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Oscar contenders that are just 'meh'

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The Wolf of Wall Street (movie)

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"Saving Mr. Banks", "The Wolf of Wall Street" and "American Hustle" are all movies that came out during the holiday season to Oscar buzz. "Saving Mr. Banks" stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers, the author of "Mary Poppins. "The Wolf of Wall Street" stars Leonardo DiCaprio and "American Hustle" features Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence.

All three movies tackle the past with "Saving Mr. Banks" focusing on the 1960s and Walt Disney's attempt to get P.L. Travers to approve the movie version of her books. "Mr. Banks" also touches a bit on the early 1900 and Travers' sad childhood with her father (Colin Farrell). This part is the better portion of the film yet is inserted awkwardly within the overall movie.

"American Hustle" goes back to the days of disco and is about, according to Wikipedia, "two con artists who are forced by an FBI agent (played by Bradley Cooper) to set up an elaborate sting operation on corrupt politicians, including the mayor of Camden, New Jersey (played by Jeremy Renner). Jennifer Lawrence supports the cast as the unpredictable wife of Bale's character." It's an all right film and as usual Lawrence is one of the best things about it but the movie itself is easy to forget once leaving the theater.

"The Wolf of Wall Street" is perhaps the best of the three but is overlong by about at least an hour. This film by Martin Scorsese is about the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) a stockbroker on Wall Street. DiCaprio's in fine form here, he's continuing the fun he seem to have had working on "Django Unchained."

Still, all three of these films are good but not great. Worth a trip to the movie theater but with lowered expectations. See them in Hartford at the Bow Tie Cinemas.

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