Paul Schrader

Can we all take a moment and be thankful that Paul Schrader – the man who wrote Taxi Driver and Rolling Thunder and Raging Bull and Mosquito Coast and wrote/directed American Gigolo – is still pumping out films? His recent work doesn’t belong on the sky-high pedestal that these names do, but Adam Resurrected was a pretty solid movie, and his lack of retired status means he can team with Bret Easton Ellis to deliver Bait. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Schrader is going to work with Ellis on the script (and direct the film) which sees a young man taking revenge on the wealthy by weaseling his way into a yacht club, snagging a boat, and taking a few fat cats out to the deep end where hungry fish await. It’s unclear what propels the revenge, but this pairing is a dream come true. Don’t expect this one to be PC. Or pretty.

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Criterion Files

Welcome to the fifth and final installment of Guest Author month at Criterion Files: a month devoted to important classic and contemporary bloggers. This week, David Ehrlich, whose bimonthly column Criterion Corner was a favorite at Cinematical, takes on Paul Schrader’s incredible biopic Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. Tune in next week as Adam Charles returns Criterion Files to its usual rotation, and in the meantime you can take a look at the previous entries from guest contributors here. Infamous Japanese iconoclast Yukio Mishima once said “I still have no way to survive but to keep writing one line, one more line, one more line…,” a sentiment which suggests that his eventual suicide came only once his creative resources had run dry. Yet, as Paul Schrader’s sublime film Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters so fluidly illustrates, Mishima ended his life with a self-administered sword thrust to the chest not because he was out of words, but rather because the page had never been a sufficient canvas for his artistic expression, or one to which he had ever intended to confine himself.

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Culture Warrior

You hear the phrase “This movie could never be made today” quite often, and it’s typically a thinly veiled means by which a creative team allows themselves to administer loving pats on their own backs. But in the context of at a 35th anniversary exhibition of the restoration of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver with a justifiably disgruntled Paul Schrader in attendance, such a sentence rings profoundly and depressingly true. Like many of you, I’ve seen Taxi Driver many times before. For many, it’s a formative moment in becoming a cinephile. But I had never until last weekend seen the film outside of a private setting. And in a public screening, on the big screen, I’m happy to say the film still has the potential to shock and profoundly affect viewers so many decades on. For me personally it was the most disturbing of any time I’d ever seen the film, and I was appropriately uncomfortable despite anticipating the film’s every beat. Perhaps it was because I was sharing the film’s stakes with a crowd instead of by myself or with a small group of people, or perhaps the content comes across as so much more subversive when projected onto a giant screen, or perhaps it was because the aura of a room always feels different when the creative talent involved is in attendance. For whatever reason, I found the film to be more upsetting than in any other context of viewing. But one of the most appalling moments of Taxi […]

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When’s the last time you were excited about a Harrison Ford movie? Go ahead, you can be honest. (Although if you say the most recent Indiana Jones stinker I’m going to have to ask you to leave.)

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published: 12.23.2014
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