Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

It says something – and as a contented old atheist, I hardly know if I’m in a position to say what, but it’s something – that The Last Temptation of Christ could have the theologically promiscuous fatherhood of an Italian Catholic director working from a screenplay that a Calvinist writer adapted from a 1955 novel […]

Not, by any means, the most important fact about Martin Scorsese’s exhaustive new biographical epic The Irishman, but to me easily the most distracting: it is not titled The Irishman. The film has been adapted by Steven Zaillian from Charles Brandt’s 2004 nonfiction novel I Heard You Paint Houses, and that is the only title […]

A review requested by Tyler Thibodeaux, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The critical line of dialogue in Goodfellas isn’t, I don’t think, the pitch-perfect “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” It sure as hell isn’t “I’m funny how, I […]

Martin Scorsese has been attempting to make a film version of Endo Shusaku’s 1966 novel Silence since the early 1990s (an earlier Japanese-language adaptation, directed by Shinoda Masahiro), was released in 1971). After a quarter of a century, he has finally succeeded, and the emergent Silence very much feels like a movie that was the […]

The Tom Cruise intro I have spent a larger portion of my life thinking of Tom Cruise as a bobble-headed pretty boy than otherwise, but like all false beliefs, once you realise it’s not true, it’s hard to remember why you ever thought that way in the first place. I mean, yes, Top Gun, and […]

The Wolf of Wall Street isn’t done. That’s the thing that has to be cleared out before we can do anything else at all with it. It might very well be a film that Martin Scorsese can live with for the rest of his life without ever considering for a minute that he and editor […]

Martin Scorsese has always been at his best when he’s challenging himself the most, and that is why Hugo always seemed like a great idea for him even though it was completely weird: a big-budget 3-D family movie with a child protagonist, set in a magical realism version of Paris around 1930. The good news […]

(After experimenting this way and that, I’ve realised that I can’t really write any kind of analysis of Shutter Island that addresses exactly what makes it such an irritating, dispiriting and above all unsatisfying experience, without making pretty damn free with the spoilers for the film’s massive, easily-guessed third act twist. So easily-guessed, in fact, […]

The initial response to Martin Scorsese’s New York, New York was fairly unanimous: it was a failure. Time has been fairly gentle on this film, but it’s not hard to see why audiences and critics in 1977 were so disappointed: if nothing else, the director’s earlier films like Mean Streets, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Any […]

The recent films of Martin Scorsese have shown a distinct tendency to be flabby and aimless – I’d not exclude his Oscar-winning The Departed form either of those charges – so it’s with a feeling akin to a spiritual rebirth that I come to praise his new Rolling Stones concert film Shine a Light as […]

Martin Scorsese. Does any name from the 1970s’ cinema conjure up such a complete and fully-formed picture of his preoccupations as a filmmaker? Urban blight mixed with destructive men who pursue individuality to the point of psychosis, with ephemeral women placed beyond the human as beacons of pure goodness. Add a rock soundtrack and lots […]

The hype is right about one thing: The Departed is certainly a return to form for Martin Scorsese. There is however a difference between returning to form and returning to peak form, and this is where the remake of the much-superior Infernal Affairs can’t quite justify all its praise: it is stylish and fun, but […]