Film director Martin Scorsese Reviews news and Blog.

Problem With Today’s Movies

Problem With Today’s Movies

Jan 4, 2014

I think the overriding problem today… …is that Hollywood films are more about filling release dates than waiting until you have a truly solid film and then releasing it. Over and over again we hear how studios already have a release date for films like “X3” before they’ve even hired a director, so it can be no surprise that the final product is compromised. Granted, a film like “X3” is at its best entertainment, certainly NOT art, but there is good entertainment, and purely commercial, “there must be SOME audience for this so let’s make a movie” type shit like “Biker Boyz.” But it is true… that article echoes many of the same sentiments that the “Easy Riders Raging Bulls” book said about how the 60s-70s “New Hollywood” produced more gritty, personal movies like “Bonnie And Clyde” and “Five Easy Pieces,” created by the “film school” generation of people like Scorsese, Coppola, etc., while Hollywood was still churning out bloated musicals. Ironically, 2 of the most successful members of that generation–Lucas and Spielberg–would make the sort of personal movies they’d been hoping to see, inspired by space opera serials and adventures that had inspired them as kids by recreating those cliffhangers and “Buck Rogers” films as stuff like “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones.” When the studios realized how much MORE money those movies could make than the “Taxi Drivers” and “Chinatowns,” when they became obsessed with finding the next franchise, the next toy line, it all changed for the worse. There seems to be very little risk taken by the studios these days, because the studio execs in charge would much rather recreate former successes (by recreating successful TV shows, video games, past movies, and sequels to MILDLY successful movies like “Underworld” or “Big Momma’s House,” no matter HOW forgettable the original was), than they would try to produce something unique that risks failing, and jeopardizing their jobs. Or at least, that’s my...

Scorsese’s Taxi Driver Quick Take

Scorsese’s Taxi Driver Quick Take

Apr 8, 2011

Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver One of my favorite movies. But I found it more a portrait of an individual suffering alienation as he is unable to connect with anyone else. Effectively isolated from the people who surround him, he descends into violent insanity but is ultimately redeemed when he turns his attention away from the political candidate and instead targets the pimp. Really, every character in the film is alienated from society in different ways. We have a city of people who do not connect with or relate to the people they’re physically close to. It’s interesting how the difference between Bickel’s ending up a hero instead of a villainous assassin was a matter of chance–the secret service agent who noticed him and chased him off. Had Bickel’s original plan gone off as intended, he’d have finished off the film either dead or imprisoned, but in either case he’d have been a bad guy and not a...

Raging Bull – Goodfellas Looking Into Camera

Raging Bull – Goodfellas Looking Into Camera

Apr 8, 2011

Can anyone think of another Serious  film where the characters talk straight into the camera? This is done in many films. Two Examples, when deniro gets the crap beaten out of him in raging bull, we see robinson looking straight towards camera, then cut to deniro against the ropes looking straight towards camera. the shots are not meant to ‘connect’ with the audience, but rather ‘connect’ the 2 characters in that moment. or, it is meant to ‘connect’ the audience with the characters because we see from their vantage point, hence, POV. no 4th wall has been broken. actually, scorsese does break this wall at the end of goodfellas when Ray liotta is on the stand talking, then turns to the camera and addresses the camera. there is a difference between the raging bull example and the goodfellas example. And in the final  shot Of Goodfellas Scorsese has Pesci emulating the last shot of The Great Train Robbery (1903) – except the Liotta is probably imagining that Pesci is shooting at him (whereas the Great Train Robbery guy is shooting at the...

Casino Underrated Scorsese Gem

Casino Underrated Scorsese Gem

Apr 7, 2011

Casino: underrated, unappreciated gem Yeah that’s right, I said it. Scorsese Fans already know this of course. Every time I see casino on tv I say to myself “ok I will just watch a few minutes” then it’s 2 1/2 hours later and I cant stop watching. I’ve seen it many times before, including a few times in the theater when it was first released (back in ’95) and I remember the chattering classes sniffing that they liked it better when it was called “Goodfellas”. I felt they were wrong then and nearly 15 years later I can definitively state that they are still wrong. Sure, Pesci plays basically the same character (though he’s higher up the food chain in Casino) but other than that they are two entirely different films of the same genre. Keep in mind Casino and Goodfellas are both based on real people and events. The storylines and subject matter are completely different. Plus it’s one of those films that gets better every time you see it. Such attention to detail in every shot. And one thing I noticed this time around – the soundtrack (always a strong point of Scorsese films) is almost continuous throughout the film. There was one scene where the background music changed mid-scene and it was done flawlessly. Sharon Stone shines and Scorsese is a genius getting that kind of performance out of her. The fighting scene between De Niro and Stone where he drags her and throws her out of the house is brilliant, realistic to the last detail. De Niro’s acting is also under appreciated. When I hear the animals “House Of The Rising Sun” start to play and the end sequence begin I always get chills. Some of the transitions with the music in the film are amazing. Like when he first lays eyes on Sharon Stone in the casino and they quickly switch to that 50’s music and zoom in on DeNiro, pure brilliance. Scorsese did that kind of thing since his early days — remember in the beginning of Mean Streets when DeNiro makes his entrance into the bar and meets Keitel with Jumpin Jack Flash dubbed over…gotta love it....

Scorsese’s Shutter Island Review

Scorsese’s Shutter Island Review

Apr 2, 2011

Just saw Shutter Island It was entertaining all the way around. It kept me guessing till the end, terrific acting by Leo, great setting and creep factor. It’s got a lot of typical Scorsese feel too it i.e. very (maybe overly) dramatic music to some scenes, lots of extreme overhead lighting and harsh lighting spattered through out, rich close-ups of the main male leads also a grittiness factor worked in well to some scenes. The movie was visually gorgeous and the acting is stylized in a way that only makes sense once you understand Scorsese’s intent and the editing/pacing is unique but never in a way that seems coherent. It also has atypical Scorsese things to it too which I like, such as the setting, subject matter and supporting cast. It’s nice to see that he can show he understands other things than mobsters, gangs, seedy sexual sides, etc. The only other movie in his repertoire that echoed in Shutter Island was a Cape Fear-ish vibe. Which is a good vibe cuz that movie was great! So after hours of slow pacing we are left with a pretty damn good ending; a twist which explains why the beginning of the movie was so off. You talk about all the scenes and characters, reevaluating their performances and  Scorsese knows what he is doing! I wouldn’t own Shutter Island on DVD but it *is* pretty entertaining to see...