Charles Petzold

Movie Deluge

October 15, 2006
New York, NY

Partially because so many new movies premiere at the New York Film Festival, this time of the year often brings massive inflation to my "must see" movie list. Right now the "must see" list of recent and upcoming releases looks like this. (Each movie is followed by a brief explanation why it's on the list.)

Despite the fact that there are something like 10 movie theaters with a total of something like 50 screens within a 15-minute walk from my apartment, there is no way we're going to see all these movies in the theater. I'm shooting for 50%, and the rest will probably be transferred to the Netflix queue.

Attentive readers might wonder why The Departed isn't on the list, and that's because we saw it yesterday. It's directed by Martin Scorsese (whose career is the most conclusive proof that the Academy Awards are total crap) but based on some Hong Kong gangster movies I haven't seen. The setting is Boston and the characters are mostly Irish. Matt Damon is a cop who's actually a mole for Jack Nicholson's deliciously evil gangster Frank Costello. Leonardo DiCaprio is a cop who's working undercover infiltrating the Costello organization. There's certainly a lot of tension and cell phones, and through a Goodfellas-like accelerated pacing, Scorsese even manages to get in a lot about families and Irish-American social classes.

Ultimately, however, The Departed didn't strike me as something Scorsese's heart was truly in. Amazingly, the box office (Scorsese's best opening weekend) and the powerful performances (all great) are seemingly making this movie an Oscar standout, proving once again that the Academy Awards are total crap.