Tag Archive: Martin Scorsese


THE IRISHMAN directed by Martin Scorsese (USA, 2019)
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Will there be mobster movies in heaven? If so, Martin Scorsese is sure to be the director. Of course, he’d insist on there being an afterlife ban on watching his work on mobile phones and would personally see to it that any films based on Marvel comics were cast into the fiery pits of hell. Netflix would be allowed through the pearly gates as a reward for stumping up the cash for his latest movie.

I find it ironic that Scorsese is now keen to dictate what and how we should be consuming movies in the 21st century.  He is quick to mount his moral high horse even though the charge of glamorizing unscrupulous criminals and cold-blooded killers is one he would be hard pressed to dismiss. I’m sure Mafia members are among his biggest fans.

‘The Irishman’ is a true crime caper in a similar vein to ‘Goodfellas’ (1990) .  Like that movie, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci have starring roles and the same narrative technique of a start to finish voiceover is deployed. This is a device I usually find irritating and this film is no exception. I believe a story should speak for itself in cinematic terms rather than relying on a constant running commentary. Continue reading

In defense of movie superheroes

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What’s this shit they’re writing about me on the internet?

The hyped backlash against Marvel superhero movies means these films stand accused, amongst their other sins, of being produced solely to make a handsome profit.

This manufactured outrage all stems from a casual comment by Martin Scorsese claiming that this brand of blockbusters are not ‘real cinema’. Frances Ford Coppola and Ken Loach have since weighed in to back up this elitist viewpoint.

Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t box office success been one of the prime motivations among filmmakers for time immemorial.

Of course, they’ll always be a minority of auteurs who put merit before money but they face the problem that art for art’s sake doesn’t pay the bills. The arguments of Scorsese and crew are spurious and are akin to claiming that bestselling books by Dan Brown or J.K. Rowling are not real novels. Your may not like them but that doesn’t change what they are.

Even though corporate branded franchises inspired by Marvel  (and by extension DC comics) spawn as many turkeys as triumphs this doesn’t justify trashing the whole genre. Dark Knight, Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok and Joker are examples of movies that win audiences (and make money) without dumbing down the content.

There will always be a need for a steady supply of low culture for highbrows just as there will always be those who snobbishly regard all mass entertainment as beneath them.

Joker has the last laugh on critics

JOKER directed by Todd Phillips (USA, 2019)

jokerWho needs critics anyway? All of us have opinions so we don’t need to be told what to like and why.

The initial official press reaction to Joker was broadly positive but winning The Golden Globe in Venice seems to have provoked a bizarre backlash. How dare a popular movie win such an accolade over the latest worthy but dull art house fodder?

Roger Ebert.com has dismissed the movie as “pernicious garbage” and Time magazine’s hack even have the bare-faced nerve to attack Joaquin Phoenix’s stellar performance as “aggressive terribleness”.

On top of this, and in keeping with its liberal tendency for fence-sitting, the UK’s Guardian newspaper try to have it both ways. They currently have a policy of filling space in their culture pages by printing reviews with wildly opposing points of view. On one hand Xan Brooks praised the movie’s “glorious daring” but then Peter Bradshaw described it as “very shallow”.

Thankfully, ordinary punters have wisely disregarded the negative reviews. At the time of writing, the critic’s average rating at Metacritic is a paltry 59% while users have given it a resounding 9.3. Continue reading

Rolling Thunder Revue – A Bob Dylan Story directed by Martin Scorsese (Netflix, 2019)

mv5bzjnlodjmy2qtywi3ms00nmy3ltg0nmitmjayotbiowmyngfixkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjg2njqwmdq40._v1_The opening shot of this documentary is of a magician in a silent movie manipulating film to create a disappearing act. This illusionist sets the scene for a movie in which not all is as it seems.

It is as though Martin Scorsese has been corrupted by the example set by the incumbent and repugnant POTUS. Scorsese bamboozles viewers with post truths to the point that you are never quite sure of the line between fact and fiction. Beat poet Allen Ginsberg called Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder revue “a con-man carny medicine show of old” and Scorsese is more than happy to play the part of the snake oil salesman. Continue reading

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS directed by Tom Ford (USA, 2016)

“All the animals come out at night” – Travis Bickle – Taxi Driver (1976)
“Now it’s dark” – Frank Booth – Blue Velvet (1986)

nocturnal_animals_posterInspiring comparisons with the finest works of Martin Scorsese and David Lynch is a sign of how impressed I am by this magnificent movie.

Tom Ford’s equally fine debut A Single Man from 2009 can no longer be dismissed as a one-off.

Well-established as a hugely successful fashion designer, Ford does not need further acclaim or money. Wealth does not guarantee creative inspiration but it does buy a certain freedom. Perhaps this is how he has been able to be so uncompromising and daring in his adaptation of Austin Wright’s novel Tony and Susan. Continue reading

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