To be honest I still find it hard to choose between Taxi Driver and Goodfellas as my favorite Scorsese movie so I have decided to pick the film that I watched first and although it came out in 1976 I didn’t get to watch it till the mid 80s and you know something? it hasn’t aged one bit, if anything it’s got better, it’s still as compelling and shocking as it was when I first loaded that VHS tape into my video player back then and pressed play : everytime I’ve revisited Taxi Driver since I drool over the way the film’s dark narrative takes you on this emotional rollercoaster that ends with a sharp jolt, relief and in some ways sadness, the way the seedy, dark streets of New York are captured, the innocence of Jodie Foster and the power & excitement a certain Robert De Niro brings to Travis Bickle, a complex character and a role that may just be his finest….
Born on the 17th November 1942 in Queens New York Martin Scorsese has directed some of my favorite movies of all times, he’s part of My Mount Rushmore of Movie Directors and is still one of only a handful of filmmakers that I would pay good money to watch his movies numerous times play out on the big screen : his pictures tend to use camera moves that are huge in scale, fill the screen and engulf you with this wonderful creation, some of his films use voice-over narration to only enhance the experience, my favorite’s include Goodfellas and Casino and he always uses the cream of the crop to bring his work alive, getting the very best out of stars such as De Niro, Keitel, DiCaprio and Day-Lewis : he’s been nominated 9 times for Best Director at the Academy Awards sadly only winning once for his 2006 remake of The Departed, and although I enjoyed it for me it’s bottom tier Scorsese : his next film Killers of the Flower Moon comes out next year and is a 1920’s crime thriller based on David Grann’s book of the same name and star’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro
One of my favorite Martin Scorsese quotes : I have a desire to tell stories. And I’m never quite satisfied
A mob hitman tells the story of his possible involvement with the hit on Jimmy Hoffa – THE IRISHMAN is Martin Scorsese’s 25th feature film and is now on Netflix (and showing at limited cinema’s throughout the country) – the movie starts in beautiful, typical Scorsese fashion, with the camera creeping effortlessly along some corridors and into a small room where Robert De Niro’s character Frank aka: The Irishman who looks old and life beaten starts to tell his story….. due to the quality of storytelling the film’s 209min run-time flies by, you get so engrossed by it all, I mean this is one of cinema’s greatest directors with a bunch of actors who are LEGENDS of the screen in a gangster movie no less what’s not to piss your movie loving pants over – THE IRISHMAN is a towering movie experience that shows more restraint, is more personal & certainly more tragic than Scorsese’s recent films – the de-aging of it’s cast is sublime and actually mind blowing if you’ve followed these actors since their early days, De Niro, Pacino and Pesci roll back the years giving outstanding performances with the likes of Stephen Graham & Ray Romano joining the big boys league in fine fashion, Graham’s character Tony Pro has some riveting and funny exchanges with Pacino’s Hoffa that are certainly amongst the film’s highlights – Overall The Irishman may not be Scorsese’s best work but a love letter to the genre & a tribute to Four Giants of the screen it most certainly is ★★★★½
Top Right: 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford and Sean Connery – Top Left: 1982’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial with Steven Spielberg & Henry Thomas – Bottom Right: 1976’s Taxi Driver with Martin Scorsese, Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro – Bottom Left: filming 1939’s Gone with the Wind
We’re all guilty of it, shamelessly looking at an actors body of working and criticizing them for not living up to their high standards of yesteryear – recently I compared the careers of movie legends Al Pacino with Robert De Niro, in their hay day their movies were sublime and their performances staggering yet in the last 12-15yrs both actors have lost their way, both have failed to ignite the screen with the same level of passion, intensity & quality – remember when Pacino was shouting “Say hello to my little friend” in De Palma’s classic Scarface and De Niro was cracking a baseball bat over someone’s skull in the wonderful Untouchables – they were the days, both starred in so many amazing films so I wonder why it is that these 2 stars are now settling for pretty average roles in lets face it pretty average movies? Maybe the great roles of today (of which there are few) are now falling to a younger generation of movie talent such as DiCaprio and Bale? Or maybe their happy with their lot, they’re still regarded as 2 of the greatest living actors so why not do roles as a favor for a friend or simply for the bigger payout? Whatever the reason, good news could be around the corner – the pair could soon reunite on Martin Scorsese’s gangster thriller The Irishman and with veteran Joe Pesci rumored to be on board this will have any film fan worth their salt purring like a cat in heat – so although the last 15yrs have been a mixed bag for Pacino and De Niro, I’m sure you will agree the movie world is still a brighter place with these two legends of our screen in it….
Happy 65th Birthday to one of the screen’s great actresses MERYL STREEP – to celebrate I’ve posted this small collage of movie stills of Meryl with some of her leading men, the 6 I felt had that chemistry, that spark, that made that particular movie an incredible viewing experience – amazingly Meryl has been nominated for an an Academy Award more times than any other actor or actress out there – she has won 3 of her 18 Oscar Nominations and has also won 8 of her 28 Golden Globe nominations – next up for Meryl is a small role in Tommy Lee Jones western The Homesman, then playing a Witch in Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods and she has just signed up to play an aging rocker in Diablo Cody‘s Ricky and the Flash – it’s hard to believe that Meryl is 65 today, she still commands the screen churning out incredible performances whilst looking as beautiful and graceful as she did bursting onto our screens back in the late 70’s – once again Happy Birthday Meryl Streep the queen of the screen your truly one of a kind !!
THE BAG MAN is a taut crime thriller that follows JACK (John Cusack), a tough guy with chronic bad luck but human touches, and legendary crime boss DRAGNA (Robert De Niro). DRAGNA has summoned JACK and a host of shady characters to a remote bayou motel for unknown reasons, and over the course of a long and violently eventful night, Jack’s path crosses with the stunningly beautiful RIVKA (Rebecca Da Costa). All of their fates intertwine, and when Dragna arrives on the scene there are sudden and extreme consequences for everyone involved – David Grovic makes his directorial debut working with a cast that includes Robert De Niro, John Cusack, Crispin Glover, Dominic Purcell, Sticky Fingaz and Rebecca Da Costa – here’s some new character posters and the trailer…. Enjoy!
GRUDGE MATCH (2014) – Movie Review ★★★½
“I’ll be a fighter. I was born to be a fighter.”
Grudge Match stars Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Kim Basinger, Alan Arkin, Kevin Hart & Jon Bernthal – From Peter Segal the director of 50 First Dates & Get Smart comes a sports comedy following a pair of aging & bitter Boxing rivals that are coaxed out of retirement for one final dance around the ring 30 years after their last match ended in controversy and resentment VERDICT I grew up watching these two acting heavy weight’s in the likes of Rocky and Raging Bull and was captivated by their performance in Copland so when it was announced that Stallone and De Niro would return to the ring and reunite for this movie I was quite excited – I wish I could be as enthusiastic about this review as I was taking my seat at the films recent screening – the film wasn’t as good as I had hoped for, the best bits seemed to have been shown in the trailer and although the onscreen sparring of two of my favorite actors was deliciously fun at times, a mediocre Rothman & Kelleher’s script, the annoying Kevin Hart who’s rubbish in pretty much everything I have seen and a pretty lack luster performance from Kim Basinger only helped the picture in becoming a lightweight affair – Grudge Match is not a bad movie but one that I had high hopes for and although I found myself enjoying certain aspects of the film like the movies many homages to Stallone’s Rocky I still left the theater feeling slightly disappointed – overall if your after a break from the glut of serious & dramatic themed movies of late then Peter Segal’s Grudge Match may be what your after – it’s a far cry from being a knockout but I’m pretty sure you will be entertained and even leave the cinema with a little smile – stay after the credits for a couple of superb outtakes….
LAST VEGAS (2013/4) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Last Vegas stars Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Robert De Niro, Mary Steenburgen & Romany Malco – In their childhood four friends Paddy, Billy, Archie & Sam known as the Flat Bush Four did everything together, they were inseparable – picking up the story 58 years later the friends are now living separate lives & coming to terms with old age when out of the blue Billy played by Michael Douglas announces he is to marry – Sam convinces the other two that this is a great opportunity to get them altogether again for one last hoorah – VERDICT I pretty much love everything Jon Turteltaub has been involved with from his early days behind the camera directing movies such as Cool Runnings, Whilst You Were Sleeping and The Kid to his two National Treasure movies and even 2010’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Turteltaub always seems to deliver a fun night at the flicks and 2013’s Last Vegas is no different – along with the four main leads there’s also another chance for us to see the lovely Mary Steenburgen at work, her delicious charm blended with undoubted talent playing a Vegas singer who catches the eye of Billy & Paddy adds greatly to the solid storyline written by the super talented Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love) – with all the movies out there with endless violence, hard hitting subject matters & gross out comedy it’s so refreshing to see four movie veterans entertain the old fashion way and doing it with a swagger – from the dancing of Freeman, the grace of Steenburgen, the hilarity of Kline, the seriousness of De Niro and the charm of Douglas LAST VEGAS is a touching delightful tale of friendship & one that reminds us that we’re never too old to live our life and be kids once more….
AMERICAN HUSTLE (2013/4) – Movie Review ★★★★
American Hustle stars Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner & Robert De Niro – Originally titled American Bullshit comes a story about a con man, Irving Rosenfeld (Bale), and his sexy, seductive partner Sydney Prosser (Adams) who are forced into working for the FBI by a wild agent named Richie DiMaso (Copper) who wants to bring down corrupt politicians – this threesome becomes more messed up when Rosenfeld’s unpredictable, fun loving wife Rosalyn played by Jennifer Lawrence gets involved – VERDICT yet another wonderful picture from David O Russell the director of I Heart Huckabees, The Fighter & Silver Linings Playbook – his latest American Hustle is a delicious cocktail of dark humor & captivating performances from the likes of Bradley Cooper who deserves Oscar Recognition for his take on Richie DiMaso the wacky, tacky ambitious FBI agent who’s obsessed in taking down the corrupt, the beautiful Amy Adams who’s raw aggressive acting & revealing dress wear is mesmerizing and Christian Bale brings his A game to the party with a performance so good that it pulls you into you the character he’s playing and never lets you go he’s outstanding – it must also be said the marvelous sets & costume designs are pretty impressive giving the 70s era New Jersey a fantastic look adding to the vibe of the picture – Jennifer Lawrence gives yet another superb performance playing Bale’s wife, Michael Peña is delightful playing Sheik Abdullah and Robert De Niro pops up in a small role playing a mafia boss – overall David O Russell’s American Hustle is an exciting, smart and original picture that’s not quite to the standards of Silver Lining but a fabulous cinematic romp nevertheless – I would be very surprised if American Hustle didn’t feature heavily at this years Academy Awards – wonderful, electric & utterly brilliant!….
THE FAMILY – (2013) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Cast – Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron, Domenick Lombardozzi and John D’Leo – The Family is the latest movie from Fifth Element & Leon director Luc Besson and is based on the novel Malavita : aka: Badfellas written by Tonino Benacquista – the film follows a Mafia family under the witness protection program who are relocated to Normandy, where they’re given a new identity and attempt to blend in to their new surroundings – but it’s not too long before chaos ensues after the crime kingpin tracking down The Family discover their new home VERDICT after discovering the wonderful Luc Besson in 88s The Big Blue and then in the mid 90s his epic Leon and The Fifth Element it’s been a pretty mediocre last ten years or so for this talented french director – but I’m happy to report that The Family is a return to form, the movie has a quick witted script and has some fun performances especially by Dianna Agron who gives her finest acting display to date playing the sexy, no nonsense daughter to Bob De Niro’s mob boss Giovanni Manzoni – Michelle Pfeiffer is also well worth the admission playing the bored housewife who like the rest of the family enjoys causing mayhem, her scene in the supermarket is fabulous with her facial expressions nailing the moment – another of my favorite scenes is when the mobsters come off the train in sleepy Normandy accompanied by the Gorillaz track Clint Eastwood it’s such a terrific moment with John D’Leo‘s character Warren watching on in awe and disbelief – overall The Family is a dark humored mobster flick that contains barrels of violence and some stylishly shot action scenes, the best of which are during the movies final quarter – The Family may not hit the standards of his early movies but Luc Besson has reminded us once more of his film-making qualities….
This movie looks a blast – dubbed as Raging Bull vs Rocky – A pair of retired, aging boxing rivals are coaxed out of retirement to fight one last time — 30 years after their last match – here’s a group of retro style movie posters for Sylvester Stallone & Robert De Niro’s latest – Boxing Comedy GRUDGE MATCH…. Enjoy!!
Stallone & De Niro reunite after appearing together in 1997’s Cop Land – Peter Segal (Nutty Professor II: The Klumps & Anger Management) is on directing duties….
GRUDGE MATCH opens of Christmas Day stateside and 24th January in the UK
Not many filmmakers have spanned the decades quite like Martin Scorsese, it was the late 80’s that I first watched his classic, gritty drama 1973’s Mean Streets and since then have watched pretty much everything this New Yorker has set to film, from his early collaborations with De Niro and Keitel in the mid 70s early 80s to this centuries dynamic pairing with DiCaprio, Scorsese is truly one of cinema’s finest Movie Directors – he has received 7 Academy Award Nominations for Best Director (winning for 2006’s The Departed) and in 2010 he was given the Cecil B. DeMille Award – below is what we think are his TOP 10 MOVIES Behind the Camera
Our number 1 choice is 1990’s Goodfellas that stars Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci who went on to win an Oscar for his colorful portrayal of Tommy “What do you mean I’m funny?” Devito, the film is the best gangster movie I’ve ever seen and in my opinion the crown jewels on Martin Scorsese’s incredible CV – following close behind is the electric Taxi Driver, the brutal Gangs of the New York and boxing drama Raging Bull – at number 5 is the Howard Hughes tale The Aviator and at number 6 De Niro re-teams with Joe Pesci for the epic mobster, gambling drama Casino – at number 7 is the return of the hustler in 1986’s The Color of Money that’s followed by a trip down the streets of Little Italy in Mean Streets and the uncompromising movie remake of Cape Fear – finally at number 10 sees Daniel Day Lewis in 19th Century New York in The Age of Innocence
Martin Scorsese was born on this day in 1942 in Queens, New York – his latest movie is The Wolf of Wall Street that stars Leonardo DiCaprio and lands Christmas in the US and early next year internationally….