Monday, October 09, 2006

scarcely enough scenery for them all to chew

Of course I saw The Departed, opening weekend, matinee price, big tacky theater, very soft chairs. In moment of weakness, I voted Goodfellas the "best" "US" film since 1982.

I liked Scorsese doing a sort of tight abstract logic problem plot. That's sort of new for him and even though I'd seen Infernal Affairs, I didn't recognize it. But I'm slow like that.

But I didn't like what Manohla Dargis generously suggested was a creative departure in the style of cinematography and editing. Too uniformly fast, too close, too restricted a color palette (why not go black and white?), essentially un-Scorsese. And the use of music was awful, except, maybe for that opening Stones thing, but that invites the very comparion by which The Departed suffers. Other than that the music was forced, distracting, mechanical, blech.

I liked the way DiCaprio wore all that cheesy clothing though. The chemistry between Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon is something too. Jack Nicholson's never afraid to play an asshole, which is cool. But remember, in The Aviator, the way the scenes were physically constructed around DiCaprio when he went all crazy-wolfman-Howard-Hughes? Well, there's nothing that carefully done in this film, to my eye.

Alec Baldwin was just ridiculous, but Martin Sheen was sweet. When I make a masculine melodrama (or buddy comedy) I'm going to name the female lead Placey Placeholder, though. Madolyn Madden. Claire Cleary. Geez. I liked Vera Farmiga's not entirely plastic looks though. And her pant suits.

PS. If anybody wants to email me (or post or digest) the full-text or select bits of Fish on divesting in NYT Select, I'd appreciate it. Fish is funny and "divesting" also. 10/10: Got it, thanks! And I recommend it. Could have gone further with industry and govt money for the sciences and the way that structures lab research. Very sketchy.

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Blogger Hans said...

I have seen Internal Affairs, and have yet to see the Departed, but I'm not quite sure how long these types of maze-within-a-maze/betrayal-within-a-betrayal movies can hold my interest (no matter how well-done they are).

But being in America, land of Hollywood, and all, I suppose I won't be able to escape their clutches.

11:11 PM  
Blogger zp said...

You know what I find odd? Lots of people (ads, reviewers, bloggers) are calling The Departed a "picture." I think the credits might even say this, as in, "A Martin Scorcese Picture." I must say, I love the retro-trash connotations of this word. My grandmother calls them (movies, films, the cinema) "pictures" . . .

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the name of the designer of VeraFarmiga's pant suit -- the one she wore in the movie Departed when she first meets LD's character?

7:51 PM  
Blogger zp said...

The costume designer was Sandy Powell, who has won some Oscars, done other work with Scorsese and done period films too, like Shakespeare in Love and Gangs of New York. All this is from IMDb. I don't know where she got the suit though.

12:31 PM  

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