Martin Scorsese was Roger Ebert’s Favorite Director | Chaz’s Journal

1990’s”Goodfellas“earned another four stars from Roger, who felt that Scorsese was the only director for this material because he knew it inside and out.”Most films, even great ones, evaporate like mist once you’ve returned to the real world; they leave memories behind, but their reality fades fairly quickly,” Roger wrote. “Not this film, which shows America’s finest filmmaker at the peak of his form. No finer film has ever been made about organized crime – not even ‘The Godfather.'”

Roger enjoyed Scorsese’s 1991 remake of “Cape Fear” well enough, though he worried that it would be the beginning of more impersonal works from the director. In 1993, the director proved the critic wrong with “The Age of Innocence“a film that amazed Roger in both its similarities and differences with what came before.”The story told here is brutal and bloody, the story of a man’s passion crushed, his heart defeated,” he wrote in his four-star review. “Yet it is also much more, and the last scene of the film, which pulls everything together, is almost unbearably poignant because it reveals that the man was not the only one with feelings – that others sacrificed for him, that his deepest tragedy was not what he lost, but what he never realized he had.”

1995’s”Casino” also received four stars from Roger, who wrote that the “fascinating” film “knows a lot about the Mafia’s relationship with Las Vegas. It’s based on a book by Nicholas Pileggi, who had full access to a man who once ran four casinos for the mob, and whose true story inspires the movie’s plot. Like’The Godfather,’ it makes us feel like eavesdroppers in a secret place.”

Roger admired Scorsese’s next film, 1997’s “Kundun,” about the Dalai Lama, yet it was the director’s next picture, 1999’s “Bringing Out the Dead“that won over Roger once again.”To look at ‘Bringing Out the Dead’–to look, indeed, at almost any Scorsese film–is to be reminded that film can touch us urgently and deeply,” he wrote in his four-star review. “Scorsese is never on autopilot, never panders, never sells out, always goes for broke; to watch his films is to see a man risking his talent, not simply exercising it. He makes movies as well as they can be made, and I agree with an observation on the Harry Knowles Web site: You can enjoy a Scorsese film with the sound off, or with the sound on and the picture off.”

Roger also hailed Scorsese’s 2002 epic, “Gangs of New York“writing in his three-and-a-half-star review,”The vivid achievement of Scorsese’s film is to visualize this history and people it with characters of Dickensian grotesquerie. Bill the Butcher is one of the great characters in modern movies, with his strangely elaborate diction, his choked accent, his odd way of combining ruthlessness with philosophy.”

2004’s”The Aviator“a sprawling biopic on Howard Hughes, earned four stars from Roger, who wrote that it”celebrates Scorsese’s zest for finding excitement in a period setting, re-creating the kind of glamor he heard about when he was growing up. It is possible to imagine him wanting to be Howard Hughes. Their lives, in fact, are even a little similar: Heedless ambition and talent when young, great early success, tempestuous romances and a dark period, although with Hughes it got darker and darker, while Scorsese has emerged into the full flower of his gifts .”