Sound on Film: ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ ‘Philomena’

Hello brave listener and welcome to WFPL’s Sound on Film.

On this episode, our thoughts on Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” starring frequent Scorsese collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as “Philomena,” starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan.

But first, it’s news from around the filmosphere, with a look back at the biggest film news of the year, the increased importance of social media in movie marketing and the naming of Jennifer Lawrence as the most bankable actor of 2013.

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Special thanks to house band Discount Guns.

Jennifer Lawrence Named Most Bankable Star of 2013 (00:40)

The just-ended 2013 marked a record year of domestic box office sales for the film industry, and now comes word that Academy Award-winning actress (and Louisville native) Jennifer Lawrence has been named the face most responsible for filling those theater seats.

The ”Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “American Hustle” actress was voted the top money-making star of 2013 in the Quigley Publishing Company annual poll of motion picture theater owners and film buyers.

Second place on the Quigley list went to Sandra Bullock, who costarred in “The Heat” and “Gravity” this year, with Lawrence’s “Hustle” costar, Bradley Cooper (who also appeared in “The Hangover III” and “The Place Beyond the Pines” this year) coming in at third.

This 2013 honor comes after Lawrence, alongside actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt was named as one of Quigley’s Stars of Tomorrow in 2012. And marks the first time an actor has gone from the top of that poll to top money maker in a year. Interestingly, this year’s Stars of Tomorrow are Amy Adams, another “Hustle” costar, and James Franco.

This money-making thumbs up also comes on the heels of the actress’s inclusion in Variety Magazine’s Most Influential People of 2013.Of Lawrence, it says:

The reigning best actress Oscar winner exemplifies the new breed of versatile actress who moves easily between tentpoles (“The Hunger Games,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past”) and adult dramas (“American Hustle,” “Silver Linings Playbook”).

Can somebody in this city step up and give this woman a giant sign already?

Digital Stats Foretold Which New Movies Would Fall Flat (06:45)

It’s been a record year at the box office, both domestic and global, and obviously the millions upon millions of marketing dollars spent bringing these movies to our attention can be given substantial credit there.

Tobias Bauckhage and his team at MoviePilot.com, a startup which helps studios to optimize their social media campaigns, have released a study about just how powerful—and indeed how accurate of a predictor of success—online marketing has become.

The study came on the heels of Google’s seemingly boastful claim back in June, that search volume on Google and YouTube alone could predict box office quite accurately.

To explore that notion movie pilot studied a subset of the most recent theatrical releases (“American Hustle,” “Wolf of Wall Street,” “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” “Saving Mr. Banks,” “Anchorman 2,” “47 Ronin,” and “Grudge Match”), focusing on four sets of data, being Facebook fan numbers, YouTube trailers counts, mentions on Twitter, and direct Google searches, and not so surprisingly found that the four sources combined could account almost one-for-one with respect to each of the films’ box office performances.

Hollywood Reporter Ranks its Biggest Film Stories of 2013 (14:00)

We discuss the 15 Biggest Film Stories of 2013, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter

Highlights include:

  • Ben Affleck is “Batman”
  • “Fifty Shades” of Gray casting
  • Upper executive purge at studios
  • Disney acquires the “Star Wars” franchise
  • Summer box office bombs
  • More “Potter”/”Avatar”/”Jurassic Park”
  • Kickstarter goes Hollywood
  • Harvey Weinstein goes to war

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (23:05)

Based on the the personal memoir of Jordan Belfort, which is itself more boastful than conventional, Martin Scorsese’s three-hour epic of American greed and self-destruction stars frequent Scorsese collaborator Leonardo Dicaprio as Belfort, and documents the Wolf of Wall Street’s meteoritic rises from middle class mediocrity to unimaginable wealth, on the backs of bankers, investors and any drug he can get his hands on.

Also featuring Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Margot Robbie, Rob Reiner, Kyle Chandler, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin and many more, T”he Wolf of Wall Street” seems to represent Scorsese at his most energetic in years, and is laden with vulgarity, vice and surprising cinematic experiments.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” trailer

‘Philomena’ (35:55)

Written by and starring the famous British funny man Steve Coogan, and directed by Stephen Frears (“The Queen”), “Philomena” sees Coogan star opposite the famed actress Judi Dench.

“Philomena” (played by Dench) was sent to convent as a young woman, having been ostracized by her family after becoming pregnant, and soon thereafter forced to put her baby up for adoption at the convent’s behest. Fifty years later she has no knowledge of her child and seeks out the recently sacked high level press secretary turned journalist Maritn Sixmith (Coogan), in order to discover the truth.

The search takes them across the Atlantic to the Washington, D.C., and back again, in a narrative that is equal parts detective story, odd couple comedy, travel movie and tearjerker.

“Philomena” trailer

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