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Edith Wharton's novel The Age of Innocence is adapted by, of all directors, Martin Scorsese...the violent poet of modern-day angst who has wowed audiences with Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas. The story involves the unspoken emotional repression of a group of 19th-century New York socialites, and the forbidden lusts that threaten to dissolve the rules of society. The material would seem more suited to a stuffy "prestige-movie" director like James Ivory, and indeed there are times when Scorsese seems to be in over his head. The director has always been more comfortable with characters who heedlessly express their passion, rather than respectfully suppressing it. Perhaps that is why The Age of Innocence has the same tedious, morose tone of most of Ivory's costume dramas, and fails to be particularly engrossing to the audience. However, there is also material in this story that plays to Scorsese's strengths. As a director, Scorsese has always been more concerned with creating a world or visually expressing the emotions of his characters than with plot mechanics. With The Age of Innocence, Scorsese has created a visual feast of a movie...almost literally, since there are many near-fetishistic close-ups of the luxurious food and drink that the socialities enjoy. Unfortunately, the film is not nearly as successful at presenting characters we can identify with. There comes a point in this film when the theme of emotional repression becomes tedious and downright boring. Daniel Day-Lewis, normally a magnetic actor, can not convey the seething lust or buried curiosity that fuels his character...he seems like an affable fop who happens to develop a boyish crush on a mysterious countess (Michelle Pfeiffer). Scorsese is usually a director who can effortlessly convey passion and intensity. Here, though, he seems to be so in awe of his ability to re-create a period that he forgets to tell a compelling story (a similar fate befalls Steven Spielberg in Amistad). The Age of Innocence is certainly exquisitely made and is much more kinetic and fascinating than the stuffy Merchant-Ivory productions. But the one critical flaw of the film is that it has forgotten that a film attempting to convey buried passion should itself be passionately alive.

(BASIC)
Hearts of Darkness - An interesting, but overlong documentary on the making of Apocalypse Now. There is some great behind-the-scenes footage of the struggles that the cast a crew faced while making the classic war film.

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Ministry of Fear - A very good noir film from Fritz Lang. Ray Milland is excellent, as always.

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Chinatown - Roman Polanski's classic noir lives up to its expectations.

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City Lights - The best Chaplin film that I have seen.

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The Age of Innocence - Martin Scorsese's lush period piece is possibly his best film. Great performances help make this an emotional experience.
Director Martin Scorsese just hits me as one of those guys who will never be appreciated until it's too late. He's often criticized and has never won a Best Picture or Director honor. He probably should have won in 1976 when Rocky beat out Taxi Driver.


But the fact remains that Scorsese has a vision that few can compare with. His films often have the undercurrent of a violent world and violent people. MAybe that's what rubs people the wrong way. I have no idea; but, he is one of the great voices of American cinema.

Goodfellas

Starring: Robert DeNiro as Sam Rothstien
Sharon Stone as Grace McKenna
Joe Pesci as Nicky Santoro
Don Rickles as Billy Sherbert
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Written by Nicholas Pilleggi and Scorsese
Based on Pilleggi's book


I live in Las Vegas. Even before I lived here, I wanted to live here. As a result, films about Las Vegas are some of my favorite films. In this film, Vegas is another character. Many people will bitch and moan for ages that this is a Goodfellas rehash. I disagree. This is a new chapter in Scorsese's career as he finally told a story about gangsters away from NYC. It's a rich and well told tale, that only suffers in one area. There is extensive use of voice over that detracts what is going on. Scorsese is known for his voiceovers, but this one puts all others to shame. Overall though my second favorite Scorsese film.


"Fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the mob's control of LasVegas in the 1970s."
-- Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, SPIRITUALITY AND HEALTH

Martin Scorsese's luxorious 19th century soap opera suffers a little from a stiff dialogue and simplified, almost dull characters. The actors do give a good try, as much as the text allows, because it really could be more flexible. Michelle Pfeiffer's performance maybe goes unnecessarily sloppy and pretentious whenever any dramatic moments arise. Perhaps it's just that her palette seems too narrow in hue to allow much of variation. Daniel Day-Lewis's stiff character lacks a bit in personal charisma, but he does generally do a great job. Winona Ryder however is the one piece of this puzzle who is completely lost and useless. But what gives all the acting in the film ultimately a very positive look is how the scenes are beautifully shot and paced with great precision. Nothing is excessively rushed or lingered on, and the whole film is in good balance.

Scorcese has a good grip on the story and he carries it well. The film aims for a very traditional and subtle romance drama, which may be dull at parts, but not forced.

Beautiful costumes and settings, fitting score, great takes on social etiquette, enjoyable story of romance and hidden anguish. Dialogue could be sharper.

**/****

Pro: Editing. Set design. The ending.

Con: Narration was horrible idea. Spotlight effect. The story is fairly ho-hum.
A respected lawyer is engaged to the beautiful May Welland,but her evil cosin is after him for herself.



This was the first film I saw for my course. Directed my legendary director Martin Scorcesse, I was expecting a film about two people in a place where what they did was against the ways of those around them. In a way thats what I got, only I was expecting gangsters.

What I got was a film about American Aristocrisy. Newland Archer (Daniel-Day Lewis) is about to become bethrothed to May (Winona Ryder), a woman who is a member of a well known household. Things are fine until the arrival of Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeffier), who is just coming out of a failing marriage. Archer is assisting her with the divorce, but ends up falling in love with her.

While the plot is unpredictable at times, you feel as if you know its going to happen. Maybe its because of the acting, or maybe its the way its written. The acting seems a little over the top to me. Maybe it needed to be because of the mind-numbingly boring narrative.

It does save itself because of the authenticity of the cinematography. Not only does it look believable, but it also looks beautiful on screen. The use of items and iconography, in particular a scene where Archer is at a private dinner with the family, the use of candles here creates a gateway to their characters.

Unfortunately, this doesn't save it from being the second film I slept through part of it. I might have missed some of the beautiful cinematography, but with a plot that bad, does it need an excuse to keep you awake?

To sum up:

+ Beautifully shot, well laid out.
- Shame about the narrative and acting...
(****)
I was really surprised by Pride and Prejudice. The camerawork was fantastic, especially the long tracking shots at the parties. Knightly, who has never wowwed me, owned her role. Donald Sutherland should have gotten an Oscar nom for his performance.

Proof was the definition of bland. I can't remember any specific details. Shows how memorable that was.

His Girl Friday was a blast. Razor-sharp wit with a fun story and great performances.
Ultimate romatic longing depict of two caracters following the social accepted moral conduct, while their hearts speak otherwise.



Plot resembles: Bridges of Madison County, Onegin