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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, 6 March 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street 
directed by Martin Scorsese.
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... but the film depicts him as … er … a criminal. In many ways The Wolf of Wall Street replays Scorsese’s Goodfellas. There is a voice-over narration – some of it brilliantly mixed into the present moment, so that DiCaprio is telling the story in an impossible tense, a now that is already a then – and at one point he verbally echoes a famous line ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Irishman’, 5 December 2019

... round him and pauses in the air close to his face – too close for any plausible human view. Martin Scorsese – this is the opening scene of his new film The Irishman – likes this kind of shot. At the beginning of The Age of Innocence (1993) the camera zooms slowly in to the face of a singer on stage at the opera. We see wrinkles, make-up, the ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: Scorsese, 16 November 2006

The Departed 
directed by Martin Scorsese.
October 2006
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... how the story goes. The real point of the crown is that your psychosis has the world to itself. Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas (1990) opens with three gangsters on the road and a noise coming from the boot of the car. There is a corpse there who is not quite dead. The two older gangsters (Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci) take care of this problem, and the ...

No more pretty face

Philip Horne, 8 March 1990

Emotion Pictures: Reflections on the Cinema 
by Wim Wenders, translated by Sean Whiteside and Michael Hofmann.
Faber, 148 pp., £12.99, November 1989, 0 571 15271 6
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Scorsese on Scorsese 
by Martin Scorsese, edited by David Thompson and Ian Christie.
Faber, 178 pp., £12.99, November 1989, 9780571141036
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... an American cinema at the opposite pole from Disney’s – like another namesake, Travis Bickle, Martin Scorsese’s vigilante and Taxi Driver of 1975. The contrast between the characters is representative of the respective timbres of the directors’ work. Scorsese’s Travis takes out his frustration bloodily, on ...

At the Party

Christopher Hitchens, 17 April 1986

Hollywood Babylon II 
by Kenneth Anger.
Arrow, 323 pp., £5.95, January 1986, 0 09 945110 7
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Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan 
by Robin Wood.
Columbia, 336 pp., $25, October 1985, 0 231 05776 8
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... into a motion picture, and to read in a very imperious manner. How’s this for a point about Martin Scorsese and the absence of family life in Raging Bull and Taxi Driver? ‘The only family in Taxi Driver is Iris’s (strictly off-screen and marginal); neither Jimmy Doyle nor Francine Evans appear to have any parents; Jake LaMotta’s are mentioned ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Peeping Tom’, 2 December 2010

The Peeping Tom 
directed by Michael Powell.
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... out yourselves from the Curzon and other cinemas, where it is now showing in a restored print. Martin Scorsese, a great admirer of the film, says it is about the ‘madness of making movies’, a view not entirely at odds with all the disgust, just more interested in comparative madness. The film itself looks alternately stiff and stylish. People ...

The man who missed his life

Michael Wood, 10 February 1994

The Age of Innocence 
directed by Martin Scorsese.
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The Age of Innocence 
by Edith Wharton, introduced by Peter Washington.
Everyman, 308 pp., £9.99, September 1993, 1 85715 202 6
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... Nothing in Martin Scorsese’s film is quite as good as its first 15 minutes, but those 15 minutes are astonishing. You feel the movies are being invented; or at the very least that Scorsese has rediscovered a medium that has been lost since The Magnificent Ambersons. The camera pries and pulls back, sweeps and turns, picks up faces and gestures and furniture, putting itself (and us) in impossible situations ...


Stephen Frears: That's Hollywood, 20 December 1990

... to take this into account. We also talked about GoodFellas. ‘My friend Marty’ is the director Martin Scorsese, who had produced The Grifters. His fine film GoodFellas had just opened, and Donnie Brasco strayed into its territory. We had missed each other in New York and Los Angeles, but eventually met at Michael Powell’s memorial service. (He said ...

The Bloody Sixth

Joshua Brown: The Real Gangs of New York, 23 January 2003

The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld 
by Herbert Asbury.
Arrow, 366 pp., £6.99, January 2003, 0 09 943674 4
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Gangs of New York 
directed by Martin Scorsese.
December 2002
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... her battle cry and rushed biting and clawing into the midst of a mass of opposing gangsters’. Martin Scorsese’s Little Italy childhood was spent a short distance from the no-longer Points, and though the stories in Asbury’s book started a thirty-year obsession to transform The Gangs of New York into Gangs of New York, what made it to the screen ...

Going Wrong

Michael Wood, 7 March 1996

directed by Martin Scorsese.
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directed by Michael Mann.
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directed by David Fincher.
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... to take your pains and blemishes away. You dream of healing and you leave lots of money behind. Scorsese’s Casino is full of shots of money in close-up, in its solid, countable form, thousands of coins, thousands of bills, swilling through slot-machines and off gaming-tables into a tiny armoured back room. Also into the pockets of the people counting ...

On the Red Carpet

David Thomson, 7 March 2024

... can be levelled at the endless and wrongheaded Killers of the Flower Moon, the ultimate proof that Martin Scorsese is given such licence to do anything that it no longer matters what he does. His once unique urgency has become a red carpet of solemnity. So it seems a wilful blindness to decide that Oppenheimer is Best Picture when that verdict means ...

Among the Bobcats

Mark Ford, 23 May 1991

The Dylan Companion 
edited by Elizabeth Thomson and David Gutman.
Macmillan, 338 pp., £10.99, April 1991, 0 333 49826 7
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Bob Dylan: Performing Artist. Vol. I: 1960-73 
by Paul Williams.
Xanadu, 310 pp., £14.99, February 1991, 1 85480 044 2
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Dylan: Behind the Shades 
by Clinton Heylin.
Viking, 528 pp., £16.99, May 1991, 0 670 83602 8
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The Bootleg Series: Vols I-III (rare and unreleased) 1961-1991 
by Bob Dylan.
Columbia, £24.95, April 1991
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... of other artists he appeals. Surely the only thing in common between Samuel Beckett, Miles Davis, Martin Scorsese, Philip Larkin, Frank O’Hara, Bob Marley, would be their shared interest in his music. His songs have been more widely covered by other musicians, ranging from Frank Sinatra to Jimi Hendrix, from Olivia Newton-John to the Waterboys, than ...

A World of Waste

Philip Horne, 1 September 1983

The Proprietor 
by Ann Schlee.
Macmillan, 300 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 333 35111 8
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Slouching towards Kalamazoo 
by Peter De Vries.
Gollancz, 241 pp., £7.95, August 1983, 0 575 03306 1
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by Italo Calvino, translated by William Weaver.
Secker, 121 pp., £7.95, August 1983, 0 436 08272 1
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The Loser 
by George Konard, translated by Ivan Sanders.
Allen Lane, 315 pp., £8.95, August 1983, 0 7139 1599 4
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... than ‘outrageous’ (the blurb’s word), will fill us with a gloom like that discerned by Martin Scorsese in the worn features of the aging funnyman played by Jerry Lewis in his splendid recent film King of Comedy. The stories in Italo Calvino’s Marcovaldo (1963), a collection of 20 urban fables occupying a point in his work midway between the ...

Seagull Soup

Fara Dabhoiwala: HMS Wager, 9 May 2024

The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder 
by David Grann.
Simon & Schuster, 329 pp., £10.99, January, 978 1 4711 8370 6
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... cheering ‘God Bless the King!’ It’s no surprise that The Wager is being made into a film by Martin Scorsese: it already reads like one (Killers of the Flower Moon is based on an earlier book by Grann).These impressive effects rely on some writerly liberties. The demands of the book’s narrative structure result in continual small rearrangements of ...

Bourgeois Nightmares

Gilberto Perez: Michael Haneke, 6 December 2012

... Hours (1955) or Cape Fear (1962). (Both films were remade in the 1990s, by Michael Cimino and Martin Scorsese respectively; Haneke himself remade Funny Games in Hollywood in 2007.) The difference is that the criminals in The Desperate Hours or Cape Fear have a motive for assaulting the family, whereas in Funny Games they terrorise for the sake of ...

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