Tag Archives: Leonardo DiCaprio

The Set of 400: #34 – My Favorite Origami Paris

Today! Because you’re waiting for a train, a train that’ll take you far away –

Inception (2010)

Directed by Christopher Nolan (x3)

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (x6), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (x3), Ellen Page, Tom Hardy (x2), Marion Cotillard (x3), Michael Caine (x6), Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy (x2), Tom Berenger, Pete Postlethwaite (x2), Lukas Haas (x3), Dileep Rao

The two greatest summer moviegoing spectacles of the last twenty years both came from the same director, within two years of each other. And this was the second – a head-trippy, effects masterpiece tackling concepts of love, loyalty, aging, and family, and high powered explosives, crashing trains, and weightless fisticuffs. Inception is so spectacularly high concept that it doesn’t seem like much would’ve needed to happen to derail this film into nonsense and self-parody, but in the capable hands of Christopher Nolan – the greatest popcorn movie director this side of Spielberg – it delivers marvelously.

I realize denigrating Nolan as a “popcorn” director is hugely unfair, but even Spielberg eventually got the retroactive credit he deserved for his crowd pleasing efforts (once he made dour war pictures and the like, because apparently that’s the path one needs to take for respect). No doubt in the next 8 to 10 years Nolan will make the somber, awards-sweeping masterpiece that’ll have to be mentioned alongside his Batman movies and Memento and Inception – hell, it was almost Dunkirk – but for now we can content ourselves with the knowledge that we’re living through one of the greatest stretches of cinematic bombast from a hugely talented auteur in history. And as great as his other films are, will he ever manage to creatively top Inception? Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #80 – My Favorite Balcony Rat

Today! Because I’m the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy –

The Departed (2006)

Directed by Martin Scorsese (x4)

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (x5), Jack Nicholson (x6), Matt Damon (x8), Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, Alec Baldwin (x3), Martin Sheen (x2), James Badge Dale (x2), Anthony Anderson (x2), Ray Winstone, Kevin Corrigan (x2), David O’Hara, Mark Rolston (x3), Kristen Dalton

One would think that a person committed to living in apartments for as long as humanly possible would at least be in their largest one as years and successes accrue. But considering the square foot-to-penny ratio in Chicago compared to North Scranton, it is unlikely I will ever live as vastly as I did from the fall of 2005 to the summer of 2008. It wasn’t the world’s nicest apartment, but it was huge, featuring this giant open staircase area, which afforded me the opportunity of displaying wall decor far larger than I possibly could before or since. Thus, I procured the biggest movie theater poster I could find – the six-foot-by-four-foot Departed canvas, seen above. Man, whatever happened to that poster? I didn’t bring it to Chicago, because come on, the only place that would’ve fit in apartment #1 here was a ceiling.

I’ll admit, the rat is a little on the nose

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The Set of 400: #96 – My Favorite Alexandre Dumas Trivia

Today! Because the D is silent –

Django Unchained (2012)

Directed by Quentin Tarantino (x3)

Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio (x4), Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson (x8), Walton Goggins (x2), James Remar (x3), Dennis Christopher, Don Johnson, Franco Nero, Tom Wopat, Russ Tamblyn, Amber Tamblyn, Bruce Dern (x2), M.C. Gainey (x2), Jonah Hill (x6), Zoe Bell, Lee Horsley, Robert Carradine (x2), Ted Neeley, James Parks, Tom Savini, Quentin Tarantino (x2), Lewis Smith (x2), Daniele Watts, Gary Grubbs (x2), Don Stroud, Laura Cayouette, Dana Gourrier, Ato Essandoh, Escalante Lundy

Back-to-back Samuel L! And we’ve finally reached my second favorite film from the vaunted year of 2012. Ah, 2012! Mitt Romney lost and we as a people won – not just in politics but at the theaters, as we were treated to quite the mighty group of films. Nearly scaling the lot here was Quentin Tarantino’s hyper-violent rescue/revenge “southern” Django Unchained, his 7th full length movie and highest grossing one by a considerable margin (as of this writing, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is still some months away). He makes the strident case to not categorize this movie as a “western,” as it is set primarily in antebellum Texas, Tennessee, and Mississippi, but come on, call it what you like, this is as western as a non-western can be.

I mean, really, considering it borrows half its title and many plot/character elements from Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 film Django, I suppose if we’re aggressively splitting hairs here this is some manner of American spaghetti western/southern. Hell, Franco Nero has a cameo in the film! It’s different enough that it ascribes no actual credit to Django, going so far as being classified an original-as-opposed-to-adapted screenplay, but still similar enough that if your video store has enough sections, classifying it might prove tricky. Anyway, it’s a western. Mostly. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #167 – My Favorite Glass Eye

Today! Because the appearance of law must be upheld, especially while it’s being broken –

Gangs of New York (2002)

Directed by Martin Scorsese (x3)

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis (x2), Leonardo DiCaprio (x3), Cameron Diaz (x3), Brendan Gleeson, John C. Reilly (x6), Jim Broadbent (x2), Henry Thomas, Liam Neeson (x2), Eddie Marsan (x3), Stephen Graham, Gary Lewis, Lawrence Gillard Jr., Cara Seymour (x2), Tim Pigott-Smith (x2)

This movie was so close to being an unmitigated masterpiece that we as a people can only lament the missteps made in dragging it to completion. You have a terrific cast, a marvelous adaptation of a book without a real narrative, and Scorsese hell bent on winning an Oscar, in a year that wasn’t super competitive. Daniel Day-Lewis, not one to slum it, gives 110% percent and dominates the film as Bill the Butcher – a film, again, loaded with talent. He’s a colossus, an unholy terror, and while the film purports to be about the Vallons – father Priest and son Amsterdam – it ends up totally the story of the vicious Five Points ganglord. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #296 – My Favorite Heart of the Ocean

Today! Because I’d rather be his whore than your wife –

Titanic (1997)

Directed by James Cameron

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (x2), Kate Winslet, Billy Zane (x3), Bill Paxton (x2), Kathy Bates (x2), Frances Fisher, David Warner, Bernard Hill, Victor Garber (x2), Gloria Stuart, Suzy Amis, Danny Nucci, Ioan Gruffudd, Jonny Phillips, Ewan Stewart, Bernard Fox, Jason Barry

First off, let me begin by saying SHUT UP. I am fully aware of the awesome shortcomings of this film. The dialogue is often atrocious, some of the poor actors forced to play ethic stereotypes get completely mangled in the gears of this film (we forever honor you, Fabrizio!), and the plot – the driving romantic engine of the film – is the most hackneyed, retread, unimaginative piffle they could’ve lit upon. I get all of that. It’s way too long – like, a good forty to fifty minutes too long – and in retrospect can be viewed as pretentiously so, given everything connected to this film that was to follow – Oscar speeches, no follow-up Cameron film for a dozen years, etc.

Ugh, this guy

All that being said, people who regularly slam this movie – then and now – are you seriously telling me you don’t think the second half of Titanic is an amazing movie? I know, it’s half a movie, and you’ve had to slog through nearly two hours of set dressing and nonsense to get there, but once they hit that iceberg straight until that old lady is tossing her baubles overboard, it is as impressive a piece of moviemaking as exists. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #388 – My Favorite Paper Cut Riddled Sex Scene

Today! Because it was like mainlining adrenaline –

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Shea Wiggam, Christine Ebersole, Cristin Milioti, Joanna Lumley, Ethan Suplee, Thomas Middleditch, Kenneth Choi, Katarina Cas, P.J. Byrne, Brian Sacca, Henry Zebrowski

My third favorite Scorsese/DiCaprio outing felt like a glorious return to vulgar form for Marty, following the excellent kid-centric Hugo in 2011. He never stopped making good-to-great movies, but Wolf so revels in the obscene decadence of unabashed douchebag Jordan Belfort’s life that it is more reminiscent of Goodfellas than anything Scorsese has made since. It is also by far his funniest movie, whether that was the original intention when rights were purchased or not. The excellent, epic screenplay by Sopranos/Boardwalk Empire helmer Terence Winter turns what could’ve been a harrowing, drug-fueled Wall Street knock-off into a hilarious Scarface/Bachelor Party hybrid. DiCaprio was never better, and was roundly robbed of the Oscar by co-star McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club, thus enabling him to later win for the lesser work in The Revenant (I know this the second post already where I take swipes at Revenant, which isn’t a movie I realized I didn’t care for until this month). Also, if Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie don’t win Oscars in the next decade, I’ll be surprised – put me on record saying it! Continue reading

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