichéd and obvious? Yes—but it will be great to see these two legends share the screen, plus I think the real entertainment will be the verbal jabs between acting veteran Alan Arkin and young upstart Kevin Hart.
Remaking a classic movie is always risky and Ben Stiller has put himself in double-jeopardy by both directing and starring in an updated version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. In this fantasy-comedy-drama, Stiller plays a daydreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. When his job and that of his co-worker (Kristin Wiig) are threatened, he takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined.
47 Ronin is another remake, but very likely you have never seen the previous six movie versions as this is the first version of the Japanese folktale for western audiences. Keanu Reeves is the only North American actor as Japanese actors were cast to make the story more authentic.
It is the fantasy story, set in a world of witches and giants, 47 outcast samurai seek vengeance upon the treacherous overlord who killed their master and banished them. To restore honour to their homeland, the warriors embark upon a quest that challenges them with a series of trials that would destroy ordinary warriors.
And finally, there is Justin Bieber’s Believe, a 3D concert film that follows-up 2011’s Never Say Never, which grossed almost $100 million. Believe will probably gross much less as it will not appeal to anyone beyond his seemingly waning fan base.