Tag Archives: Martin Scorsese

Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger in Black Mass and Jack Nicholson as Frank Costello in The Departed.

‘Black Mass’ and ‘The Departed’ bring Whitey Bulger to the big screen

Following an unusual train of thought off my post from earlier this week about Trumbo and Hail Caesar and how they took the story of communism in Hollywood to the big screen in decidedly different ways, I’ve decided to look at a different pair of films that take on the same subject matter: The Departed and Black Mass. That just about ends the similarities between this post and the previous one though, as the esteemed mob leader Whitey Bulger has very little to do with either Hollywood or communists. Continue reading ‘Black Mass’ and ‘The Departed’ bring Whitey Bulger to the big screen

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Scorsese gives DeNiro direction on the set of Raging Bull.

Watching Mayweather and Pacquiao got me thinking about ‘Raging Bull’

I, like half the world it seems, spent part of Saturday evening in front of a television screen waiting impatiently for a couple hours to eventually watch two men try to knock each other out for about thirty six minutes. I am not a huge boxing fan. But I do enjoy watching two guys hit each other. And I find the set up of fights intriguingly different than a traditional sports season. It becomes an entirely different pop culture beast that at peak moments such as the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight can draw more attention than even the Superbowl. It’s a fascinating aspect of the gambling world that has always found roles in film, as far back as the medium goes. My favorite is an admittedly cliche choice. Still, after the fight I couldn’t help but let my mind wander back to 1980 and Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece about Jake LaMotta, Raging Bull. Continue reading Watching Mayweather and Pacquiao got me thinking about ‘Raging Bull’

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Asa Butterfield and Chloe Grace Moretz discover the wonders of cinema in Martin Scorsese's Hugo.

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’ remains the most inspired use of 3-D yet

There are certain filmmakers who I consider artists or philosophers that dabbled in the medium of film because of the century and circumstance they were born into. A Stanley Kubrick or an Andrei Tarkovsky might fall into this category. Others are actors or writers that casually, but not confidently, drift between roles. James Cameron is a tech geek that somehow landed in Hollywood and got access to a boatload of cash. Then there are directors who just love movies, and seemingly nothing else. They live, breathe, and sleep cinema. Quentin Tarantino is kind of the go-to stereotype of this broad group. But its true godfather is Martin Scorsese. His recent film Hugo is prime evidence of this. Continue reading Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’ remains the most inspired use of 3-D yet

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Joaquin Phoenix stares off into the distance, stoned, in Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice.

The first 8 minutes of ‘Inherent Vice’ offers more than many of last year’s films

This piece is half inspired by the fact that Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterful Inherent Vice (my favorite film of last year) is finally being released on DVD and Blu-ray next week on April 28. Also a couple of days ago I took the time to dissect the opening sequence of Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas  and I couldn’t help but recall my admiration for this scene. The sequences, interestingly enough, don’t have a ton in common even though the directors and their films do. Where Goodfellas opens with a framing device, Inherent Vice starts with about the most narratively logical sequence possible. What is shared though, is a skilled navigation of  the art of characterization. Through camera angles, poignant cutting, the characters’ positions on the set, and even their clothes, many unspoken but calculated elements are present in Paul Thomas Anderson’s elusive masterpiece. Continue reading The first 8 minutes of ‘Inherent Vice’ offers more than many of last year’s films

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Rober Deniro, Joe Pesci, and Ray Liotta in Goodfellas.

Goodfellas: “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.”

I’ve lately come to appreciate Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather as the masterpiece that it is. But growing up it didn’t really click; I pretty much saw it as big New Hollywood movie. I could see all the ways it took the 30s gangster flicks like Scarface or Little Caesar and updated them with the gritty realism of heroin, sex, and tragic violence. I understood how it took on the moral complexity of something like Bonnie and Clyde or Easy Rider and brought it to a different genre. But I did not track with its very central notion of cultural integration within America. And I certainly did not understand the fine nuances of the character arc of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino). I could go on about this. But frankly, that is for another day. Today is about Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas; the gangster film that really clicked when I was a teen. Continue reading Goodfellas: “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.”

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