The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, Uncut Gems directors Josh & Benny Safdie break down an intense scene from the movie starring Adam Sandler. Plus, The Hollywood Reporter hosts another one of their roundtable discussions, this time with award worthy actors like Adam Driver, Shia LaBeouf, Robert De Niro and more. Finally, The Turning stars Finn Wolfhard and Mackenzie Davis teach you Canadian slang. Read More »
In recent years, the visual effects used to de-age actors has produced impressive results. Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Michael Douglas have all been made young again in the movies of Marvel Studios. But those are blockbuster movies. Could the same digital technology be effectively used to craft an award-worthy drama featuring de-aged actors? Director Martin Scorsese wasn’t entirely sure it was possible for his long-gesting movie The Irishman, but Industrial Light & Magic visual effects wizard Pablo Helman made it work with an entirely new approach to digital de-aging.
Learn how The Irishman VFX came together below. Read More »
(Welcome to The Unpopular Opinion, a series where a writer goes to the defense of a much-maligned film or sets their sights on a movie seemingly beloved by all. In this edition: The Irishman is a regression on multiple fronts for director Martin Scorsese.)
In ancient Egypt, pharaohs would be entombed with everything they needed for the next life: all their treasures and their mummified cats and even their living servants. This was before someone had the bright idea that you could just make lifelike models of the servants and not have to bury people alive. Obviously, in this case, the models weren’t CG … but you get the point. The Irishman sees Martin Scorsese, our greatest living filmmaker — the Ramses II of cinema — nesting below his pyramid, snug in his bed of mob movie hits. At this point, Scorsese has nothing left to prove. He’s made his masterpieces. We can look on his mighty works, and rejoice.
In this one instance, I will not rejoice, because— like Peter Griffin assessing The Godfather — “I did not care for” The Irishman.
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The Irishman brings together Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci with director Martin Scorsese for the first (and probably last?) time, and that’s a big deal. These guys are all legends, and they’re also all well into their twilight years. The prospect of them coming together for one last hurrah is exciting, and it helps that The Irishman is one of the year’s best movies, too. A new The Irishman featurette highlights how crazy and cool it is to have all these actors together in a new Scorsese epic.
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Martin Scorsese’s sprawling new mob epic, The Irishman, opens with a tracking shot through a nursing home. We’re a long way from the Copacabana in Goodfellas, but that nightclub, too, makes an appearance later, and the shot in question here is still soundtracked by a golden oldie. “In the Still of the Night” takes the place of “Then He Kissed Me.” The camera glides past senior citizens with cane walkers to a place where a white-haired old man in tinted glasses sits, looking like a shadow of his former Casino self.
Scorsese’s nine-time feature film collaborator, Robert De Niro, plays Frank Sheeran, a war veteran turned trucker turned labor union official turned nostalgic wheelchair occupant who paints himself as a Mafia assassin in flashbacks. That’s not the only “painting” we’ll see him do, either. “When I was young, I thought house painters painted houses,” Sheeran says at the top of his voiceover. Hearing these words in this context, it’s not hard to think of Henry Hill in Goodfellas, narrating, “As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a gangster.” In Sheeran’s world, it turns out painting houses entails splattering their walls red with people’s blood.
Without delving into spoilers beyond the opening shot, it’s enough to say that cinephiles versed in the visual language of Scorsese’s films will be able to pinpoint many such callbacks when The Irishman hits Netflix on November 27 (it’s playing in limited theatrical release right now). Among other things, the movie serves as the summation of cinema’s greatest director-and-actor collaboration. Critics have described it in almost oxymoronic terms, calling it “a bold and shattering epic of old age.” Beyond the hype lies a film about human frailty, with one foot in the grave and one foot in the almighty past.
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So far, the footage released for The Irishman, Martin Scorsese‘s crime epic starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, has played up the film’s macabre sense of humor. And it’s true: The Irishman is often very funny. But it’s also a surprisingly melancholy, somber affair – and that’s what this latest trailer is trying to convey. It’s a much slower burn, playing up the darkness and regret that plagues many of the characters. Watch the latest The Irishman trailer below.
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Digital de-aging is either the scourge of cinema or an exciting new tool for filmmakers, depending on whom you ask. But the effects in Martin Scorsese‘s new gangster epic The Irishman lie somewhere in between. This conversation comes on the heels of the technology’s busiest year yet, with studios smoothing out the faces of their stars in Captain Marvel, It Chapter 2, and Ang Lee’s upcoming Gemini Man. In each of the aforementioned films apart from Captain Marvel (thanks to Marvel Studios having almost perfected the tech), the de-aging has been roundly criticized, though perhaps not nearly as much as the effects in The Irishman.
When the first trailers for The Irishman were released by Netflix, the grumblings over Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci‘s silky-smooth skin and uncanny valley faces began, and were amplified when the streaming giant released stills of De Niro looking like a PS2-era video game character. But rest assured, the de-aging effects in The Irishman (mostly) work. At the very least, there is no other way that Scorsese could have made his latest masterwork.
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The Irishman opens with a long, one-take tracking shot that feels familiar. One of the most famous film moments of director Martin Scorsese‘s acclaimed career involves the long, one-take tracking shot in Goodfellas, following gangster Henry Hill and girlfriend Karen as they descend through a series of backrooms and basements to work their up way into the Copacabana.
That scene is breathtaking – bustling with electric energy, scored to the Crystals enthusiastically singing the bouncy “Then He Kissed Me.” But when Scorsese returns to a similar set-up for The Irishman, things have slowed down. The camera glides at a much more languid pace, taking its time, as The Five Stains croon the measured, somber “In the Still of the Night.” If Goodfellas is a young man’s film, loaded with manic, coked-up life, then The Irishman is the film of a man slowing down, confronting the inevitability of mortality. This is not Goodfellas. This is not Casino. This is Scorsese at his most reflective, crafting a masterwork that finds the filmmaker reflecting on everything he’s done, and what it’s all amounted to. The results are breathtaking, and one of Martin Scorsese’s very best films.
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Martin Scorsese returns to organized crime in a big way with his first Netflix movie, the three and a half hour drama The Irishman. The film is playing at the New York Film Festival this week, so a new trailer has arrived to showcase the movie starring Robert De Niro. And in case you somehow didn’t know, this isn’t just an old De Niro, but also a much younger De Niro brought back to the big screen thanks to digital de-aging technology. Watch the latest The Irishman trailer below. Read More »
Just last week, we heard Netflix and a couple major movie theater chains were struggling to work out a deal for the theatrical release Martin Scorsese‘s upcoming mob drama The Irishman. Movie theaters wanted a more traditional three month window in which the movie could play in theaters before it was added to Netflix’s library, but the streaming service didn’t want it to be in theaters for more than a few weeks. We’re not sure how those negotiations turned out, but The Irishman release date, both in theaters and on Netflix, has officially been announced. Read More »