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Tag: Martin Scorsese

Editorials

#FilmTwitter Gives Their #UnpopularOpinion On Movies – Do You Agree?

November 17, 2020
Simpsons mob against unpopular opinions [Source GQ]

Over the years certain opinions have become dominant in the film community, such as Citizen Kane is the greatest movie ever made, the Star Wars prequels are bad; Hollywood is out of ideas and it becomes unpopular to disagree. But, today we are going to look at some unpopular film opinions on Twitter, and analyse what makes them unpopular.

1. Star Wars: The Rise of Positivity

The only thing Star Wars fans agree on is that Star Wars (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back are great. However, from there opinions vary wildly. Some find Return of the Jedi either a fitting end to the original trilogy or a dumbed-down entry for kids. Most people initially didn’t like the Prequels and Disney’s handling of the property has produced mixed critical and fan reactions, to say the least. So perhaps the most controversial thing a Star Wars fan can do currently is resist the pull of the dark side and say, “there are zero bad Star Wars movies”. Well, MoviePreviewShow managed it.

2. My Not so Fair Lady

My Fair Lady was a real winner in its time. It won 8 Oscars including Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Best Picture. Although, viewed all these years later people like Martin Something-or-other find that My Fair Lady leaves a lot to be desired.

3. Defending Daredevil (2003)

The exact opposite of our last entry. The Ben Affleck Daredevil movie was derided upon its release. However, since then it has gained a cult following. It was also given a director’s cut release which many say makes the film into something special. Because superhero movies are currently taking a break maybe it’s time to revisit Daredevil (2003)? You may find yourself like Retro Gamer.

4. Battle of the Directors

Martin Scorsese is considered one of the best directors of all time. Creating great films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, Goodfellas, and Wolf of Wall Street to name only a few. But can he compete with Brian De Palma the director of classics like Carrie (1976), Scarface (1983), The Untouchables, and underappreciated gems like Phantom of the Paradise and Dressed to Kill? Not according to RVD the Dudar.

5. Excellent Adventure Vs Bogus Journey

When most people speak about the Bill and Ted films, they talk about the first entry, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Which is understandable, because it is the highest-rated and highest-grossing film in the franchise. But Direct Questions thinks the claim that it’s the series’ best film is bogus. He believes Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey is the superior film.

6. Streaming Wars

With a lot of production companies moving into the streaming market, many are beginning to make their content exclusive to their own services. Which definitely doesn’t sit well with Jonathan Boyd.

7. The Horror of Children

The opinion that children in movies are more annoying than they are effective is nothing new. Though kids in horror films not being scary when movies like The Innocents (1961), The Exorcist, The Omen (1976), and The Shining (1980) exist? Eric S. Kim’s opinion is definitely controversial.

8. Trashing Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino is one of modern cinema’s most acclaimed filmmakers. With several of his films being considered among the best ever made. However, as with anyone who is well acclaimed there are always those who believe them to be overrated. But which camp do you fall into? Are you a true Tarantino aficionado or are you like Global Affairs?

9. Stay Mysterious

Many agree that trailers and reviews sometimes give too much away. But how much should you know about a movie to become interested? To Rigmarole Film a movie is improved vastly when you know as little as possible going in. And therefore, have more of an open mind.

10. Henry Cavill’s Superman

Henry Cavill’s Superman films generally divided opinion among both audiences and critics. However, some people, like (thereal)Chris Grant Jr., consider him to be their favourite Superman portrayal.

So ends our brief look at unpopular film opinions circulating social media. What do you think about some of these controversial opinions? What are some of your film hot takes? Please let us know.

Also Read: The Film Fan’s Guide To Time Travel

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Editorials

The Many Films of Martin Scorsese

July 17, 2020
The Many Films of Martin Scorsese

Hailed as one of the greatest filmmakers of his, or any, generation, Martin Scorsese continues to make amazing films after more than fifty years. So what can you expect from this Oscar-winning director?

Long Stories

The Irishman
The Irishman (credit: Netflix)

Martin Scorsese tells long stories, often spanning decades – Goodfellas follows Henry Hill from a child getting a part-time job in a cab stand to him turning on his Mafia friends many years later. The Aviator spans decades in the life of trouble genius Howard Hughes. Unsurprisingly the films have run times to match this, the last time Scorsese made a film under two hours it was The Colour of Money in 1986 – with one whole minute to spare. Scorsese’s most recent film, The Irishman, is also one of his longest, running at 3 hours and 29 minutes. This was released on Netflix which I think is important, as I imagine it being streamed at home was a factor in this and so eager to have this prestigious director working with them the streaming service would have agreed to anything. The story runs from 1949 to 2000 and seeing characters age, grow old and die has quite an impact. You don’t just assume characters are friends because you’re told this – you see it happening. The journey of Peggy Sheeran – the daughter of De Niro’s character – from child to adult and how she viewed her father is particularly devastating.

Casino is just shy of a three-hour runtime which showed the destruction of the relationships between three people: Ace Rothstein, Nicky Santora and Ginger McKenna. Ace and Nicky are childhood friends and Ace and Ginger have a somewhat unconventional marriage, and as rifts and new feelings develop between the three of them things get ugly. It doesn’t help that whilst this is going on Ace is running casinos for the Mafia with Nicky meant to be protecting him but is as much a liability as security. Nothing in the demise of these relationships feels forced or motivated to advance the plot but develops naturally from the flaws in the characters.

The Wolf of Wall Street was three hours long and the story goes that Scorsese wanted a four-hour cut and a lot was said at the time about how it felt long. Various people have suggested that this was a directorial choice in the sense that the main character’s seemingly endless party of drugs and sex was meant to feel gruelling, you were meant to feel like it was too much – because it was.

Quentin Tarantino is another director who makes long films but while I often feel with Tarantino this is self-indulgence, Scorsese earns this time and uses it to maximum effect.

Obsession

The King of Comedy
The King of Comedy (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

A lot of the stories in Scorsese’s stories revolve around obsessions characters have. Travis Bickle is obsessed with cleaning up the streets, Rupert Pupkin is obsessed both with talk show host Jerry Langford and being famous, Amsterdam is obsessed with getting revenge on Bill the Butcher. For each of these characters, their obsessions take them to odd places – Bickle becomes a hero to people when he could so easily have been the villain, Pupkin fulfils his ambition for fame by kidnapping his hero. Amsterdam saves Bill’s life at one point, just so he can kill him himself, and at times is taken in by the strength of Bill’s personality. Normally obsessions don’t go too well for people in films but looking at these characters it’s not that simple – Pupkin becomes famous, Bickle becomes a hero to people, Amsterdam gets his revenge and seems on the verge of moving onto a happier life.

Crime

You're a funny guy -Goodfellas
You’re a funny guy -Goodfellas (Credit: Warner Bros)

I considered not writing about this but considering twelve of Scorsese’s films are directly about crime, criminals or law enforcement it was impossible to ignore. A lot of these films focus on people who don’t want to do things the typical way. In Goodfellas, Henry Hill spends a lot of time complaining about normal life and trying to get ahead that way is pointless. In Casino, the mob bosses baulk at the idea of just making the profit they could out of a huge casino in Las Vegas – they have to break the law to get every penny. Joe Pesci’s character in Casino is even frustrated with the “normal” way the mob conduct business and makes his own path. The Wolf of Wall Street is entirely about finding new ways to rip people off using the stock market. It’s important to say that I don’t think Scorsese celebrates this attitude – his crime films are full of death and violence, they’re not simply enterprising, they’re dangerous people. Casino and Goodfellas both contain sections of utter bloodbaths against people who by the supposed rules of the mob “shouldn’t” have gotten hurt. While The Wolf of Wall Street is not focused on violent crime Belfort’s contempt for the people (especially people who can’t afford to lose money) he cons is sickening.

Gangs of New York focused on vicious gang violence in 19th Century New York with the main issue being around the tension between newly arriving immigrants and longer established gangs (but, it’s America, so ultimately immigrants as well). More or less the city authorities abandon this area, the Five Points, to gang rule. Taxi Driver dealt with the crime-ridden streets of 1970s New York – given rise to Bickle who while wanting to clean things up was just as dangerous and unhinged as those he fought. Both of these films are set in New York and despite the hundred years between them the violence and the inability or indifference of the authorities is damning.

Iconic Cinema

Raging Bull
Raging Bull (Credit: United Artists)

Martin Scorsese has created countless iconic shots and scenes in films. Raging Bull is packed with amazing shot after amazing shot, the title sequence to the film has more artistic ambition than whole features. Travis Bickle is gifted with at least three truly legendary moments in one film, lurking in his taxi, his mirror conversation and stalking the streets with his mohawk. The unforgettable single-take scene in Goodfellas of Henry and Karen entering the Copacabana, moving around corridors and cutting through the kitchen still looks brilliant after thirty years, let alone Joe Pesci’s handling of the most tense example of “friendly banter” in the history of the world, with the audience thinking he might just murder one of his closest friends because Henry had the audacity to laugh at one of his jokes.

Acting Partnerships

Leonardo Di Caprio in Wolf of Wall Street
Leonardo Di Caprio in Wolf of Wall Street (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Martin Scorsese has made nine full-length films with Robert De Niro and it would not be out of the question to call it the most successful director-actor partnership in cinema history. De Niro starred in The Irishman with a sizeable amount of money being spent on digitally de-ageing the actor. The buzz around Scorsese and De Niro reuniting was a huge draw for the film.

However, in the 2000s, Scorsese turned to Leonardo Di Caprio, who went on to star in five of his films (with Di Caprio also down to star in two future Scorsese films). Di Caprio’s change in reputation from teenage pinup to one of the most respected actors working today is due in no small amount to these films.

I’ve barely mentioned so much of Scorsese’s work and he’s done everything from religious epics to psychological thrillers – it’s hard to imagine a fan of film not finding something to enjoy. He is one of those directors where even films of his I haven’t seen, like Silence, for example, I feel on very safe ground saying it will be a good film.

Also Read: Dynamic Duos: Iconic Actor / Director Match-Ups

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Reviews

Review: The Irishman

November 28, 2019

Perhaps the most anticipated movie of the year featuring a cast list covered in Oscars, a director rightly hailed as one of the best there ever was and a writer who’s written everything from Schindler’s List to Moneyball. And it’s on Netflix.

What’s Going On?

The Irishman (source: buffalonews.com)

The Irishman follows the life of Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) from meat-delivery driver to well… not in the Mafia, but certainly doing a lot of work for them, after all, he’s Irish, not Sicilian. Frank is effectively brought into this life by Russel Buffalino (Joe Pesci) a high up person in the Mafia. Frank does a lot of work for him up to and including killing people. After a few years, Russel sends Frank to watch over Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), head of the Teamsters union and very much in business with the Mafia. The film follows the course of this relationship and especially how Frank is pulled in opposite directions because of his friendships with Russel and Hoffa.

Behind The Scenes

I’m sure this isn’t a surprise to anyone – the director is Martin Scorsese, certainly one of the best directors alive if not one of the best directors ever. And this is a crime movie with an incredible cast, hardly unfamiliar territory for Scorsese. He’s already directed what in my opinion is the best Mafia movie ever – Goodfellas and expectations are high.

In Front Of The Camera

The Irishman (source: denofgeek.com)

First, there is the key trio of De Niro, Pesci and Pacino, and already that’s amazing. De Niro is the narrator and gives an excellent performance especially as things become strained as the film goes on. Pesci, normally known for his wild, unpredictable and maybe a little crazy criminal characters plays against type as a very calm and, for the mafia, reasonable man. However, it’s Pacino who I think gives the best performance. Hoffa is a man surrounded by criminals, murderers even, and never bats an eyelid. He will argue with them, he will insult them, he’ll get in fistfights with them. He’s a larger than life character and you can see how he ended up union president.

Outside of those three roles, the cast is still full of diamonds. Actors like Bobby Cannavale, Stephen Graham, Jesse Plemons, Anna Paquin, Harvey Keitel and Ray Romano taking on small roles. I was convinced that Plemons was going to go through the movie and not actually have a line. Paquin, and indeed the child actors who play her characters, are excellent and act almost like the conscience of the film, judging the bad people around her, including her father Frank Sheeran. At one point Paquin says a single word that seems to break Sheeran.

Historical Note – Jimmy Hoffa & The Teamsters Union

Jimmy Hoffa was a very famous person in America, and in many ways still is, and I don’t think there will be a person in America who doesn’t already know where the story is heading and Scorsese made this film knowing that. I only knew of Hoffa from references to him in American film and TV but didn’t really understand who he was or what happened to him. After all, union bosses don’t tend to be that famous. Again, I’ve heard of “teamsters” but didn’t really know what that was but it’s enough to say this was the largest union in America at the time, giving Hoffa an incredible amount of power and influence, and in looking after their pension fund, access to literally billions of dollars. My perhaps controversial opinion is you look Hoffa up on Wikipedia before you watch the film.

He Looks Good For His Age

The film shows these characters at various stages of their life Scorsese employed some clever de-ageing special effects which I thought were flawless.

Does It Work?

The Irishman (source: slate.com)

My expectations for The Irishman were very high, not only is Scorsese one of my favourite directors many of the early reviews were saying that was his best film in a long time. Personally I would put this in the second-tier of Scorsese films, with Gangs of New York and The Departed, it’s great but not quite up there with his best. Let’s be clear, it’s a great film, it’s three and a half hours long and keeps you engaged throughout, the acting is all first-rate and is full of brilliant little flourishes – one scene of a person having to psych themselves up to start their car as they were worried it might explode was one such moment. But I was a little disappointed and perhaps thought it was a mistake for Scorsese to return to territory he has already thoroughly explored. I am a big fan of Wolf of Wall Street and see it as a kind of Goodfellas for a different sort of crime and was a good move for him and I think maybe another gangster film wasn’t the best use of Scorsese’s time and talent.

That said if this was a film by virtually any other director I would only be singing it’s praises and really the only problem is it’s Martin Scorsese so you’re hoping for a masterpiece.

Even before this film, the debate about are Netflix films proper films was surely settled and this just adds to the argument that they are. They’ve made everything from Oscar-winning drama like Roma to fantasy special effects-laden frippery like Bright, not everything is gold but the same is true for every studio.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

The Irishman (Official Trailer)

Also Read: For Your Consideration: Sci-Fi, Comedy & Oscar Snubs

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Editorials

Dynamic Duos: Iconic Actor/ Director Match-Ups

July 11, 2019

Batman and Robin, Doc and Marty, Bonnie and Clyde, Han Solo and Chewbacca. There are many iconic duos on screen, but there are just as many iconic partnerships between some actor and director duos that are behind some iconic films.

Martin Scorsese / Leonardo DiCaprio

Dicaprio and Scorsese

This duo first appeared in 2002 with “Gangs of New York” and have produced four feature films together since, with two more in development as well as a promotional short. While this partnership has not produced as many films as Scorsese’s other famous partnership with Robert DeNiro, it is arguably more varied, with their collaborations including genres like crime, comedy (“The Wolf of Wall Street”)and biopic (“The Aviator”), with Leo helping the director win his first Oscar with his role in “The Departed”

Interestingly it was actually DeNiro who introduced the pair, after having worked with DiCaprio previously, DeNiro sang the young actors praises and that Scorsese needed to work with him, with the director referred to as “extraordinary fortune” and that they wanted to make movies the same way

Christopher Nolan / Michael Caine

Nolan directing Sir Micheal Caine on the set of “The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures, 2012)

When Christopher Nolan turned up at Micheal Caine’s house, he was initially going to turn down the part of Alfred, Batman’s loyal butler, as serving dinner and coffee didn’t really appeal to the veteran actor. Then he read the script and quickly changed his mind, noting that he had “written great parts for real actors“.

Michael Caine is a prolific actor who has been in the business for over sixty years, so it’s fair to say he recognises talent when he sees it, and that’s exactly why he keeps partnering up with Nolan. Since “Batman Begins” in 2005, Nolan has included him in every one of his films, with a small voice cameo in “Dunkirk” being the only time he hasn’t appeared in person.

Sam Raimi / Bruce Campbell

Campbell and Raimi at a promotional event (WDIV ClickOnDetroit )

Raimi and Campbell have been friends since high school, making short films in their spare time. They eventually convinced some dentists to invest in their first feature “Evil Dead” and both of them became cult horror icons.

Bruce Campbell has gone on to have roles in various fan favourite projects, but aside from his role as Ash Williams, he is also known for his memorable cameos in various Raimi movies, especially his Spider-Man trilogy, appearing in various roles through the series. If Spider-Man 4 had ever gone into production, Campbell would once again appear, this time as the villain Mysterio.

Guillermo Del Toro / Doug Jones

Del Toro and Jones, talking about “Shape of Water”

Possibly the least recognisable duo on this list, not due to the body of work, but because Doug Jones’ face is often hidden behind hours worth of prosthetics, with his first big break actually being a McDonald’s ad. He first met Del Toro on the director’s English language debut “Mimic“. Despite the films’ troubled production, the two became friends, bonding over their love of monsters and movies.

Jones has appeared in all of Del Toro’s films since the original “Hellboy”, except for “Pacific Rim”, with his biggest arguably being the creature in Del Toro’s “Shape of Water” which won an Oscar for Best Picture.

Matthew Vaughn / Mark Strong

Matthew Vaughn and Mark Strong

Some partnerships happen because of a pre-existing friendship or a recommendation. Some just happen because the pair find each other easy to work with, as is the case with Director Matthew Vaughn and actor Mark Strong.

The pair have worked together four times since their first collaboration in 2007’s “Stardust” with Strong only being absent for X-Men First Class. Having previously played villainous characters in “Stardust” and “Kick-Ass” he plays Merlin in the “Kingsman” films, in which he is a member of the super-secret spy organisation.

Wes Anderson / Bill Murray

Anderson and Murray going over a scene for “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” (Beuna Vista Pictures, 2004)

Murray has worked with Anderson since his second feature “Rushmore”. Anderson sent him the script with no expectations, then had an executive leave their own office while Murray talked to him about the role. His role in “The Royal Tenenbaums” happened simply because Murray lived close to the shoot, the two talked about “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”.

Murray and Anderson have such a good rapport, that he instantly says yes when the director calls, no matter the project. He must get the call a lot as Murray has appeared in all of Anderson’s film since, totalling eight, with some being important parts, and others just wordless cameos.

Quentin Tarantino / Samuel L Jackson

Quentin Tarantino and actor Samuel L. Jackson pose at the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 21, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)

Tarantino has several actors that he frequently collaborates with, which he refers to as his “Tarantino superstars“. However. he clearly has a favourite, Samuel L Jackson, whom he frequently writes roles in mind for. The admiration goes both ways, as Jackson cites some of his roles in Tarantino’s films as his favourites.

Jackson has appeared in 6 of Tarantino’s 9 films (Tarantino considers “Kill Bill” one film, and Jackson does not feature in “Once upon a time in Hollywood”). He actually auditioned for “Reservoir Dogs” but didn’t get the part, when he saw Tarantino again later at the premiere, the director told him he was writing something for him, which would turn out to be his Oscar-nominated role in “Pulp Fiction”.

Also Read: Video Nasties: The History of Censored Films in the UK