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Thursday
Aug 01 2019

Yes No Maybe So: Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman"and NYFF Trivia

by Nathaniel R

As you've undoubtedly heard,The Irishmanwill be finished in time for a 2019 rollout after all.(We had previously assumed it might not be ready due to the time-consuming visual effects to de-age DeNiro and Pacino for some sequences).The Martin Scorsese mob epic will have its world premiere as the opening night selection* of the New York Film Festival on September 27th.After that premiere it hits some theaters and Netflix streaming though we don't have dates for either one quite yet.It'd be nice if they didn't save it until Christmas for an actual release but awards contenders gonna awards contend,y'know.That said it does say "this fall"at the end so perhaps they'll be merciful to audiences and release it in October?

The drama is based on Charles Brandt's non-fiction book "I Heard You Paint Houses,"a line that's included in the trailer and would have made a much less generic title!But generic film titles gonna generic film title,y' know.After the jump,the trailer and a brief Yes No Maybe So breakdown...

YES

  • Joe Pesci plays mob boss Russell Bufalino,Robert De Niro plays his hired thug Frank Sheeran,and Al Pacino plays Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa.All three stars are former Oscar winners,the first two for Martin Scorsese pictures even,so it's quite a murderer's row of a cast...pun intended.Oh and Anna Paquin co-stars and she's also an Oscar winner and Steven Zaillian scripted,and he's also an Oscar winner so practically the whole team is golden.
  • The sound cues and "wooos"of the trailer are very effective.The whole thing plays fast and intense.
  • Speaking of intense,slo-mo all too often feels self-parodic in movies when its used to heighten tension but at least within the context of this trailer,the crowd running after Kennedy's assassination,the multiple hands grabbing for a gun,and the car coming out of the wash all play as totally riveting.

  • Al Pacino looks strong in these brief glimpses.Love the darting paranoid eyes and that underlined 'you're really going to go there?' face when Pesci drops the 'failure to show appreciation' warning.It might be big but Pacinoused to begenius when he went big.In fact,we're startled to say we're now actually looking forward to this performance.
  • The production team on this film has lots of powerhouses or situations we're intrigued by.Rodrigo Prieto (Brokeback Mountain) is behind the camera...so we're trusting the film will look more beautiful than it does in the trailer where it errs on the side of unoriginal in the lighting/color palette.Why is grey so mandatory for "serious"films.Also what was the story behind the costumes?Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson are both credited...did Sandy not finish the picture?She often works with Christopher Peterson but he's usually credited as her assistant,not a lead costumer.

NO

  • A mob drama from Scorsese?Starring these men?How original !!!
  • De-aging visuals have nevernotbeen distracting in the movies.There's always something a little uncanny valley.It will help that they haven't de-aged them into "young"men (just less old) but still...

MAYBE SO

  • We're intrigued by the lone shot of Anna Paquin staring at her screen father De Niro.Scorsese long ago stopped being interested in female characters but back when hewasinterested he directed some pretty major performances from women.
  • Joe Pesci plays mob boss Russell Bufalino,Robert De Niro plays his hired thug Frank Sheeran,and Al Pacino plays Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa.Yup,that's how we started the "yes"section,too.But let's be honest: All three actors haven't been delivering in a big way in a long time.Just putting them all together doesn't guarantee that they'll suddenly get their ol' mojo back.If the movie isn't strong it also runs the risk of feeling extraordinarily lazy in the casting.Like wouldn't we rather have hungrier new actors or a lesser ubiquitous Scorsese actor (Harvey Keitel has a small role and we actually miss him!!!) in one of the lead roles?

Are you a Yes No or a Maybe So?We're in the maybe so realm though we hope for the best.Or,as I recently confessed on twitter.

* NYFF OPENING NIGHT TRIVIA:
The opening night selection of the NYFF is a major honor but it doesn't always correlate to awards glory.Here's a list of former openers.The ones in bold ended up as nominees in one of the top "Feature"categories,Best Picture,Best International Film,or Best Documentary.Only one film that opened NYFF has ever won Best Picture (Chariots of Fire,1981) and two have won Foreign Film (Day for Night,1973,andAll About My Mother,1999)

2018The Favourite(Yorgos Lanthimos,Ireland/UK/US)
2017 Last Flag Flying (Richard Linklater,US)
2016 13th(Ava DuVernay,US)
2015 The Walk (Robert Zemeckis,US)
2014 Gone Girl (David Fincher,US)
2013 Captain Phillips(Paul Greengrass,US)
2012 Life of Pi(Ang Lee,US)
2011 Carnage (Roman Polanski,France/Poland)
2010 The Social Network(David Fincher,US)
2009 Wild Grass (Alain Resnais,France)
2008 The Class(Laurent Cantet,France)
2007 The Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson,US)
2006 The Queen(Stephen Frears,UK)
2005 Good Night,and Good Luck.(George Clooney,US)
2004 Look at Me (Agnès Jaoui,France)
2003 Mystic River(Clint Eastwood,US)
2002 About Schmidt (Alexander Payne,US)
2001 Va savoir (Jacques Rivette,France)
2000 Dancer in the Dark (Lars von Trier,Denmark)
1999 All About My Mother ★(Pedro Almodóvar,Spain)
1998 Celebrity (Woody Allen,US)
1997 The Ice Storm (Ang Lee,US)
1996 Secrets & Lies(Mike Leigh,UK)
1995 Shanghai Triad (Zhang Yimou,China)
1994 Pulp Fiction(Quentin Tarantino,US)
1993 Short Cuts (Robert Altman,US)
1992 Olivier Olivier (Agnieszka Holland,France)
1991 The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski,Poland/France)
1990 Miller's Crossing (Joel Coen,US)
1989 Too Beautiful for You (Bertrand Blier,France)
1988 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown(Pedro Almodóvar,Spain)
1987 Dark Eyes (Nikita Mikhalkov,Soviet Union)
1986 Down by Law (Jim Jarmusch,US)
1985 Ran (Akira Kurosawa,Japan)
1984 Country (Richard Pearce,US)
1983 The Big Chill(Lawrence Kasdan,US)
1982 Veronika Voss (Rainer Werner Fassbinder,West Germany)
1981 Chariots of Fire★ (Hugh Hudson,UK)
1980 Melvin and Howard (Jonathan Demme,US)
1979 Luna (Bernardo Bertolucci,Italy/US)
1978 A Wedding (Robert Altman,US)
1977 One Sings,the Other Doesn't (Agnès Varda,France)
1976 Small Change (François Truffaut,France)
1975 Conversation Piece (Luchino Visconti,Italy)
1974 Don't Cry with Your Mouth Full (Pascal Thomas,France)
1973 Day for Night ★(François Truffaut,France)
1972 Chloe in the Afternoon (Eric Rohmer,France)
1971 The Debut (Gleb Panfilov,Soviet Union)
1970 The Wild Child (François Truffaut,France)
1969 Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (Paul Mazursky,US)
1968 Capricious Summer (Jiri Menzel,Czechoslovakia)
1967 The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo,Italy/Algeria)
1966 Loves of a Blonde(Milos Forman,Czechoslovakia)
1965 Alphaville (Jean-Luc Godard,France)
1964 Hamlet (Grigori Kozintsev,USSR)
1963 The Exterminating Angel (Luis Buñuel,Mexico)

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Reader Comments (5)

Nothing wrong with The Irishman as the title.

But I Heard You Paint Houses...it's eery and suggestive and ominous.And sounds like something out of the 70s.

August 1,2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe

Could it have a bit of colour?I mean besides the blood.

August 1,2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

It's of course a maybe so.I have absolutely no doubt at all the quality of the film - I'm sure it's extremely well-made,but a lot of well-made films are boring or in this case,very been there-done that.I've felt nothing but been there-done that since I first heard about The Irishman.If it's not the best mob movie ever made,I don't see how it stands out enough to win multiple Oscars,亚博主页or a much less significant prize,my affection.

August 1,2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

I have predicted this would be a disaster for a while,and nothing I have seen is there to convince me otherwise.

When is the last time De Niro was truly great?Wag the Dog?Jackie Brown?That's over two decades.I don't trust him truly anchoring something like this.

August 1,2019 | Unregistered CommenterBen

I'm cautiously optimistic.His last two criminal movies (Departed and Wolf of Wall Street) were wilder than they'd let anybody but Scorsese get away with in an expensive mainstream movie,so I don't think it'll be as standard-issue as maybe the trailer seems.

August 1,2019 | Unregistered CommenterMarsha Mason

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