Benicio Del Toro

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Posted by sonny 03/26/2009 @ 04:07

Tags : benicio del toro, actors and actresses, entertainment

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When Benicio del Toro Got Mad at Gustavo - OC Weekly
By Gustavo Arellano in Politics I originally wasn't going to post about this because it has no relevance to Orange County, but my jefe insists: I had a run-in with actor Benicio del Toro at last week's American Film Institute tribute to Michael Douglas...
Sean Penn backs out of two films - Hollywood Reporter
Peter and Bobby Farrelly have spent the better part of a decade trying to get "Stooges" off the ground, and in March they pulled off a major casting coup: Penn as Larry, with Jim Carrey as Curly and Benicio del Toro as Moe. Now MGM and the Farrellys,...
Today is National Shemp Day! (We wish.) - Entertainment Weekly
... has been cranking out Three Stooges DVD box sets every few months or so -- and there certainly seems to be a renewed interest in the Stooges thanks to a feature film in development, potentially starring Jim Carrey, Sean Penn, and Benicio del Toro....
Sean Penn pulls out of projects - Variety
He will also be unable to make the full start date of the MGM comedy "The Three Stooges," which is to be directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly and also star Jim Carrey and Benicio Del Toro. Penn, who recently wrapped "Fair Game," the Doug Liman-directed...
So When Does The Writers Strike Stop Ruining Movies? - io9
(November 6) This is another one that's been sitting on ice for ages — Benicio Del Toro signed up for the lead role in March 2006 (!) and there was a script review in August 2006. (If anything, looking at this crop of movies, I'm starting to wonder why...
Che: Part One is wonderful - Winnipeg Sun
In the roadshow version, Che: Part One (The Argentine) is being screened back-to-back with Che: Part Two (Guerrilla), with an intermission, the way that Soderbergh and his Che star Benicio Del Toro prefer. Mired in ideology, mythology and propaganda,...
Guillermo del Toro Predicts the Future of Filmmaking - First Showing
by Alex Billington I really love Guillermo del Toro. Not only is he a brilliant filmmaker, but he's got a lot to say about almost everything (especially filmmaking), and I just love hearing him talk. We haven't heard from him too much recently,...
Gallery: AFI Lifetime Achievement Award - Huntington Herald Dispatch
(AP Photo/Matt Sayles) Actor Benicio Del Toro arrives at the taping of the American Film Institute Life Achievement Awards honoring actor Michael Douglas in Culver City, Calif. on Thursday, June 11, 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles) Actress Jane Seymour...

Benicio del Toro

Benicio del Toro2.jpg

Benicio Monserrate Rafael del Toro Sánchez (born February 19, 1967), better known as Benicio del Toro, is a Puerto Rican actor and film producer. His awards include the Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award and British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award. He is known for his roles as Fred Fenster in The Usual Suspects, Javier Rodríguez Rodríguez in Traffic, Jack 'Jackie Boy' Rafferty in Sin City, Dr Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Franky Four Fingers in Snatch and most recently Che Guevara in Che. He is the third Puerto Rican to win an Academy Award.

Benicio del Toro was born and grew up in Santurce, Puerto Rico, a district of San Juan. He is the son of Gustavo Adolfo del Toro Bermúdez and Fausta Genoveva Sánchez Rivera, who were both lawyers. He is of Spanish and Italian ancestry. He has an older brother, Gustavo, who is a pediatric oncologist. Del Toro's childhood nicknames were "Skinny Benny" and "Beno". He was raised a Catholic and attended Academia del Perpetuo Socorro (The Academy of Our Lady of Perpetual Help), a Roman Catholic school in Miramar, Puerto Rico. When he was nine years old, his mother died of hepatitis. At the age of thirteen, del Toro's father moved his two sons to Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, where del Toro was enrolled at the Mercersburg Academy. He spent his adolescence and high school there.

After graduation, del Toro followed the advice of his father and pursued a degree in business at the University of California, San Diego. Success in an elective drama course encouraged him to drop out of college and study with noted acting teachers Stella Adler and Arthur Mendoza in Los Angeles, as well as at the Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York.

Del Toro began to surface in small television parts during the late 1980s, playing mostly thugs and drug dealers on programs like Miami Vice and the NBC miniseries, Drug Wars: The Camarena Story. He had a cameo in Madonna's 1987 music video clip "La Isla Bonita" as a background character (the kid sitting on the car). Work in films followed, beginning with his debut in Big Top Pee-wee and in the 007 film Licence to Kill, in which 21-year-old del Toro held the distinction of being the youngest actor ever to play a Bond villain. Although both films were considered box office disappointments, del Toro continued to appear in movies like The Indian Runner (1991), China Moon (1991), Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992), Money for Nothing (1993), Fearless (1993) and Swimming with Sharks (1994).

His career gained momentum in 1995 with his breakout performance in The Usual Suspects, where he played the mumbling, wisecracking Fred Fenster. The role won him an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor and established him as a character actor. This led to more strong roles in independent and major studio films, including playing Gaspare in Abel Ferrara's The Funeral (1996) and winning a second consecutive Best Supporting Actor Independent Spirit Award for his work as Benny Dalmau in Basquiat (1996), directed by his friend, artist Julian Schnabel. Del Toro also shared the screen with Robert De Niro in the big budget thriller The Fan, in which he played Juan Primo, a charismatic Puerto Rican baseball star. - - For Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the 1998 film adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's famous book, he packed on more than 40 lbs. (about 18 kg) to play Dr. Gonzo (a.k.a. Oscar Zeta Acosta), Thompson's lawyer and drug-fiend cohort. The surrealistic film, directed by Terry Gilliam, has earned a cult following over the years. Returning from a two-year hiatus after Fear and Loathing, del Toro would gain a mainstream audience in 2000 with a string of performances in four high-profile films. First up was The Way of the Gun, a crime yarn that reunited him with The Usual Suspects screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie, making his directorial debut. A few months later, he stood out among a first-rate ensemble cast in Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, a complex dissection of the North American drug wars. As Javier Rodriguez — a Mexican border cop struggling to remain honest amid the corruption and deception of illegal drug trafficking — del Toro, who spoke most of his lines in Spanish, gave a performance that dominated the film and earned him his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

His praised work swept all of the major critics awards in 2001, as well as the Golden Globe, and the Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor. In addition to the critical accolades, Traffic was also a success at the box office, bringing to del Toro real Hollywood clout for the first time in his career. While Traffic was still playing in theaters, two other del Toro films were released in late 2000/early 2001. He had a brief role as the diamond thief Franky Four Fingers in Guy Ritchie's hip caper comedy Snatch, and played a mentally-challenged Native American man in The Pledge, directed by his old friend Sean Penn.

In 2003, del Toro appeared in two films: The Hunted, co-starring Tommy Lee Jones, and the drama 21 Grams, an acting tour-de-force, co-starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts. He went on to garner another Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his work in the latter.

His most recent roles were in the film adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel Sin City, directed by Robert Rodriguez, and Things We Lost in the Fire, the English language debut of celebrated Danish director Susanne Bier. Things We Lost in the Fire co-starred Halle Berry, Alison Lohman, and John Carroll Lynch. On May 25, 2008, del Toro received the "Best Actor" award at the Cannes Film Festival for his characterization of Che Guevara in The Argentine and Guerrilla (together known as Che).

Benicio will be in Martin Scorsese's "Silence" with Daniel-Day Lewis, due to be released in 2010. The movie is about Two Jesuit priests, Sebastião Rodrigues (Benicio Del Toro) and Francis Garrpe (Daniel Day-Lewis), who travel to seventeenth century Japan under the Shogunate regime (which has isolated itself from all foreign contact) to see how the evangelical mission is going. There they witness the persecution of Japanese Christians at the hands of their own government, which wishes to purge Japan of all western influence. Eventually the priests separate and Rodrigues travels the countryside, wondering why God remains silent while His children suffer.

In 2001, del Toro won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Traffic, thereby becoming the fourth Oscar winner whose winning role was a character who speaks predominantly in a foreign language (most of del Toro's dialogue in Traffic is in Spanish). Sophia Loren, Robert De Niro, and Roberto Benigni are the other three (Marion Cotillard became the fifth winner of an Academy Award for a character who speaks in a foreign language). Del Toro is also the third Puerto Rican actor to win an Oscar, after Jose Ferrer and Rita Moreno. The night he won his Oscar, it was the first time that two actors born in Puerto Rico were nominated in the same category. (The other actor was Joaquin Phoenix for his role in Gladiator.) In his acceptance speech, del Toro thanked the people of both Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora and dedicated his award to them. Angelina Jolie handed the award to him. In 2004, Benicio del Toro was again nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, for his performance in the film 21 Grams.

In October 2008, Del Toro traveled to Puerto Rico in order to attend the funeral ceremonies of his godmother, Sarah Torres.

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Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the award has commonly been referred to as the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. While actors are nominated for this award by Academy members who are actors and actresses themselves, winners are selected by the Academy membership as a whole. Under the system currently in place, an actor is nominated for a specific performance in a single film, and such nominations are limited to five per year.

Throughout the past 73 years, accounting for ties and repeat winners, AMPAS has presented a total of 73 Best Supporting Actor awards to 66 different actors. Winners of this Academy Award of Merit receive the familiar Oscar statuette, depicting a gold-plated knight holding a crusader's sword and standing on a reel of film. Prior to the 16th Academy Awards ceremony (1943), however, they received a plaque. The first recipient was Walter Brennan, who was honored at the 9th Academy Awards ceremony (1936) for his performance in Come and Get It. The most recent recipient was Heath Ledger, who was honored posthumously at the 81st Academy Awards ceremony (2009) for his performance in The Dark Knight.

Until the 8th Academy Awards ceremony (1935), nominations for the Best Actor award were intended to include all actors, whether the performance was in a leading or supporting role. At the 9th Academy Awards ceremony (1936), however, the Best Supporting Actor category was specifically introduced as a distinct award following complaints that the single Best Actor category necessarily favored leading performers with the most screen time. Nonetheless, Lionel Barrymore had received a Best Actor award (A Free Soul, 1931) and Franchot Tone a Best Actor nomination (Mutiny on the Bounty, 1935) for their performances in clear supporting roles. Currently, Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, and Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role constitute the four Academy Awards of Merit for acting annually presented by AMPAS.

Walter Brennan, the winner of the inaugural award in 1936, is the only actor to win the award three times (from four nominations). Six actors have won the award twice: Anthony Quinn, Melvyn Douglas, Michael Caine, Peter Ustinov, and Jason Robards. Robards was the only person to win consecutive Best Supporting Actor awards, for All the President's Men (1976) and Julia (1977).

Claude Rains and Arthur Kennedy share the greatest number of unsuccessful nominations, four each. The only other actors with four nominations were Walter Brennan (won three times) and Jack Nicholson (won once). Charles Bickford, Jeff Bridges, Robert Duvall, Ed Harris, and Al Pacino have all had three unsuccessful nominations (no wins).

Robert De Niro's 1974 win as the young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II is unique as the only Supporting Oscar won for playing a part previously played by a Best Actor winner (Marlon Brando in The Godfather). De Niro and Benicio del Toro (who won for Traffic) are the only winners for a foreign-language performance in this category.

Heath Ledger is the only person to posthumously win an acting Oscar in a supporting role. He won Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight, 2008. He is only the second person to posthumously win any acting Oscar (the other was Peter Finch, who won Best Actor for Network, 1976).

The earliest nominee in this category who is still alive is Karl Malden (1951), followed by Kevin McCarthy (1951). The earliest winner in this category who is still alive is Karl Malden (1951) followed by George Chakiris (1961).

Following the Academy's practice, the films below are listed by year of their Los Angeles qualifying run, which is usually (but not always) the film's year of release. For example, the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor of 1999 was announced during the award ceremony held in 2000. Winners are listed first in bold, followed by the other nominees. For a list sorted by actor names, please see List of Best Supporting Actor nominees. For a list sorted by film titles, please see List of Best Supporting Actor nominees (films).

Beginning with the 1943 awards, winners in the supporting acting categories were awarded Oscar statuettes similar to those awarded to winners in all other categories, including the leading acting categories. Prior to this, however, winners in the supporting acting categories were awarded plaques.

As the Academy Awards are based in the United States and are centered on the Hollywood film industry, the majority of Academy Award winners have been Americans. Nonetheless, there is significant international presence at the awards, as evidenced by the following list of winners of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

At the 37th Academy Awards (1964), for the first time in history, all four of the top acting honors were awarded to non-Americans: Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews, Peter Ustinov, and Lila Kedrova. This occurred for the second time at the 80th Academy Awards (2008), when all four acting categories were similarly represented: Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Javier Bardem, and Tilda Swinton.

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Martin Scorsese

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Martin Marcantonio Luciano Scorsese (born November 17, 1942) is an Academy Award-winning American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, and film historian. Also affectionately known as "Marty", he is the founder of the World Cinema Foundation and a recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award for his contributions to the cinema and has won awards from the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Directors Guild of America. Scorsese is president of the Film Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to film preservation and the prevention of the decaying of motion picture film stock.

Scorsese's body of work addresses such themes as Italian American identity, Roman Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption, machismo, and violence. Scorsese is widely considered to be one of the most significant and influential American filmmakers of his era, directing landmark films such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas; all of which he collaborated on with actor Robert De Niro. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for The Departed and earned an MFA in film directing from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

Martin Scorsese was born in New York City. His father, Luciano Charles Scorsese (1913–1993), and mother, Catherine Scorsese (née Cappa; 1912–1997), both worked in New York's Garment District, his father as a clothes presser and his mother as a seamstress. As a boy his parents would often take him to the movie theaters; it was at this stage in his life that he developed his passion for cinema. Obsessed with historical epics at an early age, at least two films of the genre, "Land of the Pharaohs"(1955), and "El Cid"(1961), appear to have had a deep and lasting impact on his cinema psyche. Scorsese also developed an admiration for neo-realist cinema at this time. He recounted its influence in a documentary on Italian neorealism, and commented on how The Bicycle Thief alongside Paisà, Rome, Open City inspired him and how this influenced his view or portrayal of his Sicilian heritage. In his documentary, Il Mio Viaggio in Italia, Scorsese noted that the Sicilian episode of Roberto Rossellini's Paisà which he first saw on television alongside his relatives, who were themselves Sicilian immigrants, made a significant impact on his life. His initial desire to become a priest was forsaken for cinema – the seminary traded for NYU Film School, where he received his MFA in film directing in 1969.

Scorsese has been married to Helen Morris since 1999; she is his fifth wife. They have a daughter, Francesca, who appeared in The Departed and The Aviator. He has a daughter, Cathy (Catherine), from his first marriage to Laraine Brennan, and a daughter, Domenica Cameron-Scorsese, who is an actress, from his second marriage to Julia Cameron. Scorsese was also married to actress Isabella Rossellini from 1979 to their divorce in 1983. He married producer Barbara De Fina in 1985; their marriage ended in divorce as well. He is primarily based in New York City.

Although the Vietnam War had started at the time, Scorsese (who had struggled with asthma since his childhood) did not serve in the military. He attended New York University's film school (B.A., English, 1964; M.F.A., film, 1966) making the short films What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (1963) and It's Not Just You, Murray! (1964). His most famous short of the period is the darkly comic The Big Shave (1967), which featured an unnamed man who shaves himself until profusely bleeding, ultimately slitting his own throat with his razor. The film is an indictment of America's involvement in Vietnam, suggested by its alternative title Viet '67.

Also in 1967, Scorsese made his first feature-length film, the black and white I Call First, which was later retitled Who's That Knocking at My Door with fellow student, actor Harvey Keitel, and editor Thelma Schoonmaker both of whom were to become long-term collaborators. This film was intended to be the first of Scorsese's semi-autobiographical 'J.R. Trilogy', which also would have included his later film, Mean Streets. Even in embryonic form, the "Scorsese style" was already evident: a feel for New York Italian American street-life, rapid editing, an eclectic rock soundtrack, and a troubled male protagonist.

From there he became a friend and acquaintance of the so-called "movie brats" of the 1970s: Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg. It was De Palma who introduced actor Robert De Niro to Scorsese, and the two figures became close friends, working together on many projects. During this period the director worked as one of the editors on the movie Woodstock and met actor-director John Cassavetes, who would also go on to become a close friend and mentor.

In 1972 Scorsese made the Depression-era gangster film Boxcar Bertha for B-movie producer Roger Corman, who had also helped directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron, and John Sayles launch their careers. While it is widely considered a minor work, Boxcar Bertha nonetheless taught Scorsese how to make films cheaply and quickly, preparing him for his first film with De Niro, Mean Streets. Following the film's release, Cassavetes encouraged Scorsese to make the films that he wanted to make, rather than someone else's projects.

In 1974, actress Ellen Burstyn chose Scorsese to direct her in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress. Although well regarded, the film remains an anomaly in the director's early career, as it focuses on a central female character. Returning to Little Italy to explore his ethnic roots, Scorsese next came up with Italianamerican, a documentary featuring his parents, Charles and Catherine Scorsese.

Two years later, in 1976, Scorsese sent shock waves through the cinema world when he directed the iconic Taxi Driver, an unrelentingly grim and violent portrayal of one man's slow descent into insanity in a hellishly conceived Manhattan.

Taxi Driver also marked the start of a series of collaborations with writer Paul Schrader. The film bears strong thematic links to (and makes several allusions to) the work of French director Robert Bresson, most explicitly Pickpocket (in essence the "diary" of a loner/obsessive who finds redemption). Writer/director Schrader often returns to Bresson's work in films such as American Gigolo, Light Sleeper, and Scorsese's later Bringing Out the Dead.

Already controversial upon its release, Taxi Driver hit the headlines again five years later, when John Hinckley, Jr., made an assassination attempt on then-President Ronald Reagan. He subsequently blamed his act on his obsession with Jodie Foster's Taxi Driver character (in the film, De Niro's character, Travis Bickle, makes an assassination attempt on a senator).

Taxi Driver won the Palme d'Or at the 1976 Cannes film festival, also receiving four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, although all were unsuccessful.

Scorsese was subsequently offered the role of Charles Manson in the movie Helter Skelter and a part in Sam Fuller's war movie The Big Red One, but he turned both down. However he did accept the role of a gangster in exploitation movie Cannonball directed by Paul Bartel. In this period there were also several directorial projects that never got off the ground including Haunted Summer, about Mary Shelley and a film with Marlon Brando about the Indian massacre at Wounded Knee.

The critical success of Taxi Driver encouraged Scorsese to move ahead with his first big-budget project: the highly stylized musical New York, New York. This tribute to Scorsese's home town and the classic Hollywood musical was a box-office failure.

New York, New York was the director's third collaboration with Robert De Niro, co-starring with Liza Minnelli (a tribute and allusion to her father, legendary musical director Vincente Minnelli). The film is best remembered today for the title theme song, which was popularized by Frank Sinatra. Although possessing Scorsese's usual visual panache and stylistic bravura, many critics felt its enclosed studio-bound atmosphere left it leaden in comparison to his earlier work. Often overlooked, it remains one of the director's early key studies in male paranoia and insecurity (and hence is in direct thematic lineage with Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, as well as the later Raging Bull and The Departed).

The disappointing reception New York, New York received drove Scorsese into depression. By this stage the director had also developed a serious cocaine addiction. However, he did find the creative drive to make the highly regarded The Last Waltz, documenting the final concert by The Band. It was held at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, and featured one of the most extensive lineups of prominent guest performers at a single concert, including Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield, Ronnie Wood and Van Morrison. However, Scorsese's commitments to other projects delayed the release of the film until 1978.

Another Scorsese-directed documentary entitled American Boy also appeared in 1978, focusing on Steven Prince, the cocky gun salesman who appeared in Taxi Driver. A period of wild partying followed, damaging the director's already fragile health.

By several accounts (Scorsese's included), Robert De Niro practically saved Scorsese's life when he persuaded Scorsese to kick his cocaine addiction to make what many consider his greatest film, Raging Bull. Convinced that he would never make another movie, he poured his energies into making this violent biopic of middleweight boxing champion Jake La Motta, calling it a Kamikaze method of film-making. The film is widely viewed as a masterpiece and was voted the greatest film of the 1980s by Britain's Sight & Sound magazine. It received eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Robert De Niro, and Scorsese's first for Best Director. De Niro won, as did Thelma Schoonmaker for editing, but best director went to Robert Redford for Ordinary People.

Raging Bull, filmed in high contrast black and white, is where the director's style reached its zenith: Taxi Driver and New York, New York had used elements of expressionism to replicate psychological points of view, but here the style was taken to new extremes, employing extensive slow-motion, complex tracking shots, and extravagant distortion of perspective (for example, the size of boxing rings would change from fight to fight). Thematically too, the concerns carried on from Mean Streets and Taxi Driver: insecure males, violence, guilt, and redemption.

Although the screenplay for Raging Bull was credited to Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin (who earlier co-wrote Mean Streets), the finished script differed extensively from Schrader's original draft. It was re-written several times by various writers including Jay Cocks (who went on to co-script later Scorsese films The Age of Innocence and Gangs of New York). The final draft was largely written by Scorsese and Robert De Niro.

Scorsese's next project was his fifth collaboration with Robert De Niro, The King of Comedy (1983). An absurdist satire on the world of media and celebrity, it was an obvious departure from the more emotionally committed films he had become associated with. Visually too it was far less kinetic than the style the director had developed up until this point, often using a static camera and long takes. The expressionism of his recent work here gave way to moments of almost total surrealism. However it was still an obvious Scorsese work, and apart from the New York locale, it bore many similarities to Taxi Driver, not least of which was its focus on an obsessed troubled loner who ironically achieves iconic status through a criminal act (murder and kidnapping, respectively).

The King of Comedy failed at the box office but has become increasingly well regarded by critics in the years since its release. German director Wim Wenders numbered it among his fifteen favourite films.

Next Scorsese made a brief cameo appearance in the movie Pavlova: A Woman for All Time, originally intended to be directed by one of his heroes, Michael Powell. This led to a more significant role in Bertrand Tavernier's jazz movie Round Midnight.

After the collapse of this project Scorsese again saw his career at a critical point, as he described in the recent documentary Filming for Your Life: Making 'After Hours' (2004). He saw that in the increasingly commercial world of 1980s Hollywood, the highly stylized and personal 1970s films he and others had built their careers on would not continue to enjoy the same status. Scorsese decided then on an almost totally new approach to his work. With After Hours (1985) he made an aesthetic shift back to a pared-down, almost "underground" film-making style — his way of staying viable. Filmed on an extremely low budget, on location, and at night in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, the film is a black comedy about one increasingly misfortunate night for a mild New York word processor (Griffin Dunne) and featured cameos by such disparate actors as Teri Garr and Cheech and Chong. A bit of a stylistic anomaly for Scorsese, After Hours fits in well with popular low-budget "cult" films of the 1980s, e.g. Jonathan Demme's Something Wild and Alex Cox's Repo Man.

Along with the iconic 1987 Michael Jackson music video Bad, in 1986 Scorsese made The Color of Money, a sequel to the much admired Paul Newman film The Hustler (1961). (The Hustler was directed by Robert Rossen, whose 1940s boxing film Body and Soul was a major influence on Raging Bull.) Although typically visually assured, The Color of Money was the director's first foray into mainstream commercial film-making. It won actor Paul Newman a belated Oscar and gave Scorsese the clout to finally secure backing for a project that had been a long time goal for him: The Last Temptation of Christ. He also made a brief venture into television, directing an episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories.

After his mid-80s flirtation with commercial Hollywood, Scorsese made a major return to personal film-making with the Paul Schrader-scripted The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988. Based on Nikos Kazantzakis's controversial 1951 book, it retold the life of Christ in human rather than divine terms. Even prior to its release the film caused a massive furor, worldwide protests against its perceived blasphemy effectively turning a low budget independent movie into a media sensation. Most controversy centered on the final passages of the film which depicted Christ marrying and raising a family with Mary Magdalene in a Satan-induced hallucination while on the cross.

Looking past the controversy, The Last Temptation of Christ gained critical acclaim and remains an important work in Scorsese's canon: an explicit attempt to wrestle with the spirituality which had under-pinned his films up until that point. The director went on to receive his second nomination for a Best Director Academy Award (again unsuccessfully, this time losing to Barry Levinson for Rain Man).

Along with directors Woody Allen and Francis Coppola, in 1989 Scorsese provided one of three segments in the portmanteau film New York Stories, called "Life Lessons".

After a decade of mostly mixed results, gangster epic Goodfellas (1990) was a return to form for Scorsese and his most confident and fully realized film since Raging Bull. A return to Little Italy, De Niro, and Joe Pesci, Goodfellas offered a virtuoso display of the director's bravura cinematic technique and re-established, enhanced, and consolidated his reputation. The film is widely considered one of the director's greatest achievements.

However, Goodfellas also signified an important shift in tone in the director's work, inaugurating an era in his career which was technically accomplished but some have argued emotionally detached. Despite this, many view Goodfellas as a Scorsese archetype — the apogee of his cinematic technique.

In 1990, he acted in a cameo role as Vincent Van Gogh in the film Dreams by legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.

1991 brought Cape Fear, a remake of a cult 1962 movie of the same name, and the director's seventh collaboration with De Niro. Another foray in to the mainstream, the film was a stylized Grand Guignol thriller taking its cues heavily from Alfred Hitchcock and Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter (1955). Cape Fear received a mixed critical reception and was lambasted in many quarters for its scenes depicting misogynistic violence. However, the lurid subject matter did give Scorsese a chance to experiment with a dazzling array of visual tricks and effects. The film garnered two Oscar nominations. Earning eighty million dollars domestically, it would stand as Scorsese's most commercially successful release until The Aviator (2004), and then The Departed (2006). The film also marked the first time Scorsese used wide-screen Panavision with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

The opulent and handsomely mounted The Age of Innocence (1993) was on the surface a huge departure for Scorsese, a period adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel about the constrictive high society of late-19th Century New York. It was highly lauded by critics upon original release, but was a box office bomb. As noted in Scorsese on Scorsese by editor/interviewer Ian Christie, the news that Scorsese wanted to make a film about a 19th Century failed romance raised many eyebrows among the film fraternity all the more when Scorsese made it clear that it was a personal project and not a studio for-hire job.

Scorsese who was strongly drawn to the characters and the story of Wharton's text, wanted his film to be as rich an emotional experience as the book was to him rather than the traditional academic adaptations of literary works. To this aim, Scorsese sought influence from diverse period films which made an emotional impact on him. In Scorsese on Scorsese, he documents influences from films such as Luchino Visconti's Senso and his Il Gattopardo as well as Orson Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons and also Roberto Rossellini's La Prise de Pouvoir par Louis XIV. Although The Age of Innocence was ultimately different than these films in terms of narrative, story and thematic concern, the presence of a lost society, of lost values as well as detailed re-creations of social customs and rituals continues the tradition of these films.

Recently, it has started to come back into the public eye, especially in countries such as the UK and France, but still is largely neglected in North America. The film earned five Academy Award nominations (including for Scorsese for Best Adapted Screenplay), winning the Costume Design Oscar. It also made a significant impact on directors such as Chinese auteur Tian Zhuangzhuang, and British film-maker Terence Davies both of whom ranked it among their ten favourite films.

This was his first collaboration with the Academy Award winning actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, with whom he would work again in Gangs of New York.

1995's expansive Casino, like The Age of Innocence before it, focused on a tightly wound male whose well-ordered life is disrupted by the arrival of unpredictable forces. The fact that it was a violent gangster film made it more palatable to fans of the director who perhaps were baffled by the apparent departure of the earlier film. Critically, however, Casino received mixed notices. In large part this was due to its huge stylistic similarities to his earlier Goodfellas. Indeed many of the tropes and tricks of the earlier film resurfaced more or less intact, most obviously the casting of both Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci, Pesci once again being an unbridled psychopath. Sharon Stone was nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award for her performance.

During the filming Scorsese played a background part as a gambler at one of the tables. It is quite often rumored that a real game of poker was being held at the time between extras and that a pot of $2000 was at stake. In the Film Comment issue of January 2000, devoted to the best films of the 90's, Thierry Fremaux of the Institut Lumière stated that, "The best film of the decade is also the most underrated film of the decade: 'Casino'", while Michael Wilmington called both GoodFellas and Casino, "Great late pinnacles of noir".

If The Age of Innocence alienated and confused some fans, then Kundun (1997) went several steps further, offering an account of the early life of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, the People's Liberation Army's entering of Tibet, and the Dalai Lama's subsequent exile to India. Not least a departure in subject matter, Kundun also saw Scorsese employing a fresh narrative and visual approach. Traditional dramatic devices were substituted for a trance-like meditation achieved through an elaborate tableau of colourful visual images.

The film was a source of turmoil for its distributor, Disney, who were planning significant expansion into the Chinese market at the time. Initially defiant in the face of pressure from Chinese officials, Disney has since distanced itself from the project, hurting Kundun's commercial profile.

In the short term, the sheer eclecticism in evidence enhanced the director's reputation. In the long term however, it generally appears Kundun has been sidelined in most critical appraisals of the director, mostly noted as a stylistic and thematic detour. Kundun was the director's second attempt to profile the life of a great religious leader, following The Last Temptation of Christ.

Bringing Out the Dead (1999) was a return to familiar territory, with the director and writer Paul Schrader constructing a pitch-black comic take on their own earlier Taxi Driver. Like previous Scorsese-Schrader collaborations, its final scenes of spiritual redemption explicitly recalled the films of Robert Bresson. (It's also worth noting that the film's incident-filled nocturnal setting is reminiscent of After Hours.) It received generally positive reviews, although not the universal critical acclaim of some of his other films.

In 1999 Scorsese also produced a documentary on Italian filmmakers entitled Il Mio Viaggio in Italia, also known as My Voyage to Italy. The documentary foreshadowed the director's next project, the epic Gangs of New York (2002), influenced by (amongst many others) major Italian directors such as Luchino Visconti and filmed in its entirety at Rome's famous Cinecittà film studios.

With a production budget said to be in excess of $100 million, Gangs of New York was Scorsese's biggest and arguably most mainstream venture to date. Like The Age of Innocence, it was set in 19th-century New York, although focusing on the other end of the social scale (and like that film, also starring Daniel Day-Lewis). The film also marked the first collaboration between Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who since then has become a fixture in later Scorsese films.

The production was highly troubled with many rumors referring to the director's conflict with Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein. Despite denials of artistic compromise, Gangs of New York revealed itself to be the director's most conventional film: standard film tropes which the director had traditionally avoided, such as characters existing purely for exposition purposes and explanatory flashbacks, here surfaced in abundance. The original score composed by regular Scorsese collaborator Elmer Bernstein was rejected at a late stage for a score by Howard Shore and mainstream rock artists U2 and Peter Gabriel. The final cut of the movie ran to 168 minutes, while the director's original cut was over 180 minutes in length.

Nonetheless, the themes central to the film were consistent with the director's established concerns: New York, violence as culturally endemic, and sub-cultural divisions down ethnic lines.

Originally filmed for a release in the winter of 2001 (to qualify for Academy Award nominations), Scorsese delayed the final production of the film until after the beginning of 2002; the studio consequently delayed the film for nearly a year until its release in the Oscar season of late 2002.

Gangs of New York earned Scorsese his first Golden Globe for Best Director. In February 2003, Gangs of New York received ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis. This was Scorsese's fourth Best Director nomination, and many thought it was finally his year to win. Ultimately, however, the film took home not a single Academy Award, and Scorsese lost his category to Roman Polanski for The Pianist.

2003 also saw the release of The Blues, an expansive seven part documentary tracing the history of blues music from its African roots to the Mississippi Delta and beyond. Seven film-makers including Wim Wenders, Clint Eastwood, Mike Figgis, and Scorsese himself each contributed a 90 minute film (Scorsese's entry was entitled “Feel Like Going Home”).

Scorsese also had uncredited involvement as executive director with the 2002 film Deuces Wild, written Paul Kimatian.

Scorsese's film The Aviator (2004), was a lavish, large-scale biopic of eccentric aviation pioneer and film mogul Howard Hughes and would reunite Scorsese with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The film received highly positive reviews, The film also met with widespread box office success and gained Academy recognition.

The Aviator was nominated for six Golden Globe awards, including Best Picture - Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor - Drama for Leonardo DiCaprio. It won three, including Best Picture and Best Actor- Drama In January 2005, The Aviator became the most-nominated film of the 77th Academy Award nominations, nominated in 11 categories including Best Picture. The film also garnered nominations in nearly all of the other major categories, including a fifth Best Director nomination for Scorsese, Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actress (Cate Blanchett), and Alan Alda for Best Supporting Actor. Despite having a leading tally, the film ended up with only five Oscars: Best Supporting Actress, Art Direction, Costume Design, Film Editing and Cinematography. Scorsese lost again, this time to director Clint Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby (which also won Best Picture).

No Direction Home is a documentary film by Martin Scorsese that traces the life of Bob Dylan, and his impact on American popular music and culture of the 20th century. The film does not cover Dylan's entire career; rather, it focuses on his beginnings, his rise to fame in the 1960s, his then-controversial transformation from an acoustic guitar-based musician and performer to an electric guitar-influenced sound and his "retirement" from touring in 1966 following an infamous motorcycle accident. The film was first presented on television in both the United States (as part of the PBS American Masters series) and the United Kingdom (as part of the BBC Two Arena series) on September 26–27 2005. A DVD version of the film was released that same month. The film won a Peabody award. In addition, Scorsese received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming.

Scorsese returned to the crime genre with the Boston-set thriller The Departed, based on the Hong Kong police drama Infernal Affairs. Along with Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed would feature Scorsese's first collaboration with Oscar Award winning actors Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon.

The Departed opened to widespread critical acclaim with some proclaiming it as one of the best efforts Scorsese had brought to the screen since 1990's Goodfellas, and still others putting it at the same level as Scorsese's most celebrated classics Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. With domestic box office receipts surpassing $129,402,536, The Departed is Scorsese's highest grossing film (not accounting for inflation).

Martin Scorsese's direction of The Departed earned him his second Golden Globe for Best Director, as well as a Critic's Choice Award, his first Director's Guild of America Award, and the Academy Award for Best Director. The latter was thought to be long overdue, and some entertainment critics subsequently referred to it as Scorsese's "Lifetime Achievement" Oscar. Some critics indeed further suggested that Scorsese did not deserve to win for The Departed. It was presented to him by his longtime friends and colleagues Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and George Lucas. The Departed also received the Academy Award for the Best Motion Picture of 2006, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing by longtime Scorsese editor Thelma Schoonmaker, her third win for a Scorsese film.

Shine a Light is a concert film of rock and roll band The Rolling Stones' performances at New York City's Beacon Theater on October 29 and November 1, 2006, intercut with brief news and interview footage from throughout the band's career.

The film was initially scheduled for release on September 21, 2007, but Paramount Classics postponed its general release until April 2008. Its world premiere was at the opening of the 58th Berlinale Film Festival on February 7, 2008.

On October 22, 2007, the Daily Variety reported that Scorsese will reunite with Leonardo DiCaprio on a fourth picture, Shutter Island. Principal photography on the Laeta Kalogridis screenplay, based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, began in Massachusetts in March 2008. The project was later retitled Ashecliffe.

In December 2007, actors Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, and Michelle Williams joined the cast. The film is slated to be released on October 2, 2009.

Scorsese announced his intention to shoot a film based on Shusaku Endo’s novel, Silence. Silence will begin shooting in New Zealand in 2009, with Daniel Day-Lewis, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Benicio del Toro set to star.

Scorsese is also shooting an upcoming documentary on the life of Beatle member George Harrison. Scorsese has also been in contact with reputed mobster John Martarano concerning the upcoming film "The Executioner". Scorsese and De Niro plan to reunite with a film adaptation of the Charles Brandt novel I Heard You Paint Houses, about the life of Frank Sheeran. Scorsese also plans to cast Leonardo DiCaprio in two more films, The Wolf of Wall Street and a film adaptation of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt.

Scorsese has also recently announced his involvement on an upcoming HBO series, Boardwalk Empire, based upon Nelson Johnson's book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City. The series will be produced by Entourage duo Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson and is written by The Sopranos scribe Terence Winter. It stars Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt. Scorsese will direct the pilot episode.

Scorsese has been known to cast the same actors in his films, particularly Robert De Niro, who collaborated with Scorsese for eight films. Included are the three films that made the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies list. Though a majority of critics cite Raging Bull to be De Niro's best performance, Scorsese has often stated that he thought Robert De Niro's best work under his direction was Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy. Most recently, Scorsese has found a new muse with young actor Leonardo DiCaprio, with whom he has collaborated for three films, with two others confirmed to be in the works. Several critics have compared Scorsese's new partnership with DiCaprio with his previous one with De Niro. Other frequent collaborators include Victor Argo (6), Harvey Keitel (5), Murray Moston (5), Joe Pesci (3), Frank Vincent (3), Verna Bloom (3), Steven Prince (2), Barbara Hershey (2), Alec Baldwin (2), David Carradine (2), Willem Dafoe (2), Nick Nolte (2) and John C. Reilly (2). Scorsese has also collaborated twice with the acclaimed actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who had become very reclusive to the Hollywood scene. Before their deaths, Scorese's parents, Charles and Catherine, would be given bit parts, walk-ons, or supporting roles.

For his crew, Scorsese frequently worked with editor Thelma Schoonmaker, cinematographers Michael Ballhaus and Robert Richardson, screenwriters Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin, costume designer Sandy Powell, production designer Dante Ferretti, and composers Robbie Robertson, Howard Shore and Elmer Bernstein. Schoonmaker, Richardson, Powell, and Ferretti have all won Academy Awards in their respective categories due to their collaborations with Scorsese. Elaine and Saul Bass, the latter being Hitchcock's title designer of choice, have designed the opening credits for Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence, Casino and Cape Fear. He was the executive producer of the film "Brides," which was directed by Pantelis Voulgaris and starred Victoria Haralabidou, Damien Lewis, Steven Berkoff and Kosta Sommer.

Aleksa Palladino, Paul Sparks, Shea Whigham and Anthony Laciura round out the cast of "Boardwalk Empire," Martin Scorsese's drama pilot for HBO. Written by Terence Winter and to be directed by Scorsese, the series chronicles the early 20th century origins of Atlantic City and revolves around Nucky Johnson (Steve Buscemi), who runs a liquor-distribution ring, and Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt), his ruthless flunky.

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The Way of the Gun

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The Way of the Gun is a 2000 film, directed by Christopher McQuarrie and starring Ryan Phillippe, Benicio del Toro, Juliette Lewis, Taye Diggs, Nicky Katt, and James Caan.

Parker (Ryan Phillippe) and Longbaugh (Benicio del Toro) are two born troublemakers who travel anywhere they can to find or steal money any way they can. While at a sperm donation facility, they overhear a telephone conversation detailing a $1,000,000 payment to a surrogate mother for bearing the unborn baby of Hal Chidduck (Scott Wilson). Parker and Longbaugh resolve to kidnap the pregnant surrogate, Robin (Juliette Lewis). At the pregnancy clinic the kidnapping of the surrogate mother escalates into a shootout with her bodyguards, Jeffers (Taye Diggs) and Obecks (Nicky Katt), as Parker and Longbaugh leave with her. After the shootout in which two other guards and bystanders are killed, they escape with Robin and elude Jeffers and Obecks, who are arrested. As the fugitives head South, Jeffers and Obecks are bailed out and returned to Chidduck by Joe Sarno (James Caan), a seasoned operative and close friend of Chidduck. As Sarno begins coordinating the rescue of Robin, Longbaugh contacts Robin's gynecologist, Dr. Allen Painter (Dylan Kussman) and orders him to a truck stop to examine Robin.

After the examination, Painter returns to Chidduck, and it is revealed that Dr. Painter is Chidducks son.

Longbaugh calls and demands a $15 million ransom for the safe return of Robin and the baby. Jeffers and Obecks, tempted by the money, begin forming a plan to save the child, keep the $15 million for themselves, and kill everyone under the guise of paying off the kidnappers. As Longbaugh hangs up the telephone outside a Mexican motel, he is approached by Sarno, who offers to pay $1 million if they surrender the pregnant Robin and simply walk away. Longbaugh declines the offer and returns to his hotel room where Parker and Robin play cards. Sarno then returns to Chidducks home to relay the events and plan the next step.

Jeffers, Obecks and Painter leave to meet with the kidnappers, while Sarno departs separately with the $15 million ransom. At the motel, Parker is having second thoughts on the kidnapping, he confers with Longbaugh outside the motel room which gives Robin an opportunity to seize a shotgun and barricade herself in the motel room after almost shooting Parker.

As sirens are heard in the distance, Parker and Longbaugh hastily escape, and Robin emerges into the parking lot just as Mexican police officers arrive, followed by Jeffers, Obecks and Painter in another car. As Painter and the bodyguards try to persuade Robin to leave with them, the officers pull their guns and order everybody on the ground. Suddenly, Parker and Longbaugh open fire from a nearby hilltop, igniting a fierce firefight that kills the two officers before Jeffers shoves Painter and Robin into his car and drives off, leaving the dead officers and a wounded Obecks in the motel parking lot.

Parker and Longbaugh torture the wounded Obecks to gain Robin's location, while Jeffers confines Robin in the room of a secluded Mexican brothel and forces Painter to perform a cesarian section on her to retrieve the baby, despite Robin's confession that the child was conceived between her and Painter and is not Chidduck's. During the operation, the heavily-armed Parker and Longbaugh infiltrate the brothel and search for Robin. The ensuing ambush, that leaves Parker wounded, turns into another standoff with Jeffers threatening to kill Painter and the baby before Painter kills Jeffers with a hidden gun. Outside the brothel, Sarno arrives with a group of bag men and the $15 million ransom, which they stack in the courtyard. Parker wants to kidnap Robin and Painter again, to which Longbaugh, guilt ridden after seeing her condition, says "She's had enough". Despite realizing that the $15 million is bait, Parker and Longbaugh charge headlong into an ambush. After killing all of Sarno's men, Sarno himself shoots and cripples the already wounded Parker and Longbaugh before calling for an ambulance. As a child's cries break the silence, Robin emerges with Painter, newborn baby in her arms, and transported via ambulance with Painter, Sarno and the $15 million away from the dying Parker and Longbaugh.

Miles away and days later, Chidduck's wife reveals that she's pregnant.

After winning an Academy Award for The Usual Suspects, Christopher McQuarrie assumed that he would have no problem making his next movie "and then you slowly start to realize no one in Hollywood is interested in making your film, they're interested in making their films". He spent years as a script doctor while trying to get financing for an epic biopic of Alexander the Great for Warner Brothers before finally realizing that he "had to make a film with some commercial success to be taken seriously". He approached 20th Century Fox and told them that he would be willing to write and direct a movie for any budget they would be willing to give him as long as he had complete creative control. "Fox told me to get fucked. No money. No control. No nothing. They didn't want my input, they just wanted me. For nothing".

McQuarrie met Benicio del Toro for coffee and he asked the screenwriter why he had not made another crime film. McQuarrie replied that he did not want to be typecast as "a crime guy" but realized that he had nothing to lose, "unemployed and ready to make trouble". Del Toro convinced him to write a crime film on his own terms because he would get the least amount of interference from a studio. McQuarrie was interested in making a movie "that you can follow characters who don't go out of their way to ingratiate themselves to you, who aren't traditionally sympathetic".

McQuarrie started to write the script and "the first thing I did was to write a list of every taboo, everything I knew a cowardly executive would refuse to accept from a 'sympathetic' leading man". The first ten pages were a prologue, a trailer to another movie with Parker and Longbaugh (the real last names of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) and was "to be shot as slick and hip as possible. Guy Ritchie and Michael Bay but with horrible, unspeakable acts of violence and degradation". During pre-production, McQuarrie realized that this was too extreme and cut it out. He and del Toro gave the script to several high-profile actors at the time all of whom turned them down. Ryan Phillippe wanted to change the direction of his career and "was besieged with choice offers, and we didn't want him, but he would not take no for an answer".

Although he originally had a considerable amount of dialogue in the film, del Toro suggested that the "less is more" approach might work better for his character Longbaugh. The gun battle sequences throughout the film were choreographed by McQuarrie's brother, a former Navy SEAL. Much of the film was filmed in the streets of downtown Salt Lake City. The ground-level floor of the doctor's office where the abduction scene and shootout was filmed is actually the historic Salt Lake Hardware building.

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote, "McQuarrie pulls, pummels and pushes us, makes his characters jump through hoops, and at the end produces carloads of 'bag men' who have no other function than to pop up and be shot at ... Enough, already". In his review for the New York Times, Elvis Mitchell wrote, "It's a song you've heard before, but each chord is hit with extraordinary concentration". Andy Seiler praised James Caan's performance in his review for USA Today, "To hear Caan menacingly intone 'I can promise you a day of reckoning you will not live long enough to never forget' is to remember why this man is a star". In his review for the Village Voice, J. Hoberman wrote, "Phillippe talks like Brando; Del Toro apes the body language. Nevertheless, James Caan steals the movie as a veteran tough guy, rotating his torso around some unseen truss". Peter Stack, in his review for San Francisco Chronicle, wrote, "The Way of the Gun attempts to be poetical Peckinpah, but it's a pointless exercise in gun violence with characterizations so thin they vaporize". Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B" rating and Owen Gleiberman wrote, "The Way of the Gun plays like an unusually ritzy festival circuit audition film, though McQuarrie, it must be said, aces the audition". In his review for Time, Richard Corliss criticized McQuarrie for devising, "a two-hour gunfight interrupted by questions of paternity. But he's not so hot as a director, so what aims at being terrifying is just loud and goofy".

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The Usual Suspects

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The Usual Suspects is a 1995 American neo-noir film written by Christopher McQuarrie and directed by Bryan Singer. The film tells the story of Roger "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey), a small-time con man who is the subject of a police interrogation. He tells his interrogator, U.S. Customs Agent David Kujan (Chazz Palminteri), a convoluted story about events leading to a massacre and massive fire that have just taken place on a ship docked at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro Bay. Using flashback and narration, Verbal's story becomes increasingly complex as he tries to explain why he and his partners-in-crime were on the boat.

The film, shot on a $6 million budget, originally began as a title taken from a column in Spy magazine called "The Usual Suspects", after Claude Rains' line in Casablanca. Singer thought that it would be a good title for a film, the poster for which he and McQuarrie had developed as the first visual idea.

The Usual Suspects was shown out of competition at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, and then initially released in few theaters. It received favorable reviews, and was eventually given a wider release. McQuarrie won an Academy Award for the screenplay and Spacey won the Best Supporting Actor award for his performance.

Five criminals are brought together in a police lineup—Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne) is a corrupt former police officer who has apparently given up his life of crime; Michael McManus (Stephen Baldwin) is a crack shot with a temper and a wild streak; Fred Fenster (Benicio Del Toro) is McManus' partner who speaks in mangled English; Todd Hockney (Kevin Pollack) is a hijacker who forms an instant rivalry with McManus; and Verbal himself is a con artist with cerebral palsy.

While in holding, McManus convinces the others to join forces to commit a robbery targeting corrupt NYPD police officers who escort smugglers to their destinations around the city. After the successful robbery, the quintet travel to California to sell their loot to McManus' fence, "Redfoot" (Peter Greene). Redfoot talks them into another job: robbing a purported jewel smuggler. Instead of jewels or money, as they were told he was carrying, the smuggler had cocaine. An angry confrontation between the thieves and Redfoot reveals that the job came from a lawyer named Kobayashi (Pete Postlethwaite). The thieves later meet with Kobayashi, who claims to work for Keyser Söze and blackmails them into attacking a ship at San Pedro harbor. Kobayashi describes the boat as smuggling $91 million worth of cocaine, to be purchased by rivals of Söze. The thieves are to destroy the drugs and, if they choose to wait until the buyers arrive, can split the cash as they choose.

In the present, Verbal tells Kujan the story of Keyser Söze as he apparently heard it from Keaton and the others. Verbal's flashback described Söze, a "small-time" but respected Turkish criminal, being harassed by a rival Hungarian gang in Turkey and, rather than have his wife and children used as hostages, Söze killed them himself, then went on a murderous vendetta against all those involved, even indirectly. Afterward, he apparently disappeared (Verbal: "And like that... he's gone"). With time, Söze's story took on mythic stature, with most people either doubting his existence or disbelieving it entirely. Kujan, previously unfamiliar with Söze, asks Baer about him. Baer admits no direct knowledge but has heard rumors for years about Söze insulating himself behind layers of minions who don't know who they're working for.

Verbal also describes Fenster's attempt to run away, ending with him being killed by Kobayashi. The remaining thieves kidnap Kobayashi, believing Söze to be a cover for his own activities, intending to kill him if he does not agree to leave them alone. Kobayashi is uncowed and McManus is on the verge of executing him when Kobayashi reveals that lawyer Edie Finneran (Suzy Amis), Keaton's girlfriend, is in his office. Kobayashi also says that she and other loved ones of the thieves will be maimed or killed by various henchmen of Söze (who "is very real, and very determined") if they do not carry out the job.

On the night of the cocaine deal, the sellers—a group of Argentine mobsters—are on the dock, as are the buyers—a group of Hungarian mobsters. Keaton tells Verbal to stay back, and to take the money to Edie if the plan goes awry so she can pursue Kobayashi "her way" and to convey Keaton's regret that he couldn't go straight, as she wanted him to ("Tell her... I tried"). Verbal reluctantly agrees. He watches the boat from a distance, in hiding, as Keaton, McManus and Hockney attack the men at the pier. Hockney is killed as Keaton and McManus discover separately that there is no cocaine on the boat. Meanwhile, Hungarians, yet untouched by the thieves, are being killed, and a closely-guarded Argentine passenger is killed by an unseen assailant. McManus is killed with a knife to the back of his neck, and Keaton, turning away to leave, is shot in the back. A figure in a dark coat appears, presumably Keyser Söze, and lights a cigarette with a gold lighter. He appears to speak briefly with Keaton before apparently shooting him (the scene which began the film in medias res).

In the present, with Verbal's story finished, Kujan reveals what he has deduced, with the aide of Baer: The boat hijacking was not about cocaine, but rather to ensure that one man aboard the ship—the Argentine passenger, one of the few individuals alive who could positively identify Söze—is killed. After Söze presumably killed the man, he eliminated everyone else on the ship and set it ablaze; Kujan also reveals that Edie has been killed. He has concluded that Keaton was Keyser Söze. Kujan's ongoing investigation of Keaton is what initially involved him in the case, and Kujan is convinced that Keaton has faked his death (as he had briefly done some years earlier during another investigation) and deliberately left Verbal as a witness.

Under Kujan's aggressive questioning, Verbal tearfully admits that the whole affair, from the beginning, was Keaton's idea. His bail having been posted, Verbal retrieves his personal effects from the property officer as Kujan, relaxing in Rabin's office, notices that details and names from Verbal's story are culled from various objects around the room, including Rabin's crowded bulletin board and the "Kobayashi" logo on the bottom of Kujan's coffee cup. Kujan realizes that Verbal made up the entire story. He chases after Verbal, running past a fax machine as it receives the police artist's impression of Keyser Söze's face, which resembles Verbal Kint.

Bryan Singer met Kevin Spacey at a party after a screening of the young filmmaker's first film, Public Access at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. Spacey had been encouraged by a number of people he knew who had seen it and was so impressed that he told Singer and McQuarrie that he wanted to be in whatever film they did next. Singer read a column in Spy magazine called "The Usual Suspects" after Claude Rains' line in Casablanca. Singer thought that it would be a good title for a film. When asked what their next film was about by a reporter at Sundance, McQuarrie replied, "I guess it's about a bunch of criminals who meet in a police line-up," which, incidentally, was the first visual idea that he and Singer came up for the poster: "five guys who meet in a line-up," Singer remembers. The director also envisioned a tagline for the poster, "All of you can go to Hell". Singer then asked the question, "What would possibly bring these five felons together in one line-up?" McQuarrie revamped an idea from one of his own unpublished screenplays—the story of a man who murders his own family and walks away, disappearing from view. The writer mixed this with the idea of a team of crooks.

The character of Söze is based on a real-life account of New Jersey's John List, an accountant who murdered his entire family in 1971 and then disappeared for almost two decades, assuming a new identity before he was ultimately apprehended. McQuarrie based the name of Keyser Söze on a boss named Keyser Sume that he had at a Los Angeles law practice he worked for but decided to change the last name because he thought that his former boss would object to how it was used. He found the word söze in his roommate's English-to-Turkish dictionary which meant "talk too much". All of the characters' names are taken from staff members of the law firm at the time of his employment. McQuarrie had also worked for a detective agency, and this influenced the depiction of criminals and law enforcement officials in the script.

Singer described the film as Double Indemnity meets Rashomon, and said that it was made "so you can go back and see all sorts of things you didn't realize were there the first time. You can get it a second time in a way you never could have the first time around." He also compared the film's structure to Citizen Kane (which also contained an interrogator and a subject who is telling a story) and the criminal caper The Anderson Tapes.

McQuarrie wrote nine drafts of his screenplay over the course of five months, sometimes at 14-hour stretches, until Singer felt that it was ready to shop around to the studios. None were interested, except for a European financing company. McQuarrie and Singer had a difficult time getting the film made because of the non-linear story, the large amount of dialogue, and the lack of cast attached to the project. Financiers wanted established stars, and offers for the small role of Redfoot (the L.A. fence who hooks up the five protagonists with Söze) went out to Christopher Walken, Tommy Lee Jones, Jeff Bridges, Charlie Sheen, James Spader, Al Pacino, and Johnny Cash. However, the European money allowed the film's producers to make offers to actors and assemble a cast. They were only able to offer the actors well below their usual pay, but they agreed because of the quality of McQuarrie's script and the chance to work with each other. However, the money fell through, and Singer used the script and the cast to attract Polygram to pick up the film negative.

In casting, Singer took the television pilot approach: "You pick people not for what they are, but what you imagine they can turn into." To research his role, Spacey met with doctors and experts on cerebral palsy and talked with Singer about how it would fit dramatically in the film. They decided that it would only affect one side of his body. According to Byrne, the cast bonded quickly during rehearsals. Del Toro worked with his friend Alan Shaterian to develop Fenster's distinctive, almost unintelligible speech patterns. According to the actor, the source of his character's unusual speech patterns came from the realization that "the purpose of my character was to die". Del Toro talked to Singer and told him, "it really doesn't matter what I say so I can go really far out with this and really make it uncomprehensible".

The budget was set at $5.5 million and the film was shot in 35 days in Los Angeles, San Pedro, and New York City. Spacey said that they shot the interrogation scenes with Palminteri over a span of five to six days. These scenes were also shot before the rest of the film. The police line-up scene ran into scheduling conflicts because the actors kept blowing their lines. Screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie would feed the actors questions off-camera and they improvised their lines. When Stephen Baldwin gave his answer, he made the other actors break character. Byrne remembers that they were often laughing between takes and "when they said, 'Action' we'd barely be able to keep it together". Spacey also said that the hardest part was not laughing through takes, with Baldwin and Pollack being the worst culprits. Their goal was to get the usually serious Byrne to crack up. They spent all morning trying to film the scene unsuccessfully. At lunch, a frustrated Singer chewed out the five actors and when they resumed, the cast continued to laugh through each take. Byrne remembers, "Finally, Bryan just used one of the takes where we couldn't stay serious". Singer and editor John Ottman used a combination of takes and kept the humor in to show the characters bonding with one another.

The stolen emeralds were real gemstones on loan for the movie.

Singer spent an 18-hour day shooting the underground parking garage robbery. According to Byrne, by the next day Singer still did not have all of the footage that he wanted, and refused to stop filming in spite of the bonding company's threat to shut down the production.

In the scene in which the crew meets Redfoot after the botched drug deal, Redfoot flicks his cigarette at McManus' face. The scene was originally to have the Redfoot character flick the cigarette at Baldwin's chest, but the actor missed and hit Baldwin's face by accident. Baldwin's reaction in the film is real.

Despite enclosed practical locations and a short shooting schedule, the film's cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel, "developed a way of shooting dialogue scenes with a combination of slow, creeping zooms and dolly moves that ended in tight close-ups", to add subtle energy to scenes. This style combined dolly movement with "imperceptible zooms" so that you’d always have a sense of motion in a limited space".

During the editing phase, Singer thought that they had completed the film two weeks early but woke up one morning and realized that they needed that time to put together a sequence that convinced the audience that Dean Keaton was Söze and then do the same for Verbal Kint because the film did not have "the punch that Chris had written so beautifully". According to Ottman, he assembled the footage as a montage but it still did not work until he added an overlapping voiceover montage featuring key dialogue from several characters and have it relate to the images. Early on, executives at Gramercy had problems pronouncing the name Keyser Söze and were worried that audiences would have the same problem. The studio decided to promote the character's name and two weeks before the film debuted in theaters, "Who is Keyser Söze?" posters appeared at bus stops and TV spots told people how to say the character's name.

Singer wanted the music to the boat heist to resemble Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1. The ending's music was based on a K.D. Lang song.

The film was shown out of competition at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival and was well-received by audiences and critics. The film was then given an exclusive run in Los Angeles, where it took a combined USD $83,513, and New York City, where it made $132,294 on three screens in its opening weekend. The film was then released in 42 theaters where it proceeded to earn $645,363 on its opening weekend. It averaged a strong $4,181 per screen at 517 theaters and the following week added 300 play dates. It eventually made $23.3 million in North America.

The Usual Suspects was well-received by most critics and it has an 89% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and a 77 metscore on Metacritic. While embraced by most viewers and critics, The Usual Suspects was the subject of harsh derision by some. Roger Ebert, in a review for the Chicago Sun-Times, gave the film one-and-a-half stars out of four. USA Today gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four, calling it, "one of the most densely plotted mysteries in memory - though paradoxically, four-fifths of it is way too easy to predict". However, Rolling Stone magazine praised Spacey, saying his "balls-out brilliant performance is Oscar bait all the way". Hal Hinson, in his review for the Washington Post wrote, "Ultimately, The Usual Suspects may be too clever for its own good. The twist at the end is a corker, but crucial questions remain unanswered. What's interesting, though, is how little this intrudes on our enjoyment. After the movie you're still trying to connect the dots and make it all fit - and these days, how often can we say that?" In her review for the New York Times, Janet Maslin praised the performances of the cast: "Mr. Singer has assembled a fine ensemble cast of actors who can parry such lines, and whose performances mesh effortlessly despite their exaggerated differences in demeanor . . . Without the violence or obvious bravado of Reservoir Dogs, these performers still create strong and fascinatingly ambiguous characters". The Independent praised the film's ending: "The film's coup de grace is as elegant as it is unexpected. The whole movie plays back in your mind in perfect clarity - and turns out to be a completely different movie to the one you've been watching (rather better, in fact)".

Christopher McQuarrie and Kevin Spacey were nominated for Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor, respectively. They both won and in his acceptance speech, Spacey memorably said, "Well, whoever Keyser Söze is, I can tell you he's going to get gloriously drunk tonight". McQuarrie also won the Best Original Screenplay award at the 1996 British Academy Film Awards. The film was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards—Best Supporting Actor for Benicio Del Toro, Best Screenplay for Christopher McQuarrie, and Newton Thomas Sigel for Best Cinematography. Both Del Toro and McQuarrie won in their categories.

The Usual Suspects was screened at the 1995 Seattle International Film Festival where Bryan Singer was awarded Best Director and Kevin Spacey won for Actor. The Boston Society of Film Critics gave Spacey the Best Supporting Actor award for his work on the film. Spacey went on to win this award with the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review which also gave the film an ensemble acting award to the cast.

On June 17, 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "Ten Top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. The Usual Suspects was acknowledged as the tenth best mystery film. Verbal Kint was voted the #48 villain in the AFI's "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains" in June 2003. Entertainment Weekly cited the film as one of the "13 must-see heist movies". Empire magazine ranked Keyzer Soze #69 in their "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters" poll.

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Steven Soderbergh

Steven soderbergh by soyignatius.jpg

Steven Andrew Soderbergh (born January 14, 1963) is an American film producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, and an Academy Award-winning film director. He is best known for directing the films sex, lies, and videotape, Erin Brockovich, Traffic, the Ocean's Eleven franchise, and his biopic Che.

Soderbergh was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Mary Ann (née Bernard) and Peter Andrew Soderbergh, who was a university administrator and educator. He has Swedish ancestry (the family's original surname in Swedish, Söderberg, was changed to Soderbergh when they immigrated to the United States). When he was a child, his family moved from Atlanta to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where his father became Dean of Education at Louisiana State University (LSU). There he discovered filmmaking as a teenager, directing short Super 8 mm films with equipment borrowed from LSU students.

His primary high school education was at Louisiana State University Laboratory School, a K-12 school that is directed by the University. While still taking classes there around the age of fifteen, Soderbergh enrolled in the university's film animation class and began making short 16 mm films with secondhand equipment.

Rather than attending LSU, Soderbergh tried his luck in Hollywood after graduating from high school; he worked as a game show scorer and cue card holder to make ends meet, and eventually found work as a freelance film editor. His big break came when he directed the Grammy-nominated concert video 9012Live for the rock band Yes in 1985.

It wasn't until Soderbergh came back to Baton Rouge that he conceived the idea for sex, lies, and videotape (1989), which he wrote in eight days. The independent film won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, became a worldwide commercial success and greatly contributed to the 1990s independent film revolution. At age 26, Soderbergh became the youngest director to win the festival's top award. Movie critic Roger Ebert dubbed Soderbergh the "poster boy of the Sundance generation".

Making good on his Schizopolis-inspired "artistic wake-up call," his commercial slump ended in 1998 with Out of Sight, a stylized adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel, written by Scott Frank and starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. The film was widely praised, though only a moderate box-office success. It reaffirmed Soderbergh's potential, sparking the beginnings of a lucrative artistic partnership between Clooney and Soderbergh.

Soderbergh followed up on the success of Out of Sight by making another crime caper, The Limey (1999), from an original screenplay by Lem Dobbs and starring veteran actors Terence Stamp and Peter Fonda. The film was well-received, but not as much as Erin Brockovich (2000), a "Rocky movie" he directed, written by Susannah Grant and starring Julia Roberts in her Oscar-winning role as a single mother taking on industry in a civil action. Later that year, Soderbergh released Traffic, a social drama written by Stephen Gaghan and featuring an ensemble cast.

Ocean's Eleven (2001), featuring an all-star cast and flashy aesthetics, is Soderbergh's highest grossing movie to date, grossing more than $183 million. The film's star, George Clooney, subsequently appeared in Solaris (2002), marking the third time the two have headlined a film. In the same year, Soderbergh made Full Frontal which was shot mostly on digital video in an improvisional style that deliberately blurred the line between which actors were playing characters and which were playing fictionized versions of themselves. A film within a film, the title is a film industry reference to an actor or actress appearing fully nude (aka, "full frontal nudity"). Also in 2002, Soderbergh was elected First Vice President of the Directors Guild of America.

Following up Full Frontal stylistically was Soderbergh next project, K Street (2003), a ten-part political HBO series he co-produced with Clooney. The series was noteworthy for being both partially improvised and each episode being produced in the 5 days prior to airing to take advantage of topical events that could be worked into the fictional narrative. Actual political players appeared as themselves, either in cameos or fictionalized versions of themselves (as were the leads, real life husband and wife James Carville and Mary Matalin). The show caused a stir during the 2004 Democratic Primary when Carville gave candidate Howard Dean a soundbite during a location shoot that Dean then used in a debate.

Ocean's Twelve (2004), a sequel to Ocean's Eleven, has followed. The Good German, a romantic drama set in post-war Berlin starring Cate Blanchett and Clooney, was released in late 2006. The sixth pairing of Clooney and Soderbergh, Ocean's Thirteen, was released in June 2007.

In 2006, Soderbergh raised eyebrows with Bubble, a $1.6 million film featuring a cast of nonprofessional actors. It opened in selected theaters and HDNet simultaneously, and four days later on DVD. Industry heads were reportedly watching how the film performed, as its unusual release schedule could have implications for future feature films. Theater-owners, who at the time had been suffering from dropping attendance rates, did not welcome so-called "day-and-date" movies. National Association of Theatre Owners president and CEO John Fithian indirectly called the film's release model "the biggest threat to the viability of the cinema industry today." Soderbergh's response to such criticism: "I don't think it's going to destroy the movie-going experience any more than the ability to get takeout has destroyed the restaurant business." The film did poor business both at the box office and on the home video market. Nevertheless, Soderbergh is on contract to deliver five more day-and-date movies. In fall of 2006 he contributed a mini-essay on hotel pornography, along with an accompanying series of long-exposure photographs, to Anthem magazine's November/December issue.

In 2007, Soderbergh and Tony Gilroy contributed an audio commentary to the DVD re-release of The Third Man by the Criterion Collection.

On May 22, 2008, Che, which may be released in theatres in two parts titled The Argentine and Guerrilla, was presented in the main competition of the 2008 Cannes film festival. Benicio del Toro plays Argentine guerrilla Ernesto "Che" Guevara in an epic four-hour double bill which looks first at his role in the Cuban uprising before moving to his campaign and eventual death in Bolivia.

Soderbergh shot his feature film The Girlfriend Experience in New York in 2008. The film's lead actress is adult film star Sasha Grey.

He is developing his next directing effort, a 3-D live-action rock musical film based on Cleopatra's life, with Catherine Zeta-Jones in talks to play Cleopatra, and with music by the band Guided by Voices. Soderbergh and scriptwriter Jim Greer will rewrite the lyrics of the songs to fit the story. Hugh Jackman was approached to play Mark Antony but withdrew. Soderbergh plans to begin filming in April 2009.

Soderbergh often acts as his own director of photography under the alias of Peter Andrews and occasionally as his own editor under the alias of Mary Ann Bernard. While shooting Traffic, Soderbergh wanted a credit of "Photographed and Directed by". The Writer's Guild (WGA) wouldn't allow another credit ahead of the writer. Because Soderbergh didn't want his name used more than once, he adopted a pseudonym, Peter Andrews, his father's first and middle names.

A Warner Brothers film will have Soderbergh working with Matt Damon again. A true story, The Informant, will have Matt Damon playing the role of Mark Whitacre, a corporate whistleblower. Whitacre wore a wire for two and a half years for the FBI as a high-level executive at a Fortune 500 company, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), in one of the largest price-fixing cases in history. Filming is expected to commence on April 15, 2008. The script for the movie was written by Scott Z. Burns based on Kurt Eichenwald’s book, The Informant.

Soderbergh often utilizes Cliff Martinez to construct/compose the soundtracks to his movies, and when not cutting his own films, he relies on editor Stephen Mirrione.

Soderbergh has made big-budget Hollywood films as well as art-house independent films; works with above-the-title movie stars and unknowns; directs adaptations and original material, both of which written by himself as well as other screenwriters. His versatility is also apparent with the genres which he chooses to film and his trades as a filmmaker behind the scenes. Traffic screenwriter and Syriana director Stephen Gaghan named Soderbergh "the Michael Jordan of filmmaking" for his ability to assume so many distinct roles in film production.

While Soderbergh is enamoured of dialogue, Soderbergh's incorporation of score and montage are equally prevalent in his story-telling. Even Soderbergh's light-hearted affairs, such as Out of Sight and Ocean's 11, contain scenes where images and score are the dominant story-telling mechanisms. Films such as Solaris and Traffic are heavily layered in scenes absent of dialogue altogether. Cliff Martinez, a frequent collaborator with Soderbergh, composes many of the scores that provide Soderbergh with the thematic and sonic landscapes into which he inserts his characters.

But while Soderbergh's subject matter is highly varied, many of his films feature as a central theme the exploration of the act or moral consequences of lying. For example, the protagonists in two early films, King of the Hill and sex, lies, and videotape, are both pathological liars (one in training, one in recovery), while most of the characters in both Oceans films are con artists. It is interesting to note that he directed Spalding Gray in Gray's Anatomy after King of the Hill, an actor who often commented that he was unable to "make anything up". Full Frontal is another film in this thread, where seemingly the fundamental dishonesty of the entire filmmaking process is exposed. More distantly, Soderbergh's interest in rhyming slang, as seen in The Limey and the Oceans films, may be seen as part of this theme, based on the conjectured origin of rhyming slang as a language game.

Soderbergh has, nonetheless, been dubbed a stylistic chameleon by Anne Thompson of Premiere Magazine. Drew Morton has extensively researched Soderbergh and has tied him to a modern movement much like the French New Wave.

Soderbergh is married to writer/journalist (and ex-E! Entertainment Television anchor) Jules Asner whom he often credits for influencing his female characters.

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Source : Wikipedia