Weekly Film Recap (Martin Scorsese)

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Readily referred to as the greatest living filmmaker, Martin Scorsese constantly innovates and re-invents the cinematic form. From his first feature, that acted as a New Yorker’s take on a French New Wave film, to his slingshot into stardom in the 70s, to now, Scorsese has always been a risk-taker and it’s because of these risks that his films are all so exciting!

Scorsese began making self-produced short films before working with Roger Corman and eventually being able to make Mean Streets. It was after Mean Streets that Scorsese was able to slowly build up his resume by working on bigger and bigger pictures. Taxi Driver, which we already discussed this year in another series, sent him into the stratosphere and it was from there on out that Scorsese truly started making some monumental films.

Raging Bull opened the 80s and he followed it up with The King of Comedy, After Hours, The Color of Money, and his passion project The Last Temptation of Christ. The latter of those films polarized audiences and showed Scorsese taking on his religious subject matter head first for the first time.

In the 90s, Scorsese continued his success with Goodfellas, Cape Fear, and Casino which showed that regardless of the decades that past, Scorsese is still one of the most technically and creatively gifted filmmakers of our time. Into the 00s Scorsese has continued to polarize audiences with films like The Departed, the Wolf of Wall Street, and Silence.

Below are some more in-depth reviews on the films we talked about this past week for our Film of the Day series!

WHO’S THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR?     (dir. Martin Scorsese)   Marty Scorsese’s debut came at a time when cinema was changing and it brought some attention to this promising young director who would later go on to have one of the most exciting and prolific careers in filmmaking.  Harvey Keitel stars as JR, a young New York kid who spends his days mainly getting drunk with his friends, however we see that most of the time, his days are consumed with thoughts about an intriguing young girl he began seeing. What the film lacks in plot, it makes up for in style. Who’s That Knocking is easily one of the most stylistic films in Scorsese’s filmography and he approached it a lot like Arthur Penn approached his debut, Mickey One, where they indulged themselves in the cinematic possibilities introduced to them via the French New Wave.  This film is among the more underrated films in Scorsese’s career and it’s understandable to a degree why that is. For one, this film isn’t particularly accessible and it’s lack of a sturdy plot gives way for a lot of boredom if you’re not a cinephile, intrigued by the literacy and technicalities of filmmaking. Scorsese’s debut made it very well known that Scorsese is a movie brat and this quality is what I believe has kept him so relevant for so long. It’s also why Tarantino is so unbelievably popular. There’s a love, admiration, and respect for the cinematic art form that translates to the screen and gives viewers the feeling that thes was made by someone who truly cares.  4.5/5  WATCH: Putlocker (FREE), YouTube (RENT)

WHO’S THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR?

(dir. Martin Scorsese)

Marty Scorsese’s debut came at a time when cinema was changing and it brought some attention to this promising young director who would later go on to have one of the most exciting and prolific careers in filmmaking.

Harvey Keitel stars as JR, a young New York kid who spends his days mainly getting drunk with his friends, however we see that most of the time, his days are consumed with thoughts about an intriguing young girl he began seeing. What the film lacks in plot, it makes up for in style. Who’s That Knocking is easily one of the most stylistic films in Scorsese’s filmography and he approached it a lot like Arthur Penn approached his debut, Mickey One, where they indulged themselves in the cinematic possibilities introduced to them via the French New Wave.

This film is among the more underrated films in Scorsese’s career and it’s understandable to a degree why that is. For one, this film isn’t particularly accessible and it’s lack of a sturdy plot gives way for a lot of boredom if you’re not a cinephile, intrigued by the literacy and technicalities of filmmaking. Scorsese’s debut made it very well known that Scorsese is a movie brat and this quality is what I believe has kept him so relevant for so long. It’s also why Tarantino is so unbelievably popular. There’s a love, admiration, and respect for the cinematic art form that translates to the screen and gives viewers the feeling that thes was made by someone who truly cares.

4.5/5

WATCH: Putlocker (FREE), YouTube (RENT)

MEAN STREETS     (dir. Martin Scorsese)   Even though Mean Streets was Marty’s 3rd film, this one feels like the true ‘Scorsese’ debut!  Mean Streets stars Scorsese favorites Harvey Keitel and Robert DeNiro as Charlie and Johnny Boy, respectively. Charlie’s a very similar character to JR in Who’s That Knocking at My Door in that he’s a young, somewhat level-headed Italian-American New Yorker who spends his days getting by with his friends, while also dealing with certain religious conflict and guilt. Johnny Boy, on the other hand, is reckless, immature, and always owes someone something. Without Charlie, Johnny Boy would long be dead.  Mean Streets really feels like a more fully evolved version of Who’s That Knocking at My Door, and in fact, when you watch these two films back to back you really see certain parallels that helped Scorsese write and create Mean Streets. After all, both films are uniquely Scorsese, meaning that in both, it seems, that Keitel plays a version of Scorsese himself.  These two films are the only two films that Scorsese has served as writer for and that’s a big reason why they both feel so personal. - Where Who’s That Knocking showed promise, Mean Streets showed execution. Mean Streets is not only one of Scorsese’s best films, but one of the best gangster films ever made.  The way Scorsese depicts Little Italy with his gritty camerawork allows for a more real-life feeling. Handheld cameras give us the feeling of being on the streets with the guys while his snappy and always expressive editing gives the film a nice, brisk pace that doesn’t allow the audience to get bored for even one second.  5/5  WATCH: Putlocker (FREE), iTunes (RENT)

MEAN STREETS

(dir. Martin Scorsese)

Even though Mean Streets was Marty’s 3rd film, this one feels like the true ‘Scorsese’ debut!

Mean Streets stars Scorsese favorites Harvey Keitel and Robert DeNiro as Charlie and Johnny Boy, respectively. Charlie’s a very similar character to JR in Who’s That Knocking at My Door in that he’s a young, somewhat level-headed Italian-American New Yorker who spends his days getting by with his friends, while also dealing with certain religious conflict and guilt. Johnny Boy, on the other hand, is reckless, immature, and always owes someone something. Without Charlie, Johnny Boy would long be dead.

Mean Streets really feels like a more fully evolved version of Who’s That Knocking at My Door, and in fact, when you watch these two films back to back you really see certain parallels that helped Scorsese write and create Mean Streets. After all, both films are uniquely Scorsese, meaning that in both, it seems, that Keitel plays a version of Scorsese himself.

These two films are the only two films that Scorsese has served as writer for and that’s a big reason why they both feel so personal. - Where Who’s That Knocking showed promise, Mean Streets showed execution. Mean Streets is not only one of Scorsese’s best films, but one of the best gangster films ever made.

The way Scorsese depicts Little Italy with his gritty camerawork allows for a more real-life feeling. Handheld cameras give us the feeling of being on the streets with the guys while his snappy and always expressive editing gives the film a nice, brisk pace that doesn’t allow the audience to get bored for even one second.

5/5

WATCH: Putlocker (FREE), iTunes (RENT)

THE KING OF COMEDY     (dir. Martin Scorsese)   A horrifically overlooked film of Scorsese’s,  The King of Comedy  is a sharp-witted and masterful approach to delusional narcissism.  Robert DeNiro stars as Rupert Pupkin, a delusional wanna-be comedian who will do anything, besides actually work, to get the attention of his favorite comic Jerry Langford, played by Jerry Lewis in a fictionalized character of himself.  Scorsese’s inventive use of the camera is supplemented perfectly with the fine line between reality and delusion that Rupert spends the film treading on.  The King of Comedy  is not only a hilarious film, but it leaves so much open for interpretation that you can’t help but continue thinking about it long after watching it.    5/5     WATCH :  Prime Video

THE KING OF COMEDY

(dir. Martin Scorsese)

A horrifically overlooked film of Scorsese’s, The King of Comedy is a sharp-witted and masterful approach to delusional narcissism.

Robert DeNiro stars as Rupert Pupkin, a delusional wanna-be comedian who will do anything, besides actually work, to get the attention of his favorite comic Jerry Langford, played by Jerry Lewis in a fictionalized character of himself.

Scorsese’s inventive use of the camera is supplemented perfectly with the fine line between reality and delusion that Rupert spends the film treading on. The King of Comedy is not only a hilarious film, but it leaves so much open for interpretation that you can’t help but continue thinking about it long after watching it.

5/5

WATCH: Prime Video

AFTER HOURS     (dir. Martin Scorsese)   Alright, I know I said  The King of Comedy  was overlooked, but  After Hours  might have it beat.  After Hours  isn’t a film that gets looked at like  Taxi Driver, Raging Bull,  or  Goodfellas , but it has always been my personal favorite film of Scorsese’s.  Griffin Dunne stars as Paul Hackett, an everyday guy who meets Marcy, an eccentric attractive young woman at a diner one night. After meeting Marcy, his entire evening takes on a surreal and consequential turn as Paul keeps finding himself getting in more and more trouble, the longer the night goes on.  Scorsese made  After Hours  in an effort to return to his roots when he wasn’t able to get his passion project,  the Last Temptation of Christ , made.  After Hours  is fairly plotless and I’ve always compared it’s structure to that of  Easy Rider . There is no real over-arcing premises, it’s just one decision followed by another that dictates the next. Just like life.    5/5     WATCH: iTunes (RENT), Putlocker (FREE)

AFTER HOURS

(dir. Martin Scorsese)

Alright, I know I said The King of Comedy was overlooked, but After Hours might have it beat. After Hours isn’t a film that gets looked at like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, or Goodfellas, but it has always been my personal favorite film of Scorsese’s.

Griffin Dunne stars as Paul Hackett, an everyday guy who meets Marcy, an eccentric attractive young woman at a diner one night. After meeting Marcy, his entire evening takes on a surreal and consequential turn as Paul keeps finding himself getting in more and more trouble, the longer the night goes on.

Scorsese made After Hours in an effort to return to his roots when he wasn’t able to get his passion project, the Last Temptation of Christ, made. After Hours is fairly plotless and I’ve always compared it’s structure to that of Easy Rider. There is no real over-arcing premises, it’s just one decision followed by another that dictates the next. Just like life.

5/5

WATCH: iTunes (RENT), Putlocker (FREE)

GOODFELLAS     (dir. Martin Scorsese)   Not only did Scorsese have one of the biggest films in the 70’s and 80’s with  Taxi Driver  and  Raging Bull  respectively, but he also kicked off the 90s with one of the most iconic and beloved films in his filmography.   Goodfellas  hosts an all-star cast of Scorsese favorites with Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci while also introducing Ray Liotta as the lead character. Liotta stars as Henry Hill, a gangster who starts finding himself in more and more trouble, the longer he stays involved in the mob. On top of that, he begins to pick up a nasty coke addiction, which results in the final nail in the coffin for Henry.  Unlike many other gangster films,  Goodfellas  perhaps does the best job of showing the actual inner workings of the mob. With classic Scorsese style, Marty is able to depict t the actual hard-working ethic of these mobsters in a way that doesn’t slowly glamorize the riches like some of his counterparts.  Goodfellas  not only paints the picture that gangsters at the end of the day are CRIMINALS, but also shows just how important it is to make good decisions in life.    5/5     WATCH: iTunes (RENT), Putlocker (FREE)

GOODFELLAS

(dir. Martin Scorsese)

Not only did Scorsese have one of the biggest films in the 70’s and 80’s with Taxi Driver and Raging Bull respectively, but he also kicked off the 90s with one of the most iconic and beloved films in his filmography.

Goodfellas hosts an all-star cast of Scorsese favorites with Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci while also introducing Ray Liotta as the lead character. Liotta stars as Henry Hill, a gangster who starts finding himself in more and more trouble, the longer he stays involved in the mob. On top of that, he begins to pick up a nasty coke addiction, which results in the final nail in the coffin for Henry.

Unlike many other gangster films, Goodfellas perhaps does the best job of showing the actual inner workings of the mob. With classic Scorsese style, Marty is able to depict t the actual hard-working ethic of these mobsters in a way that doesn’t slowly glamorize the riches like some of his counterparts. Goodfellas not only paints the picture that gangsters at the end of the day are CRIMINALS, but also shows just how important it is to make good decisions in life.

5/5

WATCH: iTunes (RENT), Putlocker (FREE)

CASINO     (dir. Martin Scorsese)   5 years after  Goodfellas , Scorsese teamed back up with a lot of the same crew to make  Casino : his film about the Las Vegas mobsters.  Robert DeNiro stars as Ace Rothstein, a former gangster who now runs the most prominent casino in Vegas, the Tangiers. It’s out here in Vegas that Ace makes quite the name for himself, however his partner Nicky, played by Joe Pesci causes a lot of trouble for him due to his violent nature. Further, his former hustler of a wife complicates matters even worse when she can’t leave her low-life ex-boyfriend in the past.   Casino  is based on a novel written by Nicholas Pileggi, who also wrote the novel  Goodfellas  was based off of. DeNiro and Scorsese marked their 8th collaboration with this film and it was their last collaboration together before  The Irishman  which is due out this year! -  Casino  shows DeNiro at perhaps his most sympathetic under Scorsese, as a man who is whole-heartedly dependent and desperate for mutual trust.    4/5     WATCH: iTunes (RENT), Putlocker (FREE)

CASINO

(dir. Martin Scorsese)

5 years after Goodfellas, Scorsese teamed back up with a lot of the same crew to make Casino: his film about the Las Vegas mobsters.

Robert DeNiro stars as Ace Rothstein, a former gangster who now runs the most prominent casino in Vegas, the Tangiers. It’s out here in Vegas that Ace makes quite the name for himself, however his partner Nicky, played by Joe Pesci causes a lot of trouble for him due to his violent nature. Further, his former hustler of a wife complicates matters even worse when she can’t leave her low-life ex-boyfriend in the past.

Casino is based on a novel written by Nicholas Pileggi, who also wrote the novel Goodfellas was based off of. DeNiro and Scorsese marked their 8th collaboration with this film and it was their last collaboration together before The Irishman which is due out this year! - Casino shows DeNiro at perhaps his most sympathetic under Scorsese, as a man who is whole-heartedly dependent and desperate for mutual trust.

4/5

WATCH: iTunes (RENT), Putlocker (FREE)

SHUTTER ISLAND     (dir Martin Scorsese)    Shutter Island  is very much Scorsese’s take on a   Hitchcockian concept and it plays out just like a film from the master of suspense!  Leonardo DiCaprio stars in his 4th role for Martin Scorsese as Teddy Daniels, an investigator who sails over to Shutter Island, a menacing mental hospital housing the most dangerous and mentally unstable criminals. he arrives to investigate the disappearance of a vicious murderer, but while there Teddy begins to slowly realize that he might have been led on a wild goose chase.  This is one of the films that constantly captivates me because no matter how many times you watch it, you always find something new. Scorsese was perhaps most attentive to details in this film and it takes the role as one of Scorsese’s most psychological pictures. While all the twists make for one great shock the first time only, the whole adventure that is  Shutter Island  only grows more and more enticing with each viewing.    5/5     WATCH: Hulu

SHUTTER ISLAND

(dir Martin Scorsese)

Shutter Island is very much Scorsese’s take on a Hitchcockian concept and it plays out just like a film from the master of suspense!

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in his 4th role for Martin Scorsese as Teddy Daniels, an investigator who sails over to Shutter Island, a menacing mental hospital housing the most dangerous and mentally unstable criminals. he arrives to investigate the disappearance of a vicious murderer, but while there Teddy begins to slowly realize that he might have been led on a wild goose chase.

This is one of the films that constantly captivates me because no matter how many times you watch it, you always find something new. Scorsese was perhaps most attentive to details in this film and it takes the role as one of Scorsese’s most psychological pictures. While all the twists make for one great shock the first time only, the whole adventure that is Shutter Island only grows more and more enticing with each viewing.

5/5

WATCH: Hulu