Friday Editor’s Pick: Casino (1995)

by on April 28, 2012Posted in: Editor's Pick

Playing Fri May 4 at 7:00 at Museum of the Moving Image [Program & Tix]

The always dependable annual “Fashion in Film Festival” at MOMI picks “If Looks Could Kill” could kill as its theme and supplies a fine lineup of thriller, gangster, film noir, and horror. Things fittingly kick off with Scorsese’s lavish spectacle.

Says Jonathan Romney in the New Statesman: “My choice of best and most underrated film of the decade has to be Martin Scorsese’s sublime, misunderstood Casino – a sprawling, overreaching mess in some ways, but the nearest that recent US cinema has come to producing a ‘how-we-live-today’ statement of the Zola school.”
Alt Screen editor Nathan Lee for the New York Times:

“Goodfellas” in Vegas: that’s how a lot of people greeted Martin Scorsese’s “Casino” when it came out in 1995. After all, both movies took their screenplays from Nicholas Pileggi books that burrow deep into the muck and minutiae of organized crime. In both, Joe Pesci plays an unhinged thug. Equal in scope and ambition, these epic cautionary tales are about vice, capitalism and the American Way. Unmistakably, they are also about the virtuosity of their maker. “Casino” supercharges the “Goodfellas” paradigm: wall-to-wall pop music, crackerjack montage, a quicksilver camera that glides through the scenery with curving, craning, whiplash sinuosity. Yes, “Mr. Scorsese has been here and done this already,” as Janet Maslin wrote in her review of “Casino” in The New York Times, “but not with his new film’s blistering bitterness or its peacock extravagance.” And not with Sharon Stone (above, with Robert De Niro) in the performance of a lifetime as Ginger McKenna, an ambitious, unstable Strip hustler who catches the eye of the casino boss Sam Rothstein (Mr. De Niro, in a splendidly restrained performance that makes amends for his histrionics in “Cape Fear”). Mr. Scorsese is no more repetitive than Balzac and just as talented a historian. We should be so lucky as to see “Goodfellas” in Kansas, California or Washington

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