Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Phil attends the Cult Movie Series screening of TAXI DRIVER at the Camera 3-August 14, 2011

For years I was a big fan and supporter of the Camera Cinemas' Midnight Movie series. From May til the end of September, they would show popular, cult and horror films at midnight every week at two locations: The Camera 7 Pruneyard on Friday night and the Camera 12 on Saturday night. For over six years I would be there, winning prizes and watching some true film classics such as EVIL DEAD 2THE PRINCESS BRIDETHE PROFESSIONAL, and REPO:THE GENETIC OPERA. This past February it was reformatted and rechristened as the Cult Movie series. Now they show the same film twice a month (Thursday nights at 9:30 and Saturday nights at 11:30) at the Camera 3 in downtown San Jose, and it now continues until November. For this month, the series screened one of the greatest films by legendary film director Martin Scorsese. Known for recent films such as THE DEPARTED (2006) and SHUTTER ISLAND (2010), Scorsese's earlier films were raw, gritty, and innovative. They represented a specific time and place, all the while becoming ingrained within the lexicon of American Cinema. However, the one film that is synonymous with Scorsese's legacy, and is still talked about today, is his 1976 masterpiece TAXI DRIVER.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1976)
There isn't anything that I can say about this film that hasn't been already said by film critics, film historians, by fans, periodicals, documentaries, and by Scorsese himself. If you have never seen this film before, then you need to see this film right now! Stop reading this and go buy the film. Trust me when I say that that this film will change your life! It changed mine, and it's influence has never diminished, even 35 years after its original release. It's one of those perfect films that still shocks you and makes you stare at it and it power over will not let go until after the credits end.

Much of the film's success goes to Robert De Niro's performance in the film. His portrayal of Travis Bickle is disturbing, but you cannot look away. His famous scene where he talks to himself, asking his reflection, "Are you talking to me?" is part of pop culture. That scene has been parodied and imitated nonstop since 1976. Also Jodi Foster's role as street wise child prostitute Iris caused such a roar of controversy that it nearly got the film pulled from theaters.

And what can you say about Scorsese's directing? It's flawless. Absolutely flawless. What I don't understand is why did it take so long for Scorsese to receive and Academy Award? He should've won with this film, or with 1980s RAGING BULL, or with 1990s GOODFELLAS. Now I did enjoy THE DEPARTED and I was glad to see him finally get his recognition that he so rightfully deserves, but this was long overdue. In my opinion, Scorsese should've won with this film.

TAXI DRIVER was just recently released on Blu-Ray and the transfer looks fantastic! Of course it's loaded with some amazing extras, but people will buy it because of the film itself. This is American Cinema at its finest, helmed by America's most beloved director. Martin Scorsese is an American treasure, and with TAXI DRIVER, he will always be remembered as that.

To learn more about the Camera Cinemas Cult Movie Series, or to view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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