DVD & Blu-ray reviews: The Wolf of Wall Street, Veronica Mars, 47 Ronin, Made in America, Wish You Were Here


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The Independent Culture

The Wolf of Wall Street (18) Martin Scorsese DVD/Blu-ray (179mins)

“There’s no nobility in poverty,” is Jordan Belfont’s rallying cry to his sales team in Martin Scorsese’s latest hyperactive portrait of greed in the USA. Leonardo DiCaprio (above) is sensational as the crooked stockbroker making bundles of dosh in the Eighties and early Nineties, while consuming huge amounts of drugs, visiting prostitutes and assaulting air staff. This biopic makes very little moral judgement about this debauched individual. DiCaprio is so likeable it’s tricky not to root for this scumbag. Tonally it’s much like Goodfellas without the violence, and Jonah Hill delivers a memorable performance as Belfont’s deranged vice president.


Veronica Mars (12) Ben Kutchins DVD/Blu-ray (107mins)

The making of this slight crime drama is a feelgood one: lovers of the cancelled Veronica Mars crowdfund their cherished TV show back into existence. However, those not au fait with the series may struggle with what is essentially an extended TV episode. Kristen Bell is good as former PI Veronica whose plans for a lucrative new career are curtailed by news that her old love Logan (Jason Dohring) has been accused of murder in her hometown, the corrupt Neptune.


47 Ronin (12) Carl Rinsch DVD/Blu-ray (119mins)

Keanu Reeves steadfastly refuses to change his bemused expression throughout this overblown ($175m) flop. The enigmatic star plays Kai, an orphan who is adopted by a leader and his gloomy team of samurai. Kai is treated shoddily until the samurai require his unique skills to combat Tadanobu Asano’s dastardly lord and his witch accomplice (played by Rinko Kikuchi, who is the best thing about this mind-rot).


Made in America (15) Ron Howard DVD/Blu-ray (90mins)

“We get bang-bang music here with a lot of shouting,” explains Lillian Flower, an elderly resident living next to Philadelphia’s Made in America, a festival organised by Jay-Z. Lillian’s the best thing about Ron Howard’s music documentary, the aim of which appears to demonstrate how wonderful Jay-Z is. The hip-hop giant comes across well, maintaining that he dreams of both a female president and a gay president. Howard interviews most acts – Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Rita Ora and Janelle Monae – but the drollest is Run DMC’s Joseph Simmons. A happy day-z payout for Ron, perhaps?


Wish You Were Here (15) Kieran Darcy-Smith DVD/Blu-ray (89mins)

Joel Edgerton compels in this fraught thriller in which an Australian couple’s break from their children in Cambodia goes horribly wrong. Edgerton’s Dave sleeps with his wife’s sister, Steph (Teresa Palmer), during an ecstasy-fuelled rave and Jeremy (Steph’s new boyfriend, played by Banshee’s Antony Starr) goes missing. Was he murdered at the party? The acting is naturalistic and the filming slick. It’s just a shame the characters aren’t more sympathetic.