DVD Review: Oscar-nominated films make a connection with reality

DVD Review: Oscar-nominated films make a connection with reality

A Modern Gangster Tale

Legendary director Martin Scorsese explores the brutal ethos of twisted loyalty and blurred identities in the world of South Boston’s organized crime with his latest release, “The Departed.” It is a movie that hits home for college students in Boston – but more so for their parents from that generation – and it offers outsiders a look at the blue-collar speech patterns of Boston and a calculated glimpse at the cabalistic corruption that could underscore our Commonwealth. Well, at least it might encourage some much-needed skepticism.

The movie is tight. It flows fast with sprightly segues that keep the viewer engaged amidst action and unraveling plot. The movie is packed with prolific and rock- steady actors. But sometimes star power isn’t enough, and it can threaten the thread of visionary genius. However, Mark Wahlberg did stand out with his fast-paced dialogue.

The soundtrack is also pretty good. The Rolling Stones set the tone of social instability with “Just a Shot Away” and the appearance of the local favorites Dropkick Murphy’s was predictable. But I was pleasantly surprised by a live version of “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd and a salsa song called “Bang Bang” by Joe Cuba that I had heard before at a Latin American Student Organization cultural event.

The new DVD arrived about two weeks before “The Departed” took house at the Oscars, winning Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Picture. We can expect some kind of grand Oscar-winning DVD package with added glossy features in the future.

On the current special edition disc, the film comes with a few extras. A 20-minute documentary called, “Stranger Than Fiction: The True Story of Whitey Bulger, Southie and The Departed” features Boston Globe reporters Shelley Murphy, Emily Sweeney and Kevin Cullen.

The documentary describes the story of Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger and points out the parallels between Bulger and “The Departed” character Frank Costello. We get notes about the South Boston setting, the story’s adaptation from “Internal Affairs” (a Hong Kong crime thriller) and a few other filmmaking elements.

There is also a documentary called “Scorsese on Scorsese,” in which he comments on his own films. Another piece is called “Crossing Criminal Cultures” that discusses the evolution of gangster flicks and how Scorsese’s “Little Italy” childhood influenced his films. Additional scenes are also included, but are hardly worth it, and Scorsese explains why in commentary.

“The Departed” does not approach Scorsese’s visionary “Taxi Driver,” the endlessly re-watchable “Goodfellas” or the classic killfest “Casino” that have been passed over for top Oscar prizes in earlier years. But he finally received this type of recognition with “The Departed.” The movie also marks a return to the brutal type of film he does best after directing “The Aviator,” a boring biopic about Howard Hughes, and the nearly unwatchable “Gangs of New York.”

One World, Many Languages

“Babel” is a modern fable based in multiple countries, which intertwines three storylines seamlessly under one central theme. It touches on morality and humility, in the midst of the physical and emotional distress wrought by the dangerous plot. It was directed by Alejandro Gonz’aacute;lez I

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