Martin Scorsese's name has been synonymous with great filmmaking for decades—well, all decades except the last one. Though he finally got his Oscar and had plenty of box-office success, The Departed was the only film of the 2000s to register, barely, on critics best-of lists. Post-Academy Award, concert film Shine a Light "left me cringing," and Shutter Island is "impersonal, silly, and a waste of time—both his and ours," writes Elbert Venture for Slate. It makes one wonder: "Are the days of Scorsese shaking up film culture over?"
"It's easy to forget that the last time he really galvanized critical and public opinion was 20 years ago with Goodfellas." Since then, he's entered the studio system, adopting a "one for me (Gangs of New York), one for them (Casino)" philosophy that lately seems more "one for them, one for them," explains Ventura. "No longer an outsider, Scorsese now has more freedom than ever to choose projects. And all he really wants, it seems, is to be a venerable studio pro." And while Ventura would pick a mediocre Scorsese film over Up in the Air any day, he's left nursing his nostalgia "for the rebel we may never get back."