Archive for Leonardo DiCaprio

THE DEPARTED (2006)

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2018 by cdascher

Departed234Our most recent Oscars film as part of our red carpet roulette project was The Departed, an American crime drama from 2006 directed by Martin Scorsese. I have to say, the first thing I commented on as we were watching this movie was the all-star cast. I looked at Mouse with each new person on the screen and said, “Wait – he’s in it too?!”

Indeed, it is chock full of heavyweights – Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Sheen, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin. A story about Irish mob boss Frank Costello (played by Jack Nicholson) in Boston, the film was a success both critically and at the box office. While I am not a fan of many of his political ideas, Marky Mark is fan-freakin-tastic in this. He is so Boston I can’t handle it. It’s a film about loyalty, infiltration, trust, family, and ambition. I was prepared to not really care that much about this film, but I have to say it is one of my favorites that we’ve watched so far.

I did have one looming question, though: in a film with so many heavyweight stars, why did they cast a woman who was not nearly as famous as the lead? Vera Farmiga plays Madolyn Madden, the love interest of both Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) and Billy (Leonardo DiCaprio). She’s great in the role, but this question did occur to me. Also, as ever, I wished in this epic film that there were more roles for women and that Madolyn herself was better developed.

So much Irish. So much Boston. Are you not clear about that? Just to be sure, we’re going to play Dropkick Murphys and put a shirt on Nicholson that says IRISH.

OK, let’s talk about Marky Mark, since you brought him up. I don’t fault Wahlberg’s acting. If you want a wicked accurate portrayal of a tough Bostonian, whom else would you call? But there’s something about the character of Dignam that I found overblown to the point of being distracting. He’s a ‘tough cop’, the guy who got here by way of hard work and street smarts, not education and high connections. I get it. But at some point I found myself wondering “How does someone this incessantly abrasive get himself into this extremely sensitive position on the police force?” Continue reading

TITANIC (1997)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2015 by cdascher

titanicWord to the wise: watching the movie Titanic with a woman post-partum may in fact up the waterworks more than you were bargaining for. This is the first film that Mouse and I watched as part of our blog series since the birth of our son, David Ian Dascher. As parents of a newborn, we ended up watching the film in chunks – pretty much during nursing sessions, of which there are plenty. We seem to also have been the last two people in the world to see this film, and we were both pretty excited to finally check it out. I am an avowed Leo fan, so any film that showcases him front and center is going to do well with me. His character, Jack Dawson, is a penniless artist with a heart of gold, courageous spirit and quick wit. He easily wins over Kate Winslet’s character Rose, a young woman of the upper crust who is betrothed to Billy Zane’s character Cal, a self-serving and conniving man of stature with whom she has nothing in common past social status. Billy Zane is dastardly on screen, the kind of guy against whom the underdog never feels he will have a chance. But what the underdog and the alpha male both need to remember is that the leading lady has some agency, smarts and independence of her own.

The score of the film is perfect, emphasizing moods and shifts in theme without overtaking. We both knew the basic premise of the story, but it was definitely powerful to see the mindblowing cinematography. Mouse told me that this film cost a tremendous amount, and that it was known that it regularly went over budget. I have to say having witnessed its grandiosity firsthand now, I think it was worth it. The film was nominated for fourteen Oscars and won eleven, achieving not only critical success but also commercial success. It was a box office chart-topper. Celine Dion’s theme song for the film has always held significance for me, too, since I remember my former bandmate and dear friend Andrea singing it along with a few other Celine songs at karaoke. Of course, the film has its critics. Many have written that they thought the visuals were spectacular but that the storyline and dialogue were weak. It definitely is an over-the-top romance, and I can see why it might not be for everyone. But I guess in this regard I am truly my mother’s daughter – I appreciated a love story like this for the ages, and it may not be surprising to hear that by the end I was sobbing uncontrollably. Again, though, I am sure the fact that I just had a baby and have been a new mom for only three weeks (with the very little sleep that goes along with that) might have been a contributing factor. Still, I am sure I’d have wept either way.

I really thought I was the only person in America never to have seen this movie. You see, when I was but a lad, many years before I met the woman who would become my wife, mother to my son and blog collaborator, I had a brief entanglement with Continue reading