Rental Central

Tom Doty Times Columnist

March 27, 2014

A mixed bag this week saw a more morality on display in a horror movie than any of the other releases.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” — It is hard, make that impossible, to root for anyone in this three-hour drama from Martin Scorsese. It tells the true story of a Wall Street broker who lived the high life. Life was one big party for Jordan Belfort and he paid for it with the money entrusted to him by his clients. This is basically a catalogue of one man’s descent into a hell of his own making. It is somewhat like Scorsese’s “Goodfellas,” ending with the notion that the guy would do it all over again. Leonardo DeCaprio is quite good in the lead role, but three hours is a long time to spend with this guy.

“Delivery Man” — This comedy casts Vince Vaughn as a loser who is trying to avoid some loan sharks while making up for his shabby lifestyle and false promises to his suffering girlfriend. He learns that a sperm donation to a clinic has yielded 500 more problems to his menu, with over a 100 of his progeny suing to find out his identity. Trying to make things up to these struggling young adults turns out to be something he is good at and redemption may be around the corner. A few laughs but not enough.

“Odd Thomas” — A fry cook in New Mexico can talk to spirits and spots signs of supernatural stress in this well-crafted tale form Dean R. Koontz. Anton Yelchin (“Fright Night”) stars and is quite good in the titular role. He must somehow avert a coming disaster when he spots wraith-like creatures encircling his town. Turns out these creatures always show up when a violent death is imminent, but they are arriving in large numbers and this can only spell disaster for his small town. He races to save it with the help of his girlfriend and a sly sheriff (Willem Dafoe).

“Ms. 45” — Abel Ferrara directed this female take on “Death Wish.” Zoe Lund stars as a deaf woman who is assaulted on the mean streets of New York and opts to arm herself with a Colt . 45 and fight back. Some great action sequences ensue in this 1980s revenge yarn that launched Ferrara into the mainstream and allowed him to continue to explore the dark side of New York City in films like “Bad Lieutenant” and “The King of New York.”