The Aviator (2004)

A very striking film, with the filming, the visuals done so as to mimic the type of film stock of the time different periods of the film are set in. Situating the film in the legacy of Hollywood like this (it basically opens with scenes from HELL’S ANGELS) helps ground the construct of Howard Hughes…

Hell's Angels (1930)

Quite engaging, with arresting flying scenes worthy of their acclaim (and perhaps the absurd amount of work put into them too), but too dedicated to relationships and characters that grind things to a halt. A speech about profiteering and corruption, of war and ethics is a rare highlight in the ‘character’ side of the film,…

The Hustler (1961)

Is it a case of the ‘Seinfeld is Unfunny’ trope – a work of media having lesser impact on an audience that’s seen works that draw from and imitate it, before the originating work itself – that THE HUSTLER failed to work much magic on me? I appreciate it being one of the relatively few…

Hugo (2011)

A charming take on cinema, childhood, legends, if overly cloying at times. Watching it in 2D years after its release stings a little, as much of the film was very clearly made for 3D, and it’s fascinating that Scorsese chose to go in that direction. What’s less surprising is why he chose to adapt a…

Shutter Island (2010)

A delightfully pulpy noir that commendably commits to being a waking nightmare of a film. The setting veers near being ridiculous in the design of the asylum, the jagged cliffs, intense weather, but Scorsese and DiCaprio clearly take the story seriously, and that commitment is what makes the film really work. Flashbacks to Dachau would…

Gangs of New York (2002)

Scorsese says the inspiration from GANGS OF NEW YORK came from, like so many things, his childhood. As a child in Little Italy, Manhattan, he would notice elements of the neighborhood far more aged than the rest, notably tombstones. “I gradually realized that the Italian-Americans weren’t the first ones there, that other people had been…

Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

The same way CASINO felt like a retread of GOODFELLAS, BRINGING OUT THE DEAD feels like a retread of TAXI DRIVER. Covering forty-eight hours in the life of Nicholas Cage’s burn-out paramedic character, Scorsese and Paul Schrader make a third murky character study about a man worn down by their roles in life, navigating a…