Martin Scorsese

rock-n-roll-high-school

There’s no doubt that Martin Scorsese knows exactly what he’s doing when it comes to crafting thorough, smart and loving projects centering on the careers of beloved musical acts. He’s basically the unofficial godfather to the Rolling Stones, using their music in a number of his films and directing their fantastic concert doc Shine a Light. He has The Last Waltz, a doc chronicling The Band’s legendary 1976 farewell concert under his belt, as well as the Bob Dylan film No Direction Home, and a long-gestating project called Sinatra still in the works. What he hasn’t touched yet is punk, but he’s going back to the source by reportedly making a biopic about the Ramones, the seminal New York act that inspired a generation of leather jackets in 80-degree weather, ripped jeans, scowling faces and songs around two minutes in length (if we’re being very generous). Buried in a Billboard article detailing the ways that the Ramones will resurge in the next few years, at least in terms of branding, is this news that Scorsese “is attached” to a film about the punk rockers. The Wrap adds that a source close to the project says he’ll be directing.

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Paramount Pictures

If there’s anything that HBO has figured out this year, it’s that True Detective‘s success means that audiences are more than willing to sit down for an hour of creepiness, darkness, peculiar monologues and mysteries upon mysteries. So it’s fitting that a series based on Shutter Island, the 2010 psychological thriller from Martin Scorsese that pitted Leonardo DiCaprio against the staff of a rundown mental institution, and ultimately his own head, is coming to the network. Tentatively titled Ashecliffe, as in the name of the mental facility located right on scenic Shutter Island (You’ll never want to leave), HBO and Paramount Television have teamed up to bring the adaptation to life, with Scorsese actually set to direct the pilot and Dennis Lehane, the author of the novel that inspired the film, writing the script, and DiCaprio one of many executive producers. The series is set in the years before Shutter Island takes place, and will explore the past of the hospital. As if the current state of the institution (in 1954, as the film was set) wasn’t corrupt and decrepit enough, it’s clear that before US Marshal Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) even stepped foot on that disgusting soil decades of corruption were already underway.

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Mike Tyson in Tyson

Traditionally we hear news about upcoming movies from an involved talent’s publicist or a studio press release. But we should never discount Mike Tyson as a sterling direct source for scoops, especially when the movie in question is about Mike Tyson. The boxer recently broke the following via IGN: “Listen, me and Jamie Foxx are in discussions, and within a year or 18 months we’re going to do the Mike Tyson Story.” Later, he added, “I think that Martin Scorsese is going to be involved in it as well.” Administer your grain of salt, as Tyson has a history of saying whatever thoughts pop into his head, but this time he appears to be right on the money. Per Variety, we now know that Foxx will in fact be starring in an Iron Mike story with a script to be written by Terence Winter. No official journalistic sources have breached the subject of Scorsese, but the director collaborated with Winter on The Wolf of Wall Street, Boardwalk Empire and an upcoming HBO series with Mick Jagger, so it’s probable that Scorsese is just not attached in an official capacity quite yet.

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Chaz and Roger in Life Itself

We’re halfway through the year, which means there are still a few months left before any movies start looking like Best Picture contenders. But it also means that we’ve already heard about most of the nominees for Best Documentary Feature of 2014. Those nominees won’t be announced until January 15th. The shortlist won’t even arrive until November or December. Yet at this point in the year, with most of the relevant film festivals out of the way, there are titles that are easily seen as frontrunners. One of these, though, is racing way ahead of the competition. According to many in the doc community, a particular film opening this Friday is a definite lock for the Oscar: the Roger Ebert profile Life Itself. It is indeed really great, surely one of the best works of nonfiction this year (see my five star review at Nonfics), but that’s not the only reason it has the race won already. It’s not really the main reason, either. Those I’ve heard from on this matter state the primary factor as being its appeal and connection to the Academy voters. “Every member who received a good review from Roger is going to pick Life Itself,” said Adam Benzine of Realscreen. I don’t know if that’s the safest bet, but there is the fact that Ebert was a huge supporter of documentary filmmakers, including some influential figures in the documentary branch of the Academy. Life Itself features a couple of them, as well as Martin Scorsese, who […]

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50 Year Argument Documentary

I would have titled this dispatch “New Movies From Martin Scorsese,” plural, but during last night’s Q&A with Steve James (which, yep, I had to fight back tears for), I learned that Scorsese’s off-screen involvement in Life Itself was in lesser capacity than I’d thought. He’s merely an executive producer in name and had no creative or editorial impact on the film. That’s okay, as his on-screen involvement is perfect, probably the most emotional you’ll ever see him. Yet I do think that even his association with the Roger Ebert doc is fitting for the current trend in his documentary work. Following his films on cinema and his films on music artists, he’s now in a period of films on writers, whether that’s intentional or not. In addition to Life Itself‘s movie critic, there’s the Fran Lebowitz doc Public Speaking and now the New York Review of Books profile titled The 50 Year Argument, which had its world premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest this week. What sounds like a total puff piece and one that’d be limited in reach given its highbrow subject matter is in fact a surprisingly accessible and appealing appreciation of the NYRB. Celebratory, yes, intellectual, yes, but The 50 Year Argument is neither too soft nor one bit snooty. Co-directed by David Tedeschi (editor of a handful of Scorsese’s docs, including Public Speaking and Shine a Light), this is one of the best-looking and one of the least subjective nonfiction films from Scorsese, enough that it’s not really clear what his interest was here. Normally he’d appear or provide a little voiceover explaining that he’s been reading NYRB since it began, or he’d insert himself as […]

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The Big Shave

Why Watch? In 1967, Martin Scorsese put out a short film with a simple concept and the kind of execution you’d expect from a young Martin Scorsese. In The Big Shave, a young man (Peter Bernuth) stands in front of mirror, picks up a razor, and gets rid of his stubble. And then some. Obviously there are surprises in store. It’s Scorsese. The result is an experimental work (completely with incongruous jazz music) that acts as a striking anti-war metaphor, and an excellent lesson in how not to shave yourself.

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Oscar Predictions 2014: Best Director

Best Director is a strange category, particularly because of its tenuous relationship to Best Picture. Does it refer to the best cohesive film, under the assumption that the director is responsible for overseeing nearly all aspects of how that film comes to be? Or does the award refer to a film’s most conspicuous control of visuals, tone, and style – the things that we most associate as evidence of a director’s guiding influence? The vague sense of what qualifies someone as worthy of honor in this category (we, of course, only assume what the director did by virtue of the finished product) is perfectly on display in one of this year’s most heated competitions: between Alfonso Cuarón’s enthralling real-time spectacle of a woman lost in orbit and Steve McQueen’s intricate, decade-long depiction of one man’s harrowing subjection. But let’s take a look at how the five nominees shake out, with my surprise predicted winner in red…

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Christian Bale;Jeremy Renner;Bradley Cooper

What makes a great director? Is it more about the technical visual achievement that we can see on screen? Is it about getting exceptional performances from the actors? For a great director, it’s both. For a Best Director of any given year, as so named by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, one or the other might do. This year, for instance, Alfonso Cuaron is the frontrunner for the Oscar, and his recognition is mostly based on the film being “an absolute technical marvel in every possible way,” as our own review from Kate Erbland puts it. Like James Cameron before him, Cuaron will be honored for work where the performances from the cast weren’t as much a priority as the performances from the camera and special effects. Yet also like Cameron, Cuaron has been paired with a Best Actress nomination for his leading lady. Sandra Bullock has won an Oscar in the past for her acting, but she still surprised many with her performance in Gravity. Do we have Cuaron to thank for that? It’s hard to tell. He’s never really gotten bad work from his actors before, but he’s certainly not thought of as an actor’s director in the way his four companions in the category are. This is his first instance of directing an Oscar nominated performance. Including this year’s additions, Martin Scorsese has 22 under his belt, David O. Russell has 11, Alexander Payne has 7 and Steve McQueen has 3 — of course, […]

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12 Years a Slave

The visuals of 12 Years a Slave are stunning, often unflinching, and this week we’ve invited cinematographer (and frequent Steve McQueen collaborator) Sean Bobbitt to explain how he challenged millions with his imagery. Plus, Geoff and I talk about The Wolf of Wall Street‘s capability to turn good people into quaalude-hungry maniacs and answer a hypothetical question about saving only one 2014 movie from destruction (by quaalude-hungry maniacs). You should follow the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #45 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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Jupiter Ascending

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the wolf of wall street bottom line

The Wolf of Wall Street is a big, sprawling, tragi-comedy about very bad people doing very bad things. Some are legal and some aren’t, but they’re all guaranteed to offend someone somewhere. One viewer at the AMPAS screening in L.A. actually confronted director Martin Scorsese with a “Shame on you!” and a finger wag. Ornery octogenarians aside, the film has received a generally favorable response with praise for the film’s high energy and performances from the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, and Matthew McConaughey. But in addition to the reviews, both positive and negative, there have also been a handful of specific (and occasionally accusatory) claims made against the movie and filmmakers that lack much in the way of critical thinking. For example, The Wolf of Wall Street…

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wows12

Martin Scorsese is one of the best directors to work for if you want an Oscar nomination for acting. Over the past 40 years, he has helped his stars earn a total of 20 nominations spread out over the performance categories, and you may be surprised to hear that half of those went to women. Yes, the filmmaker who has occasionally been accused of being a misogynist and who tends to make movies led by men (often undoubtedly misogynistic men), is pretty good at finding strong actresses for his leading ladies — or he’s good at making them appear to be very talented, whether they are or not. Margot Robbie, who plays the dynamic trophy wife of Leonardo DiCaprio’s scumbag stock broker in The Wolf of Wall Street, ought to be the next in line in this tradition, and yet she’s not being talked about for an Academy Award at all. Robbie’s performance in the movie is one of the standouts of the year for me, though I have to admit this is partly because I’d never heard of nor seen her before. The actress isn’t quite as out of nowhere as 12 Years a Slave breakout Lupita Nyong’o (pretty much a sure thing for the supporting actress win at this point), especially if you’re a fan of the Australian soap opera Neighbours or if you gave the American TV drama Pan Am a shot, but she is a fresh face in Hollywood, and between WoWS and About Time she’s […]

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Not Just You Murray

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. Like most filmmakers of his generation, Martin Scorsese went to film school (NYU in his case), and there he made a number of shorts during the course of his training and study. A few of these student films survive, including 1963’s What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?, which may be his earliest use of a narrator telling his life story in the first person. This is the structure he uses once again with his latest feature, The Wolf of Wall Street. But the protagonist of that 50-year-old 9-minute effort (which you can find all over YouTube) bears little similarity with the one Leonardo DiCaprio plays in the new movie. Scorsese’s following student film, 1964’s It’s Not Just You, Murray! (the young director clearly liked punctuated titles at the time), features a few more parallels and even seems like a template for a number of later works, including Goodfellas, Casino and now The Wolf of Wall Street. The fact that It’s Not Just You, Murray! is about gangsters aligns it more with the former two films. But I believe we’re supposed to think of The Wolf of Wall Street as a kind of gangster film — or at least a crime film, which is often the same thing. Where the early short and the very long new feature start off being alike […]

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review wolf of wall street

Common wisdom says that money can’t buy happiness, but common wisdom never spooned cocaine into a flexible young woman’s anus. Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) knows better than that, and he also knows that power, expensive things, drugs, women, and drugs inserted in women are all for the taking when you have money. He heads to Wall Street, and after a quick business lunch with a mentor (Matthew McConaughey) he sets about building an investment firm complete with a team of driven, egotistical but slavish pricks shaped in his own image. His best and brightest employee is Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), and together they build an empire built on penny stock commissions, ersatz testosterone, and the broken dreams of lower to middle class Americans. Despite affectations of friendship, simulations of love, and words of confidence from the man’s own mouth, Belfort cares for no one but himself. His climb to the top (or just as correct, to the bottom) comes with hundreds of willing and thousands of unknowing Sherpas, but only he knows it’s a one-man venture. Welcome to one of the year’s best comedies. Welcome to Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street.

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cc gangs of new york

Gangs of New York was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, and yet, I still can’t shake the feeling that Martin Scorsese‘s revenge epic has been overlooked. With a filmograpyy as refined as Scorsese’s, a few gems are bound to go unnoticed, but even at the time of its release many were split by the film. It wasn’t a domestic box-office hit, scored a modest 75% on Rottentomatoes, and, from what I can recall, most people I knew weren’t a fan Scorsese’s impressionistic period piece. That’s a pity, because this fictional tale of Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) seeking revenge on the man who killed his father, Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis), is one of Scorsese’s most thrilling and hypnotic films. Even if you found the acclaimed director’s untraditional approach to period distancing, you can’t dismiss it has one of the finest pieces of acting ever put on film courtesy of Day-Lewis. He was so magnificent in a supporting role that the Academy instead nominated him for best actor, but it’s well earned since he is Gangs of New York. Technically speaking the movie is stunning, from the sets to the editing to the you name it, but when Gangs of New York fans start talking, it’s Day-Lewis’ towering performance that usually dominates the conversation.

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The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug

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The Wolf of Wall Street

Perhaps you’ve heard by now that Martin Scorsese‘s highly anticipated The Wolf of Wall Street is (finally) set to hit theaters on Christmas Day after persistent chatter that the film could be pushed all the way until sometime next year, making it the most gaudy and bonkers gift most of us are likely to recieve this holiday season. But the film’s official new release date also comes with word on the film’s runtime – an intersting bit of trivia, considering its delays were reportedly rooted in the studio’s need for Scorsese to chop down its original 180-minute cut – that now clocks in at a heady 165 minutes. The film’s fresh runtime is already getting plenty of buzz on the Internet – most people seem jazzed about so much madness and Leonardo DiCaprio dancing and toasting to enjoy, but a few people are already blowing raspberries about such length (what’s wrong with you?!), so we felt it was time to investigate how the true-life tale stacks up against both other Scorsese films and some other 2013 releases. The answer may surprise you (hint: it’s in our headline).

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Travis Bickle

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they compare Travis Bickle to Don Quixote and try to understand the many contradictions of Martin Scorsese’s angry masterpiece. In the #31 (tied with The Godfather: Part II) movie on the list, Robert De Niro shaves his head, fights with a mirror and tries to rights society’s wrongs with a bullet. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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dujour

I understand that not a lot of FSR readers are even marginal One Direction fans, let alone “directioners,” so bear with me this week as I offer this list to any who find their way here. Also, if you’re not into 1D and don’t plan to see their new documentary One Direction: This Is Us — even if you normally like Morgan Spurlock‘s films or are a Martin Scorsese completist (he has a cameo) or think it could be a good place to pick up chicks (and not just tweens, as my screening had a number of adult women fans in attendance) — you may discover something of actual value among the selection of films below. The easiest and even most logical way to go with this week’s hottest new movie is to just offer a basic list of the best concert films and tour docs of the past. But really there’s not much there to connect Gimme Shelter (nobody dies at any of the 1D shows) or Woodstock, even though the latter involved Scorsese. There are mostly music movies picked for this list, but they’re specifically relevant and they’re joined by other kinds of films.

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The Wolf of Wall Street

While the trailer for Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street painted a wild world of excess and debauchery, the new stills from the film are only showing a tame little piece of the bigger puzzle. Granted, you’ve still got Leonardo DiCaprio living it up, white guy stockbroker style, but the cash-flinging, womanizing, partying, and domination seen in the trailer (which our own Scott Beggs wrote about here) are replaced by images that depict the business side of the affair. Wall Street before wolfishness? But come on – you know as soon as DiCaprio finishes raising his glass on that classy-as-hell yacht, he’s about to either A) have sex with Margot Robbie B) fling cash at poor people C) snort coke? That’s what rich people do on yachts, right? or D) get into classy fisticuffs. It’s like it’s all just out of reach for us. Hopefully, more stills will appear soon that will better match the tone of the trailer so I can look as excited as Jonah Hill does in that second shot. Take a look:

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published: 10.30.2014
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published: 10.29.2014
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published: 10.27.2014
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published: 10.24.2014
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