Is Leonardo DiCaprio this generation’s Robert DeNiro?
Yes — at least in the sense that he’s Martin Scorsese’s current muse, and yes in the sense that the movies he stars in tend to have some very hefty running times. From Titanic, the blockbuster that made him an international superstar, to The Aviator, his previous three-hour collaboration with Scorsese (with gargantuan films like Gangs Of New York, Inception, and J. Edgar thrown into the mix), DiCaprio-starring movies are rarely nimble, and the same can be said about the films of Martin Scorsese.
They are, however, usually pretty good.
“If there’s any town this world would be better without, this is it.”
Kathryn Bigelow has been directing for a few decades now, but it took a long time for us to really notice her.
That happened with The Hurt Locker, 2009’s Oscar-winner for Best Picture and, historically, for Best Director. There are multiple angles with which to approach her win — one, that she deserved it. And she did. Most would agree that The Hurt Locker was one of the most impressive films of 2009, the year in which it went up against Up In The Air, Precious, Inglourious Basterds, and, most formidably, Avatar. Avatar was, of course, directed by Bigelow’s ex James Cameron, and even though we’ve been led to believe there’s no bad blood between them, it’s impossible to deny that many of us enjoyed the “stick it to your ex” subtext of her victory. Avatar became the highest-grossing film of all time and revolutionized the way we currently watch movies (for better or worse), and if the Oscars were ever going to be all about commercial appeal, 2009 was the year.
(Movies discussed in this post: Shame, Hunger, and Drive.)
In film criticism, it is trendy to champion the smallest of movies. Micro-budgeted, artsy, foreign language — any or all of these qualities will do. The more bare-bones and stripped down a film is, the better. Basically, the less a movie has going for it to appeal to a mass audience, the more a tried-and-true film critic is going to love.
I’m going to admit something that makes me a bad film critic. (I use the term “critic” loosely, in that “everybody’s a critic” way; never would I imply that I’m a real film critic. Alas, I’m just a guy with great taste.)