Film review: The King of Comedy (1983)

Martin Scorsese's satirical comedy/drama, about Rupert Pupkin (Robert de Niro), a nerdish man in his 30s with dreams of being a television star.

You feel uncomfortable watching Rupert Pupkin, he is not able to see himself from the outside and witness his own bizarre behaviour. You kind of admire his strong-willed and single-minded desire to reach his goal. Even though what he is doing is clearly inappropriate and wrong, I felt like I was rooting for the underdog at times, perhaps because I felt sorry for the poor guy, who is still living at home with his mother.
Its not like he wants to hurt anyone, its more that he wants others to co-operate and fit into his twisted world-view.

In a way, Rupert Pupkin is similar to Travis Bickle from Scorsese's Taxi Driver, a lonely man in a big city, who desperately wants a change, yet is not able to get what he wants. Rupert does not have the patience to start from the bottom in the stand-up comedian business, perhaps because he is afraid of rejection. Rupert wants immediate change, which is both naïve and impossible. The only friend Rupert has is a fellow celebrity stalker, she is perhaps even more deranged than Rupert is.

Jerry Lewis plays tv-host Jerry Langford, the comedian they chase and admire. Jerry Lewis' role is blurred, a mix of reality and fiction, Jerry Lewis was a popular entertainer at the time, and in the film portrays, compared to Rupert, a very normal human being.

Some have argued the message of the film is a satire or condemnation of how we overrate and glorify celebrity. On the one hand in terms of making them larger than life and wanting to get close to them, despite the celebrities frequent unwillingness, and on the other hand the selfish desire of ordinary people to strive towards celebrity status despite not having talent or admirable qualities, being famous just for the sake of being famous. Sophia Coppola also explored the celebrity lifestyle in Somewhere (2010)

Roger Ebert: “What we have here is an agonizing portrait of lonely, angry people with their emotions all tightly bottled up. This is a movie that seems ready to explode – but somehow it never does” (…) “a movie about rejection, with a hero who never admits that he has been rejected and so there is neither comic nor tragic release – just the postponement of pain. (…) They must have been difficult performances to deliver, because nobody listens in this film; everybody's just waiting for the other person to stop talking so they can start. (…) Rupert Pupkin doesn’t feel cut off from life – he feels cut off from talk shows. His life consists of waiting. (…) The whole movie is about the inability of the characters to get any kind of a positive response to their bids for recognition. (…) “He cannot be rejected, because he cannot hear rejection, with his mind always racing ahead to fantasies of acceptance. (…) Masha, on the other hand, doesn’t want to be Langford, but to have him (…) Scorsese says that both Rupert Pupkin and Jerry Langford remind him of himself. Pupkin is young Marty Scorsese, camped out in agents’ offices, scrounging loans to finish his student film, hustling jobs as an editor in between directing assignments. Langford is Martin Scorsese at forty, famous, honoured, admired, besieged by young would-be filmmakers asking him for a break. (…) One of the reasons the studio was afraid of the movie was that the subject matter is extremely touchy. Since it is well known that Scorsese’s Taxi Driver was seen by John Hinckley before he shot Reagan, The King of Comedy seemed in some circles almost like an invitation to trouble for someone like Johnny Carson.
But are the final shots intended to be real, or another of Rupert’s daydreams? Do they have an occult relationship with the puzzling ending of Taxi Driver, where Travis Bickle also becomes a folk hero?"

Scorsese originally turned down the script:
“It seemed like a one-joke movie at the time, he said, “But then I began to see that it wasn’t about kidnapping, it was about rejection. (…) The amount of rejection in this film is horrifying. There are scenes I almost can’t look at. There’s a scene where de Niro is told ‘I hate you!’ and he nods and responds, ‘Oh, I see, right, you don’t want to see me again!’ I made the movie during a very painful period in my life. I was going through the Poor Me routine. And I’m still very lonely. Another relationship has broken up.”
“People in America were confused by The King of Comedy and saw Bob as some kind of mannequin. But I felt it was De Niro’s best performance ever. The King of Comedy was right on the edge for us; we couldn’t go any further at the time”
Scorsese: "It’s a violation, the way the paparazzi takes pictures of you, the bulbs and shots of the camera are like bullets.
“It was a clear decision for there to be no difference between fantasy and reality, the fantasy is real”

As The Inquisitor writes in his review. Pupkin’s “the ultimate narcissist, totally unconcerned with the thoughts or feelings of others outside of their reference to his own self image. He appears to spend most of his time fantasizing about his imagined celebrity.”

The King of Comedy ended up costing $20 million and was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1983. Although a commercial failure it attracted five BAFTA nominations and considerable critical speculation. Scorsese said in interviews that the characters of Rupert and Jerry were close to him: the ambitious outsider who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal, and the successful celebrity who despite the admiration is essentially lonely and vulnerable (his own marriage to Isabella Rossellini had ended).

Scorsese later commented that although The King of Comedy was very funny, it was not a comedy.
De Niro has said that the film: "...maybe wasn't so well-received because it gave off an aura of something that people didn't want to look at or know.”

Very funny, I recommend it. See it for the great performance by Robert De Niro. Probably one of Scorsese's most underrated films. The movie questions, how far will you go to be famous? An issue that perhaps is even more relevant today.

Readers of my review, any thoughts on The King of Comedy?

Next week, look out for a revised review of Scorsese’s After Hours (1985)



Scorsese on Scorsese (2003)
Scorsese by Ebert (2008)

Songs for your iPod

Some 2011 tracks by female singers this week, enjoy!

Black - Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi feat. Norah Jones

(By far the best track on the album for me)


Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses - Garbage (U2 Cover)

(An impressive cover that stays with you, I'm told Garbage's 5th studio album is out in 2012. Somehow her voice seems different than the 90s?)


The Hunger - Shirley Manson & Serj Tankian

(She's one of my favourite singers, and this new song is also haunting)

Listeners, any thoughts on the above music?

Film review: Taxi Driver (1976)

My review is intended for viewers who have already watched the film. Spoilers ahead.

In the 70s, movies moved out into the streets. Among others Taxi Driver and Mean Streets, both directed by Martin Scorsese.

Taxi Driver was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won the Palme d'Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. The film was chosen by Time as one of the 100 best films of all time.

In Taxi Driver, we are encouraged to feel empathy with a questionable character. We get under Travis' skin with the personal voice-overs. I get the feeling Travis wouldn't lose his mind, if he had a support system who cared. Travis is unable to establish normal relationships.
Some claim the movie can be watched as a slow-motion documentary of the mind. About a cold and distant person slowly going mad, affected by the city environment. The hallucinatory atmosphere is like a character in itself, a portrait of the dark side of New York. We get to experience the dark side by watching the film.

An extraordinary star-making performance for the ages by Robert De Niro, which is impossible to wipe from your memory. Robert De Niro drove round in a taxi in New York to prepare for the role. He improvised the famous “are you talking to me” scene, in the script it just said: Travis talks to himself. Entire books have been written trying to dissect Taxi Driver, such is the impact. Its sort of a sister film to Mean Streets, which embarrassingly I have only seen in patches.

In 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, they write how Travis sees things in the dark alleys of New York that most people will never see. He feels invisible, and maybe even numb and impotent. The rough streets are all he knows and he seems frustrated that he no longer knows of a better life. After trying to become a part of society by dating Betsy, his alienation and frustration grows with her rejection of him, his next goal is to destroy society by assasinating a politician. Travis is a confused individual in a world he is on the fringes of, later on he does a U-turn and now wants to rescue a young prostitute from the rotten, criminal underworld.

They say you are more lonely in a crowd, and this is very much the case for Travis, especially when driving around in his cab and observing people. He wants his life to be significant, yet his attempts to fit in and matter are inappropriate. He is the anti-hero, who has taken the law into his own hands, and what makes him dangerous is that he is capable of anything, someone we sympathize with, even though he is doing wrong. Not an easy film to watch, Travis is a despicable character, who becomes a hero.

Unfortunately, Taxi Driver formed part of the delusional fantasy of John Hinckley, Jr, which triggered his attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981, an act for which he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. The question is, is the film glorifying violence, and thus a vehicle for madmen to imitate? I hope not, and if this is the case, they have misunderstood Scorsese’s intention.

A story about our culture. A study of masculine self-destruction. I would think a long-term goal of the film is to help reduce urban violence by showing an example of how and why it happens. So the general public become more aware of marginalized and vulnerable members of society, so family/friends or the authorities can step in and support them.

Travis is a walking contradiction, eating pills and trying to keep fit at the same time. He loathes the scum who make love in his cab, yet he frequents dirty movies. Travis works out, then eats junk food. He is drawn to the very things he claims to hate about New York. He supports the politician Betsy is working for, but then Travis turns against him later on.

Some viewers no doubt will identify with Travis’ urban alienation, longing to belong to something, longing for a meaningful life. Other may find Travis creepy and insane.

The film can spark a debate about how we discuss violence in films. Travis is complicated, a mentally unstable Vietnam War veteran, we don’t know how the war has affected him, the film explores his demeanor.

His spiral into madness might be his unrealistic desire to clean up the streets, a one man army, but with no clear enemy. After all, it’s all seen through the eyes of Travis, so we don’t know what to believe. As his voiceover states: “One day a rain storm will come and wash away all the scum off the streets.” Unfortunately, Travis is becoming the very thing he sought to get rid of.

As Dave at dvdinfatuation writes in his review: Scorsese structures Taxi Driver in such a way that we’re in Travis’ company for nearly the entire film, keeping us so in tune with his lead character that, like Travis, we become oblivious to the rest of the world. We are one with his warped reality, and serve as the lone witnesses to his journey into the abyss.

There’s definitely comparisons to be made between Drive (2011) and Taxi Driver (1976). I prefer Taxi Driver, in both films we don’t know why the lonely guy wants to help others, it’s a mystery.
Also, Taxi Driver is comparable to Fight Club (1999), an at times violent character study with a subjective viewpoint about an insomniac dealing with alienation issues, who through voice-overs thinks about what is wrong with the world, and wants to make it a better place.

Travis attempts to rescue women who in fact may not want to be rescued. Apparently, Martin Scorsese loves the comparable western The Searchers (1956), where the John Wayne character also attempts to “save” a girl.

In writing the script, Paul Schrader was inspired by the diaries of Arthur Bremer (who shot presidential candidate George Wallace in 1972) and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground. However, the writer also used himself as an inspiration. Schrader, who hadn’t spoken to anyone for several weeks when he wrote the script, slept in a car, as his marriage had recently broken up. According to Schrader, the story is about self-induced loneliness. The taxi cab is a metaphor for isolation and loneliness, a metal box on wheels.
Other sources of inspiration for Schrader were existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea and Robert Bresson’s script for Pickpocket. Schrader doesn’t think you will get rid of the madmen in society by censoring art.

Screenwriter Paul Schrader: “People said it must be terrible, knowing I had to top it. I said, no, it’s just the opposite. You’re free from feeling that you’re never going to accomplish anything. (…) I wrote it that way after thinking about the way they handled In Cold Blood. They tell you all about Perry Smith’s background, how he developed his problems, and immediately it becomes less interesting.”

Film critic Roger Ebert discusses Scorsese: “His protagonists are often awkward outsiders who try too hard or are not sure what to say (…) Scorsese is uninterested in conventional heroes (…) The arrival of Taxi driver in 1976 is hard to describe. It was, and is, such a passionate, challenging, raw, and powerful film that it created a space of its own. (…)De Niro, who comes from nowhere – we get hardly any background – and drives a cab in New York and eventually we realize he’s seething inside, he’s got all this violence bottled up (…) Perhaps it is why so many people connect with it even though Travis Bickle would seem to be the most alienating of movie heroes. We have all felt as alone as Travis. Most of us are better at dealing with it."

Scorsese: “The whole movie is based, visually, on one shot where the guy is being turned down on the telephone by the girl, and the camera actually pans away from him. It’s too painful to see that rejection. (…) I mean, I find that one of the key things, for example, in Taxi Driver was that you have to see practically everything from Travis’s point of view. Otherwise, you wouldn’t go with him when he killed those people. You wouldn’t know why. Not that you do know why, but you’d have to understand the feeling”
“Much of Taxi Driver arose from my feeling that movies are really a kind of dream-state, or like taking dope. And the shock of walking out of the theatre into broad daylight can be terrifying. I watch movies all the time and I am also very bad at waking up. The film was like that for me – that sense of being almost awake(…) The whole film is very much based on the impressions I have as a result of growing up in New York and living in the city”
“In Taxi Driver Travis Bickle lives it out, he goes right to the edge and explodes. When I read Paul’s script, I realized that was exactly the way I felt, that we all have those feelings, so this was a way of embracing and admitting them, while saying I wasn’t happy about them. When you live in a city, there’s a constant sense that the buildings are getting old, things are breaking down, the bridges and the subway need repairing. At the same time society is in a state of decay; the police force are not doing their job in allowing prostitution on the streets, and who knows if they’re feeding off it and making money out of it. So that sense of frustration goes in swings.”
Travis really has the best of intentions; he believes he’s doing right, just like St Paul. He wants to clean up life, clean up the mind, clean up the soul. He is very spiritual, but in a sense Charles Manson was spiritual, which doesn’t mean that it’s good. It’s the power of the spirit on the wrong road.”

In the TV-documentary Scorsese on Scorsese, the director discusses Taxi driver: “What is a hero. That is my question in most of my pictures. What is a man? What is a hero? Is it might makes right? Or is it someone who can sit down and make everyone reason things out? The second ones harder. If you hit someone long enough they are going to stop. It works for a while, then it all comes back. (…). In Taxi driver we tapped into not being one of a group, loneliness. (…) Being an outsider in this world, not being able to connect with anyone, expresses itself in the film and in the character through violence. (…) This guy (Travis) crosses the line, why? The beauty of Schrader’s script, and the nature of why he (Travis) is this way. You don’t know. (…) In the end scene, Travis looks in the rearview mirror of his cab, as if he catches a glimpse of something happening, wanted to give the impression that it (the violence) is going to happen again”

The distorted view of New York in Taxi Driver at the beginning is seen through the front window of the cab, where New York’s skyline seems to melt like a surrealistic dream picture by Salvador Dali. (01.32)

Author Jan Oxholm Jensen writes: The way in which New York City appears in Taxi Driver reflects Scorsese’s personal fascination with the big city and not a detailed representation of reality. Oxholm believes the aesthetic qualities in terms of visuals and music confront the viewer to reflect on the importance of the surroundings. The use of camera is a question of creating a certain point of view of New York, which Oxholm argues is nihilistic in Taxi Driver, as opposed to Woody Allen’s Manhattan (1979), which is a nostalgic or romantic point of view.

Bars and grates are visible in Taxi Driver’s prison like environment, in Travis’ apartment, which increases the feeling of claustrophobia and being enclosed from the rest of the world. Likewise the box-shaped taxi is a prison on wheels, and entraps Travis in the same lifestyle. The panels on the side window of the cab accentuate him being locked inside. (12.15)

Travis lives in his own little world, the background and foreground are out of focus, when he goes to the movies. His hand is covering and imprisoning his face (56.24)

Travis won’t take it anymore. He takes the law into his own hands. In the final moments, its as if God is looking down and making a judgment on the events that have taken place.
Roger Ebert on the ending: “There has been much discussion about the ending, in which we see newspaper clippings about Travis' "heroism," and then Betsy gets into his cab and seems to give him admiration instead of her earlier disgust. Is this a fantasy scene? Did Travis survive the shoot-out? Are we experiencing his dying thoughts? Can the sequence be accepted as literally true?”

The ending certainly is ambiguous. To be honest, I didn’t like the classical music score, other than that I couldn't find anything to complain about. Its one of my favourite films and Scorsese’s best in my opinion.

I’d be interested to hear what you have to say about Taxi Driver, let me know in the comments! Is it Scorsese’s best?



Scorsese on Scorsese (2003)
Scorsese by Ebert (2008)

Songs for your iPod

One for You, One for Me - Bright Eyes

(Drum number one track so far of 2011! I think he's singing about everybody needs a hug, no matter who you are)


Take the world - She Wants Revenge

(Sort of has a Depeche Mode sound, best track on the album)



(The incredible slow-motion video really sells that song - big time!)

Listeners, any coments on the above music?

Film review: Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)

Spoilers may occur. A drama/comedy/road movie directed by Martin Scorsese. The opening credits somehow reminded me of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986), the blue curtain background, with a haunting song playing across the credits.

According to the interview book Scorsese on Scorsese, the director wanted it to begin like a Douglas Sirk melodrama – although Sirk is not a director to whom he responds emotionally – and then shift into a different world where Alice is on the road.
Another reviewer commented on that the opening is similar to The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Alice’s husband is distant, we don’t see his face at the beginning, and Alice is frustrated he is not more talkative at the dinner table. The story follows Alice on a journey, travelling with her precocious young son and determined to make a new life for herself as a singer. It’s partly a road movie, partly a mother-son relationship drama, partly a depiction of Alice’s turbulent new life.

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore received three Oscar nominations, Ellen Burstyn winning for female actress in a leading role, even though I consider her Oscar-nominated performance in Requiem for a Dream equally as good, if not better. There was even a spin-off TV series called Alice. Scorsese, barely into his thirties, was solidly establishing himself as a successful and respected director.

Scorsese: “It’s a picture about emotions and feelings and relationships and people in chaos," he said. "We felt like charting all that and showing the differences and showing people making terrible mistakes ruining their lives and then realizing it and trying to push back when everything is crumbling

Burstyn later recalled:
"It was early in the woman’s movement, and we were all just waking up and having a look at the pattern of our lives and wanting it to be different . . . I wanted to make a different kind of film. A film from a woman’s point of view, but a woman that I recognized, that I knew. And not just myself, but my friends, what we were all going through at the time. So my agent found Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”

Film critic Roger Ebert: “The movie has been both attacked and defended on feminist grounds, but I think it belongs somewhere outside ideology, maybe in the area of contemporary myth and romance. There are scenes in which we take Alice and her journey perfectly seriously, there are scenes of harrowing reality, and then there are other scenes (including some hilarious passages in a restaurant where she waits on tables) where Scorsese edges into slight, cheerful exaggeration. There are times, indeed, when the movie seems less about Alice than it does about the speculations and daydreams of a lot of women about her age, who identify with the liberation of other women, but are unsure on the subject of themselves”

In Scorsese on Scorsese, Scorsese is quoted: “In Hollywood they liked Mean Streets a lot, but on the strength of it they thought I could only direct actors, not actresses! Ellen Burstyn, who was riding a wave on account of her success in The Exorcist, was looking for a young director for Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. (…) I thought it was a good idea too, dealing with women for a change, only I wanted to improvise some of it and change the third part dealing with the farmer. I was only partly happy with the result, as we really shot a three-and-a-half-hour picture and then had to cut it down to less than two hours” (…) We never intended it to be a feminist tract. It was a film about self-responsibility and also about how people make the same mistakes again and again.”

Scorsese: “It’s very easy to discipline oneself to go to mass on Sunday mornings. That’s not redemption for me: its how you live, how you deal with other people, whether it be the streets, at home or in an office”

A highly recommendable film, it certainly has a very 70s atmosphere, with strong performances, humour, the funniest scene for me is when the waitress is swapping the plates around, and Diane Ladd’s comments in the diner are pretty outrageous and amusing. Alice’s son also is pretty funny at times. I like what another reviewer wrote, the story is about small victories, something everyone can strive for.

My favourite quote is spoken by Kris Kristofferson about his former wife: “She wanted this, I wanted that. She said I’m leaving, and I held the door for her”

Readers of the review, have you seen Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore? If so, what did you think? Are you a fan of Scorsese?

Look out next week for more Scorsese, as I continue my blogathon with a review of Taxi Driver (1976)




Scorsese on Scorsese (2003)
Scorsese by Ebert (2008)

Songs for your iPod

(Some 2011 tracks...these artists have taken a delorean back to the 80s!)

Beth/Rest - Bon Iver


Take Another Look - The Cars


Sad Song - The Cars

(Check out the video, very inventive)

Readers, any thoughts, did you have other favourite tracks on the above albums? What do you think of the trend of re-capturing the 80s, the soundtrack of Drive (2011) also did.

Top dream pop songs from 2011

Very subjective of course. Which of the below tracks do you like? What hazy dream pop or chillwave artists are you a fan of? Any other tracks you'd recommend? Share your opinions in the comments below

Stickers - SLEEP ∞ OVER

Kaputt - Destroyer

I Never Would - Seapony

Spaced Out Orbit - Thao & Mirah

Letters Home - CFCF (Memoryhouse Remix)

Honey Mine - Korallreven (Memoryhouse Remix)

Hey Moon - John Maus (Molly Nilsson cover)

Leather Glove - Love Inks

Charades - Papercuts

Too Much MIDI (Please Forgive Me) - Ford & Lopatin

Lovedropper - The Boy Friend

Given the Time - Craft Spells

Sleep Patterns - Memoryhouse

We Have Everything - Young Galaxy

The Kiss – Pallers

Amor Fati - Washed Out

More dream pop (or near enough) from this year not to be missed:

Cover Your Tracks - Young Galaxy (CFCF Remix)

Streetlight - John Maus

Still Life - The Horrors

Quiet America - Memoryhouse

Lately – Memoryhouse

Warm In The Winter - Glass Candy

Video Games - Lana Del Ray

No Widows - The Antlers

Moullinex - Tear Club

Videotapes - Blouse

Surface - Teen Daze

Sun Hits - Memory Tapes

You're Almost There - Lanterns On The Lake

Lungs Quicken - Lanterns on the Lake

Fallout - Neon Indian

Marmelade Kids - Dumbo Gets Mad

Peripheral Visionaries - Young Galaxy

So Sorry - Geoffrey O'Connor

Sparrow Song - Acrylics (Feat. Caroline Polachek)

Lord Knows Best - Dirty Beaches

Not A Friend - Cat's Eyes

Chinatown - Destroyer

Forget that you're young - The Raveonettes

90 Degrees - Ladytron

I'm God - Clams Casino

Alien Observer - Grouper

Humdrum – Pallers

Bobby - Youth Lagoon

Our own dream - Keep Shelly in Athens

Fluorescent Nights - Echo Shade

Brief Encounter - Secret Cities

Flowers Bloom - High Highs

Moving Machine - Grouper

Stolen Dog – Burial

The White Season - Still Corners

The Twilight Hour - Still Corners

The Same Thing - Cass McCombs

Pinky's Dream (feat. Karen O) - David Lynch

Common Burn - Mazzy Star

Lay Myself Down - Mazzy Star

Ghost Dream – Blouse

Oblivion – Grimes

He Doesn’t Know Why - Silver Swans (Fleet Foxes cover)

Reunion - M83

Splendor - M83

California Birds - Keep Shelly In Athens & ABADABA

Here in Heaven 2 - Elite Gymnastics

Omamori - Elite Gymnastics

Halogen (I Could Be A Shadow) - Neon Indian

Silver Time Machine - Death In Vegas

Conquest –The Sound Of Arrows

Hearts (Bedroom Sessions) - I Break Horses

Egyptian Wrinkle - Boy Friend

Modern normal - Memoryhouse

The heavens turn by themselves - Sleep ∞ over

Into black - Blouse

Nuclear Seasons - Charli XCX

Plage - Crystal Fighters (Compuphonic Remix)

Red Light - Gigamesh (Goldroom Remix)

Swimming - Neutron Wireless Crystal (Trenchurian Remix)

Because The Night - Au Palais

Patricia's thirst - Choir of Young Believers (1st single from 2012 album)

Wild Eyed – The Horrors

The Fog Rose High - Craft Spells

Early To Bed – Weathervane

Hey Sparrow - Peaking Lights

One Second Of Love - Nite Jewel

Thunderbolts Of Love - Part Time

Still Sound - Toro Y Moi

For Love I Come – Thundercat

Paradisco - Charlotte Gainsbourg

Psychic Driving – Soft Metals

No One is Ever Going to Want Me - Giles Corey/Dan Barrett

Skeleton Key - Love Inks

Speed vs. Distance - Fotoshop

The Earth Plates Are Shifting - Young Empires

Skybound - Molly Nilsson

Yellow Halo - Goldfrapp

38 Stories - Indoor Voices

AT2 - Araab Muzik

I Remember - Araab Muzik

Dying Hipster - Torgny (feat. Maria Due)

This Aint No Hymn - Saint Saviour

Kelly - When Saints Go Machine

Better - Teen

High Priestess - Active Child

Diamond Heart - Active Child

Paris Collides - Rufus

Dreaming - Adam & The Amethysts

Eyes Be Closed - Washed Out

Far Away - Washed Out

White Trees - Mads Björn

Unspoken ft El Perro del Mar - Pacific!

Into the Wilderness - Burning Hearts

(Watch this space for more 2011 tracks in future...last updated 2nd of Feb 2012)

You might also like my list below....

Top dream pop songs of 2010:

Heirloom - Memoryhouse
I L U - School of Seven Bells
Camouflage – Small Black
When We're Dancing - Twin Shadow
Shadows – Warpaint
Undertow - Warpaint
Outer Limits – Sleep Over
Last Forever – Molly Nilsson
Forget You & I - Nite Jewel
Falling Far - Nite Jewel
Better times - Beach House
Dancing Ghosts - Azure Ray
Saviour - Teen Daze
Watch Over Me - Teen Daze
Live In Dreams (Wild Nothing Cover) - High Highs
Icarus - White Hinterland
The Truest Faith – Korallreven
Chinatown – Wild Nothing
On Giving Up - High Places
Across the Sea - D'eon
Devon - Grimes
Dream Fortress - Grimes
Don't Be Afraid - Keep Shelly In Athens
Burn Bridges – Dom
My Plants Are Dead - Blonde Redhead
Spain - Blonde Redhead
Shades Away - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
You Can Count On Me (live) - Panda Bear
Voyage - Charlotte Gainsbourg
Beatrice - Home Video
A Step Forward - Contre Jour
Soak It Up - Houses
A Real Hero - College feat. Electric Youth
Under Your Spell - Desire (2009)
Nightcall - Kavinsky

Songs for your iPod

Awesome atmospheric music. Heard the Drive soundtrack? It works outside of the film. Here are my favourites:

Nightcall - Kavinsky


Under Your Spell - Desire


A Real Hero - College (feat. Electric Youth)

Film review: Casablanca (1942)

Spoilers may occur. One of the most beloved films ever made, from the "Golden age of cinema", and often voted the most romantic movie of-all-time, containing some of the most memorable and witty movie quotes from cinema history.

Among my favourite black-and-whites, it has been called a perfect film, capturing the spirit of romance, patriotism, intrigue and idealism. Through the years Casablanca is a film that has been woven into the fabric of our culture.

Takes place in Northern Africa in the 1940s, and especially Rick’s café is a character in its own right in the film, I really felt like I was sitting there among those guys in that smoke-filled room having a drink.

Set during World War Two, the main theme is probably lost love. Humphrey Bogart plays the romantic hero Rick, a cynical, tough, hard-nosed, yet sensitive character, who is reunited in Morocco with an old flame named Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman). She is now married to Victor Laszlo fleeing from the Nazis.

Humphrey Bogart became a star with Casablanca. Film critic Roger Ebert says on the audio commentary that he thinks the reason Rick has become so beloved is due to him being a mysterious, sarcastic, and detached kind of guy, who is all the more interesting because we sense he has a soft heart inside.

Rick’s motivations for being in Casablanca are unclear, and add to the mystery. A bit of trivia, Bogart never took any acting lessons or went to acting school, he was self-taught. While I personally believe Ingrid Bergman’s performance is stronger, Bogart was nominated for an Oscar for his lead performance in Casablanca.

Castor at anomalousmaterial made a good point in his review, Bogart is playing two different characters in a way, Rick of the past, and Rick of the present. And Bogart pulls it off.

I always found Bogart's acting style slightly wooden and his delivery of lines monotonous, he has his moments in Casablanca, notably the "of all the gin joints" scene above. Still, for me he has a stone face most of the time in comparison to Ingrid Bergman, she can really express a lot by not even speaking. Why did Humphrey Bogart become such a big star I wonder? Luck? Good career choices? His looks? Who knows. However, you could argue there are no main characters in Casablanca, as the story has an ensemble feel to it.

Ingrid Bergman brought warmth and tenderness to the role. Her character Ilsa was torn between two men, in love with Rick, and devoted to the cause of resistance leader Victor Laszlo portrayed by Paul Henreid. Gives the film an edginess that Ingrid Bergman didn’t know who to love due to scripts changing daily. She was asked to play it “in the middle”. Nobody knew what the ending would be.

As Ebert states, it’s probably on more lists of the greatest films of-all-time than any other film in cinema history, and he has never read a negative Casablanca review (Hmm, well I could probably find one or two on rottentomatoes)
He thinks this is partly due to the main characters being likeable, and therefore reaching a wide audience, it also has elements to please both men and women. There are many ways of defining what makes a classic, one definition Ebert likes and feels he cannot improve on is by London critic Derek Malcolm: “A great movie is a movie I cannot bear the thought of never seeing again”

The quote “play it again Sam” is never spoken, it was actually “play it”. It’s amazing how quotes from Casablanca have become part of mainstream culture: “Round up the usual suspects”, “We'll always have Paris”, "I stick my neck out for nobody", etc.

My favourite quotes have to be: “Here’s looking at you kid”, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”, and not forgetting “My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters. Waters? What waters? We're in the desert. I was misinformed.”
Here’s a list of memorable quotes

As explained in the dvd documentary, the audience gains insight into people stranded in Europe trying to escape to the USA. People at the time knew about the real Casablanca from the news, and this gave the film more tension. Casablanca was invaded the year the picture came out.

In a way, America and the world needed the film, the story said there were values worth making sacrifices for, and it told this in a very entertaining way. The idea was, that there are greater causes at hand during the war, and you sometimes had to stand above your own feelings, in this case the feelings of three people.
The ending is very memorable and has left audiences wondering what would happen to the main characters after the credits have rolled, the war was still going on, so there was a lot of uncertainty about the future, not just in the movie, but all around the world.

That song As Time Goes By, so haunting! And Rick's Café MUST have helped the tourism in the local area!
The song is number 2 on the American Film Institute's (AFI) 100 Years... 100 Songs list.

Won Oscars for Best picture, best screenplay and best director. Listed as #19 on IMDB’s top 250.

For me, some of the special effects are dated, but still holds up very well, is a timeless classic for each new generation to discover. A number of the screenshots I've shared here have become iconic movie moments.

Have you seen Casablanca? What did you make of it? Do you have a favourite quote? What do you think of Humphrey Bogart's acting? Feel free to share your opinions in the comments




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