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MovieChick checks out the latest tweaking of THE DEPARTED!

Hey folks, Harry here with MovieChick33 and her look at the latest test screening of Martin Scorsese's THE DEPARTED. Seems the film is coming together stronger and stronger - and for a viewer that wasn't a fan of THE AVIATOR or GANGS OF NEW YORK - it seems Scorsese has brought her back into the fold. Here ya go...

Here you go! Please don't use my real name. You can use moviechick33. I know, very original.

Hi all. On Wednesday, August 23, I attended a private screening of the new Martin Scorsese film THE DEPARTED in Edgewater, NJ. The Movie View people explained that this was still a rough cut and will likely be rated R for strong violence, language and sexuality. It?s Scorsese, duh!

They gave us the following synopsis: The film is set in South Boston, where the state police force is waging war on organized crime. Young undercover cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is assigned to infiltrate the gang run by boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). While Billy is quickly gaining Costello?s confidence, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), a hardened young criminal who has infiltrated the police department as an informer for the gang, is rising to a position of power. Colin tries to marry up by getting involved with a police psychiatrist. As the situation reaches its dramatic climax, all three men must race to protect their fate and the lives of everyone around them. The movie also stars Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Anthony Anderson and Vera Farmiga.

Having absolutely hated GANGS OF NEW YORK (shot cool and all, but was quite literary my #1 worse film of 2002) and found THE AVIATOR pretty damn boring, I didn?t have high hopes going in. Boy was I pleasantly surprised. I?m glad Scorsese went back to what he does best: dirty, bloody mob-crime stories.

I would say the first half hour was a blur. They cut from scene to scene, jumping all over the place - obviously to set up the character and story. It was at this point that I was a little nervous because nothing jelled yet; every character came off bland and cartoonish and to me, a Boston native, the accents were laughable. Why oh why do actors attempt Boston accents? BLOWN AWAY or THIRTEEN DAYS anyone? Only Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg were excused because they actually grew up in the Southie area. To me it was just distracting.

Once the meat of the story got going, it was very intense and well acted. Baldwin and Wahlberg stole their scenes and provided much needed humor to cut the tension. Nicholson played Nicholson he didn?t do anything that you haven?t already seen in another movie of his. He played nuts, looked crusty, flailed his arms around doing that Joker dance of his, and basically looked like he was having a ball. It took a while for DiCaprio to settle into his character but when he did he was probably the best of the three top-billed actors. Damon was good in the way he always is playing subtle and walking the line.

Before I talk about the best part of the movie, I have to mention the worst: Vera Farmiga. To me, she is best known for playing one of the leads in the short-lived 2004 television series TOUCHING EVIL. Farmiga played Madeleine, the psychiatrist who had connections to both Damon and DiCaprio?s characters. I?m not sure if it was the way her character was written, but I thought she wasn?t up to the acting chops of her peers. Without giving anything away, the romance plot made little sense and really served no purpose other than getting her on a bed in her underwear. Okay, for some of you, the half naked girl thing probably worked fine. There was no chemistry with either Damon or DiCaprio. In a movie that was pretty strong, this was by far the weakest plot point.

Just a few other tiny things that bugged me: it is trademark Scorsese but the gratuitous use of offensive racial terms in the beginning of the movie added little to the character development; there were a few too many extraneous characters that could have been edited out; and it was hard to distinguish how much time passed and what events were occurring contemporaneously.

THE DEPARTED was about 2 hours, 15 minutes long felt longer, but most Scorsese movies do it is just the pacing. Didn?t bother me because the last 20 minutes were fantastic and I would recommend the movie based on just the end. A bunch of ?shocker? moments, that I wouldn?t call twists, but I didn?t see them coming and I, 90% of the time, see what?s coming.

So yeah, I rated it Very Good on the score sheet, not Excellent, but Very Good. I was also part of the focus group after the movie. I would say that 95% of the 25 of us really liked it. Not one person mentioned that this was a remake of the Hong Kong movie INFERNAL AFFAIRS though. The biggest complaint from most people was that the film didn?t explain certain things: What was in the box? What was in the envelope? How did a character find out something in the end? For me, none of that mattered, I felt it was all inferred and I don?t think it is always necessary to spell out everything for a moviegoer. It is like the suitcase in PULP FICTION. Do you really need to know what was in it? Isn?t it more fun guessing? Explaining every plot point dumbs down a movie and for THE DEPARTED, I thought the mystery worked.

-Moviechick33

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 24, 2006, 2:23 p.m. CST

    yo

    by dead youngling

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 2:25 p.m. CST

    First

    by The Ender

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 2:25 p.m. CST

    rockstar nova

    by dead youngling

    love the guys--their 2 new songs are lame--where's the ROCK! whoops, wrong forum--so where's the Megatron pic?

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 2:26 p.m. CST

    I Hate You With All My Hatred Dead Youngling

    by The Ender

    And this movie looks decent, but not great. I think Matt Damon is awesome (Good Will Hunting and Bourne Identity seal the deal for me) and Nicholson is cool, but bleh at the rest of the cast.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 2:33 p.m. CST

    GONY worst film of 2002?

    by Wondermutt

    I automatically disqualify people who take films of quality and rate them the "Worst" of a year or worst they have ever seen. If you didn't like GONY, that's understandable, but to say it's "shot cool" and then say it's the worst film of they year makes you look like an idiot. When you have films out there like "Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot" or "John Tucker Must Die" -- and believe me, there are plenty of those out there every single year -- you need to take care not to say a film like GONY was the "worst" of that year.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 2:41 p.m. CST

    Accents

    by readingwriter

    When Hollywood actors try to do Boston accents they try to sound like the Kennedys, who don't/didn't have Boston accents. They have Kennedy accents. Seriously, not the same thing. Heck, even Damon and Affleck sound labored in Good Will Hunting.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Stoked for this movie.

    by dancinggopher01

    I will be there opening night. Scorcese and Nicholson as a mob boss is all you had to say to get my butt in the theatre.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 2:46 p.m. CST

    I found Bringing Out the Dead today for five dollars...

    by DanielKurland

    Scorsese knows what he is doing.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 2:49 p.m. CST

    This better be good

    by artie langes nut

    Can you believe we live in a world where Ordinary People wins best picture over Raging Bull? Or Dances with Wolves, a movie I did like but come on, wins best picture over GoodFellas? One of the greatest if not the greatest movie of the genre of all time? What are people thinking by not honoring this man. I understand it and get it, The Aviator and Gangs of NY are not considered his best work, but come on, hes one of the few people that is guarenteed my money everytime he puts something out. And you know BTW, Harry will slamm this movie, but he'll tell you to go see Idlewild.....

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 3:04 p.m. CST

    I'm supposed to care what this guys says?

    by The Funketeer

    When he writes, "shot cool and all, but was quite literary my #1 worse film of 2002" Quite literary? I think you need to be literate before you try to use words like that. Shot cool and all? Is this kid in Jr. High or just a high school drop out. GONY was not nearly as good as Scorcese is capable of and despite his comments to the contrary, it feels like he was forced to make some cuts that would have made the movie more interesting. There's still no way that it was the worst movie of 2002. Scorcese doesn't make movies that are ever the worst of the year. He doesn't even rank in the bottom 50%. You might be disapointed in something but that doesn't make it bad.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 3:06 p.m. CST

    Simple minded review.

    by zarandimoviefan

    I can't help but pick up on the amount of broad, sweeping conjecture of that review. Why do people limit Scorsese to "blood thirsty mob films"? I know Casino and Goodfellas were amazing, but he has other work too. The King of Comedy is a frightening stab at the power of celebrity, After Hours is intense black comedy, Taxi Driver is terrfying and Mean Streets is a raw nerve classic. To call even Goodfellas a "blood thirsty" mob flick is just plain stupid. Scorsese's films have depth and texture; he can do most genres, without the audience feeling tied down to that genre. Moviechick, learn to write a good review and bone up on your film knowledge.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 3:07 p.m. CST

    This review person knows nott hows to speells the wrods

    by MattCG

    Spellchecks dumbazz.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 3:10 p.m. CST

    VERA FARMIGA is a GREAT actress!!

    by Thunderballs

    I am sorry, but Vera Farmiga is a wonderfully gifted and beautiful actress. If she was no good in this it had to be the script and/or direction, cause she is amazing. Go check out her performance in Running Scared, the scene with the kidnappers is fucking unbelievable. She was also great in that movie where she played a junkie, can't remember the name. But no more shit taling about Vera, she is one of the most talented actors working today.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Vera Farmiga is NOT a new cheese at Hickory Farms?

    by Ninja Nerd

    Sorry...couldn't resist. Don't know her or her work, but I'm a big Scorcese fan, so I'll get a chance to see her...half-naked or not...soon!

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 3:32 p.m. CST

    Problem with DEPARTER = Bill Monahan

    by JohnGalt06

    He just ain't a good screenwriter. Sorry, folks. Just look at that terrible line about what's the difference between cops and criminals. Did anyone actually think that was clever? PLUS of all the phony accents, phony Boston accents irritate me the most...

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 3:36 p.m. CST

    sounds like a bloody good time, but I don't mean that l

    by MrPeanut

    And what's more obnoxious: people who can't spell, people who have wretched taste in films, or studio plants? I vote for moviewhore, who seems to satisfy all criteria. Almost as funny as people who rush to be FIRST only to find out that they're not, but at least the ender had enough balls to make another post. Most fake firsters just run away....

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 3:37 p.m. CST

    I applaud this writer for having balls...

    by BigTuna

    to say he hates GONY or finds Aviator boring. Frankly, I find the fanboy cock sucking of Scorcesse annoying these days. He hasn't won an Oscar, oh boo-hoo. The guy has millions and has a great life. I'm suppose to feel sorry for him? And while I didn't think GONY was the worst film of the year, I didn't like it aator WAS terribly boring and gave us no new insight into the life of Hughes. 3 long hours of learning nothing about him.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 3:45 p.m. CST

    Haters Unite!

    by brycemonkey

    I also think Scorcesse a bit overrated and is on the slippery slope. Hopefully he'll pull it back. More Goodfellas, less Gangs.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 3:48 p.m. CST

    The element of surprise

    by Garbageman33

    I just wish I could somehow erase the memory of ever having seen Infernal Affairs. It's not that I didn't love the original, it's just that there are at least two "Holy shit!" moments in it that just aren't going to have the same impact anymore. Maybe if I drink enough scotch between now and the end of October, I'll forget all about it. Of course, I'll also forget where I left my pants.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 3:48 p.m. CST

    WELL

    by THE KNIGHT

    I for one liked GONY.... I seen it without knowing nothing about the backlash it received... I still don't get the aviator hate.. someone please tell me why they feel both of these movies are so bad?

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Goodfellas...the best mob movie ever?

    by Garbageman33

    In my opinion, not only is The Godfather (I and/or II) the best mob movie ever made, it's quite possibly the best movie ever made. You could, however, argue that Raging Bull is the best boxing movie ever.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 3:57 p.m. CST

    Mob Movies

    by dancinggopher01

    Top 3- Goodfellas, Godfather 1, Untouchables.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 4:08 p.m. CST

    I never understood....

    by movieman742

    the hate for GONY and Aviator. I can see why GONY isn't as good as it could have been but it is definetly not the worst of 2002. I would put it in the top 15, maybe top 10 of the year. As for The Aviator, would someone please explain, like some of you already asked, why does it get so much hate. Personally, I really enjoyed it. DiCaprio did an excellent job in the movie. No offense to Jamie Fox but if it wasn't for his mimicry of Ray Charles then Leo would have an Oscar statue. All I know is I'm really looking forward for The Departed. Nicholson as a mob boss, fuck yeah!!

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 4:11 p.m. CST

    KNIGHT: Gangs was just silly...

    by brycemonkey

    You couldn't believe any of the lead actors in any of their roles. It's hyper-reality colour made it look like a cartoon. The plot was ridiculous, facile, and by the end of it you didn't care what the outcome is. The actual conclusion is so shit I have trouble remebering it. Something about a figh? Cannons...? That covers my main problems with it. Anything else?

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 4:13 p.m. CST

    Didn't hate Aviator...

    by brycemonkey

    Leo was actually believable in this one and there were so great supporting actors. It did look really good but I can see why people think it's a bit boring.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 4:20 p.m. CST

    DanielKurland

    by Larry of Arabia

    Bringing out the Dead is an undiscovered gem. While in college I roomed with a paramedic who cared too much and he slowly went nuts in much the same way as Cage's character. Hes ok now, though.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 4:22 p.m. CST

    This movie is over the top

    by harosa

    I saw this last night also and it does go over the top sometimes, especially with the violence, which was ok by me. Obviously, Scorcese has a more intimate knowledge of Italians than the Irish so the lifestyle does feel artificial and the beginning is very rushed just so it can get to the main plot, what took 10 years in Infernal Affairs happens in about 4 months here. Nicholson is awesome but moreso for the fact that he looks like he's channeling the devil from Witches of Eastwick and the Joker. And for shocking moments, even if you've seen INfernal there are some suprises here, although by the end you're laughing because it's so over the top.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 4:26 p.m. CST

    Mob Movies

    by Larry of Arabia

    Those crying for him to go back to mob movies are gonna plotz when they learn his next two projects are going to be, according to imdb, a Theodore Roosevelt biopic and a somber meditation about a Jesuit priests spiritual journey in 17th century Japan facing God's scilence.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 4:27 p.m. CST

    MAAATTTT DAMOOOON!

    by Lando Griffin

    Every time I read the name Alec Baldwin I can only imagine it said in the Kim Jong Il "Arec Bawrin" voice. ******** I thought GONY was just a'ight but I did like Aviator

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 4:44 p.m. CST

    I don't think there's much hatred for The Aviator...

    by BigTuna

    As a person who disliked it, I rarely find anyone in agreement with me. Overall, the vast majority of people seem to like it very much. I thought it was terribly overrated personally.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 4:47 p.m. CST

    a gangs fan

    by phatinum

    GONY has its share of problems, to be sure, but what it has going for it -- DDL -- IMO far outweighs the negatives. And Brendon Gleason was dope too. I get chills thinking about 1. opening outside shot 2. brendon gleason getting a butcher's knife in his back 3. riot montage. That's some fine cinema there, to hell with the haters looking for whatever they were looking for in that movie.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 4:48 p.m. CST

    If the accents were unconvincing, couldn't the

    by CreasyBear

    other actors at least mimic Damon & Marky Mark? Now that I think about it, though, most movie accents are flawed. Kevin Costner's Robin Hood is the prime example. Brian Cox trying Southern in X2 was also weak, though Southern accents are especially butchered, except for Cate Blanchett in The Gift. She was spot-on.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 4:52 p.m. CST

    the departed on myspace

    by moviegirluvsd

    http://www.myspace.com/thedepartedmovie

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 4:56 p.m. CST

    Even I thought

    by MrBlonde509

    GONY was bad, and I've seen every movie of his ,and think he's the greatest director ever.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 5:13 p.m. CST

    Most people really enjoyed THE AVIATOR

    by JohnGalt06

    One of Scorsese's best (Top 5), hands down.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 5:33 p.m. CST

    I want some spoilers.

    by Bungion Boy

    I loved Infernal Affairs and want to know if it keeps the same ending. Does it have the scene in the elevator at the end? Does the same thing happen to the same characters? Anyone know?

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 5:35 p.m. CST

    BRYCEMONKEY:

    by THE KNIGHT

    I honestly don't remeber the plot. I'm not sure if it's my bad memory or the plot didn't stick with me.. But I enjoyed the picture overall and Daniel Day Lewis could play a maniac anyday in my book.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 5:40 p.m. CST

    Gangs of New York "#1 worse film of 2002"

    by DarthCorleone

    C'mon. That is a ludicrous joke.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 5:49 p.m. CST

    THE AVIATOR > GANGS OF NEW YORK

    by Orbots Commander

    Although THE AVIATOR is standard bio-pic material it soars on the strength of all the perfomances besides Dicaprio's: John C. Reilly's low key good acting, Alec Baldwin's scheming airline executive, and Cate Blanchett's Hepburn portrayal. GANGS' singular performance is of course that of Daniel Day Lewis. Its biggest flaw is the actual story-telling; like brycemonkey said above, it is hyper-real and often cartoony and the act/climax is just a total mess. We go from a story about revenge and rival gangs to some kind of out of the blue commentary about anti-Civil War rioting where black men are strung up from lampposts by some of the gang members and then that final shot of the WTC. The movie was ambitious as hell, so I can't knock it too much, but it was all over the damn place.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 6:40 p.m. CST

    GONY- 7 Films In One

    by Lovecraftfan

    I swear it felt like a bunch of stories some good and some not so good thrown in a blender and then put on screen. Bad not really but massively dissapointing

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 8:25 p.m. CST

    GONY > After Hours > everything else

    by AlwaysThere

    Fact.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 8:28 p.m. CST

    Why all the hate for Gangs?

    by rbatty024

    I actually liked Gangs of New York. There were some stylistic choices that Scorsese made that I questioned and I didn't think DiCaprio had the strength to pull off the role as well as some other actor could, but overall I thought it was a really interesting tale about the birth of Democracy from Ochlocracy.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 8:33 p.m. CST

    this broad better be from woostah...

    by KonkBob

    ...if she dare judge what is or is not a Mass accent.

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 8:42 p.m. CST

    by KonkBob

  • Aug. 24, 2006, 8:45 p.m. CST

    ATTENDED A PRIVATE SCREENING?

    by jackinitraw

    Pompous bitch, anyone could have gone to this if they lived in fuckoff nocare. Way to be in the know and on the inside. Fuck that, she lost cred as soon as she purported being somebody other than a nobody like the rest of us.

  • Aug. 25, 2006, 2:07 a.m. CST

    to Moviechick33

    by ebrown2112

    #1) As Detective Goren would say, "the speaker implies; the listener infers." #2) If Spike Lee doesn't find Scorsese's use of "racial terms" offensive, why should you? 3) What you described with Vera Farmiga was not a "plot point."

  • Aug. 25, 2006, 6:46 a.m. CST

    ebrown2112, where did you hear...

    by rbatty024

    that Spike Lee doesn't find Scorsese's use of racial terms offensive? I'm just curious because I read somewhere that he had a problem with Tarantino's use of racial slurs, so it would be interesting if he didn't have a problem with Scorsese's.

  • Aug. 25, 2006, 8:06 a.m. CST

    response from moviechick33

    by moviechick33

    It has been fun and interesting to hear people's comments about my article. For all of those who loved GONY and The Aviator, that's cool. I don't consider myself a film snob, when I see a movie (and I see a crazy amount) I either like it or I don't. I think a movie can be visually shot well, but if the story or acting bore me, they bore me. And it was my worst film for 2002. I think it is worse to have high expectations of a movie going in and be really disappointed. That is why I rated it as my #1 that year. You already know a movie like John Tucker Must Die is crap going in. Couple other things: As for being pompous, I got the passes when I was in line seeing Little Miss Sunshine so I went...same as most people, like a regular moviegoer. My mom is from Worcester and my dad is from Lowell so I think I can judge MA accents pretty well thanks. The typos (except one - literary, sorry about that) were not my fault - happened when Harry cut and pasted my article. And for those who think I'm uneducated, you should spell check Scorsese. Have a good weekend!

  • Aug. 25, 2006, 9:09 a.m. CST

    Yeah:KNIGHT and moviechick...

    by brycemonkey

    I think you can't remember the plot of GONY well due to it being so hard to follow and easy to forget. I probably judge it harshly as plot/writing is the #1 most important thing to me when it comes to movies (followed by direction, editing and acting in that order). Well said moviechick, stick to your guns. It takes some big ones to publish anything nevermind on this site where manners, sense and spelling all go out the window in short order.

  • Aug. 25, 2006, 10:36 a.m. CST

    After Hours brilliant

    by Lovecraftfan

    I loved the movie.

  • Aug. 26, 2006, 11:14 a.m. CST

    The Aviator should have had Hulk Hogan playing Hughes

    by polyh3dron

    Wave of the future, brother!

  • Sept. 26, 2006, 8:34 a.m. CST

    first

    by clintrockremix1969

    hahahah yeah.... months later?