Tuesday, December 31, 2013


DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort
 Martin Scorsese is battling mounting criticism over his movie The Wolf of Wall Street and its depiction of drug-taking, orgies, overspending and what some say is the glorification of sleazy stockbroker Jordan Belfort and his colleagues who bilked clients out of millions of dollars.
   Critics are torn on whether Scorsese is satirising the outrageous behavior he portrays on the screen or celebrating it.
   Belfort, portrayed by Golden Globe nominee Leonardo Di Caprio, gets off with a slap on the wrist for his crimes, and the film never takes a pronounced stance about his blatantly fraudulent schemes and his lifestyle of sex and excess.
  Even before the film's release Scorsese was on the receiving end of an attack following a screening at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when a female Oscar voter yelled "Shame!" at him.    
  The People magazine critic wrote: “There’s nothing exotic or empathetic about a bunch of scheming, loathsome creeps given a whole movie in which to play (again) on our dime. There are no wages of sin on this ‘Street’ – in fact, it looks like sin pays pretty damned well.”
  Joe Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal called the film “three hours of incessant shouting and sensationally bad behavior … It’s meant to be an entertaining, even meaningful representation of the penny-stock maestro’s life and times. But I couldn’t buy it, and couldn’t wait for the hollow spectacle to end.”
 Scorsese freely admits his film is brutal, acknowledging that it is definitely “not for everyone’s taste.”
and “It’s not made for 14 year olds."
  DiCaprio has spoken up for Wolf of Wall Street, saying: “I hope people understand we’re not condoning this behavior, that we’re indicting it. The book was a cautionary tale and if you sit through the end of the film, you’ll realise what we’re saying about these people and this world, because it’s an intoxicating one."

Saturday, December 14, 2013


An almost unrecognisable Bale in American Hustle

   Ever since his first starring role at the age of 13 in Steven
Spielberg’s epic Empire of the Sun, Christian Bale has had a
reputation for being “difficult.”

  The British-born actor made it plain early in his career that he
hated giving interviews and often sat through entire sessions without
answering any questions. Although he later softened his stance and
endured the process, his behaviour both on and off the set attracted
unfavourable attention.

   Just after the second of his Batman films, The Dark Knight, was  released he was arrested in London for allegedly assaulting his mother and sister. The charges were dropped but soon afterwards he launched a profanity-laced tirade at a cinematographer on the set of Terminator Salvation for allegedly crossing his line of sight during a scene. After a recording of the rant was released on the Internet, he issued a public apology.

   But the Christian Bale who strolled into a suite at the London Hotel in New York was neither difficult nor badly behaved. Both then and when we talked later that evening in the trendy Monkey Bar nightclub on 54th Street he was friendly and affable and at one point even burst into a football supporters' song.

  Bale, 39, who has been nominated for a Golden Globe for his role as the pot-bellied con man Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle, has been married for 14 years to Sandra, a former model, and they have an eight-year-old daughter Emmeline.

   “I’m at the bouncy castle phase of my life and that is what I love more than anything,” he laughs. “No doubt that will change when my daughter gets bored with it, but whatever she is into, so am I.”

  Emmeline, he says, found his bald, pot-bellied look funny: “She would slap my big old gut and bald head and tease me. She had lots of fun and found it amusing."

   Born in South Wales, Bale grew up in Portugal and various towns around England before settling in Bournemouth. He still has an English accent with a hint of a Welsh lilt, but when he returns to his homeland nowadays it is because he is making a movie. He was recently at Pinewood Studios filming Exodus for Ridley Scott and didn’t have time to see any football matches although he still follows the fortunes of Bournemouth, a team he knows by their nickname the Cherries. “It’s not a name that makes you rally behind them and go Whoa, Cherries!” he laughs and briefly bursts into a chorus of a Bournemouth supporters’ song.  “But I’m still a bit of a football fan and I’ll get goose bumps when the English football team play in the World Cup.”

Monday, December 9, 2013


Although they were on a tight schedule U2 had time to pose for a picture in front of panoramic views of the New York skyline.
  You never know who you're going to meet in New York! I left my hotel on 54th Street, where hordes of young girls were camped out all night hoping for a glimpse of One Direction who were also staying there, and took the subway downtown to the Mondrian Soho to meet Jennifer Lawrence.

When she arrived in the hotel's penthouse suite with her mum and dad the Oscar winner was flushed and flustered. "I've just seen U2 in the corridor," she said breathlessly. "Very exciting. I'm still sweating."
  While Jennifer was there to talk about her new movie American Hustle, Bono and U2 wanted to push the song Ordinary Love they have written for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the movie which stars Idris Elba as the former South African leader.  
  "The movie's a complicated love story so we've written a complicated love song," he said.
  He said U2 had been "working for Mandela" every since they did their first anti-apartheid gig in Dublin in the 1970s.
  Jennifer, bubbly and funny as ever and referring to American Hustle, said: "What am I hustling in real life? I always feel I'm pulling the wool over your eyes. When a movie comes out and I get good reviews I always think, 'I've got away with another one.'"


  It's always a pleasure seeing Nicole Kidman, whom I first met 21 years ago on Batman Forever. A lot of water under the bridge si...