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Martin Scorsese – Part 1: The Seventies and Eighties.

Posted by LiveFor on February 14, 2010

After almost four years since his last feature film, The Departed, the legendary Martin Scorsese returns this month with an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel Shutter Island. Join Live for Films as we take a look at some selected works of a man who originally wanted to be a priest but went on to become one of the most influential filmmakers of his generation. Since Scorsese has made 21 feature films we have decided to split this in to three parts and will post them in the build up to Shutter Island out 12th March in the UK. 19th February in the USA

Mean Streets

Scorsese’s first feature film in 1967, Who’s Knocking at My Door?, would introduce him to Harvey Keitel and Editor Thelma Schoonmaker who he would continue to work with throughout his career. Before he made his breakthrough with Mean Streets, Scorsese tuned his skills and ‘business’ knowledge by making Boxcar Bertha for the legendary Roger Corman the man responsible for launching the careers of James Cameron and Francis Ford Coppola among others. Mean Streets burst on to the scene in 1973 featuring Scorsese’s signature themes of Catholicism and redemption along with what would later be referred to as his trademark style; gritty backdrops, raw camera work, rapid edits and a stylish rock soundtrack were merged to great effect which also featured a standout performance by a young Robert De Niro who would become a long term collaborator.

After Scorsese directed Elyen Burstyn to an Oscar in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, he would again team up with De Niro in the controversial Paul Schrader scribed Taxi Driver. Charting the breakdown of Travis Bickel, the film featured the now immortal “you talking to me?” line and a young Jodie Foster as a prostitute. The film was criticised for its graphic violence, especially during the climatic sequence, and the fact thirteen year old Jodie Foster portrayed a prostitute and was on-set during the violent conclusion. Along with a host of other nominations, the film won the Palme d’Or at the 1976 Cannes film festival and solidified Scorsese as an established director.

Raging Bull

The following years were tough for Scorsese, after the financial failure of New York, New York he had developed a bad cocaine habit and entered a deep depression. He managed to make a pair of documentaries; The Last Waltz, following the final concert of musicians The Band, and American Boy in 1978. It is widely suggested that Robert De Niro insisted Scorsese kick his drug habit so the duo could bring the story of boxer Jake La Motta to the screen in Raging Bull. The story of the middleweight champion is one of, if not the greatest, of Scorsese’s career. Filmed in high contrast black and white it is visually stunning and it is obvious Scorsese put everything he had into it utilising a range of stylised camera techniques, it is widely considered a masterpiece. The film captured two Academy Awards including Best Actor for De Niro, however Robert Redford picked up Best Director.

Scorsese followed up Raging Bull with his fifth De Niro collaboration, The King of Comedy, a satirical look at celebrities and the media. Although not considered a commercial success, De Niro’s performance as aspiring comedian, Rupert Pupkin, is heavily praised by critics. Scorsese had hoped his next project would be an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ controversial novel The Last Temptation of Christ but due to pressure from religious groups the project was pulled by studio bosses right before shooting was to set to begin. Dismayed at Paramount Pictures decision to halt The Last Temptation of Christ Scorsese stayed away from studio pictures; going back to basics by filming the independent After Hours before venturing into music videos shooting the iconic Bad for Michael Jackson, eventually making a return with his first real mainstream attempt, The Colour of Money in 1987. A sequel to the 1961 film The Hustler in which Paul Newman reprises his role from the original, it also features Tom Cruise as a young pool player who is taught the ways of hustling by veteran Fast Eddie. Newman would go on to win an Oscar for the role; he missed out 25 years earlier for the same character in the original. The success of the film would give Scorsese the freedom to finally make his personal project The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988. Paul Schrader would pen the screenplay while Willem Defoe took on the role of Jesus Christ. The backlash from Christian groups was unprecedented with violence erupting during protests; Christian fundamentalists would firebomb a cinema screening the film. The anger came mainly from the sexual elements of the film and the depiction of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute; however Scorsese and Schrader set out to portray Jesus as a human being, rather than in the divine terms written in the Bible, showing his struggle with the temptation to sin like every regular man. Although not a commercial success the film was well received and continues to rightly win critical acclaim.

Join us for part 2 in a few days where we take a look at Scorsese in the 90’s, including Goodfellas, Cape Fear and Casino.

Shutter Island is in cinemas from 19th February. Be sure to check out our exclusive interview.

By Richard Bodsworth.

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Classic Scene – Contact – Opening scene

Posted by LiveFor on December 27, 2009

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The Beaver – Mel Gibson goes all Caddyshack on us

Posted by LiveFor on September 29, 2009

Here we have our first look at Mel Gibson in the Jodie Foster directed film, The Beaver.

The film follows Walter (Mel Gibson), troubled father and husband and CEO of a stalling toy company [who gives voice to] The Beaver, a glove pupper that Walter finds, starts to wear without pause, and adopts as a kind of avatar through which he carries out all of his communication. Almost all of the dialogue given to the lead actor throughout the entire screenplay will have to come from the Beaver, and be delivered in what screenwriter Kyle Killen describes as a “crisp English accent.” All very Lars and the Real Girl
As well as directing Jodie Foster also stars in the film which means the Maverick posse are together again.

I really do like the look of the Beaver puppet. More cartoony than I thought it would be and it is totally in the style of the Caddyshack gopher.

Source: First Showing

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Anton Yelchin is all over The Beaver

Posted by LiveFor on September 10, 2009

YelchinVariety reports that Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Terminator Salvation, Charlie Bartlett) will be co-starring with Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster in The Beaver. Foster will be directing this project.

Yelchin will be the son of Gibson’s and Foster’s characters. Gibson plays a severely depressed man whose only happiness is wearing a beaver hand-puppet. Foster plays his wife, and Yelchin’s character wants them to get a divorce.

The script was written by Kyle Killen. Foster initially came on to the project and then brought it to Gibson. The two worked together in 1994’s Maverick.

Jennifer Lawrence has also been added to this project.

Summit Entertainment bought The Beaver last month and hopes to release the film in 2010 or early 2011.

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Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster – Mmm, Nice Beaver.

Posted by LiveFor on July 10, 2009

Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster are getting back together 15 years after Maverick for the $18 million comedy The Beaver reports Variety.

Gibson will play a depressed man who finds solace in wearing a beaver hand-puppet. Kind of like Lars and the Real Girl. Steve Carell and Jim Carrey had both been interested in the role.

Foster will both direct the film and play the role of the man’s wife. The actress brought the project to Gibson herself.

Kyle Killen penned the script which made last year’s coveted Blacklist. Steve Golin and Keith Redmon will produce.

Shooting begins this September in New York City.

Gibson’s going back to acting after directing, drinking and saying dodgy things. Foster is going back to directing after a bit of acting and sauciness in A Very Long Engagement.

Should be quite interesting to see how Gibson is received after his divorce and poor choice of words.


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Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster are together again

Posted by LiveFor on April 23, 2009

The Metro posted this excellent photo. Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster recreate a scene from The Silence Of The Lambs as part of a 20th anniversary issue of Empire magazine guest edited by Steven Spielberg.

Thanks to Alan S for pointing it out to me.

Leave a comment on this post below.


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Spike Lee talks about Inside Man 2

Posted by LiveFor on January 20, 2009

Big plot changes and casting continuity are in store for Spike Lee’s sequel to his 2006 bank heist blockbuster, Inside Man, the director exclusively told MTV News at Sundance.

Early reports had the movie, tentatively titled “Inside Man 2,” focusing on Clive Owen and his crew of ingenious thieves getting embroiled in a New York diamond district heist. “Naw, naw, not anymore,” Lee now says of that potential storyline, declining to reveal any fresh details. “Can’t tell you, or I’ll have to do one of these,” he says, making a stabbing motion. He did admit that, like the first picture, the sequel will be shot on location in New York City.

While plot specifics remain locked safely away, Lee revealed the original cast will return, including Owen as the criminal mastermind with a keen sense of moral rectitude, Denzel Washington as a world-weary NYPD detective, and Jodi Foster as a shady businesswoman-for-hire. Lee also revealed another original cast member will reprise their role, Chiwetel Ejiofor.

“Inside Man” was something of a surprise hit in 2006. The setup was familiar—the perfect bank robbery becomes a hostage crisis—and the famously independent director seemed ill-suited for a conventional Hollywood crime caper. Yet the screenplay was chock full of satisfying plot twists, and Lee cast folks with strong acting chops and proved adept at capturing not only the nuances of character but the demands of fast-paced action. “Inside Man” turned out to be anything but Hollywood stock fare and went on to gross $184 million worldwide.

Taking over scriptwriting duties from first film scribe Russell Gewirtz is “Hotel Rwanda” writer/director Terry George. “I got an email from Terry George yesterday,” Lee told us. “He just finished—he’s at the end of the first act.”

But Lee isn’t about to jump into filming the first sequel of his career without a finished script. “If the script is up to snuff, we’ll be shooting it,” he says. “Here’s the thing: if everything lines up—people’s schedules are open, [we’ll begin in] late summer, early fall.”

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