though i wouldn’t call it a full redemption for scorsese, this film is a step in right direction for him.
first the man: eccentric is too obvious a word, but it fits. he was gifted, but disturbed, had great ideas and great ambition, but sometimes too much power. luckily he had enough money to help him through his many mistakes. certainly worth making a movie about since he was both great and interesting. it’s really that simple.
the oscars: this is going to be scorsese best shot at an oscar since everyone knows how important he is by now and they know he deserves one. million dollar baby is better overall and has better performances, but aviator could pull it out because the academy likes epics and knows it owes scorsese. dicaprio was good, but he wasn’t as good as eastwood and eastwood wasn’t as good as foxx so sorry leo, but it ain’t happening this year. cate blanchett over-acted as katherine hepburn, hopefully virginia madsen pulls it out instead. i like alan alda, and he was good in this picture, but morgan freeman and thomas church were better; hell even alec baldwin was better and he didn’t even get nominated. screenplay…it could win here, but eternal sunshine was more ambitious, more original and was better so, really, it should win here. cinematography…the cinematography was probably the strongest point of the film – scorsese made everything in the first half of the film seem big – sweeping crane shots, lots of movement, etc. to make the man and the picture seem big. later the camera settles down as the man begins his mental descent. colors were used well and in (mostly) subtle ways to enhance the feel of a scene. he’d drop some color out of a sequence to indicate an emotional drain, or amplify the color to emphasize the beginning of a friendship. well done in this category. the only other film in this category that i’ve seen is house of flying daggers which has good cinematography, but it was just an imitation of “hero.” editing: million dollar baby has it here, it’s a film that’s more ripe for this category and it’s executed well, as i state below. art direction: the sets were grand, though not as impressive as those in gangs of new york. lemony snicket’s did a bit more for me, but aviator will probably win here. the same goes for costume design. sound: the sound of the spruce goose was the only thing that struck me as impressive. i didn’t notice any great layering or inventive use of sound, it’ll probably go to ray. the music, however, was quite good and was a good part of the reason that i was able to be engaged by the film. it’s not a fantastic film, but it’s an oscar friendly one. it’s a good story about a very interesting guy, but it’s not best picture material. B.
things to check: july 8, 1946 la times
highways built in what year in la?