Also, Universal Pictures salutes Navy SEALs at ‘Lone Survivor’ NYC premiere

Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio

Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio attend New York City Premiere of “The Wolf of Wall Street”

*Paramount Pictures presented a stream of eye candy on the striking red carpet for The Wolf of Wall Street (TWOWS) NYC premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 followed by a red-hot after party at Roseland Ballroom.

The star-studded red carpet arrivals were on fire with TWOWS all-star cast walking the plush red line led by esteemed director/producer Martin Scorsese, and lead actor/producer Leonardo DiCaprio, followed by Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Favreau, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, P.J. Byrne, Kenneth Choi and Jean Dujardin.

TWOWS is an epic tale of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort, the poor man’s Bernard “Bernie” Madoff, and how his greed led to the financial ruin of his trusting clientele before bilking them out of their life savings.  I guess what happened to supreme swindler Madoff made the film that more believable and relatable.  The nearly 3-hour film is entertaining from beginning to end and the acting is so good that you don’t want it to end especially when you see DiCaprio’s whacky experience with Quaaludes that is hilariously directed by Scorsese.

Throughout the film, you’ll laugh yourself silly while wallowing in their conspicuous consumption convincing yourself that they should all be locked up and the keys thrown away.  Although the money, power, women, drugs and material wealth are an embarrassment of riches, you might feel a little shameful jealousy if not for just a split moment.  Although you would not want to acquire the fortune the way they did on the backs of the little man, the lifestyle is nonetheless off the hook!  Stuff you dream about.

TWOWS is not without issues that we can all learn from.  The most obvious and most important lesson is to watch who you trust with your earnings.  And like Madoff who is currently serving a maximum term of 150 years in prison, Belfort also paid the ultimate price – his freedom, family, friends, wealth and self-worth.  He served 20 months in prison for refusing to cooperate in a massive securities fraud case on Wall Street in the 1990s.  However, at the end, he was able to turn it around and give back to those he robbed by teaching correct courses to brokers on the right way of making money in the market.

Acclaimed filmmaker Scorsese directs the story of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio).  From the American dream to corporate greed, Belfort goes from penny stocks and righteousness to IPOs and a life of corruption in the late 80s.  Excess success and affluence in his early twenties as founder of the brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont warranted Belfort the title – The Wolf of Wall Street.  Temptations were for the taking and the threat of authority was irrelevant.  For Jordan and his wolf pack, modesty was quickly deemed overrated and more was never enough.

TWOWS is not too unlike Scorsese’s brilliantly directed 1990 film GoodFellas – one of the best films of all times!  Here, the mighty director championed the life of organized crime to tell the true-life account of mobster and FBI informant Henry Hill.  Like DiCaprico, Hill was a tragic figure you grew to love, flaws and all.  He also had a side man Joe Pesci who was the Jonah Hill of TWOWS.  GoodFellas was rewarded with six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture.  Hopefully, TWOWS will be equally rewarded for excellent work.

TWOWS is executive produced by Alexandra Milchan, Rick Yorn, Irwin Winkler, Joel Gotler, and Georgia Kacandes; and produced by Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland, and Emma Koskoff, based on the book by Jordan Belfort with a dynamic screenplay by Terence Winter.  Belfort attended the premiere and after-party and he looked the part – “he partied like a rock star and lived like a king!”  TWOWS is set for a nationwide release on Christmas day , December 25, 2013.  Give yourself a present this Christmas.  Go see TWOWS!  I promise, there’ll be no returns.  (Photo courtesy David Cardiff/WENN)

'Lone Survivor' cast

“Lone Survivor” cast attend New York City Premiere (l-r) Eric Bana, Taylor Kitsch, Peter Berg (producer), Ben Foster, Mark Wahlberg, Emile Hirsch, Alexander Ludwig

*The all-star cast of Universal Pictures’ Lone Survivor attended the much-anticipated New York City premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater on Tuesday, December 3, 2013.  The Lone Survivor handsome male lineup caused hearts to throb as they walked the luxurious red carpet to raucous appreciation.  Proud leader of the pack, star/producer Mark Wahlberg, and his co-stars Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Alexander Ludwig, Eric Bana, Taylor Kitsch, Sammy Sheik, and Yousuf Azami (dressed in character), along with writer/director/producer Peter Berg and retired Petty Officer First Class Marcus Luttrell were suited up for the reverential occasion and – after being hold up in camouflage during the entire filming of Lone Survivor — proudly showed off their very GQ civilian attire at the posh post-party at NYC hot nightspot Terminal 5.

Lone Survivor, based on The New York Times bestselling book by Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson, is a true story of heroism, courage and survival.  The film is about the incredible mission of an ill-fated Operation Red Wings, a covert mission to capture a notorious Taliban leader, carried about by four Navy SEALs in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan.  The mission turned tragic when their position was compromised and they were attacked by a larger force of Taliban ready for war.

As they confront unthinkable odds together, the four men find reserves of strength and resilience as they stay in the fight to the finish.  Starring alongside Wahlberg as the other members of the SEAL team are Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Eric Bana.

Navy SEAL Luttrell, spotlessly played by Wahlberg, was the only one to make it out alive.  He was saved by Afghan villagers and harbored until he could be rescued.  Author Luttrell’s first-person memoir Lone Survivor has become a motivational resource for its lessons on how the power of the human spirit is tested when we are pushed beyond our mental and physical limits.

Portraying real soldiers who died for their country, and whose family members will probably see the film, was a daunting obligation and responsibility for many of the actors.  But Wahlberg, who also produced SEAL Team 10, said that the movie always had the support of the people whose lives were affected by the events.

“We had such a great team,” the 42-year-old actor said at the premiere. “We had the support of the US military, we had the support of the SEAL community, and we had a commitment to one another to doing something really special.  And it was something that you’re very fortunate to be a part of.  And we have never been a part of something that was bigger than us or more important than us, so it was a very unique experience.”

The premiere doubled as a tribute to the men who lost their lives in the ill-fated 2005 Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan.  After the screening, director Berg introduced Luttrell to a standing ovation, as well as family members of the soldiers who perished on the mission.  Mohammad Gulab, the Afghan who helped save Luttrell by hiding him in his village, also made an appearance “for the first time in New York City and ever in a movie theater,” Berg noted

Lone Survivor is executive produced by George Furla, Simon Fawcett, Braden Aftergood, Louis G. Friedman, Stepan Martirosyan, Remington Chase, Adi Shankar, Spencer Silna, Mark Damon, Brandt Andersen, and Jeff Rice; and produced by Peter Berg, Sarah Aubrey, Randall Emmett, Norton Herrick, Barry Spikings, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, and Vitaly Grigoriants.  

Universal Pictures and Emmett/Furla Films presented the New York premiere of Lone Survivor which hits theaters in limited release on December 27, 2013 and opens wide on January 10, 2014.  (Photo courtesy Marco Sagiliocco/PRPhotos.com)

New York based award-winning journalist Audrey J. Bernard covers entertainment, fashion & beauty, film, lifestyles and travel for the Electronic Urban Report and other outlets.  Contact her via: [email protected]

audrey bernard

Audrey J. Bernard