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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
peng wrote:
Man, The Departed is one of a handful of movies that inspire me to love cinema (others in this category include 12 Angry Men and All About Eve), with the reason just that I can barely believe 2.5 hours have just passed; it feels like 90 minutes. And this is coming from someone who watched Infernal Affairs in theater (BIG sensation at the time of release) and really liked it too. It's a lean, mean thriller. But the way The Departed expands and enriches the story is just riveting. I haven't seen both of them since they hit DVD, but I remember at the time thinking "So with the same skeleton of a plot, they can do this."


I've seen both movies in the cinema as well, and my initial reaction to 'The Departed' was quite the opposite to yours. I thought - and to some extent still think -, that the good bits are all directly taken from 'Infernal Affairs' and whenever 'The Departed' deviates from the original, it feels unnecessary and distracts from the movie's themes. The love triangle comes to mind, for instance.


Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:46 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
But Scorsese doesn't make thrillers, he makes character arcs.

Detailed arcs (or descents more specifically). There is no way he with his MO would fit the Departed into a 101 minute film. And I'm glad of it.

In fact the one conventional thriller I can think he's made is Shutter Island, which is a film nearly all Scorsese fans I know hated.

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Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:52 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ken wrote:
So by that rationale, we can expect, say, Avatar to represent our normalized blockbuster length either now or in the very near future. Care to cast bets?


Look, Ken, you can quibble all you want about the difference between 140 or 160 minutes, but it doesn't change the fact that longer movies are clearly not discouraged by the powers that be in order to fit more movies into theaters.

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Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:25 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
NotHughGrant wrote:
But Scorsese doesn't make thrillers, he makes character arcs.

Detailed arcs (or descents more specifically). There is no way he with his MO would fit the Departed into a 101 minute film. And I'm glad of it.

In fact the one conventional thriller I can think he's made is Shutter Island, which is a film nearly all Scorsese fans I know hated.


Not altogether fairly, I would say

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Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:26 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
NotHughGrant wrote:
But Scorsese doesn't make thrillers, he makes character arcs.

Detailed arcs (or descents more specifically). There is no way he with his MO would fit the Departed into a 101 minute film. And I'm glad of it.

In fact the one conventional thriller I can think he's made is Shutter Island, which is a film nearly all Scorsese fans I know hated.


I disagree. The 'Cape Fear' remake is a thriller, too, and you've already named 'Shutter Island' (which isn't half bad, but the twist is silly). Scorsese has turned 'Infernal Affairs' from a Hong Kong Triad gangster movie into an American Mafia gangster movie (albeit in an Irish-American setting), but it's still the same high-concept thriller, not a character study.

'Infernal Affairs' has exactly the same character arcs for its protagonist and antagonist as 'The Departed'. The love triangle situation is an addition, but it doesn't add anything of substance to the character arcs, in my opinion. At best, you could argue that it reinforces themes, which are already in the movie. I see it as an implausible Hollywood convention.

I don't know whether you've seen 'Infernal Affairs', but 'The Departed' adds very, very litte regarding plot, main characters or even setpieces. Scorsese paints on a broader canvas, introducing supporting characters like Mark Wahlberg's, presenting the milieu in more detail and extending the role of the Jack Nicholson character. These are all changes I liked, but they aren't integral to the story.


Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:55 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:
I don't know whether you've seen 'Infernal Affairs', but 'The Departed' adds very, very litte regarding plot, main characters or even setpieces. Scorsese paints on a broader canvas, introducing supporting characters like Mark Wahlberg's, presenting the milieu in more detail and extending the role of the Jack Nicholson character. These are all changes I liked, but they aren't integral to the story.

I've been meaning to watch Infernal Affairs. But isn't the italicized part "exactly" what a remake is supposed to do. I mean if the plot is wildly different from the original, then it isn't exactly a remake, is it? The whole point of a remake like The Departed is to take the same setup, plot, theme, characters, and what not, and to look at it from a different perspective, making additions and removals as necessary. From what you've told me, I would say The Departed sounds like a very successful remake of Infernal Affairs.

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Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:09 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
When Scorsese's history is written, Shutter Island will definitely rank as one of his "lesser" works, and rightly so. But as is the deal with Scorsese, even one of his so-called lesser works is pretty fucking good. I've seen it multiple times, and it has had me riveted to the screen in each viewing. It isn't a character-study in the vein of Scorsese's usual films, but it still manages to squeeze in his usual theme of repressed guilt. As a genre effort in the psychological thriller genre, it is terrific and remains one of the best I've seen in said genre in recent memory.

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Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:17 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Balaji Sivaraman wrote:
Unke wrote:
I don't know whether you've seen 'Infernal Affairs', but 'The Departed' adds very, very litte regarding plot, main characters or even setpieces. Scorsese paints on a broader canvas, introducing supporting characters like Mark Wahlberg's, presenting the milieu in more detail and extending the role of the Jack Nicholson character. These are all changes I liked, but they aren't integral to the story.

I've been meaning to watch Infernal Affairs. But isn't the italicized part "exactly" what a remake is supposed to do. I mean if the plot is wildly different from the original, then it isn't exactly a remake, is it? The whole point of a remake like The Departed is to take the same setup, plot, theme, characters, and what not, and to look at it from a different perspective, making additions and removals as necessary. From what you've told me, I would say The Departed sounds like a very successful remake of Infernal Affairs.


'The Departed' is a good remake and a fine movie, but it's not as good as the original. Because you haven't seen 'Infernal Affairs', I won't go into details, but the ending of 'The Departed' is a cop out compared to The ending of the original (HK version, the PRC version ends like 'The departed'


Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:44 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Look, Ken, you can quibble all you want about the difference between 140 or 160 minutes, but it doesn't change the fact that longer movies are clearly not discouraged by the powers that be in order to fit more movies into theaters.

Perhaps that was a bit pithy. I'll explain myself, and if you still don't buy the reasoning, well, alright then. Your leg is blocking my pee stream and that's that.

A three hour movie is obviously perceived within the industry as less lucrative than movies that are a half hour to an hour shorter.* Otherwise, why aren't we overrun by the former rather than the latter?

We have exceptions on hand which are remarkable precisely because of their stark contrast to the usual paradigm. Most of our blockbuster marketing pattern type movies before Avatar were shorter than Avatar. Most of our blockbuster marketing pattern type movies after Avatar have been shorter than Avatar. Ditto for the Pirates pictures.

Perhaps there is little evidence on hand to suggest that longer blockbusters will make less money, but that is beside the point when you're talking about what financiers think will make money (and therefore are more likely to fund from the start) versus what actually makes the money once the projects are in the marketplace.

Maybe we might as well use the word "discouraged" here, because if some things are being encouraged more than others, aren't the others being discouraged by definition?

I do not think it is an outlandish hypothesis to suggest that an unusually long movie takes more time per screening and, all other things being equal, would have less opportunities per day to sell tickets. Other business incorporate efficiency into their strategies. Why would movies, one of the biggest businesses on the planet, be any different? Perhaps it isn't the only factor that influences financiers' preferences for a 2-2.5 hour running time for their more fabulously expensive movies, but I'm not sure why the idea should be summarily dismissed. I'm not sure your reasoning thus far generates enough power to keep that argument moving.

(*As you've pointed out, movies that are half hour shorter than that tend to be animated, which introduces its own marketing issues.)

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Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:51 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:
NotHughGrant wrote:
But Scorsese doesn't make thrillers, he makes character arcs.

Detailed arcs (or descents more specifically). There is no way he with his MO would fit the Departed into a 101 minute film. And I'm glad of it.

In fact the one conventional thriller I can think he's made is Shutter Island, which is a film nearly all Scorsese fans I know hated.


I disagree. The 'Cape Fear' remake is a thriller, too, and you've already named 'Shutter Island' (which isn't half bad, but the twist is silly). Scorsese has turned 'Infernal Affairs' from a Hong Kong Triad gangster movie into an American Mafia gangster movie (albeit in an Irish-American setting), but it's still the same high-concept thriller, not a character study.

'Infernal Affairs' has exactly the same character arcs for its protagonist and antagonist as 'The Departed'. The love triangle situation is an addition, but it doesn't add anything of substance to the character arcs, in my opinion. At best, you could argue that it reinforces themes, which are already in the movie. I see it as an implausible Hollywood convention.

I don't know whether you've seen 'Infernal Affairs', but 'The Departed' adds very, very litte regarding plot, main characters or even setpieces. Scorsese paints on a broader canvas, introducing supporting characters like Mark Wahlberg's, presenting the milieu in more detail and extending the role of the Jack Nicholson character. These are all changes I liked, but they aren't integral to the story.


I forgot about Cape Fear TBH, but I feel your comments on The Departed actually accept the premise of my own on Scorsese.

He extended the characterisations to, if not exactly a Goodfellas style narrative, close to that than a generic cop/crime thriller.

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Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:09 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
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Ebert has a quote for that. "No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough."

That's just about the worst quote of his career. No good movie is too long? Why not just make Inglourious Basterds 5 hours then? Why not 8 hours? What's the difference if no good movie is too long?

Perhaps the statement can also work against itself. See if Inglourious Basterds was 8 hrs it would no longer be a good movie because it would be too long! What Ebert probably means that it is something you FEEL at the time, after a very good movie you wish it could have been longer - but if they actually did that the movie might not be as good, countering the very statement, i.e. the statement was probably always meant as a Catch 22.


Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:03 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
nitrium wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
Quote:
Ebert has a quote for that. "No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough."

That's just about the worst quote of his career. No good movie is too long? Why not just make Inglourious Basterds 5 hours then? Why not 8 hours? What's the difference if no good movie is too long?

Perhaps the statement can also work against itself. See if Inglourious Basterds was 8 hrs it would no longer be a good movie because it would be too long! What Ebert probably means that it is something you FEEL at the time, after a very good movie you wish it could have been longer - but if they actually did that the movie might not be as good, countering the very statement, i.e. the statement was probably always meant as a Catch 22.


This is exactly what is meant by the statement. Taking it literally and poking holes in that is just lazy criticism.


Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:38 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I think it was Ken that once said Shutter Island isn't the work of Scorsese the artist, but Scorsese the craftsman.. I could be wrong though. Either way, I think whoever said it had the right outlook.

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Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:46 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I'm pretty sure I said that. Anyway, if I didn't, clearly my inestimable influence has rubbed off on the person who did.

I'll stick up for Shutter Island. Scorsese's allowed to make good movies when he isn't making great ones.

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Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:51 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I can't say I care for Shutter Island. I don't think it's a strong piece of craftsmanship even on the simplest level. It could have been a much better movie if someone else had done it, though the twist would still be stupid no matter what. The Departed always felt extremely long for me, and I tend to have problems with Scorsese just in general and can never really get a read on why people want to defend every movie he ever did.

Quote:
This is exactly what is meant by the statement. Taking it literally and poking holes in that is just lazy criticism.


Using the quote as an argument in the first place is lazy criticism. I'm a little rusty on Ebertian or Ebertish or whatever his language is.


Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:18 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
I... can never really get a read on why people want to defend every movie he ever did.
Flag on the field: accused "people" of "defend[ing] every movie he ever did". Penalty: I point out that this is a classic straw man argument, which isn't going to change your mind, but will give everyone else even less of a reason to engage in a conversation that is designed to go nowhere.

MGamesCook wrote:
Using the quote as an argument in the first place is lazy criticism. I'm a little rusty on Ebertian or Ebertish or whatever his language is.

Flag on the field: reverting to "I am rubber; you are glue" and "you started it". Penalty: we're sending you home with a note to your parents.

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Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:44 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Quote:
Flag on the field: accused "people" of "defend[ing] every movie he ever did". Penalty: I point out that this is a classic straw man argument, which isn't going to change your mind, but will give everyone else even less of a reason to engage in a conversation that is designed to go nowhere.


And where is your side of the conversation designed to go by contrast? Just out of curiosity.


Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:23 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
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This is exactly what is meant by the statement. Taking it literally and poking holes in that is just lazy criticism.


Using the quote as an argument in the first place is lazy criticism. I'm a little rusty on Ebertian or Ebertish or whatever his language is.


1. Not lazy at all. He made his point concisely by quoting Ebert. It's a perfectly valid reason to quote someone.

2. I don't think you should have to be an expert on Roger Ebert to understand figurative language.


Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:27 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
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2. I don't think you should have to be an expert on Roger Ebert to understand figurative language.


I won't presume to guess which English classes you took, but there's no piece of figurative language in Ebert's quote. What you're talking about is mere inference.


Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:32 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
And where is your side of the conversation designed to go by contrast? Just out of curiosity.

It's designed to put forth my view without misrepresenting or casting aspersions on anybody else's.

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Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:48 pm
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