Listening Through Cinema’s Best Soundtracks: Your Wednesday Morning Treat

A film’s soundtrack is a necessary component to the total sum. The best use of music in film is not when its manipulative but rather acting as a character of its own, helping bring to life the filmmakers artistic vision. And this year, we’ve been graced with some truly fantastic new soundtracks—from Shane Carruth’s complex ethereal wonder Upstream Color to Clint Mansell’s stirringly sensuous Stoker. So to liven up your Wednesday afternoon, I’ve rounded up the best film soundtracks floating around in their enitrety. So whether you’re in the mood to transport yourself into a delicate and gauzy Coppola world or the existential romatic longing world of Wenders, peruse our listen and see whar perks up your emotions. Enjoy.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Almost Famous

The Virgin Suicides

Trainspotting

For more

Requiem for a Dream

Upstream Color

A Clockwork Orange

For more

 

Nashville

For more

Pulp Fiction

For more

The Last Waltz

For more

 

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

For more

 

Natural Born Killers

For more

Blue Velvet

For more

 

Paris, Texas

 

Punch-Drunk Love

For more

Waltz With Bashir

For more

 

The Graduate

For more

 

Schindler’s List

For more

 

Spring Breakers

For more

Amacord

For more

 

Fire Walk With Me

For more

Chungking Express

For more

 

Magnolia

For more

 

Elevator to the Gallows

Drive

For more

 

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

For more

 

Taxi Driver

 

Superfly

 

Mystery Train

For more

Looking Back on the Tortured Minds Behind ‘Taxi Driver’

This weekend, NYC’s Landmark Sunshine will screen Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver Friday through Sunday. So in honor of the film’s screening, we’re giving you another look at our Cinematic Panic article from January takes a look inside the mind of Scorsese’s brooding picture.

“This movie is as good as Citizen Kane…no, it’s better than Citizen Kane, it’s got more heart,” said John Cassavetes to Martin Scorsese after watching Who’s That Knocking at My Door for the first time. Scorsese nearly passed out. He worshipped Cassavetes, and from then on Cassavetes looked at him like son. And although both Cassavetes and Scorsese both put out some of the best films of the 1970s, they were from two entirely different schools of filmmaking. The Scorseses of the world inherited what the Cassavetes generation had paved the way for. But Cassavetes was just insular in his world, extremely consumed by his own concerns. It was moreso the Hopper-Beatty-Nicholson generation that filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, stumbled down from. These young filmmakers were now able to operate on the notion that there could be a conversation between them and the audience. “They were the benefactors, the prodigy of New Hollywood battles fought and won for artistic integrity and youth recognition by everyone from Arthur Penn to Stanley Kubrick and Peter Fonda," said Peter Biskind in his book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls that provides perhaps the best written account of this era in Hollywood.

And although he’s one of Hollywood greatest living legends and cinematic minds today, about 40 years ago Scorsese was just a chubby young filmmaker, fresh out of school and clawing at the bit to get his voice heard and his work seen. Sandy Weintraub, who Scorsese collaborated with artistically as well as romantically, said, “Marty was tempestuous, volatile, and passionate about his life…he breathed, ate, and shat movies. I would tell him about my dreams and he would tell me about the movie he had seen on TV the day before.” Coming from a strictly Catholic Italian-American family in New York, Scorsese had grown up a child plagued with physical ailments. His asthma forced him to stay inside while other young kids played outside, thus helping him develop his lifelong obsession with cinema and the escape into other worlds through the screen.

“The period from ’71 to ’76 was the best period because we were just starting out,” Scorcese said. “We couldn’t wait for our friends’ next pictures, Brian [De Palma]’s next picture, Francis [Ford Coppola]’s next picture, to see what they were doing. Dinners in Chinese restaurants midday in L.A. with Spielberg and Lucas.” And Nicholas Beach was where he and Sandy would make the trip up the Pacific Coast Highway each weekend: a secluded spot filled with their group of filmmaking pals "where the only rules were the ones we made." As is told in Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, one day Peter Boyle came to stay at the beach and brought a vile of coke—suddenly, "Eve bit into the apple." It was new to most everyone, not knowing exactly how to do it. But it stuck. Actress Margot Kidder recalled, “Out of the drugs came a lot of swampy ideas but also a lot of creative thinking and most important, breaking down of personal barriers and that ridiculousness of pride of holding oneself and having a phony social persona. If that hadn’t been the case, none of us would have developed our talents. But Spielberg didn’t take drugs, Brian didn’t, Marty didn’t until later when he got into trouble with coke. The directors who ended up successful were very protective of their own brains.”

Scorsese had enough problems. He was filled with a mix of Catholic guilt and anxieties created by his own strenuous mind. Flying was a disaster—he had to grip a crucifix until his knuckles turned white during take off, he was afraid the number eleven (he wouldn’t go anywhere near it or anything that added up to it), and he was also absolutely convinced that he was going to die by age 40. It wasn’t a self-destructive notion, rather just an innate knowledge that he was going to live hard and die young whether it be from his always-uneasy health or a plane crash. So it seems for someone so burdened by neurosis, he would find a companion in a like-minded individual who was also "culturally and emotionally sandbagged by the ’50s"—that person being Paul Schrader, just one of the boys at the beach. But it wasn’t so easy.

Schrader was a very messed up human—"deranged" many would say. He was extremely intelligent but cynical and depressive. He was raised in a strict Dutch Calvinist household with parents that would whip him with electrical chords and poke him in the hand with needles, telling him, “This is what hell will feel like.” Martin Scorsese once said that his entire life was "religion and film, nothing else," and it seems as though Schrader too shared that sentiment. He did not see a movie until he was seventeen, and when he did he began to hallucinate, believing he had committed some great sin and was going to burn in Hell forever. His strict Calvinist upbringing left a paralyzing imprint on his work; film for him will always be dirt—cinema, sex, and sin forever linked in Schrader’s eyes. But he did not shy away from these subjects; he embraced them manically, using them as a way to expose his darkest desires that had always been forbidden. He put his sins on paper as a way to relieve himself of them, as if he will be freed once they are out of his head and onto the page. He exploits the dark side of sex and its industry in his films (his male characters frequently visit pornographic theaters and brothels), but he does so in a way that’s stripped of any ounce of sensuality or desire. The Calvinists believe that if you do these things right in your life, death will be your salvation and you’ll go to Heaven. Schrader, however, had committed enough sin to burn in Hell. These feelings of guilt and fear left him socially and psychologically disturbed, feeling removed from the world around him, like a lonely figure traveling through life.

One day, over a game of chess, Schrader told Brian De Palma that he had written a script called Taxi Driver. De Palma sent it to producer Michael Phillips who loved it but knew finding a director to take on something so bizarre would be a challenge. Scorsese wanted it—bad. But when Schrader saw a cut of Scorcese’s Boxcar Bertha, he just rolled his eyes. He discussed the script with Pauline Kael who “didn’t know if De Niro could carry a film.” At that time, Robert De Niro was a fairly unknown actor who came from a middle-class bohemian upbringing—a stark contrast to that of Schrader and Scorsese, the latter fascinated by the idea of this “paradise” to be raised in a creative environment. De Niro’s rebellion came from “getting into the heavy street thing.” But he was a serious actor and rarely ever spoke, which seems like a far cry to the De Niro we know today. Casting director Nessa Hyams once said, “You couldn’t get De Niro arrested.” He rarely attended parties or hung out; when he did go to a party, he would often be found falling asleep on the couch.

After the release of Mean Streets, Scorsese and De Niro both got the green light, and Taxi Driver came into action. The film is a hard-edged look at the New York City streets told through the lens of an art film. The neon-lit buildings sparkle and melt onto the screen in contrast to the filth and scum that penetrate the sidewalks and, thusly, the collective psyche of the film. Biskind describes the film best as:

…following the nocturnal wanderings of a cabbie, Travis Bickle—a violent, Vietnam vet—through Times Square as he encounters a variety of human offal and rountinely cleans the blood and come off his backseat. He gets a crush on a blonde campaign worker, and his attention wanders between her and Iris, a twelve-year-old hooker. The story climaxes in a bloodbath, as he blows away Iris’s pimp and johns in an attempt to redeem her.

Taxi Driver begins with the menacing and anxiety-invoking Bernard Herrmann score that encompasses the rest of the film. Scorceses doesn’t hide anything. The close up of Travis’s eyes blend with the scenery as we realize the city around him is just as much of a character as he is. Biskind goes on to say, "To paraphrase Schrader, if you put Penn and Antonioni in bed together, put a gun to their heads and told them to fuck while Bresson watched through the keyhole, you got Taxi Driver." Fair enough.

Travis must transform himself from the inside out in order to accomplish what he’s set out to do. He must go down into the underworld where he’s seeking vengeance on and become the scum he sees on the streets. In order to save Iris and help rid the world of the filth polluting the streets, he tries to make himself a machine. He goes from eating terribly to working out everyday and trying to make himself as hard as possible—mentally and physically. He changes his lax attitude and becomes strict with himself as if he is completely possessed by his mission. His life needed a purpose and this was it. When special forces were going into battle, they would shave their hair into a Mohawk; as a veteran, it would make sense that Travis would do the same. This was his battle. Paul Schrader dressed De Niro in his own clothes for the film as Travis. He could have played the role himself.

With Michael Chapman as the DP and Raoul Coutard as cinematographer, the film takes the sort of European aesthetic and sense of isolation with an hint of an Americana façade. Everyone involved in the film was influenced heavily by the work of the French new wave. Chapman said, “Godard was the great freeing influence for all of us. He said, ‘Look, you don’t have to worry about this or that’”—a notion that made its way into Taxi Driver from the Alka Seltzer shot reference to 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her to the moment Travis drives into the car garage and the camera goes elsewhere, saying, ‘Don’t look at this guy, look at the word he lives in.’ When Scorsese was forced to desaturate the colors in the denouement of the film so that it could slide from an X-rating to an R, he thought the joke was on everyone else—the washed-out grit of it all only made it that much more brutal.

In the beginning of the film, Travis speaks of rain washing the scum off the streets; in the end he takes on the role of that rain. The final moments leave us questioning whether or not he kills himself as a means of salvation, or if it is in fact a reality that he is a hero and Iris is returned home safely to her parents. But whatever audiences believed, they loved it, and the film was a surprising commercial success. Bickle look-alikes lined up around the block to see the film the day it opened, feeling a connection to this new and bizarre piece of cinema that reflected not only where things were at but the frightening reality of what we are all capable of. When we watch the film now and look back on these young people involved, those men thriving with talent and exploding with an aggressive passion, one cannot help but wonder what will speak to our generation the way this film did to those of the time. I suppose only time will tell. 

From Scorsese to De Palma, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing in NYC This Weekend

We’ve finally reached the last stretch of our summer days, and although the beaches my be closing, there is plenty to look forward to on the film front. And whether you’re BBQ’ing your way through the weekend and relaxing on beach outside these humid streets or hiding away in your apartment savoring that extra day of doing absolutely nothing, you can always find the time to head down to the cinema and enjoy something wonderful.

This weekend there’s a generous plenty to choose from, whether you’re in the mood for classics or the summer’s best premieres. Take a look at the evil inside with Rosemary’s Baby or torture yourself with Taxi Driver and then discover the power of connection with Short Term 12 and fall into feeling with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints—just to name some options. But whatever your film fancy, there are a number of wonderful worlds to escape into this weekend. We’ve compiled the best of what’s playing in the city, so peruse our list, grab yourself a large box of candy and enjoy.

 

IFC Center

The Wild Bunch
Passion
The Canyons
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
El Topo
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Frances Ha
Jaws
Museum Hours
Our Nixon
Prince Avalanche
Rio Bravo
Una Noche

BAM

Blue Jasmine
Enter the Dragon
Fruitvale Station
The Spectacular Now
The World’s End
The Grandmaster

Film Forum

Rosemary’s Baby
Tokyo Waka: A City Poem
Demon Seed
Alien
Aliens
Total Recall
The Howling
Starship Troopers
Village of the Damned

Film Linc

Passion
Short Term 12
Twenty Feet from Stardom
Singin’ in the Rain
Re-Animator
In a World…
Far From Vietnam
Blackfish

MoMA

The River
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Never Fear (The Young Lovers)
Limelight
Steel Helmet

Museum of the Moving Image

Dog Day Afternoon
The Taking of Pelham One Two
Three Born to Win
Taking Off
The Panic in Needle Park

Landmark Sunshine

Taxi Driver
Short Term 12
Drinking Buddies
In a World…
The Spectacular Now
Afternoon Delight

Nitehawk

Moulin Rouge! Sing Along
In a World…
The Grandmaster
Drinking Buddies
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Frankenhooker
Car Wash
Rushmore

The First Taste of ‘The Canyons’ Has Arrived, So Let’s Look at the Best of Paul Schrader in Trailers

This summer, amidst the Pacific Rims, Lone Rangers, and indie festival favorites, there’s there release of one of Hollywood’s most buzzed out and tantalizing treats—Paul Schrader’s The Canyons. Penned by king of smutty satire Bret Easton Ellis, the erotic drama starring Lindsay Lohan and James Deen has already been making news for months now—it’s production apparently a psychodrama of its own. But now, with the film premiering at Lincoln Center later this month and its VOD and theatrical release on August 2nd, we finally have the first official trailer for the feature.

In the last year we had saw some pretty unappealing vintage-cut teasers and trailers for the film that made me fret that this could possibly be even worse than Ellis’ biggest disaster The Informers. However, as more has been unveiled about the feature and going on word by everyone from Steven Soderbergh to some of film’s most respected critics, this over-the-top romp into a salacious world of sex and thrill could prove just the modern-day Schrader film we’ve been anticipating. Or not. Who really knows, but at least it won’t be too long until we all find out. With an affinity for embracing cinema as a way to expose his darkest desires and impulses, his characters are always morally torn and struggling between what is forbidden and what one must do. Schrader has alwyas put his sins on the screen as a way to relieve himself, maybe that will somehow come across in this hyper-dramatic affair.    In the meantime, let’s watch the trailer for The Canyons, and take a look back on the past trailers for some of the best work to come from the mind of Paul Schrader.    

Blue Collar

 

Hardcore

 

Taxi Driver

 

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

 

Raging Bull

 

Light Sleeper

 

American Gigolo

 

The Canyons

Looking Back on Cinema’s Best Soundtracks Of All Time

A film’s soundtrack is a necessary component to the total sum. The best use of music in film is not when its manipulative but rather acting as a character of its own, helping bring to life the filmmakers artistic vision. And earlier this week, we premiered the soundtrack to Park Chan-wook’s upcoming gothic thriller Stoker, from one of the greatest contemporary masters of cinematic sound, Clint Mansell. So, to honor his fantastic score, I’ve compiled some of the greatest film soundtracks of all time for your listening pleasure. Of course there are hundreds to love but here are some that particularly tickle my sonic fancy and hopefully yours. Enjoy.

 

 

Requiem for a Dream, Clint Mansell

Mulholland Drive, Angelo Badalamenti

 

Performance, Various Artists

Trainspotting, Various Artists

Taxi Driver, Bernard Herrmann

A Clockwork Orange, Wendy Carlos

The Graduate, Simon & Garfunkel

Magnolia, Jon Brion

Blue Velvet, Angelo Badalamenti

 

Drive, Cliff Martinez

Nashville, Various Artists

 

Close Encounters of the Third Kind, John Williams

 

Paris, Texas, Ry Cooder

Pulp Fiction, Various Artists

 

Chungking Express, Various Artists

The Double Life of Veronique, Zbigniew Preisner

 

The Social Network, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

 

Psycho Beach Party, Various Artists

American Graffiti, Various Artists

Almost Famous, Various Artists

 

8 1/2, Nino Rota

Goodfellas, Various Artists

Blade Runner, Vangelis

 

Apocalypse Now, Various Artists

2001: A Space Odyssey, Various Artists

 

Superfly, Curtis Mayfield

 

Suspiria, Goblin

 

Harold and Maude, Cat Stevens

 

Cinematic Panic: Looking Back on the Tortured Minds Behind ‘Taxi Driver’

“This movie is as good as Citizen Kane…no, it’s better than Citizen Kane, it’s got more heart,” said John Cassavetes to Martin Scorsese after watching Who’s That Knocking at My Door for the first time. Scorsese nearly passed out. He worshipped Cassavetes, and from then on Cassavetes looked at him like son. And although both Cassavetes and Scorsese both put out some of the best films of the 1970s, they were from two entirely different schools of filmmaking. The Scorseses of the world inherited what the Cassavetes generation had paved the way for. But Cassavetes was just insular in his world, extremely consumed by his own concerns. It was moreso the Hopper-Beatty-Nicholson generation that filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, stumbled down from. These young filmmakers were now able to operate on the notion that there could be a conversation between them and the audience. “They were the benefactors, the prodigy of New Hollywood battles fought and won for artistic integrity and youth recognition by everyone from Arthur Penn to Stanley Kubrick and Peter Fonda,” said Peter Biskind in his book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls that provides perhaps the best written account of this era in Hollywood.

And although he’s one of Hollywood greatest living legends and cinematic minds today, about 40 years ago Scorsese was just a chubby young filmmaker, fresh out of school and clawing at the bit to get his voice heard and his work seen. Sandy Weintraub, who Scorsese collaborated with artistically as well as romantically, said, “Marty was tempestuous, volatile, and passionate about his life…he breathed, ate, and shat movies. I would tell him about my dreams and he would tell me about the movie he had seen on TV the day before.” Coming from a strictly Catholic Italian-American family in New York, Scorsese had grown up a child plagued with physical ailments. His asthma forced him to stay inside while other young kids played outside, thus helping him develop his lifelong obsession with cinema and the escape into other worlds through the screen.

1.64389_image

“The period from ’71 to ’76 was the best period because we were just starting out,” Scorcese said. “We couldn’t wait for our friends’ next pictures, Brian [De Palma]’s next picture, Francis [Ford Coppola]’s next picture, to see what they were doing. Dinners in Chinese restaurants midday in L.A. with Spielberg and Lucas.” And Nicholas Beach was where he and Sandy would make the trip up the Pacific Coast Highway each weekend: a secluded spot filled with their group of filmmaking pals “where the only rules were the ones we made.” As is told in Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, one day Peter Boyle came to stay at the beach and brought a vile of coke—suddenly, “Eve bit into the apple.” It was new to most everyone, not knowing exactly how to do it. But it stuck. Actress Margot Kidder recalled, “Out of the drugs came a lot of swampy ideas but also a lot of creative thinking and most important, breaking down of personal barriers and that ridiculousness of pride of holding oneself and having a phony social persona. If that hadn’t been the case, none of us would have developed our talents. But Spielberg didn’t take drugs, Brian didn’t, Marty didn’t until later when he got into trouble with coke. The directors who ended up successful were very protective of their own brains.”

Scorsese had enough problems. He was filled with a mix of Catholic guilt and anxieties created by his own strenuous mind. Flying was a disaster—he had to grip a crucifix until his knuckles turned white during take off, he was afraid the number eleven (he wouldn’t go anywhere near it or anything that added up to it), and he was also absolutely convinced that he was going to die by age 40. It wasn’t a self-destructive notion, rather just an innate knowledge that he was going to live hard and die young whether it be from his always-uneasy health or a plane crash. So it seems for someone so burdened by neurosis, he would find a companion in a like-minded individual who was also “culturally and emotionally sandbagged by the ’50s”—that person being Paul Schrader, just one of the boys at the beach. But it wasn’t so easy.

llll

Schrader was a very messed up human—”deranged” many would say. He was extremely intelligent but cynical and depressive. He was raised in a strict Dutch Calvinist household with parents that would whip him with electrical chords and poke him in the hand with needles, telling him, This is what hell will feel like.” Martin Scorsese once said that his entire life was “religion and film, nothing else,” and it seems as though Schrader too shared that sentiment. He did not see a movie until he was seventeen, and when he did he began to hallucinate, believing he had committed some great sin and was going to burn in Hell forever. His strict Calvinist upbringing left a paralyzing imprint on his work; film for him will always be dirt—cinema, sex, and sin forever linked in Schrader’s eyes. But he did not shy away from these subjects; he embraced them manically, using them as a way to expose his darkest desires that had always been forbidden. He put his sins on paper as a way to relieve himself of them, as if he will be freed once they are out of his head and onto the page. He exploits the dark side of sex and its industry in his films (his male characters frequently visit pornographic theaters and brothels), but he does so in a way that’s stripped of any ounce of sensuality or desire. The Calvinists believe that if you do these things right in your life, death will be your salvation and you’ll go to Heaven. Schrader, however, had committed enough sin to burn in Hell. These feelings of guilt and fear left him socially and psychologically disturbed, feeling removed from the world around him, like a lonely figure traveling through life.

One day, over a game of chess, Schrader told Brian De Palma that he had written a script called Taxi Driver. De Palma sent it to producer Michael Phillips who loved it but knew finding a director to take on something so bizarre would be a challenge. Scorsese wanted it—bad. But when Schrader saw a cut of Scorcese’s Boxcar Bertha, he just rolled his eyes. He discussed the script with Pauline Kael who “didn’t know if De Niro could carry a film.” At that time, Robert De Niro was a fairly unknown actor who came from a middle-class bohemian upbringing—a stark contrast to that of Schrader and Scorsese, the latter fascinated by the idea of this “paradise” to be raised in a creative environment. De Niro’s rebellion came from “getting into the heavy street thing.” But he was a serious actor and rarely ever spoke, which seems like a far cry to the De Niro we know today. Casting director Nessa Hyams once said, “You couldn’t get De Niro arrested.” He rarely attended parties or hung out; when he did go to a party, he would often be found falling asleep on the couch.

nnn

After the release of Mean Streets, Scorsese and De Niro both got the green light, and Taxi Driver came into action. The film is a hard-edged look at the New York City streets told through the lens of an art film. The neon-lit buildings sparkle and melt onto the screen in contrast to the filth and scum that penetrate the sidewalks and, thusly, the collective psyche of the film. Biskind describes the film best as:

following the nocturnal wanderings of a cabbie, Travis Bickle—a violent, Vietnam vet—through Times Square as he encounters a variety of human offal and rountinely cleans the blood and come off his backseat. He gets a crush on a blonde campaign worker, and his attention wanders between her and Iris, a twelve-year-old hooker. The story climaxes in a bloodbath, as he blows away Iris’s pimp and johns in an attempt to redeem her.

Taxi Driver begins with the menacing and anxiety-invoking Bernard Herrmann score that encompasses the rest of the film. Scorceses doesn’t hide anything. The close up of Travis’s eyes blend with the scenery as we realize the city around him is just as much of a character as he is. Biskind goes on to say, “To paraphrase Schrader, if you put Penn and Antonioni in bed together, put a gun to their heads and told them to fuck while Bresson watched through the keyhole, you got Taxi Driver.” Fair enough.

ff

Travis must transform himself from the inside out in order to accomplish what he’s set out to do. He must go down into the underworld where he’s seeking vengeance on and become the scum he sees on the streets. In order to save Iris and help rid the world of the filth polluting the streets, he tries to make himself a machine. He goes from eating terribly to working out everyday and trying to make himself as hard as possible—mentally and physically. He changes his lax attitude and becomes strict with himself as if he is completely possessed by his mission. His life needed a purpose and this was it. When special forces were going into battle, they would shave their hair into a Mohawk; as a veteran, it would make sense that Travis would do the same. This was his battle. Paul Schrader dressed De Niro in his own clothes for the film as Travis. He could have played the role himself.

With Michael Chapman as the DP and Raoul Coutard as cinematographer, the film takes the sort of European aesthetic and sense of isolation with an hint of an Americana façade. Everyone involved in the film was influenced heavily by the work of the French new wave. Chapman said, “Godard was the great freeing influence for all of us. He said, ‘Look, you don’t have to worry about this or that’”—a notion that made its way into Taxi Driver from the Alka Seltzer shot reference to 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her to the moment Travis drives into the car garage and the camera goes elsewhere, saying, ‘Don’t look at this guy, look at the word he lives in.’ When Scorsese was forced to desaturate the colors in the denouement of the film so that it could slide from an X-rating to an R, he thought the joke was on everyone else—the washed-out grit of it all only made it that much more brutal.

fff

In the beginning of the film, Travis speaks of rain washing the scum off the streets; in the end he takes on the role of that rain. The final moments leave us questioning whether or not he kills himself as a means of salvation, or if it is in fact a reality that he is a hero and Iris is returned home safely to her parents. But whatever audiences believed, they loved it, and the film was a surprising commercial success. Bickle look-alikes lined up around the block to see the film the day it opened, feeling a connection to this new and bizarre piece of cinema that reflected not only where things were at but the frightening reality of what we are all capable of. When we watch the film now and look back on these young people involved, those men thriving with talent and exploding with an aggressive passion, one cannot help but wonder what will speak to our generation the way this film did to those of the time. I suppose only time will tell.

You can see Taxi Driver tonight and tomorrow at midnight at IFC Center.

Follow Hillary Weston on Twitter.

Watch the Rough First Clip from Paul Schrader’s ‘The Canyons’

And here I thought—well okay, nothing could possibly be worse than The Informers. But I think I may have just spoken too soon. By now we’ve all had a chance to read the wonderfully in-depth New York Times article that dives into the production of Bret Easton Ellis and Paul Schrader’s upcoming drama, The Canyons. In the article, we gain insight into both the distressing motives of the film, Lindsay Lohan’s constant battles, and even Steven Soderbergh being turned down to edit the film. However, one shining detail remains: this looks awful. And the promotional teasers for the film are only making things worse.

Earlier this month, The Guardian wrote:

They reach for jokes that don’t connect, they labour under the illusion that running everything through iMovie’s Aged Film effect is the same as creating sharply-observed period details and, one after another, they make you want to see the film less and less. Yes, The Muppets used a similar campaign of parody trailers in 2011, but that was for a film about a felt frog and his friends. This makes The Canyons look like The Room. Apparently we’re promised a genuine trailer soon, and that might make the movie look less inept. But, at this stage, who cares?

Precisely. Hey, remember that time Paul Schrader wrote all those brilliant essays on film? Or that time he wrote Taxi Driver? Oy. I should have known. When I met the man last year, the most enthused moment came when he whipped out his cellphone and said, "Hey! Checkout my Facebook page." The page being that for The Canyons. This was also when he told me the film would be starring only unknowns. So much for that. But he’s still brilliant in my mind, so why this mess?

The first clip delivered to us, opens on a seemingly calm LA morning in which Lindsay Lohan gets out of bed to look for her misplaced phone. Musical cues allude that something is going to happen—where is my cell phone—you can really feel the drama here. One thing leads to another by the end of this lingering scene, porn star James Deen is standing over Lohan screaming that he’s going  to beat the shit out of her, while she, whimpers softly on the floor. Delightful. I know Schrader is a huge proponent of the relationship between sex and violence in his films, but like, this just looks bad. The clip feels more like the set up to a weird porno that would make yousick to your stomach and in need of a hot shower and/or tetanus shot just from watching, rather than just a melodramatic soap opera of sorts—which was what I had expected. But who knows, this is only two minutes. See for yourself.

Celebrate Boss’s Day Like a Boss With These Cinematic Honchos

It’s that time of year again: Boss’s Day. (What’s that, you ask? When is Employee’s Day? Everyday is Employee’s Day! Now shut up and get back to work, you peons!) (Yes, one could say I am blogging like a boss today.) To celebrate, here’s a list of the best bosses in movie history. "Best," of course, is a relative term, but hey, this is the internet and all I know is that I’m the boss of listicles today, so deal with it or you’re fired. 

1. Sigourney Weaver as Katharine Parker in Working Girl

2. Dabney Coleman as Franklin M. Hart, Jr. in 9 to 5

3. Diana Rigg as Lady Holiday in The Great Muppet Caper
diana rigg

4. Christopher Walken as Max Shreck in Batman Returns

5. Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada

6. Bette Midler as Sadie Shelton in Big Business

7. Michael Keaton as Captain Gene Mauch in The Other Guys

8. Garry Marshall as Walter Harvey in A League of Their Own

9. Dan Hedaya as Richard Nixon in Dick

10. Harvey Keitel as Matthew "Sport" Higgins in Taxi Driver

11. Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker in In the Loop

12. Anthony LaPaglia as Joe Reaves in Empire Records

13. Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail

14. Maggie Smith as Mother Superior in Sister Act

15. John Cusack as Rob Gordon in High Fidelity

16. Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest

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Watch Michel Gondry’s Lo-Fi Remake of ‘Taxi Driver’

In Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind, Mos Def and Jack Black produce homemade recreations of Hollywood blockbusters where multi-million dollar special effects are replaced with rudimentary arts and crafts. You got a sense while watching it that Gondry was more at home directing those lo-fi reproductions than he was with the rest of the movie that surrounded them. It’s no surprise then that Gondry directed and starred in a wonderful low-budget version of Taxi Driver that was played before the French premiere of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo.

Indiewire pointed us to the homage, and we highly recommended you watch it here. It’s in French, but there are English subtitles. Besides, if you have ever seen Taxi Driver, you will know exactly what scenes are being re-crafted through the eyes of a movie lover who has nothing more than some cardboard, paint, and colored pencils–each used in ways you won’t expect.

We wish Gondry would direct these kinds of remakes more often, which is the same exact feeling we got after Be Kind Rewind. Until then, we’ll just watch this Taxi Driver short on repeat.