Last updateFri, 03 Apr 2020 5pm

1. Ride Along* (Universal)

2. The Nut Job* (Universal)

3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty* (20th Century Fox)

4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug* (New Line)

5. Frozen (Disney)

6. 47 Ronin (Universal)

7. The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount)

8. Delivery Man (Disney)

9. Homefront (Universal)

10. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (Paramount)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. Ride Along* (Universal)

2. The Nut Job* (Universal)

3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty* (20th Century Fox)

4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug* (New Line)

5. Frozen (Disney)

6. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (Paramount)

7. 47 Ronin* (Universal)

8. Homefront (Universal)

9. The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount)

10. Grudge Match* (Warner Bros.)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug* (New Line)

2. Grudge Match* (Warner Bros.)

3. 47 Ronin* (Universal)

4. Frozen (Disney)

5. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (Paramount)

6. August: Osage County (Anchor Bay)

7. Homefront (Universal)

8. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Paramount)

9. Delivery Man (Disney)

10. The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. Frozen (Disney)

2. 47 Ronin* (Universal)

3. The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount)

4. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Paramount)

5. Delivery Man (Disney)

6. Gravity (Warner Bros.)

7. Homefront (Universal)

8. Walking With Dinosaurs* (20th Century Fox)

9. Saving Mr. Banks (Disney)

10. 12 Years a Slave (20th Century Fox)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

This was my pick for the best picture of 2013, and Leonardo DiCaprio should’ve won an Oscar for playing likable scumbag Jordan Belfort. In fact, DiCaprio should have at least three Oscars on his mantle by now, but, alas, he has none.

Martin Scorsese’s latest explodes like a mortar full of deranged bliss. DiCaprio plays slimeball stockbroker and convicted felon Belfort, a real-life jackass who made millions selling penny stocks at a Long Island, N.Y., brokerage.

The movie, based on Belfort’s own autobiography, takes people doing bad, bad things to such an extreme level that the film doesn’t just stand as one of the best of 2013; it’s one of the best and most deranged comedies ever.

As Ray Liotta did in Goodfellas, DiCaprio talks to the camera on occasion, often during highly elaborate tracking shots that have become a Scorsese mainstay. It’s in these moments, and during Belfort’s drug fueled “Rouse the Troops” fire-breathing speeches, where DiCaprio does his most exhilarating acting to date.

Jonah Hill, in an Oscar-nominated role, knocks it out of the park as Belfort’s partner in crime. When the two ingest an abundance of Quaaludes, the sequence that follows stands as one of the best Scorsese has ever put to film. That’s saying a lot.

The best film of 2013 scored no Oscars, but it did net DiCaprio a Golden Globe for Best Performance in a Comedy. Yeah, the Golden Globes are totally strange when it comes to how they categorize things.

Special Features: The only supplement is a weak behind-the-scenes featurette. No Scorsese commentary. No deleted scenes. Boo!

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing

1. Homefront* (Universal)

2. Frozen (Disney)

3. The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount)

4. Walking With Dinosaurs* (20th Century Fox)

5. Delivery Man (Disney)

6. 12 Years a Slave (20th Century Fox)

7. American Hustle (Sony)

8. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Lionsgate)

9. Hours (Lionsgate)

10. Gravity (Warner Bros.)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

Review With Forrest MacNeil (Thursdays, Comedy Central), new series: Anyone can be a critic (seriously, anyone), but few have the conviction of Forrest MacNeil, the tenacious “life critic” of Comedy Central’s left-field new hit Review. As MacNeil, Andy Daly takes requests from viewers as to which random life experience he should try out; in Episode 1, MacNeil gave addiction a spin and wound up awarding cocaine “a million stars!” out of five. (Post-rehab, a half star, because no real journalist would hand out zero stars.) In the March 20 episode, he takes on the equally dangerous task of consuming 15 pancakes in one sitting—if that sounds easy to you, MacNeil suggests that your life must be “an unendurable hellscape of excruciating sadness.” (Didn’t I use that line in a review of George Lopez’s new sitcom?) Review review: one green button.

Da Vinci’s Demons (Saturday, March 22, Starz), season premiere: Starz has yet to recapture that Spartacus buzz of a few years ago; the just-completed first season of Black Sails came close, even though the network made the mistake of positioning it as a “serious” period drama when it was really just a CW soap with more blood, nudity, grownups and the bad touch of Michael Bay. Between the hype of those two series, Starz in 2013 quietly launched Da Vinci’s Demons, about the historical-ish Renaissance adventures of a young, sexy Leonardo da Vinci (Tom Riley) as he navigates conspiracies, cults and Catholics, as well as his own genius and bi-curious tendencies. Sure, it sounds ridiculous—ridiculously fun! (See? Anyone can be a critic.) The Only TV Column That Matters™ would usually say “Catch up on Season 1” before recommending jumping into the second, but Da Vinci’s Demons isn’t going to make any more or less sense with the background info.

My Five Wives (Sundays. TLC), new series: Maybe this is where I used “unendurable hellscape of excruciating sadness.” My Five Wives premiered weeks ago, and you’ve probably seen the ads with Utah polygamist Brady Williams, his five “spouses” and their combined 24 kids over and over—and yet you still didn’t reject it as vehemently as you did Chrisley Knows Best. (Thanks for that, ’Merica; I owe you one.) It helps that Williams is more likable than that assclown Kody Brown of TLC’s other polygamy show—yes, we now have to differentiate between polygamy shows—Sister Wives, but, as with 95 percent of all reality-TV series, there’s no reason for My Five Wives to exist. It’s just another contrived, scripted suckfest attempting to make a “real” family seem entertaining. Even multiplied by five, they ain’t entertaining.

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (Tuesdays, El Rey), new series: Prior to the premiere of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series last week, Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network (“Spanish TV for Gringos”—not the official tagline, but I’m willing to sell) mostly showed X-Files and Dark Angel reruns, and obscure kung-fu and horror flicks. In other words, it was the perfect cable channel—and then came From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, which was instantly darker and weirder than Rodriguez’s 1996 cult movie. Psycho Gecko brothers Seth (D.J. Cotrona, a passable George Clooney sub) and Richie (Zane Holtz, leagues more intense than Quentin Tarantino) are fresh out of jail and on a body-stacking crime spree to the Mexican border; however, vampires and twisted Aztec mythologies are about to get in their way. Anyone remotely “good” or “not insane” gets real dead real quick in FDTD, but the real mystery is how Rodriguez can stretch this story over 10 (or more) episodes. So far, I’m in—way in. (By the way, El Rey can be found on Channel 234 and Channel 584 on Time Warner ’round these parts.)


Californication: Season 6

Hank (David Duchovny) attempts to adapt his book into a Broadway musical with the help of an eff’dup British rock star (Tim Minchin) and rehab—naturally, both lead to more sex, booze, drugs and sex. It’s hard to feel sorry for Hank. (Showtime/Paramount)

The Punk Singer

Bikini Kill singer/riot grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hanna gets the full documentary treatment, with classic BK and Le Tigre concert footage, interviews and the real reason she retired in 2005. (IFC/MPI)

Veep: Season 2

Vice President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) deals with midterm elections, an asshole political strategist (Gary Cole), rural ’Merica, the military, the government shutdown and the worst staff in D.C. Probably all (shudder) true. (HBO)

The Wolf of Wall Street

A stockbroker (Leonardo DiCaprio) rises to power on 1990s Wall Street in Martin Scorsese’s epic tale of drugs, debauchery and Jonah Hill’s prosthetic penis. Also starring Matthew McConaughey, because everything does now. (Paramount)

More New DVD Releases (March 25)

Avengers Confidential: Black Widow and Punisher, Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa: Live in Amsterdam, California Scheming, Continuum: Season 2, Delivery Man, Here’s Lucy: The Complete Series, Key & Peele: Seasons 1 & 2, Machine Head, Welcome to the Jungle.

Published in TV

Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is an explosive film—like a mortar full of deranged bliss.

Leonardo DiCaprio, in 2013’s best performance, plays slimeball stockbroker and convicted felon Jordan Belfort, a real-life scumbag who made millions selling penny stocks at a Long Island, New York, brokerage. The movie, based on Belfort’s autobiography, takes people doing bad, bad things to an unparalleled extreme.

The film begins with a rosy-cheeked Belfort starting work at a big Manhattan brokerage firm, where a brash, cocaine-addicted broker (played by Matthew McConaughey, capping off an incredible year) is his mentor. Belfort is ready to take the world by storm in the late ’80s, but 1987’s Black Monday strikes, destroying his new employer and putting him out of work.

He winds up in a Long Island boiler room schilling penny stocks for 50 percent commission. No problem: The boy can sell, and people are writing checks.

Belfort, with the assistance of new friend Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill, bedazzled with impossibly white caps on his teeth), opens a shiny new brokerage that has a first-class appearance—even though he’s still just slinging penny stocks. This time, he’s slinging them at people with big money, under the guise that the stocks are going to explode into major-market players. They probably won’t—but rich people like and trust Belfort, so they throw money at him.

Where there’s money, there are decadent shenanigans—and this is where Scorsese takes the movie to crazed extremes. Midget-tossing, hookers, half-naked marching bands and goldfish-eating are the orders of the day—with all of these activities enhanced by massive drug and alcohol consumption.

As Ray Liotta did in Goodfellas, DiCaprio talks to the camera on occasion, often during highly elaborate tracking shots (which have become a Scorsese mainstay). It’s in these moments, and during Belfort’s drug-fueled speeches to his crew, when DiCaprio does his most-exhilarating acting to date. He is a formidable competitor for a Best Actor Oscar. He’s certainly my pick.

It’s not just DiCaprio’s verbal pyrotechnics that amaze; in this film, he proves he’s a physical actor with phenomenal talent. In a scene in which Belfort and Azoff consume 15-year-old Quaaludes with a delayed trigger, DiCaprio rivals the likes of Steve Martin and Charlie Chaplin in his physical comedy. What he does with a Ferrari door and his leg must be seen to be believed. I couldn’t believe it was DiCaprio, and figured they must have put his face on a stunt man’s body via CGI. Nope, it’s him.

Hill continues to prove that he has good dramatic chops, and Kyle Chandler provides the films moral core (if it actually has one) as an FBI agent looking to take Belfort down. Margot Robbie is especially impressive as Belfort’s alternately commanding and befuddled wife.

Does The Wolf of Wall Street lack emotional warmth? Yes—and that’s precisely the point of this movie. Scorsese and DiCaprio are showing us the travesties of an emotionally void, tragically selfish group of people living life through a chemically enhanced haze. These people are terrible—comically terrible—and Scorsese holds nothing back in portraying them as such.

The Wolf of Wall Street shows Scorsese is in no way ready to slow down just yet. It’s not only good … it’s Goodfellas good.

The Wolf of Wall Street is playing at theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews

This coming fall/holiday movie season is loaded, so here is a mere sampling of the rest of this movie year—and, man, does it look promising. The summer was a bit of a slog, but we’re looking at a major cinematic rally for 2013.

Movies are listed in order of their announced release dates (which are always subject to change). There’s a lot cover, so here we go …


(Oct. 4): Sandra Bullock and George Clooney get lost in space for director Alfonso Cuarón. I feel like I’ve seen the whole damned thing already, because the marketing for this film has involved numerous clips in different previews. Stop! I want to be surprised! Early reviews are crazily enthusiastic, so here’s to it kicking some ass.

Runner Runner

(Oct. 4): Ben Affleck plays big a criminal asshole to Justin Timberlake’s just-sort-of-misguided asshole. The film involves online gambling and crocodiles, with the future Batman eventually squaring off against the guy who sings that absolutely adorable “Mirrors” song.

Captain Phillips

(Oct. 11): Director Paul Greengrass, master of the shaky cam, pairs with Tom Hanks, master of making us love him because he’s so freaking endearing, in this true story about Somali pirate peril on the high seas. The film promises many, many minutes of Hanks looking very anxious.

Machete Kills

(Oct. 11): I’m surprised Machete got a sequel, and I’m even more surprised that sequel got a theatrical release. Groovy.

Romeo and Juliet

(Oct. 11): Seventeen years after Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Daines, we are getting yet another adaptation of this tragic lubby-dubby story, with this one being of more traditional. Hailee Steinfeld from True Grit is in it, so I am intrigued. Trivia: Steinfeld was actually born in ’96, the year the DiCaprio version was released. You just learned something stupid and useless!

All Is Lost

(Oct. 18): Robert Redford, just like Tom Hanks, will experience peril on the high seas—sans pirates and, of course, sans Tom Hanks. If you like Redford, this is for you, because the film is all him.

Escape Plan

(Oct. 18): Sylvester Stallone stars as a guy who breaks out of prisons, and Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a dude sitting in prison. Thirty years ago, this would’ve been HUGE!

12 Years a Slave

(Oct. 18): Chiwetel Ejiofor—an actor whose face you know, although you probably can’t pronounce his name correctly—stars as a pre-Civil War free man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery. This is already getting Oscar buzz.


(Oct. 18): Chloe Grace Moretz, she of Kick-Ass fame, stars in this retelling of the Stephen King high school nightmare. Something tells me they have no chance of re-creating anything close to the deranged John Travolta pig-slaughter scene from Brian De Palma’s original. Actually, they could probably get Travolta to do a cameo and re-create that scene himself. It seems he’ll do anything these days.

The Counselor

(Oct. 25): Ridley Scott directs Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in a film written by Cormac McCarthy. That’s a solid pedigree.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

(Oct. 25): Johnny Knoxville does a whole film as his old-guy character. If the rest of the movie is half as funny as the scene in which the kid does a stripper dance to “Cherry Pie,” this will be a blast.

Diana and Grace of Monaco

(Nov. 1 and Nov. 27, respectively): I’m lumping these two together, because they both feature Aussie actresses playing princesses. Naomi Watts (pictured here) plays Diana, while Nicole Kidman is Princess Grace, aka former Hollywood starlet Grace Kelly. Watts should have at least two Oscars by now, so I’m hoping this will finally get her the recognition she deserves (although anybody will be hard-pressed to beat Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine this year).

Ender’s Game

(Nov. 1): People have been telling me to read this book for years. I never did. Now it’s a movie with Harrison Ford in it. I’m still pretty sure I will never read this book.

Dallas Buyers Club

(Nov. 1): This is the year of the McConaughey, isn’t it? He participated in MudThe Wolf of Wall Street (more on that film shortly), and this promising-looking drama. As Ron Woodroof, a real-life man diagnosed with HIV, McConaughey lost near 40 pounds for the part.

Thor: The Dark World

(Nov. 8): Kenneth Branagh brought a Shakespearean goofiness to the first Thor movie. He has left the building, so now somebody else has to make an amusing movie with Chris Hemsworth in that getup—and without the aid of Iron Man or The Hulk.

The Wolf of Wall Street

(Nov. 15): Scorsese and DiCaprio team yet again for a raucous-looking take on financial misbehaving. Matthew McConaughey and Jonah Hill co-star. I have a feeling Hill would lose out in a supporting-actor Oscar campaign due to his demon-rape scene inThis Is the End.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

(Nov. 22): There’s another Hunger Games movie on the way. Joy.

Delivery Man

(Nov. 22): Vince Vaughn stars as a man who has fathered many children with donated sperm—and now they want to meet him. After the horror that was The Internship, I will throw soda at the screen if he says “Google” even once in this movie.


(Nov. 27): Spike Lee remakes one of the more twisted movies ever made. A remake of Oldboy seems like a preposterous notion to me, but it’s Spike Lee, so I’m curious.

Inside Llewyn Davis

(Dec. 6): If you aren’t impressed by the upcoming movie list thus far, this Coen Brothers movie about a folk singer should get you back on track. This also co-stars the guy who sings that adorable “Mirrors” song.

American Hustle

(Dec. 13): Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper all reunite with director David O. Russell for a ’70s period piece about con artists. This movie is essentially why Louis C.K., who also stars, canceled his show at the MGM Grand this year—a show for which I had tickets. It had better be good.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

(Dec. 13): I didn’t like the first Hobbit movie—not one bit. This one promises more dragon and less dwarves stuffing their faces and hitting themselves.

The Monuments Men

(Dec. 18): George Clooney directs and stars in this film about historians trying to recover works of art during World War II. It also stars Matt Damon and Bill “I Will Never Do Ghostbusters 3” Murray.


(Dec. 18): Spike Jonze is back with Joaquin Phoenix playing a dude who falls in love with a computer voice (Scarlett Johansson).

Saving Mr. Banks

(Dec. 20): More Tom Hanks! He plays Walt Disney this time. Brother is going to cancel himself out at the Oscars.


(Dec. 20): Steve Carell stars as murderer John du Pont. It doesn’t look like there is much to laugh at in this movie. It co-stars Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo.

Anchorman 2

(Dec. 20): Will Ferrell needs a hit, and he’s going to get one with this long-delayed sequel. Steve Carell is here as Brick, going for laughs on the very same day his murder-guy film is being released. That’s crazy!

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

(Dec. 25): I’ve always championed Ben Stiller as being much more than the klutz in the Museum movies. As a director, he’s responsible for The Cable Guy and Tropic Thunder, two of the more-adventurous and better-looking comedies of the last 20 years. This one looks like he might be treading in Oscar territory.

Grudge Match

(Dec. 25): Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro play retired boxers getting back in the ring for one last fight. It’s kind of like Rocky vs. Jake LaMotta—and it can’t happen soon enough for me.

Published in Previews and Features