The Lists: Top 10 craft contributions to Martin Scorsese films
I sat down to watch Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” last night with little idea of what to expect but one thing: that the screen would be awash with some of the finest, most inventive technical artistry that money (or, indeed, imagination) can buy. I was not disappointed: while I’m still sorting out my thoughts on the film as a feat of storytelling, there’s little denying that it’s one of the year’s most lustrous craft showcases, rendered in genuinely eye-popping 3D and buttressing the cinematic valentine it writes to pioneering filmmaker Georges Méliès with its own arsenal of visual wonders.
Such expertise is now par for the course with Scorsese, whatever the film: I was cool on “Shutter Island” last year, but still delighted in his own delight in the filmmaking tools at his disposal – even less obviously extravagant works like “The Departed” or “Taxi Driver” are fat with aesthetic and sensory detail. That’s partly down to the director’s own genius, and partly down to the intimate collaborations he fosters with masters of their own craft: to love Scorsese is to love editor Thelma Schoonmaker, designer Dante Ferretti, DPs Michael Ballhaus and Robert Richardson, and so many more who have become part and parcel of the man’s auteur identity.
So Scorsese seemed as ideal a candidate as any for one of our occasional craft-themed lists – here, I’ve selected the 10 below-the-line contributions to his films, ranging from cinematography to sound to production design, that have most amazed me over the years.
It was a subjective process, not to mention an agonizing one. I made life more interesting, if a little easier, for myself by deciding only to pick one craft element per film: Scorsese’s filmography is so broad that it wouldn’t do to have certain favorites hogging three spots on the list. The ranking, meanwhile, shouldn’t be taken too seriously: how does one compare costume design to scoring, after all? The list really offers only a taste of the visual and sonic marvels of Scorsese’s cinema, a buffet so broad that even a film as technically gifted as “Hugo” struggled to find a place.
See if it did in our new gallery, and please share your own thoughts and favorites in the comments section below.
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
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