Raging Bull is an unforgettable portrait of man who seemed to lack the capacity and imagination to ever be happy. It’s not a film you watch to be uplifted or reassured about the human condition. The most pleasant thought you can take away from the story of Jake La Motta (Robert DeNiro) is how fortunate you were not to be one of his friends. Or him.
In concert, the Rolling Stones can still rock the house. The lesser-known chestnuts and covers are played with passion, but after forty years classics like “Satisfaction” are starting to sound hollow and forced.
Plus, at his age, Keith Richards looks less like a guitar god and more like a bag lady. Ditch the head scarves, Keith! It’s not a good look for you…
On Thanksgiving Night in 1976, the legendary rock group known simply as The Band said farewell to touring with a party at San Francisco’s legendary Winterland Ballroom. 5,000 turkey dinners were served. There was ballroom dancing and a poetry reading.
This story of a lonely man isolated from the millions of people around him could have been told in any city but Martin Scorcese’s movie could only have been made in New York City, and only in the city of the mid-seventies. Travis Bickle is as much a product of that time and place as he is a creation of screenwriter Paul Schrader’s imagination.
The New York City of Taxi Driver is definitely not today’s “Disney-fied” city. This is the pre-Giuliani Big Apple, the domain of pimps and drug dealers. Continue reading →
If F-words were horses, Martin Scorcese’s The Departed would be a stampede. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Scorcese film without an intensive barrage of R-rated language and this is a prime example of the director in his natural environment, among cops and wise guys and navigating a morally ambiguous urban landscape.
Scorcese has spent the last decade away from his natural milieu, possibly pursuing a level of artsy respectability that would earn him that long denied Best Director Oscar. That makes it someone ironic that he finally won the award with a lurid, violent but insightful crime film that played to his strengths.
Making a film about Howard Hughes is quite a challenge, given that the man was largely an enigma even to those who knew him best. How do you tell the story about who struggled to hide his numerous demons and lived the last few decades of his life in virtual seclusion from the world? Director Martin Scorcese wisely chose to concentrate on the part of his life that was lived in the public eye but that is also part of the weakness of The Aviator. The facts presented here are well known to those familiar with the life of Howard Hughes and don’t really offer an incisive look at the private man.