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The Wolf of Wall Street (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

The Wolf of Wall Street for me needs no introduction.  It’s Goodfellas with Leo in it to me.  It’s also responsible for Harley Quinn in my life.  Well let me rephrase that.  Wolf of Wall Street introduced me to the woman who would later go on to embody my beloved Harley Quinn, Margot Robbie.  It’s also a fantastic movie to boot!  I thought long and hard if I wanted to write my own review or pay homage to the original one written by Kori Kemerer in the previous Blu-ray review (HERE).  I opted for the latter.  I did so not to be altruistic lazy, but instead I felt Kori hit all the highlights of why I love this film.  She’s responsible for me liking it as she attended the original press screening in my place as I was occupied with other work.  She raved about it afterwards and took me to see it on Christmas Day that year.  So I owe her much respect for her previous efforts in regards to this feature.  Therefore, the below film review is all Kori, but like her I too give Wolf of Wall Street a resounding 5 out of 5 doggies.  Let’s begin!

Film 

The following film review comes to you via an historic look back at Kori Kemerer’s Blu-ray Review found HERE.  Extra special thanks to Kori for her love and enthusiasm for this wonderful writeup below, which I endorse one hundred precent!

At last, after months of waiting since last Christmas, I was able to view my favorite movie of last year, Wolf of Wall Street, in the privacy of my own home.  As expected, once again, it did not let me down.  I re-experienced 3 hours of pure enjoyment. That’s right, I said 3 hours of enjoyment once again!!! Even without popcorn and an Icee! Martin Scorsese has truly outdone himself with this film.  Clocking in at an impressive 179 minutes, Wolf of Wall Street has set a record as Mr. Scorsese’s longest fictional film by beating out Casino by a mere one minute.  Wolf is, in my opinion, by far the director’s most exciting film in years.  Second runner up would be The Departed, but that’s a different story and review all together.  Looking back, how this film did not get a NC-17 rating is beyond me as Scorsese has pushed the boundaries of the R-rating to the absolute limits with a combination of drugs, strippers, sex, depravity and oh so much more.  But don’t get me wrong.  In no way am I complaining at all.  So do I have your attention yet??  Okay, I cannot wait any longer to dive into an in-depth conversation about this brilliant film.

In case you are not aware of what the movie is about I will take a minute to fill you in and make sure we are all on the same page.  Wolf of Wall Street is based on the true story of a young man named Jordan Belfort (played by DiCaprio) from Queens with big dreams of making it big on Wall Street.  We see his rise to becoming an extremely wealthy stockbroker living the dream to his inevitable fall involving crime, corruption and the dreaded FBI.  That’s not a spoiler as this is a true story, right?  Let’s just say Leonardo’s performance is spectacular here.  He’s able to give such an emotional depth to the character that you find yourself rooting for him, even though his character is a sleaze ball.  Weird, huh?  That’s the magic of Leo!

If you want proof of the zaniness and mayhem here I’ll give it to you.  In just the opening scenes you witness a dwarf throwing office party, complete with hookers, naked marching band, booze, quaaludes and lets not forget Belfort’s drug of choice, cocaine.  After that fun we flash back to the beginning, where he gets a taste of the absolute madness of Wall Street and ultimately where his insatiable appetite to consume everything around him begins.  And this is just the beginning!

Jordan is just a greenhorn when he starts working at Rothschilds in 1987. There he is introduced to the wild and crazy life of a stockbroker portrayed by none other than his boss Mark Hanna (played by Matthew McConaughey, seen too briefly in my opinion) in one of my favorite scenes.  Hanna teaches Belfort his two-step method for dealing with the intense stresses of the job: ingest generous amounts of cocaine and masturbate several times a day (at least two times is mandatory).

When the Black Monday market crash of 1987 happens, it forces Belfort back to square one, searching the Help Wanted ads for a new job.  He comes across a job at a rinky-dink store front brokerage firm in Long Island that specializes in “penny stocks,” AKA a cheap sell to the unlucky sucker (investor) that will never see a “cent” in return.  This is where Belfort realizes he has what it takes to make millions from scamming the hard working blue collared workers out of everything.  With all the money he has raked in from penny stocks, Belfort has purchased one sweet ride that catches the eye of neighbor Donnie Azoff (the hilarious, Jonah Hill) who is ready to quit his job at the drop of a hat and work for him if Belfort can produce a pay stub showing the thousands of dollars he made last month.  From there Belfort decides to open his own firm, Stratton Oakmont, with Azoff as his wing man.  They pull together a crew of misfits (mostly drug dealers) to train to become successful brokers.  Now before I move on I have to stop briefly to talk about the one and only Jonah Hill.  Hill as Donnie Azoff was absolutely an Oscar-worthy performance (although we all know he didn’t get it).  It is in my opinion, Hill’s best performance to date.  Okay, moving on…

As the millions start to build up so does the drug-fueled madness.  Belfort is feeling untouchable while buying mansions, helicopters, yachts and sports cars, along with ingesting any drug he can get his hands on.  He is living large and loving it.  Even the wise advice of his father (Rob Reiner) is not enough to control Belfort’s greed and obsession to do what he wants.  His wild behavior and erratic lifestyle ultimately causes his self-destruction.  Even his hot onscreen wife played by Margot Robbie can’t save him.  Isn’t that always the sad case?

So let’s talk about a high-risk reward.  The ongoing partnership between Scorsese and DiCaprio is one of cinema’s best, and in my opinion it just keeps getting better.  This is by far DiCaprio’s finest three hours on the big screen.   I think.  I cannot say enough about his performance.  He did not just play Jordan Belfort he became Jordan Belfort.  While this is NOT a movie you show to the little ones, it is one that should not be missed, especially now that it’s home on the Blu-ray format.  It is well worth the price of sitting on a cushion for a few hours.  My only remorse is that it’s not the fabled 4-hour director’s cut.  Where is that?  I don’t know about you, but bring it on!  I can easily sit on the couch for another hour taking in the life of Belfort and all these rich onscreen characters and I have a hunch that you can too.

Well enough about my feelings, remorse and love for this film.  There’s enough humor, wit, sing alongs and one-liners to keep you busy for quite sometime here.  But let’s chat about the real reason you are all here.  How does it look and sound on 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc?  And are there any extra goodies?  Those are both valid questions.  Come on.  I’ll do my best to answer them below.

Video 

Let’s talk in detail all about what Paramount brings to the table in the 4K UHD video department here.  This particular release does NOT include a Blu-ray so we’re solely focusing on the 4K UHD Disc down below. I do want to call out that via the press release from Paramount this 4K Ultra HD release features exceptional picture quality courtesy of a new film transfer supervised by Scorsese.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Dolby Vision: Yes
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Clarity/Detail: This print is pristine with impeccable detail.  From the pores on Matthew’s coke snorting snout to the wrinkles in Leo’s forehead, things are presented clearly and concise.  It’s tight!  Even sweater fuzz makes its presence known.  From dirty office window smudges to unique suit fabrics it’s a lovely presentation to behold.  Just an FYI…there are some moments of found footage and televised informercials that intentionally look the way they do.  All in all it’s a noticeable upgrade from the Blu-ray, but since we’re judging a 4K UHD presentation here my grading is going to be a bit steeper.  With that being said there are some flat looking scenes.
  • Depth: Things go three-dimensional pop here!   The characters pop out from the backgrounds.  So I guess it’s safe to say the depth of field is definitely in check here.
  • Black Levels: I love the way this film is lit from sun drenched exteriors to brightly lit office interiors.  You definitely have some deep and inky black levels going on here and getting their groove on.
  • Color Reproduction: This is a very vibrant and bright presentation that matches the time period during which this movie takes place.  I like that!  However, things feel more in check here with natural fine tones, etc. compared to its Blu-ray counterpart.  Contrast also seems improved here.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones all look natural throughout for the most part, and there is a lot of skin in this to take in.  Haha!
  • Noise/Artifacts: There are no white specks, noises , encode blemishes or any other distractions to be found anywhere in the presentation here.

Audio 

Good audio is like the peanut butter to the jelly in a sandwich so let’s examine what we have to work with here courtesy of Paramount.  It should be noted that this is the same exact audio track that was released on the Blu-ray Disc in 2014.  After a second listen to this one compared to all the 4K UHD Disc releases reviewed since I have decided to lower the score by one half doggie compared to its previous Blu-ray review.  I can do that because I am the reviewer.  Haha!

  • Audio Format: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • Subtitles: English Audio Description and English, English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Dynamics: This is a loud soundtrack!  It’s very front heavy, but still quite engaging.  The rear speakers do their best to keep up with booming fronts.  Every wolf pack chant and roar are meticulously reproduced on this surround track.  All the twangy highs and booming lows are rendered distinctly here.  It has a very wide dynamic range.
  • Low Frequency Extension: Wolf‘s soundtrack produces a very robust LFE presentation.  Every chest pump is is loud, voluptuous and full, not to mention the lightning, but more on that below.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Like I said up above in the dynamics field, the rears do their absolute best to keep up with every roar, chant, groan, ache, glass break, helicopter flying over and soundtrack cue that there front speakers make.  Things are not absolutely spacial-dimensional like a fine action film presentation, but I believe this one will still keep you fully engaged.  There’s always some ambient sound going on behind no matter how faint.  But again, keep in mind this is a drama so to speak, not a bombastic Pacific Rim.  However, the presentation really comes to life in certain scenes such as the race to Switzerland in a boat during a raging storm.  The waves literally swell up behind you in the speakers.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: Impeccable!  Every voice is loud and clear.  You won’t have any trouble hearing this one, not one at all.

Extras 

There are a total of three 10-minute plus supplements included in this 4K release.  The Wolf Pack extra was previously found on the 2014 Blu-ray release, but the other two are new to me.  It should also be noted once again that this 4K UHD Disc release does NOT include a 1080p Blu-ray Disc of the film in the set.  However, you do get a digital copy of the presentation to redeem.  So without further ado, here’s what you have here on the 4K Disc.

  • The Wolf Pack (HD, 17:01) – Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and other cast plus the crew (even the costume designer) all chime in and talk about the brilliance of the filmmaker Martin Scorsese and how much they wanted to do this film with him because they knew he had the right vision to recreate this authentic tale of excess, betrayal and most importantly, perseverance.  Of course, they all talk about the journey of making the movie too.  The cast and crew also share their insight on the real Jordan Belfort and his story of rising to power as well as their thoughts on the ingenious script by Terence Winter too.  Leo says out of the 5 times he worked with Martin, this was his favorite one because of the pleasure and enjoyment he has collaborating with him.  It was amazing to see what Matthew McConaughey brought to his character, to the set, the one scene in particular, and as a result to the spirit of the rest of the movie.  You have to love him!
  • Running Wild (HD, 11:21) – DiCaprio leads this one and is joined by others in what I bill this one as a making of doc bringing the script to life.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street Round Table (HD, 10:58) – This extra features DiCaprio, Scorsese, Winter and Hill all discussing how they collaborated to make this film.

Summary 

I think all the scores above are exemplary proof, minus the Extras section, as to why this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray package of The Wolf of Wall Street is STILL a must-own, but don’t take my own biased word solely for it.  Check out the readers of Rotten Tomatoes HERE and find out why the majority rules in favor of this one!  And didn’t Matthew McConaughey’s character teach you anything in this film?  You got to grab life by the frank and beans and enjoy it now.  That of course starts with ordering The Wolf of Wall Street on 4K UHD Disc today!

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DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified Ultra HD Premium television set found here and player here.  Make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.

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The Wolf of Wall Street

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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