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Martin Scorsese

Mean Streets Review

Mean Streets Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) With Mean Streets, Martin Scorsese became a made man. The semi-autobiographical 1973 film unquestionably represents the director’s coming out party as a major talent, and it does so without even the slightest hint of the man abandoning the principles of his low-budget debut—Who’s That Knocking at My Door. Mean Streets is film […]

Life Itself Review

Life Itself Review

RATING: (4 STARS) “A film like Hoop Dreams is what the movies are for. It takes us, shakes us, and make us think in new ways about the world around us. It gives us the impression of having touched life itself.” —Roger Ebert, 1994 There’s a really clever reflexiveness at play with the last two […]

Boxcar Bertha Review

Boxcar Bertha Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) The winsome harmonica that opens Martin Scorsese’s second feature film, Boxcar Bertha, should be all the indication you need that it isn’t the kind of movie we’ve come to expect from the king of the gangster flick. Boxcar Bertha is Southern-fried pulp through and through. From the characters’ unmistakable drawl and the […]

Bringing Out the Dead Review

Bringing Out the Dead Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) Arguably one of Martin Scorsese‘s most forgotten (and forgettable) titles, 1999’s Bringing Out the Dead is a slippery eel of a film that eludes classification as defiantly as it does a traditional narrative trajectory. We never see our protagonist, Nicolas Cage‘s Frank Pierce, in a good place, so as far as the […]

Casino Review

Casino Review

RATING: (3 STARS) The 1990s were a fascinating period in the career of Martin Scorsese. It might not have been his most creatively fruitful decade, but he really started to experiment and step away from what’d become known for—The Age of Innocence, Kundun, etc. Casino, then, is an anomaly because it’s so (for lack of […]

Gifts for Movie Lovers

Gifts for Movie Lovers

The holidays—Black Friday and Cyber Monday, that is—are fast approaching, and if you’ve got a cinephile in your life, you’ve got plenty of possible gifts to choose from. I’ve selected some of the best—or at least most interesting—products out there (some that I own, some that I just want) to recommend whether you’re shopping for […]

Sunday Afternoon with Criterion: The Grey Gardens Edition

Sunday Afternoon with Criterion: The Grey Gardens Edition

I: Intro II: Grey Gardens III: What’s New? Intro Welcome to Sunday Afternoon with Criterion, a series of posts on JohnLikesMovies.com covering everything Criterion—the company’s newest releases, just-announced projects, reviews, lists, links, and more. It’s been a while since my last post in this series, but the deluge of doc screeners I’ve been going through […]

2014 Oscar Predictions: Resetting the Board

2014 Oscar Predictions: Resetting the Board

Click on over to my 2014 Oscar Predictions page to see everything I’m forecasting in the major categories. And check out my 2014 Oscar Predictions: Technical Categories page for projections in Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, and more. I’d planned to dive a little deeper into Best Documentary Feature today, but I’ve got quite a […]

Top 10 Leonardo DiCaprio Performances

Top 10 Leonardo DiCaprio Performances

It’s kind of amazing that everyone’s favorite heartthrob circa 1997, the guy who gave us Jack Dawson himself, has turned into one of cinema’s most fascinating, exciting, and reliable actors. While a gold statue has still managed to elude him, Leonardo DiCaprio has a resume many actors would kill for. He’s Scorsese’s new golden boy […]

Gangs of New York Review

Gangs of New York Review

RATING: (4 STARS) “My father told me we was all born of blood and tribulation, and so then too was our great city.” This beautiful quote just about closes Martin Scorsese’s impossibly epic Gangs of New York. And it’s a fitting one to sum up both the film’s plot and biggest themes. The Amsterdam Vallon […]

Side by Side

Side by Side

One wouldn’t necessarily expect Keanu Reeves to be as much an expert on the art of filmmaking as folks like James Cameron, George Lucas, Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, David Lynch, Danny Boyle, Steven Soderbergh, and Martin Scorsese, but in the documentary Side by Side, he’s a very knowledgable window into the artistic and technical processes […]

Who’s That Knocking at My Door Review

Who’s That Knocking at My Door Review

RATING: (2 STARS) Martin Scorsese’s directorial career kicked off with 1967’s Who’s That Knocking at My Door, a stylistically ambitious but dramatically flat slice of New York Italian realism. Show this movie to someone unfamiliar with the director’s masterpieces, and he or she would likely point out the tremendous potential that drips from almost every […]

Hugo Review

Hugo Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Martin Scorsese’s Hugo is this joyful love letter to youth, discovery, and the magic of movies. It’s also a visual feast for the eyes like we haven’t seen in years. Though a complete departure on so many levels for Scorsese, Hugo is just as good as some of his best works, both […]

The Departed Review

The Departed Review

RATING: (4 STARS) “The Departed” is director Martin Scorsese’s best work since “Taxi Driver.” Yeah, I said it. I think this film is better than “Goodfellas” and “Raging Bull.” In fact, for a long time, this film was my standard answer for the dreaded “What’s your favorite movie?” question. I no longer hold it in […]

Shutter Island Review

Shutter Island Review

RATING: (4 STARS) When the release date for “Shutter Island” was pushed back from October to February, film buffs everywhere panicked. The thriller, directed by Martin Scorsese and based on a novel by Dennis Lehane, was expected to be a major player at this year’s Academy Awards, but the delay meant it would be out […]

The Aviator Review

The Aviator Review

RATING: (3 STARS) When you sit down for a Martin Scorsese film, it would be fair to expect some fast-talking Italians, profanity laced-tirades, extremely violent killings, and of course, The Rolling Stones. But in “The Aviator,” we get the glamorous stars of old Hollywood, some beautifully photographed flying sequences, a sweeping romance, and the music […]