Martin Scorsese

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FrauBlucher
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Re: Martin Scorsese

#376 Post by FrauBlucher » Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:19 pm

What a great read. He could easily live another 15 years and maybe more, but when that comes he will be sorely missed. I can’t think of anyone who has given more to the movie industry and the art and lifeline of film then him. Very few Hollywood directors have been active in their later years, let alone as prolific as Scorsese. It reminds me of a Q&A of Kundun I attended at it’s release time. He was taking questions from the audience, which were industry people. It was a DGA event. An older gentleman asked him, “wasn’t it hard and difficult for you at your age.” Scorsese looked incredulous at the man, answered his almost insulting question with “no, that’s what I do.”

Clearly his Italian American Catholic upbringing (I can relate) helps put into a sort of focus and meaning to what his life is and was and will be when mortality is around the corner. And by the way, nothing wrong with that.

I don’t love everything he’s done but I respect the shit out of all he’s done.

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domino harvey
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Re: Martin Scorsese

#377 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:21 pm

Of course all anyone online wants to talk about is his Joker dig

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FrauBlucher
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Re: Martin Scorsese

#378 Post by FrauBlucher » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:06 pm

.... Principal Iger wants to meet with the nasty pupil Scorsese. How ridiculous.

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Big Ben
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Re: Martin Scorsese

#379 Post by Big Ben » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:19 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:21 pm
Of course all anyone online wants to talk about is his Joker dig
Independent of my own feelings on the film it's fascinating that for something these individuals seem to want to dismiss so readily as pernicious Joker sure seems to exist rent free in their heads. Of all the things to take from this interview it boggles my mind that his discussion of mortality isn't endlessly more interesting thing to talk about.

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#380 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jan 02, 2020 6:39 pm

FrauBlucher wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:06 pm
.... Principal Iger wants to meet with the nasty pupil Scorsese. How ridiculous.
Sounds like some renewed consideration of their treatment of the Fox catalog could come out of it, though. Scorsese's smart to be taking the meeting, despite how insulting it is.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: Martin Scorsese

#381 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:57 am

Scorsese now has the second most Academy nominations for Best Director with nine, behind only William Wyler's twelve.

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Reverend Drewcifer
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Re: Martin Scorsese

#382 Post by Reverend Drewcifer » Fri Apr 24, 2020 12:57 pm

Today I Learned: Barry Sonnenfeld completed the last week of photography on Goodfellas when Michael Ballhaus left to fulfill his commitment on Postcards from the Edge. The information has been out there for years, but I only clocked it yesterday when Sonnenfeld locked the gates with Marc Maron.

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#383 Post by beamish14 » Fri Apr 24, 2020 1:02 pm

Reverend Drewcifer wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 12:57 pm
Today I Learned: Barry Sonnenfeld completed the last week of photography on Goodfellas when Michael Ballhaus left to fulfill his commitment on Postcards from the Edge. The information has been out there for years, but I only clocked it yesterday when Sonnenfeld locked the gates with Marc Maron.

I've been meaning to read Sonnenfeld's autobiography. The world of cinema losing him as a cinematographer is tragic, as Three O'Clock High
is one of the most dynamically filmed movies I've ever seen.

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Reverend Drewcifer
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Re: Martin Scorsese

#384 Post by Reverend Drewcifer » Fri Apr 24, 2020 2:39 pm

Sonnenfeld is making the rounds of podcasts (which I guess is the way to do promo in the age of quarantine). He was on WTF, Alec Baldwin's Here's the Thing, as well as Norm Wilner's Someone Else's Movie talking about The Long Goodbye. I believe he was on Jenny McCarthy's show, but I wouldn't recommend giving her any bandwidth.

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#385 Post by DarkImbecile » Sun May 17, 2020 5:13 pm

Jonas Mekas' hour-long documentary on Scorsese made during production of The Departed, Notes on an American Film Director at Work: Martin Scorsese, was recently posted to Vimeo and features some excellent footage if you've never seen it.

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#386 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun May 17, 2020 6:42 pm

DarkImbecile wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 5:13 pm
Jonas Mekas' hour-long documentary on Scorsese made during production of The Departed, Notes on an American Film Director at Work: Martin Scorsese, was recently posted to Vimeo and features some excellent footage if you've never seen it.
This was actually already posted a couple days ago :wink:

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#387 Post by DarkImbecile » Sun May 17, 2020 9:57 pm

Other people post here? Learn something new every day...

Non-facetious response: I ran searches for “Scorsese” and “Mekas” and didn’t come up with anything recent enough to have captured it, since the post in the Departed thread includes neither.

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#388 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun May 17, 2020 10:38 pm

I’m just being playful since you’ve been (understandably) outspoken about double posts before, not surprised that you did such a thorough check though!

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#389 Post by swo17 » Sun May 17, 2020 10:41 pm

My guess is that DarkImbecile ran searches for “Scorsese” and “Mekas” and didn’t come up with anything recent enough to have captured it, since the post in the Departed thread includes neither.

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#390 Post by DarkImbecile » Sun May 17, 2020 11:28 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 10:38 pm
I’m just being playful since you’ve been (understandably) outspoken about double posts before, not surprised that you did such a thorough check though!
Really the thing that makes me nuts is not so much missing a post in a different thread/sub-forum, but posting some piece of news a few posts down from the original post... which I’ve also been guilty of recently! So glass houses, throwing stones, etc.

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#391 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun May 17, 2020 11:52 pm

Yeah I know, it felt like a good opportunity to rib anyway

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#392 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed May 27, 2020 12:23 pm

Scorsese shot a short film for the BBC about COVID-19 self-isolation through the lens of classic movies:
"Martin Scorsese makes a wonderful end to the series. We see him at home, thinking about lockdown through the lens of classic movies, like Hitchcock's The Wrong Man," said host Beard. "But what's really clever is that this great Hollywood luminary also gets us to look at Hitchcock again afresh through the lens of our current predicament. I was absolutely over the moon when he agreed to do it for us. It feels a bit like hosting a little premiere. And it all contributes to a pretty amazing finale."

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#393 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:27 am

Image

Bringing Out the Dead

I mentioned my great affection for this film in the thread for King of Comedy:
therewillbeblus wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:57 pm
I also prefer Scorsese's attempts to create bizarre amalgamations of tone beneath deceptively smooth surfaces. This one tackles the burdened psyche in a few different ways that stretch 'dark comedy' to its breaking point, especially pertaining to the dissonance between how one sees themselves and the world sees them. Though my favorite Scorsese film is probably Bringing Out the Dead because it confronts that messy existential burden in a manner that refuses to rest comfortably in any seamless directorial flourishes to save the audience from the raw turmoil, and in that way I see these films as sisters; one draining us of resilient energy via social discomfort in forcing those collisions, and the other via individualized segregation emphasizing our physical and perceptive isolation from corporeal environment and spiritual access.
Bringing Out the Dead represents the latter, and I continue to believe it to be Scorsese’s (and Schrader’s, for that matter) best film; a deeply tragic, grotesque yet realistic, dark comedy about collective desensitization challenging humanism, with this humane philosophy prevailing softly against the muck. It’s a lonely film about a sensitive soul attempting to harden, touching on very specific and dense spiritual experiences and their equal and opposite deficits about being Gods on this Earth and the weight of responsibility that comes when we fail in those Godly duties. Defense mechanisms only half-work because existential rot persists through self-delusion and even aid in creating those maladaptive thought patterns. Cage talks about the highs of saving a life, and the lows of losing one. When one is living their life in polarized extremes, there is a thicker layer of depression and a greater resilience in seeing the darkness as a human comedy.

Cage smiles when he’s driving, having a sense of control within the safety net of a routine Sisyphean lifestyle, but when he’s in the passenger seat his mortality is swallowed whole in facing off with the limitations of his agency. Cage wants to be fired but can’t bring himself to quit. Making choices is hard, exercising authority is risky when we don’t trust ourselves and can’t change the world around us, but being impotent is unbearable as well. However, Cage still treats people with compassion, even as he struggles to stand on his own two legs, and finds both figurative and literal stability when confronted with a situation where he can lend a helping hand. Cage, one of our most physical actors, uses subtle shifts in his weight to convey these boosts and depletions of balance. I never noticed that detail until this latest revisit, but it’s there, and a masterful touch to emphasize his fluctuating will power.

I’ve never worked as an EMT, but I have worked in crisis management for long enough to be able to relate to the stress, the chaos, the burnout, the highs from successes, the lows from failures, the stories that seem tasteless out of context, and the comedy in the horrors of everyday work life. There are some hilarious interventions here that directly usurp the gravity of death with an eccentric dry farce, while the film also takes death incredibly seriously, not in a transition but simultaneously. Schrader and Scorsese have made a film in the unique rhythm of the comic and dramatic extremities that are true to the weight of those on the front lines, but also more broadly life itself, just condensed here into three wild nights. The blend of tones creates a novel kind of deadpan, often enhanced by the high-wire or comfortably-optimistic soundtrack (or in my personal favorite scene, when Cage and Arquette are sitting in silence listening to These are the Days in the back of the ambulance, the ultimate anti-romance scene in just about every respect!), or sometimes in casual delivery of expected lines in ridiculous contexts (the visual gag of Cage saying, “Must be my face” after Arquette asks why everyone feels so comfortable opening up to him is gold), or even in insane slapstick hallucinations, like the perception of a patient’s telepathic communication to die, or yelling at a man for his "pathetic" suicide attempt. We are invited to find meaning in banalities and also laugh at the meaninglessness of them. There are plenty of eclectic spiritual and existential ideas mused on here without a thesis answer, and perhaps that’s why this film was received with confusion. Like Desplechin, it demands to be met on its messy terms. After all, trying to process death isn’t clean.

The roles we step into are waking nightmares and comedies themselves. Cage talks about the realization that his life about “bearing witness” and being “a grief mop” but that it wasn’t enough for him regarding the few memorable cases he believes he let down. There’s a beauty (as well as, unsurprisingly, a curse) in that intimacy he felt with these people, a relativist significance in their memories living on with him that might be as celestial as it is a plague. Is Cage cursed? Is the very question he posits to himself about this its own form of ego-induced absurdism? Well yeah, but it’s a relatable brand of preoccupation we have with ourselves, the kind that we wish we could surrender for humility, but for better or worse, we are self-important by design and often carry a correlative burden, living a life that’s as subjectively-defined and insurmountable as death.

As much as this film appears to be fragmented into separate lonely bodies, Scorsese and Schrader step in to cradle Cage with humor, music, exciting editing, philosophical musings, and surrealistic corporeal experiences to validate as a form of consolation, when the rest of the world won't, or can't. Yet they still find room to demonstrate how meaning is in the eye of the beholder, rejecting nihilism with bizarre human interaction that may objectively matter naught, but also celebrates that our destinies won't allow us to approach our milieu as neutrally as it may approach us, at least not at a sustained pace. This is a ghost story, where our pasts haunt us and we haunt our environments as walking ghosts, but there's always a chance around the corner for opportunities to affect someone or something, for the better, hopefully. The final shot finds an optimism in painting the power to connect to another person as spiritual, heavenly even, regardless of whether we are saving their life or not.

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#394 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Wed Dec 02, 2020 2:46 am

It's not my favorite (that would be Casino) but it certainly is top five for me, maybe my second favorite. It certainly feels like a far more youthful film than it actually was for him, although few youths could deliver such formal mastery. The thing that I noted watching it a few weeks ago though was that it was his most Powellian film, combining the darkness of Powell's English Romanticism with his dynamic fabrication of images––I think primarily of the scene where arms come out of the ground, reaching towards Cage. Riveting stuff.

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#395 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Dec 02, 2020 6:55 pm

I think I can see where you're coming from regarding its youthfulness, though I'd be interested to hear why you think so. There is certainly a sense of existential chaos that's treated with vibrant energy, borrowing seemingly every tone, style, and subgenre from film history (in addition to the ones I've mentioned or alluded to, the film strays from Romance to Cyber Punk a la Repo Man, all orbiting around a unique strain of the Contemplative Faith picture) to contribute to the melting pot of a diverse and impenetrably dense life experience. However, the film also has a tint of wisdom, humbly inserted rather than enveloping us with force, from Schrader and Scorsese as two more mature men approaching similar philosophical themes to those they've collaborated on before, but here with a tenderness and expanded compass that sees the world as both a divine comedy and a tragedy, and even because of one another in a fluidly dependent linkage that recognizes the fusion of humor and pain in wrestling with perceptions of an indiscriminate God, and life as a form of death (as well as death as proof of life).

As opposed to their earlier films that seem to clasp onto self-serious rigidity in passionate executions of pathos, both artists have evolved into a state where they can hold two truths together and understand that there aren’t ‘answers’ or clear-cut philosophies to latch onto. They refuse to grant Cage the faux-safety nets of maladaptive defense mechanisms that reinforce the adoption of more consistent narratives to stay afloat, as they did for Travis Bickle or Jake LaMotta, even if they didn't endorse them. Instead of self-delusional, they make him keenly self-conscious without mistaking that for self-actualization, and opt for a comprehensive experience that accepts impotence and laughs at it, while also empathizing with our drives to resist such acceptance. The process by which they shed definitive tones to expand toward peripheral ungroundedness is one that I doubt either could or would have been able to fathom, let alone execute so confidently, earlier in their careers. Compared to those others, this film isn't as angry or dysregulated or restless to break free from self-reflexive constraints of developmental milestones, but feels total compassion for that anger, that restlessness, the sorrow, the drive to run from, and the spiritual pull to run toward.

"From" or "toward" what is the space they modestly leave open-ended, for it's not a singular, palpable thing or concept- and the frenetic energy here contributes to the stimulated, exhausted, meditative and apathetic rhythms of chasing, running, and stalling at various junctures of the unreachable mirages of endpoints; in movements through tangible spaces and interactions with people that signify degrees of meaning to process or ignore, depending on our capacity in any given moment.

Bringing Out the Dead strikes me as a very insightful position to take from men who have lived a bit longer, and have had the opportunities to do the dance between acceptance and defiance against life on life's terms enough to be both worn down and rejuvenated to appreciate the light that shines down when they can surrender; acknowledging that it's not a static or finite place they've been able to reach. I certainly wasn't able to see the world this way in my youth.

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#396 Post by Swift » Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:07 pm

Scorsese and Fran Lebowitz wander around New York in a seven part documentary series airing on Friday on Netflix. There's a brief interview in the NYT today.

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#397 Post by Constable » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:19 pm

Why is Goodfellas held in such higher regard than Casino?

They're similar films. Same milieu, same style of storytelling... why is the appraisal so different?

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#398 Post by knives » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:28 pm

Because one came first.

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Re: Martin Scorsese

#399 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:51 pm

I disagree, though I'll admit that I find Casino to be a lot weaker than several members here I respect. Goodfellas feels tighter, the characters are more- well, I don't want to say "likable" but perhaps more digestible- and people in my life who spent time around gangsters in the 70s have stated that the film gets the culture very right, for whatever little that's worth. Casino I'm hot and cold on, but De Niro's character is an empty vessel and not in the way I think is profoundly intentional like The Irishman, some characters are downright aggravating- especially Pesci's, though I get that this is probably the point to dilute any romantic immoral characterizations. Stone gives an intense perf that I find entirely believable despite its wild theatrical nature, and although it's hard to watch it's also courageous for the lengths she goes to alienate the audience. I don't know, I'm not really offering up a good contrast and I fully expect a few people who I know love the film to come and make a stronger case the other way around (which I'd love to hear- pretty sure HinkyDinkyTruesmith is a huge Casino booster and I'd love to hear her defense as I'm sure it'd color the film better for my next revisit), but my point is that I think they're very different movies despite being about crime and having a couple familiar cast members, whichever side one comes down on preferring.

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HinkyDinkyTruesmith
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Re: Martin Scorsese

#400 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:42 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:51 pm
(which I'd love to hear- pretty sure HinkyDinkyTruesmith is a huge Casino booster and I'd love to hear her defense as I'm sure it'd color the film better for my next revisit)
It's true, I am. It's my favorite Scorsese film, hands down, and one of my very favorite and most cherished films. Ace is the ultimate control freak, a neo-Hawksian hero obsessed with doing the job right and doing it well; not only that but he takes that ethos to his personal relationships as well, which all suffer as other characters do what they want, not because it's the correct thing to do but because they are driven by baser instincts.

As a formal object, I think it's one of the fastest films ever made: it flies by for me and is just so fun. Consciously operatic, driven to excesses (like its characters), it's also something of a filmic essay in its first half. It expands the scope of Goodfellas, and while they are similar obviously in their depictions of people ruined by their lusts and addictions and arrogance, Goodfellas will always be distinct from the other Scorsese films like this (also including Wolf and Irishman) because these other three are far more concerned in situating its characters in history, in a history of capitalist decline and neoliberal expansion. I don't say this as a slight on Goodfellas, which although a sort of survey of the mob, is simply less concerned with the societal impacts of its characters. They are a self-contained unit. Casino and the later films are concerned with the way Las Vegas (and gambling at large, and corporations at large), Wall Street, and labor unions restructured themselves in the late 20th century.

Although for what it's worth I don't care for the characters in Goodfellas nearly as much as the central trio in Casino. Aside from Ace, whose neurotic and controlling tendencies I share to a certain extent (as well as his inability to quit the woman he thinks he loves), I can't really explain why I prefer Nicky and Ginger to the corresponding characters in Goodfellas. Perhaps it's simply because I find them funnier. I find Casino enormously funny, which it courts. Goodfellas is funny, of course, but its genre is also more modest: although comedy and drama intermix, it is more contained. Casino in its excesses because farcical, whether its Aces High or Ginger's cokehead ex-boyfriend fighting with their daughter, or simply the almost Beckettian back and forth nature of the fights of the second half. And at the end of the day, I love the rhythm of Casino, which is like a non-stop freight train until it finally does with a resigned sigh of a finish, one of my favorite endings and last lines in cinema.

Aside from all that, I'll leave you with an excerpt of something I wrote two years ago on letterboxd after seeing it. It gets a bit personal but I still largely agree with it all:
Two years ago wrote:I recognized the tragedy, the comic key in which many sequences play out (including the exaggeration of much of the violence from GOODFELLAS), the total destruction of a "way of life" and human beings. I did not fully process, however, the pain of addiction, the disintegration of a marriage, or more appropriately, the disintegration of a family predicated on a relationship built out of false hopes and one-sided affection. I saw in Sam "Ace" Rothstein a flawed hero, and in those around him overambitious, greedy antagonists. I still think this holds true, as Ace remains the most sensible of Scorsese's "moral decay" antagonists (see also GOODFELLAS and THE WOLF OF WALL STREET), but this time instead of passively viewing the moral failings and ambiguities of Nicky and Ginger, I tangled with their viewpoints, with the contradictory notion that he can be a good father and a horrid human being (or can he?) and that she can both be obsessed solely with money and yet also care what her husband thinks of her. "He hates my guts," she cries a moment after badmouthing him. He pops an eyeball out of a man's head but is always home in the morning to flip flapjacks for his son. Wisdom is holding two contradictory things in our mind at once, or something to that effect––there is no value in resolving these contradictions, in trying to rationalize them. Martin Scorsese is the great moral philosopher of our filmic era, the storyteller least likely to moralize about the most wicked, greedy, licentious people you can imagine. The excess of CASINO allows us to witness Ace try to rationalize a relationship with Ginger, and slowly that rationalization which is always underpinned by a possessive, controlling nature (such is his life) sours until the last third of the movie his interactions with her are laced with misogynistic profanity. It all rots into farce, deeply upsetting farce that is as funny as it is anxiety-inducing. Late in the film, Ace returns home with Ginger only to fight, with her leaving without entering any farther into the house than the front door. I struggled at that moment with tears. I have been in a situation like that, where some gravitational (or human-made) pull tries to force two people back to square one, to try again, only for it to crumble no more than a few minutes later.

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