Smokin' Aces and The Departed

Smokin’ Aces, MovieWe watched this flick on Saturday. Smokin’ Aces has just an incredible cast of actors. Check out this line up: Andy Garcia, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven…Ryan Reynolds…even Wayne Newton and Alicia Keys make an appearance in this film. I was expecting great things from this movie going in, just based on the cast alone. I came away from it a little disappointed. It’s not that it is a bad flim, because it is…. ok – – just not *as* good as I had expected from that type of line up. Maybe it was the overall plot – which did seem to lose it’s way a few times throughout the film. Maybe it was the feeling that the director (Joe Carnahan) seems to have *just* graduated from the Quentin Tarantino school of movie making..or maybe this film was his senior class project? Overall the plot was loose, the dialogue was lacking and I should have done the laundry instead.

The Departed MovieThe other movie we watched over the weekend was The Departed. Again – another stellar cast: Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen… this movie, by director Martin Scorsese, was a winner. I am not a big fan of DiCaprio, so I was disappointed to see him in the film – – however, about halfway through the flick, I was a believer in his character and was pleasantly surprised at his performance, making me take a renewed look at him. Guess I could never envision him away from the deck of a huge ship in the middle of a CGI nightmare. Heh. This movie is a bit on the violent side, sometimes shockingly so. But the plot is terrific and I thought the character development was fabulous – – you end up liking and worrying about each of them – – even the bad guys (maybe even especially the bad guys). it’s a gooder! “I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.

How about you? Seen any good flicks lately? Please share!

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7 thoughts on “Smokin' Aces and The Departed”

  1. Just remember, you asked…

    If you liked The Departed, have you watched Infernal Affairs on which it was based? I made sure to watch Infernal first, which Departed built on in many ways. The two are very similar, but also play off each other well and gave me a very good feeling of respect from The Departed to the original.

    I’ve been watching a few movies since we’ve been backed up on Netflix and then Mrs. Knight went to visit her sister so I picked up a few more that I figured she wouldn’t like. Here goes…

    Night at the Museum – simple but fun. If you like the trailers there’s a good chance you’ll like the movie. There’s plenty of stereotypical performances from the cast (Stiller, Wilson, and Williams) as well as a very nice job by Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, and the old black guy who’s name I don’t know.

    Deja Vu – Denzel Washington teaming up with Tony Scott again. Last time was Man On Fire, which blew me away. This one isn’t as good, but goes in a little different direction. Fairly different from what I expected from the trailer, which was good because it took the movie in a direction I wasn’t expecting as much. A good mix of popcorn and well thought out that made me feel like I should watch it again so I could see what I missed and could pick up.

    Tears of the Black Tiger – Thailand blending spaghetti westerns and the 50s – 60s melodrama (think West Side Story) along with some fantastic use of color (reminded me a little of Hero at times with the color). I couldn’t resist it for some reason, I think just because it looked so different from everything else coming out now. Not bad, but definitely past the average level.

    Last King of Scotland – A great performance by Forrest Whitaker, but I found it continually dropping me out and then drawing me back in. If not for the last half hour of the movie you’d think Idi Amin was a little nuts, but that’s about it. Even with the tag on the end about the number of people who died during his reign and dealing with the hijacked plane, the movie comes off being a bit too sympathetic to him for my tastes. The movie also came off way too much of the “white man view of Africa” and black Africa and completely ignored the tribal factor. The more I think about this movie, the less it does anything for me other than thinking that Whittaker made a great performance.

    Bandidas – Definitely worth checking out. Penelope Cruz and Selma Hayek as bank robbers in Mexico. Pure fun with plenty of laughs and action sequences. Think of it as reward night for Chris that you can enjoy too.

    Speaking of Penelope Cruz, I haven’t seen it since I watched it in the theater, but watch Volver. Anything Almodovar does is worth watching, and Volver is a great place to start with him.

    Happy Feet – Not bad kid’s movie, but a little preachy and the music often didn’t do much for me.

    Idiocracy – Quite possibly the smartest dumb movie ever made. Plenty of details to watch for and I don’t know how many times I winced with the shots taken at pop culture, law, and politics.

    And finally, Interview with the Assassin. If you haven’t watched this one, put it at the top of your list. Filmed with a documentary style, a TV guy is told by the old guy down the street that he was the shooter on the grassy knoll and sets out to prove it. It’s done well enough that there were numerous times where I couldn’t help but wonder if it was real…

  2. Wow, Astro – you’ve given me lots of movies for my Netflix queue!

    Let’s see.. ones from your list I’ve watched…

    Deja Vu – good movie. I, too, feel like I need to watch it again. Man On Fire sits at the top of my list for Denzel – that movie.. man, I just can’t say enough about it and never tire of re-watching it! It blew me away, too.

    Happy Feet – I just love the dancing penguin. If it was preachy – I didn’t notice. The dancing bird had me at hello.

    Banditas – really bad movie lol, HOWEVER! Selma Hayek? She was the reason we rented it! Hot tamales!

    I have not seen Infernal Affairs, I need to pick that one up. Didn’t realize Departed was based off it. And Interview with the Assassin sounds promising and I’ll nab it just because you recommended it…better not steer me wrong! :p

  3. I was thinking about picking up “The Departed” on DVD this week but I was a little hesitant as I loved “Infernal Affairs” so much, but based on your recommendations I will give it a try.
    One I recently watched and loved:
    Starter For 10 which may be a bit to English for some colonial tastes. Main reason for watching: Rebecca Hall, she has a real Molly Ringwald quality, and I loves me some Molly Ringwald. :”>
    I am not sure of the release of movies over in the US in relation to the UK, usually you have stuff first and we have to wait, but I think in this case we had it first.
    If you’re looking for some home viewing, just IMDb Chiwetel Ejiofor and hire his back catalogue, I have loved nearly all of his work, check out “Serenity”, “Children Of Men”, “inside Man”, “Kinky Boots”, “Four Brothers” and “Melinda Melinda” to get an idea of his talent and range.

  4. I haven’t been to Cinema’s often but I would recommend the following:
    Death Note 1 & 2: The story is about a book that Light has which belongs to a Shinigami and then people die mysteriously, leading to a lot of stuff that’s cool and out of this world. It was actually an anime but then made into a movie

    Curse Of the Golden Flower: I haven’t got the time to watch this, but I have heard tons of positive reviews about it.

    Cars: Childish as I am, I love this movie, especially Mater 😉

    Happy Feet: I just love penguins, and watching this made me laugh a lot.

  5. Stevie – I really liked The Departed – although, like I said – I haven’t seen Infernal Affairs yet.. will be doing so soon. I have a feeling I should have seen that one first?

    I’ll keep my eye out for Starter for 10 – haven’t heard of that one.

    I just re-watched Kinky Boots for about the 4th time last week – – I just love that flick!

  6. Saw Curse of the Golden Flower in the theater as part of what I think mrs. Knight was about to refer to as the “Are you ever going to let me go to a movie where people speak American or at least English?” run. If you like Shakespearean stuff, then I’d highly recommend it, but if you didn’t care for movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or House of Flying Daggers then you might want to avoid it. In many ways it has the feel of the Shakespearean tragedies only done by the Chinese with some fantastic visuals. Chow Yun Fat (one of my all time favorite actors) does a fantastic job, as does Gong Li. I’m really surprised it didn’t get a “Best Foreign Movie” nomination.

    LOVE Kinky Boots, and I missed him in Children of Men (also a very good movie, BTW).

    As for whether to watch The Departed after Infernal Affairs, have no worries. It’s one of the few remakes I’ve seen where you can feel a lot of reverence for the original while also bringing in a fair amount more. I don’t think you need to have seen Infernal Affairs before The Departed, but if I know a movie is being redone I almost always try to see the original first just like I’ll do my darndest to read the book before watching the movie of the book.

    Last night I watched Flags of our Fathers. Five minutes in I had a feeling I should just stick it back in the Netflix envelope, and roughly two hours later that thought was fully confirmed. I was expecting a movie about the battle for Iwo Jima, but of the two hour plus movie I’m not sure a half hour was about that. Most of it was about the government using the image despite its inaccuracies to raise money for the war and how the three guys who were brought back to do so hoped with the death they saw. More than anything the movie gave me the feeling that it thought that we shouldn’t honor those who died in battle for their sacrifice nor those who survived. I’ve had plenty of family go overseas in the military over the last 60 years and at the end of the movie all I could think was “You want me to not honor what they did? Screw you!”.

    Dang, no Death Note on Netflix… 🙁

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