Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Departed and some quick catch-ups

I threw out two trash bags of stuff today--projects I will never finish, even fabric I will never use, paper cranes. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was that, "There will always be more fabric." There will always be more origami paper. This time I was smart, I did some projects FIRST and then reorganized and threw out after, instead of cleaning everything first and then running out of time and energy to do a project, resolving to do it tomorrow and not doing it until the sewing room needed cleaning again. Did my laundry, sewed a bodice to a skirt, made a shrug and cleaned my silver jewelry.

Then tonight we watched The Departed. My God, what an awful film. It really was. I know it's gotten all this critical acclaim but I just thought it was a mess. The first half dragged on trying to lay on all kind of important inferences about Boston politics, race and class. It only became interesting at all when it started just stealing every scene from Infernal Affairs. I mean every scene, some nearly frame by frame. IMHO a movie that steals that much from source material should NOT be considered for an Oscar, no matter who the director is. Come on, they criticized The Vanishing for being a frame by frame shoot of the original and that was the same director adapting his OWN work. Mr. DiCaprio did some very good work as a man under extraordinary pressure, but I don't know what they were talking about praising some of the others. Nicholson just ate the scenery with only filmicly generated menace (positioning, lighting, etc.) as opposed to the real deal by Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast (though oddly both films have Ray Winstone??!!!). Wahlberg and Baldwin were utterly ludicrous caricatures of hard-nosed, hard assed. Damon and Sheen were comfortable and competent, but I don't think it's their best work.

Anyway, I'm trying to get to bed before midnight, and aiming to get to bed before 11 every night this week. We'll see if I can both blog and go to bed. I'm adding new resolutions each week.


YS said...

The Departed is a deeply flawed film. It mirrors DePalma's recent Black Dahlia in that you have a very talented and virtuoso director who seems to be just going through the motions and not deeply involved in the material, using all the old tricks without any passion behind them.

DiCaprio acted the film into any form of seriousness. It gave me a new respect for him.

I will say though, seeing The Departed in a packed house on opening weekend was one of the funnest moviegoing experiences I had in a long time. The audience laughed together, cringed together, and, yes, even groaned together at the ridiculous last shot in the film.

Novel said...

That was part of what made it so sad--that this is (or was) a director who is so inventive, original and visionary. Oh, that last shot. I've actually read praise for it--smacks of film school earnestness to me. The Brotherhood was doing it better.

The group experience of theater and film or even concert going can be more entertaining than the entertainment.

Have you seen Infernal Affairs?

I loved DiCaprio's early work so much before Titanic sort of went to his head. I hope he gets more chances in better scripts.

What did you think of Gangs of NY and The Aviator?

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with you on saying that "The Departed" is an awful film.

I could see someone not liking it because of it's liberal use of violence and swearing.

What I think this movie did extremely well was to bring the "Mamet" style of performance and turn it into a movie.

It was extremely fast paced without the use of "good and bad" characters, but rather a grayscale of characters with varying degrees of "goodness".

It was able to show the softer side of the villains, the harder edge of the heroes, and create a fast and furious feel that made it quite different from most films of its genre.

Novel said...

I have no problem with liberal violence and swearing. I have trouble with a complete rip off being praised as though it were original.

As The Simpsons said: "The rat signifies obviousness."

Shaplen said...

In 2003, Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment acquired the rights for a Hollywood remake, titled The Departed, which was directed by Martin Scorsese, and stars Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson, and set in Boston, Massachusetts. The Departed was released on 6 October 2006

It was not a ripoff nor Scorsese trying to take credit for a film that was not his idea. It was a paid for REMAKE. As for getting Awards for it....It was shot Excellently, full of Witty and comical dialogue, and DiCaprio put on a performance that resurrected his acting skills in my eyes. Why not give him a Oscar.

Get off your pompous attitude. Just because you saw the first movie.....FIRST, does not mean a Remake can not be great. It is the equivalent of people who go OH YAH WELL I READ THE BOOK AND IT WAS MUCH BETTER. Both can be good.

Novel said...

Why do I get the feeling I'm feeding a troll.

Ah, well, here goes. I never said that people weren't paid or rights given, nor did I criticize the film based only in comparison to Infernal Affairs. If you read the review, you will see that I felt it was a bad movie in its own right for clearly stated reasons--the obviousness of the slams against Boston politics (or all politics), the poor acting by others in the film besides DiCaprio. I have no problem with DiCaprio getting an Oscar, I have a problem with an uncreative film being praised and given Awards.
I'd have felt it was a bad movie if I had never seen Infernal Affairs--that was just the icing on the cake. As YS said--people laughed at it in the theater where he saw it.

For the record, I enjoyed Solaris (a remake) much more than the original. That's not my issue.