Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Departed was okay.

Earlier this week I saw Scorsese’s new movie, The Departed. I’m a big Scorsese fan, but for some reason I felt no real desire to see his last 2 films. I didn’t not want to, I just didn’t care enough to get my lazy ass to a theater, and at the video store there’s always something better to rent that doesn’t star Leonardo Dicaprio (even at an ass-palace like Blockbuster). But the good reviews and wishes of my friends lured me to the cineplex for the new one. Anyway, it was good, a superbly shot and constructed crime thriller that weaves together the psychologies of a network of emotionally ambiguous killers (some cops, some robbers). Scorsese shows us a culture of violence and destructive masculinity where both sides of the law posses no moral high ground. In this universe, moral distinctions break down and agents of both sides become interchangeable. It was a smart and interesting film, which in its almost 3 hour running time only starts to drag slightly in the final act. But it defiantly wasn’t great. It was missing the pioneering energy that made earlier Scorsese films so risky and explosive. In his 90’s crime masterpieces like Goodfellas and Casino (his last really great film), his style had become more polished and crisp but the films’ retained the rebellious passion and power of watershed flicks like Taxi Driver and Mean Streets, creating the kind of balance between chaos and order that only a great director can achieve. The Departed certainly had a supreme and confident craftsmanship with it’s slick and engrossing yet maturely understated camera work and editing, but it felt empty. It was a very well told story that was interesting, but not exciting. While it teased at addressing deeper cultural issues and delving into character psychology, it never did, instead only exploring these possibilities in the most superficial ways. But my main problem with it was the acting. It has a cast overstuffed with big name actors who all turn in mediocre performances. Instead of getting into the characters, I felt like I was watching a bunch of rich Hollywood pretty boys in expensive jeans having fun with racial slurs and prop guns. You’re brutally aware the entire film that you’re watching Jack Nicholson and Marky Mark and all the others being “tough,” so you watch them ham it up instead of dissecting the complex lawmen and villains they’re portraying. It’s extremely distracting, and totally annoying. Anyway, the movie’s worth seeing, but not by much.

On the plus side, it does have a return to the poetic use of rock n’ roll that helped define Scorsese’s early style. This interest for Scorsese in the possibilities of rock music to create a kind of emotional immediacy and urban surrealism was taken from 1960’s American experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger, especially from films like Scorpio Rising and Invocation of my Demon Brother (which has an avant-garde Moog score by Mick Jagger). It’s nice to see him returning to that, but again it seemed forced, instead of rawly transcendental like the soundtracks for Mean Streets or Goodfellas. This poetic use of rock n’ roll as a more pure or emotionally authentic gateway to experiencing the world, or as a sneering (or campy) rejection of past world-views, was a common device in 1960s and 70s Youth Cinemas, as in the films of John Waters, Wim Wenders, and Jean-Luc Godard. But of course, in our cripplingly cynical postmodern society any real faith in pop music seems to be dead, and usually when a movie has a musical interlude now it’s to help sell the shitty-shitty single by some shitty-shitty band. Too bad. In honor of the past days of primal rock n’ roll magic (which are of course only false romantic notions in my young mind), here are some pop songs I have faith in, or as much faith as I am generationally capable of.

Ain’t Nothin’ Shakin’ (But The Leaves on the Tree) - The Beatles

This is a grimy live Beatles song from 1962. It’s off an album called Live at the Star Club, which I bought off some kid in middle school. I found out later that day that he had stolen it out of the Spanish teacher’s boom box, but I kept it anyway. And then after high school he got arrested.

Letter From and Occupant - The New Pornographers

This band kicks ass. They have an old school roughness and immediacy, but also sound distinctly of this century, despite their many sonic quotations. This song is off their first album Mass Romantic.


Blogger Grant Miller said...

I'll see this movie. But the commercials were unconvincing. They made the movie look both horrible and great at once.

Scorsese uses music in film as well as anyone. Better, actually.

October 18, 2006 11:57 PM  
Blogger Laz said...

That New Pornographers song was pretty incredible. Love it, Love it, LOVE it.

October 19, 2006 4:53 PM  
Blogger Mazur said...

Horrible and great at once is actually a really good definition of the movie. Most of the horribleness comes from the crap-actors (craptors).

Scorsese is a master of the soundtrack, but I don't think anyone has used pop music in a film more effectively or meaningfully as John Waters did in Mondo Trasho.

Laz, I know you mean business when you use capitals. CAPITALS! (and bird metaphors). BIRD METAPHORS!

October 19, 2006 9:56 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

prada outlet, longchamp, ray ban sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses, ugg boots, michael kors outlet, tiffany jewelry, replica watches, uggs on sale, louis vuitton, ugg boots, tiffany and co, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton, louis vuitton outlet, burberry, louis vuitton outlet, prada handbags, jordan shoes, burberry outlet online, longchamp outlet, nike air max, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet, christian louboutin outlet, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet, gucci outlet, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, ugg boots, nike air max, michael kors outlet, kate spade outlet, michael kors, chanel handbags, polo ralph lauren outlet, replica watches, nike outlet, louboutin outlet, nike free, louboutin shoes, michael kors outlet, tory burch outlet

October 16, 2015 4:26 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

nike air max, lacoste pas cher, timberland, vans pas cher, nike free, hollister pas cher, kate spade handbags, true religion jeans, nike roshe, michael kors, lululemon, nike free run uk, michael kors, longchamp pas cher, hogan, nike air max, coach outlet, true religion jeans, air max, coach purses, michael kors, new balance pas cher, ray ban pas cher, hollister, mulberry, air jordan pas cher, hermes, sac guess, louboutin pas cher, nike air max, true religion outlet, nike blazer, oakley pas cher, true religion jeans, north face, sac longchamp, coach factory outlet, ralph lauren uk, abercrombie and fitch, vanessa bruno, air force, ray ban uk, coach outlet, tn pas cher, michael kors, converse pas cher, nike roshe run, north face, ralph lauren pas cher, burberry

October 16, 2015 4:27 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

lululemon, nike trainers, valentino shoes, reebok shoes, mont blanc, birkin bag, iphone 6 cases, mcm handbags, new balance, louboutin, ralph lauren, p90x workout, wedding dresses, longchamp, beats by dre, soccer jerseys, nike air max, nike roshe, mac cosmetics, baseball bats, converse, oakley, nfl jerseys, herve leger, asics running shoes, nike huarache, north face outlet, soccer shoes, vans, babyliss, chi flat iron, celine handbags, instyler, hollister, hollister, ray ban, abercrombie and fitch, ghd, giuseppe zanotti, vans shoes, ferragamo shoes, nike air max, jimmy choo shoes, timberland boots, hollister, converse outlet, gucci, bottega veneta, north face outlet, insanity workout

October 16, 2015 4:29 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

barbour, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, juicy couture outlet, moncler, juicy couture outlet, montre pas cher, swarovski, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, moncler, thomas sabo, doke gabbana outlet, supra shoes, moncler outlet, doudoune canada goose, lancel, michael kors outlet online, moncler, toms shoes, bottes ugg, sac louis vuitton pas cher, canada goose, wedding dresses, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, moncler, pandora jewelry, barbour jackets, moncler, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet, pandora jewelry, moncler, louis vuitton, pandora charms, replica watches, louis vuitton, ugg boots uk, ugg pas cher, hollister, canada goose, karen millen, coach outlet, pandora charms, moncler, canada goose outlet, marc jacobs, swarovski crystal, michael kors handbags, canada goose, canada goose uk, links of london, canada goose

October 16, 2015 4:30 AM  
Blogger mmjiaxin said...

rolex watches,rolex watches,swiss watches,watches for men,watches for women,omega watches,replica watches,rolex watches for sale,rolex replica,rolex watch,cartier watches,rolex submariner,fake rolex,rolex replica watches,replica rolex
canada goose outlet
cyber monday 2015
longchamp outlet
new balance shoes
cheap ray ban sunglasses
true religion jeans outlet
nike air huarache
nike free
hermes birkin bag
beats by dre
swarovski outlet
longchamp handbags
michael kors handbags outlet
cheap nba jerseys
ray-ban sunglasses
ugg outlet online
lululemon pants
basketball shoes,basketball sneakers,lebron james shoes,sports shoes,kobe bryant shoes,kobe sneakers,nike basketball shoes,running shoes,mens sport shoes,nike shoes
canada goose jackets

November 28, 2015 1:41 AM  
Blogger Minko Chen said...

ray-ban sunglasses
toms outlet
fitflop sale
tiffany and co
nhl jerseys
ray ban,rayban,occhiali ray ban,ray-ban,ray ban occhiali,ray ban sunglasses
nike free
coach outlet
mulberry bags
michael kors outlet
thomas sabo outlet
fitflops clearance
cheap uggs
coach outlet online
tiffany and co
nfl jerseys
michael kors uk outlet
oakley sunglasses sale
coach factory outlet
michael kors uk outlet

December 16, 2015 6:12 AM  
Blogger soma taha said...

Saved as a favorite, I love your site!

October 30, 2016 8:19 AM  
Blogger ركن المثالية said...

شركة عزل خزانات بعنيزة
شركة عزل حراري بعنيزة
شركة عزل مائي بعنيزة
كشف تسريبات المياه بعنيزة
شركة عزل فوم بعنيزة

December 04, 2017 4:49 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home