The Departed

Inception

You’ve probably already spotted the Esquire UK post called “Films Stupid People Think Are Clever” where the likes of Christopher Nolan and David Fincher are given the shortest end of the stick. It’s a worthless article that represents the easiest kind of contrarianism: People like these things? Let’s say we don’t like them, but not really explain why. Now, I’m a reasonable un-stupid person by all the traditional rubrics. My IQ is three digits, my SAT score was four, and I’m probably one (maybe two) practice sessions away from being able to walk and chew gum simultaneously. I’ve read books like “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and “Love in the Time of Cholera,” and I think I’ve understood them. They’re about girls, right? Just kidding. I’m also smart enough to recognize that Esquire’s trolling traffic-magnet doesn’t deserve a response. Or at least not an angry one. The thing is, I’m dumb enough to take any opportunity to rethink why I see films like The Shawshank Redemption and American Beauty as fantastically intelligent (even clever). Contrarianism, even the lazy kind, can be good if we use it to challenge ourselves in the right way. If it’s a chance to examine why I’m stupid enough to appreciate these movies, count me in.

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Impersonating a Cop in Termiantor 2

Let’s be cops! Well, not real cops, because despite what Police Academy teaches us, not everyone is cut out to wear a badge and uniform. No force is so desperate for recruits that they’re going to let such incompetent people off the street enroll in their training program. Being a cop is really hard. And dangerous. And takes a certain amount of intelligence and skill and tact. Of course, the real world is currently (continually) proving that there are bad cops all around, almost to the point that the latest buddy cop comedy, Let’s Be Cops, seems ill-timed. But this isn’t a movie about real officers of the law. It’s about two guys impersonating police officers, complete with seemingly authentic costumes and seemingly authentic LAPD cruiser. Somehow they’re not spotted as frauds immediately and thrown into prison. I don’t know the genuine amount of time one could get away with pretending to be a cop, but this isn’t the first movie to make us think you could impersonate a police officer for a long while. Even if you’re committing crimes the entire time. Check out the guide below to see what we’ve learned from the movies as to how to go about “being a cop.” 

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IntroBadassWounds

So you’ve been shot/stabbed/eaten/burned/dismembered/amputated/face melted by an ancient artifact, what are you going to do next? If you answered, “go into shock while screaming like an asshole” then you’re probably on track. In the movies, of course, that’s a different story – people like to do cool stuff while dying in movies, act all badass for our amusement. Let’s look at 20 such fallen heroes. Spoilers should go without saying. But we said it. Right there. So no one can complain.

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Remaking a movie is a tall order, and transitioning a story from another medium to film is even tougher. So it’s no surprise that details frequently get changed to accomodate a new era of filmmaker or the different “beats” associated with a feature-length movie. It becomes a problem, however, when one of the things cut to accomodate an extra action scene turns out to be vitally important to the plot, leaving the movie with a scene or detail that only makes sense if you’re familiar with the original. Things like…

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In his review of Mean Streets, Roger Ebert claimed that Martin Scorsese had the potential to become the American Fellini in ten years. It probably didn’t really take that long. Scorsese is a living library of film, but he isn’t a dusty repository of knowledge. He’s a vibrant, imaginative creator who might know more about movies than anyone else on the planet, and that makes him uniquely qualified to be both prolific and proficient. Over the course of his career, he’s created indelible works bursting with anger, violence, fragility, care, and wonder. Never content to stick with one story mode, he’s run the gamut of styles and substance. So here’s a free bit of film school (for filmmakers and fans alike) from our American Fellini.

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Writer, now director, William Monahan crafts a unique brand of hard-boiled men. The Departed and Kingdom of Heaven screenwriter never follows a guy who’s gonna throw-down and flex at any chance he gets. His protagonists are flawed, paradoxical, and in London Boulevard, even kind of feminine. Monahan’s adaptation of Ken Bruen’s novel features a sensitive lead with no interest in being a gangster, an antagonist who’s more interested in kissing the Farrell character than killing him, and every other so-called mobster in this film could not be more incompetent. Unlike The Departed, Monahan has written an anti-gangster picture. Here’s what writer-director William Monahan had to say about vulnerable men, the current state of exposition, and why the last shot of The Departed still works, even if you didn’t get it:

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Fear not, fans of cinema’s favorite boys from Boston, it looks like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are reteaming for a new project (and it’s not their long-rumored true-life wife-swapping story of baseball players Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson, The Trade) that centers on one of their hometown’s most notorious residents. Affleck and Damon are looking to get their gang of two back together for a Whitey Bulger biopic; Bulger is the former leader of South Boston’s Winter Hill Gang, a cold-blooded member of the Irish Mob, responsible for both years of organized crime and reportedly (at least) 19 murders. Bulger was also a long-time FBI informant who was reportedly tipped off by his own FBI handler that was going to be arrested and indicted for federal racketeering. Bulger and his girlfriend fled Boston in 1995, and had been hiding out for sixteen years before they were caught just this June in sunny Santa Monica, California. Should Affleck and Damon’s film come together, Affleck will direct, with Damon starring as Bulger himself. Damon reports that Terence Winter, creator of Boardwalk Empire, is writing the script. The film would be produced through Warner Bros. and Affleck and Damon’s own Pearl Street Films. THR also reports that Affleck would co-star, with his own talented baby brother Casey Affleck coming on board the cast as well. Damon himself is not sure what years he’d portray the criminal or what period the project would cover, saying “If it’s a straight biopic, we’ll do it […]

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Boiling Point

Oh remakes. Certainly tons and tons have already been written about them. My hat’s in that ring too. I’ve said a few things here and there, though often I’ve gone against the grain. I don’t hate remakes. Some movies can be done better. When that’s the case, why not give it a shot? Did anyone think Mother’s Day was untouchable? Of course not. Then again, certain films can’t be made better. John Carpenter’s The Thing, itself a remake, is practically a perfect film. For now, classics like Casablanca and Gone with the Wind remain untouched, and that’s good. The odds of anyone making those particular stories better are low. Then there are the foreign films. Despite Rob Hunter’s best efforts, wide audiences aren’t really that interested in reading subtitles. Some films do quite well for themselves with subtitles, but whether it’s the audience or just the studios, subtitles don’t sell. So foreign films generally get short theatrical runs and DVD releases. If you want to see that story on the big screen, generally someone has to remake it. Or hey, there are plenty of completely unknown foreign films that are dug up and the stories remade, without many people even knowing that film already existed somewhere else. The point is this: sometimes remakes make sense. Sometimes they’re good. But in the modern age, with that series of tubes called the internet and a massive selection of titles available on DVD, domestic and imported, the speed at which films are being […]

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The production house is promising a look into a world of spies that has yet to be uncovered by film.

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When I thought more and more about it, I realized that Scorsese is one director that doesn’t need 3D to add depth to his visuals.

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Just over 3,000 films were released in the past ten years. Instead of sleeping, Neil and Cole (with the help of a supercomputer) whittle that list down to the best 1%.

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gibson-darkness

In Boston, the only city in America with corruption and crime, a policeman’s daughter is shot right in front of him, so he tracks down answers and sets to ass-kicking.

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jeremyrenner

Jeremy Renner will be joining Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, and Rebecca Hall for The Town, and he’ll probably be donning a Boston accent. How d’ya like dem apples?

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scorsese01.jpg

How incredible would Redemption Song be as a title for this as-yet-untitled documentary?

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published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
C-


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