Movie Review (sort of): The Departed


Big movie night last Saturday evening. I had a friend come down and we spun a few DVDs and watched one DVRed movie. Mostly good stuff, although there was some heartbreak.

First up in the DVD player was The Departed, the 2006 Oscar winner for best picture, as well as getting Martin Scorsese his first Oscar for Best Director (oops, I mean "Best Achievement in Directing"). Wow, what a strange movie!  To begin with, the bad and overwrought Boston accents drove me absolutely batshit. They were all bad, but the ones from Alec Baldwin and Vera Farmiga were particularly grating. Listen guys - no one really talks like that any more. Yeah, there are plenty of dropped Rs around here, but it just isn't that overwhelming. At least, I don't think so, although I suppose being a native maybe makes me inured to it a little.

And it also felt like the acting was all over the board too.  Baldwin and Nicholson seemed to be playing it more for laughs than being serious, although Jack was still fascinating to watch. Mark Wahlberg too chewed up the scenery. I thought DiCaprio was fantastic in it, while Damon showed some restraint.

One reason I moved The Departed to the top of my queue was because I could get it in HD, and I thought as a pretty new movie, the technology should be sharp. And yes, the picture was crisp and clear, and the cinematography spectacular. Some really great shots of Boston. But unfortunately, a drawback of rental DVDs raised its ugly head - skipping. While I really like Toshiba DVD players, they do have three shortcomings:

  1. Slow; they are really slow to do anything, including even just turning on. The first one I had wasn't too bad, but the last two are approaching the ridiculous. It can take 5 seconds or more to even respond to the power button. 
  3. Remote control layout is abysmal. The remote controls are a bunch of tiny, identical buttons, poorly laid out. The first remote I had a hard time even figuring out which way to point it! The HD DVD remote is a tad better, but still not very usable.
  5. Error correction is bad. I used to play DVDs on my XBOX when I had problems playing it on the Toshiba, but of course that isn't an option now (unless I upgrade to an XBOX 360 and add its HD player).

So the skipping, non-playing bug hit us while watching The Departed. After much polishing and skipping, I was able to get past the first problem area, but when we hit the second one, we decided to give up. Oh well, let's see how long it takes to get my replacement disc in. I think we got about 2/3 through the quite long movie. It was interesting enough to make me want to try it again, but I can't say I was bowled over by it. Best movie of 2006? Doubt it.


Yeah, I thought it was good, but not great.

Oh boy, Vox threw away 2/3 of my comments!  Nice!  I also said that no way was it Scorsese's best picture.  And also you definitely need to see it through to the end as the ending is great.

Yeah, it sure felt like it was building up to quite the crescendo. Probably watch it to the finish this weekend.

Add me to the good not great category too.  Jonathan, dude, you bought an HD-DHD player?  Eek!  The players just aren't ready for prime time yet it seems.  Your experiences are just one more reason (of the many) for me to wait.

I couldn't resist. We needed a new DVD player, so I figured I'd move on up. I didn't get the top of the line (ie, with 1080p), which costs another couple of hundred more. 1080i should be good enough for now. And I can't really draw any conclusions about the reliability yet - I've had a handful of other Netflix DVDs that had to be returned too. Although my gut feeling is that, with so many more bits to toss about, it might be less reliable in general. We'll see with my replacement HD DVD.  I would love to check it out side by side though with a standard DVD.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on June 12, 2007 6:37 AM.

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