The Departed wins best picture

Love it or hate it, The Departed, the Martin Scorsese remake of Infernal Affairs (Wu Jian Dao) has won the Oscar for Best Picture. Also, after five tries, Scorsese finally grabbed a statue for Best Director. I liked both versions, but I’m hardly a film critic (in fact I am told I have horrible taste in movies) and my New England roots–I grew up on folktales of Whitey Bulger–might also make me less than objective here. Anyway…thoughts?

The Discussion: 11 Comments

I enjoyed The Departed, and Scorcese was long over-due. Unfortunately, living in Asia and all, I didn’t see most of the nominated films.

February 26, 2007 @ 1:33 pm | Comment

Fortunately, living in Asia and all, they are all available in the local DVD store.

February 26, 2007 @ 2:59 pm | Comment

Let me mention briefly my experience with Chinese DVDs this time in Beijing. Most of the ones i bought simply don’t work. Several of them are in Russian (though you wouldn’t know this from the packaging) and all attempts to turn on the English ended in failure. I bought about 12 this past weekend and the first four I threw out; the fifth played fine for the first half and then abruptly died. I had much better luck the last time I bought DVDs at the Pat Pong night market in Bangkok. I’ve just about had it with the ones over here.

February 26, 2007 @ 3:15 pm | Comment

Yay Al Gore!

February 26, 2007 @ 5:15 pm | Comment

Good call, Lisa. I second your applause for Big Al. Though I hear that Florida Republicans are calling for a recount…and I am now the 50,000th person to make that joke just in the last four hours. Thank you very much, be here all week.

February 26, 2007 @ 5:27 pm | Comment

Yeah, and the winner for best foreign movie “The Lives of the Others”, national pride aside, really is a great movie about how the east German socialist dictatorship terrorized it’s citizens and silenced dissenting voices.
Speaking of films about socialist dictatorships, has anybody seen the BBC documentary “A State Of Mind” about the mass games in North Korea? Watch it if you can get your hands on it! Here is the web site:

February 26, 2007 @ 8:09 pm | Comment

The Departed is the kind of movie people will be watching 50 years from now, in awe. It is that good.

Pan’s Labyrinth should have gotten best picture, foreign language film.

February 26, 2007 @ 11:20 pm | Comment

I really want to see Pan’s Labyrinth — the DVD shops here don’t have it yet, though perhaps that’ll change now.

As for The Departed — yeah, it was good — I quite enjoyed it, actually — but come on; the original was every bit as good, and the new ending Scorsese tacked on was kind of ham-handed. Big ups to Marky Mark, though — he was the best thing in it.

February 27, 2007 @ 2:01 am | Comment

The most notable event of the evening for most Chinese? (And no, not talking about the documentary short.)

With the first award for the Departed, the announcer mentioned that it was a remake of a JAPANESE movie called “Infernal Affairs”. Just about every Chinese I know that watched the ceremony are pretty incensed about this.

By the way, I thought the Departed doesn’t even hold a candle to Infernal Affairs. And (I don’t think) this is nationalism talking. I genuinely felt acting, pace, dialogue, cinematography… Infernal Affairs dominated the Departed in every way.

February 27, 2007 @ 4:44 am | Comment

On another, slightly less glamorous Oscar note, has anyone seen the winner for best short-subject documentary: “The Blood of Yingzhou District”?

I wonder if decades from now, there’ll be an established tidbit of film trivia that Martin Scorsese’s only Academy Award was for remaking someone else’s movie.

As for Richard’s DVD tribulations, I know it takes all the fun out of it, but waiting to purchase until a movie has been officially released on DVD reduces the odds of a dud to near zero. I also stack the odds by generally sticking to DVD-9’s and sticking to a few established brands: Qilin is my favorite and easily recognized by their stylized dragon logo on the wrapper tab (red on older editions; blue & beige on newer editions, funky vinyl envelopes with blue logo on the newest). Excelle is another really good one and easily recognized by their packaging. WX is widely available and then there’s Chuang Jia, easily identified by the tacky, silver “CJ” stamp they put on the box art. Both of those are generally OK, too. For cheaper DVD-5’s, the best is “ZB”, recognized by their cartoonish smiling sun logo on the wrapper tab (newest editions also in funky vinyl envelopes now). I also like Zhong Sheng, which are recognizable by their bright pink wrapper tabs. Zhong Sheng skips the paper inserts for the box, but they offer a huge range of arthouse and other obscure, international cinema. Also, always check over your purchases; I’ve actually been in a couple of shops where owners have switched out the contents of some of the above-mentioned brands with cheaper editions while retaining the original wrappers. The brands mentioned above will always have their corresponding logo and/or code printed on the spine of the box art. Cheating customers with fake fakes; just about as sad as it gets.

Finally, I’ve found any respectable shop will replace/exchange a bum disc, especially if you’re a repeat/regular customer…the best ones will also warn you off dodgy editions before you buy and even exchange discs not as described (i.e. no English subtitles or full screen instead of advertised widescreen).

I can’t believe I just wrote about branding and brand loyalty for pirated DVD’s.

February 27, 2007 @ 11:20 am | Comment

chengdude does a great job on summing up the different dvd brands, almost worthy of a blog entry in itself. To tell the truth, I’ve never paid attention to those wrappers (and I typically throw them out once I get home), but from going through some of them I have I’ve found a few from those brands. I’ll also add one that’s been pretty good for me Emperor Entertainment (which is written in english across the center and has a crown on the left). I’m a big fan of those vinyl envelopes that chengdude mentioned, though I haven’t come across them in Beijing (only in Hefei). As I mentioned on my blog, I only saw The Departed because it was amongst a stack of dvds I purchased a few months ago in Beijing. Anyways, if you’re looking for stores to purchase from, Xinjiekou’s the place to go. Start from the Jishuitan subway stop, exit at the south entrance and walk a bit down the street. There’s a small store with a decent selection of dvds, but if you keep walking south, there’s a large store with cds in the front (including the best of the bigger “independent” labels) and dvds in the back. They have a huge selection and get in new stuff on a regular basis. As a regular, on the one or two times I’ve gotten a bad dvd, they’ve exchanged it for me. The only annoying thing is that you have to go flipping through all the dvds, but its not that bad…

February 28, 2007 @ 4:57 am | Comment

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