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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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Film Reviews: Escape Plan (2013), Blue Caprice (2013), and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Escape Plan (2013). Directed by Mikael Håfström. The film starts in a prison exercise yard. Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) starts a fight and is then put into solitary confinement. When a car fire is purposefully started in the prison's car park Breslin effects his escape. For me Escape Plan was a by-the-numbers action film, with little in the way of charm, and a dull easily guessed story. Schwarzenegger is also thrown into the mix as a fellow inmate in another prison, but he didn't add anything. If dull action thrillers float your boat and/or you're a huge fan of the leads then you might get something from it. 2/5 (Poor)

Blue Caprice (2013). Based on the real life events of the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks and directed by Alexandre Moors. The film starts with the teenager Lee Malvo (Tequan Richmond) in Antigua. His mother regularly deserts him, and it's during one of these times that he follows a father and his children down to the beach. Presumably feeling like he has nothing to live for, Lee walks out into the ocean but is rescued by the father John Allen Muhammad (Isaiah Washington). Blue Caprice does a good job of just recounting the reality of the people behind the Beltway sniper attacks, without trying to pass any moral judgement. Richmond and Washington are excellent as the troubled teen and chip-on-his-shoulder father. There's great direction and cinematography also, backed up by a balanced soundtrack. It's a good example of how the right people at the right time (or perhaps it's better described as the wrong people at the wrong time) can lead to enormous tragedy. For those who enjoy biopics, albeit not a straight tale. 4/5 (Good)

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). Based on Jordan Belfort's autobiography, and directed by Martin Scorsese. The film starts in an office, with a large number of stockbrokers throwing dwarves covered in Velcro at a large dartboard. The rest of the film is told in a mix of flashback, with Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) arriving at Wall Street in the late 80s. He gets his stockbroker license on Black Monday, and ends up unemployed shortly after. Desperate for a job he starts working at a boiler room, where they sell penny stocks for huge commissions to people stupid enough to buy them. He immediately demonstrates an incredible talent for selling, and before long he has his own company. As a story The Wolf of Wall Street is an interesting one, although at 2 hours and 59 minutes it's also a long one (overly long for me). As a production it's a a good one, with some great direction, and a good performance from the (overused) Leonardo DiCaprio (who yet again wasn't a great casting choice in my opinion). As a swearathon it's at the top there, as non-documentary films go. Also factor in some fairly hardcore sex scenes (for a Hollywood film), and drug use. I didn't have a problem with most of that, other than the length of the film. What I had a problem with was the moral balance of the story. We just see greed, greed, and greed, showing nothing in the way of the thousands who were ripped off my Belfort. We see a little of Belfort's comeuppance, which was something at least, even though he proved to be a sociopath to the last (and no doubt continues to be). For those who don't mind the stench of greed, and the sex/drugs/swearing. 3/5 (Average)