Blu Tuesday: “The Departed” and More


Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson in "The Departed"

Blu Tuesday is a weekly column where we review the newest Blu-ray and 4K releases, along with a brief rundown of the included bonus material, to determine whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping.

Pick of the Week: “The Departed”

It’s hard to believe that some people think “The Departed” is one of Martin Scorsese’s lesser films because it has everything that you’d expect from a classic Scorsese movie. Though it’s based on existing source material (the 2002 Hong Kong thriller “Infernal Affairs”), “The Departed” manages to distinguish itself as its own animal thanks to some stark cultural differences and a few key changes to the story, not to mention Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing masterclass, which keeps things moving at such a rapid pace that the movie’s 150-minute runtime practically glides by. The acting is also top-notch all around, but it’s Jack Nicholson who steals the show in one of his final film roles, playing the ruthless mob boss with such devilish charm that you’re not sure whether to love him or hate him. Though “The Departed” may not have the same cultural impact as some of Scorsese’s other movies, it remains one of his best (and purely entertaining) films to date.

Extras includes a brand-new retrospective, a featurette on real-life Boston mobster Whitey Bulger, a look at Scorsese’s history of gangster films and some deleted scenes. FINAL VERDICT: BUY

Also Out This Week:

The Beekeeper” — Kurt Wimmer has written some of the dumbest action films of the past 20 years, so it’s hardly surprising that “The Beekeeper” is not a very good movie. The film commits to its bee metaphor to such a ridiculous extent that you’d think it was satire, but this David Ayer-directed action flick is almost too serious for its own good, especially for a movie whose main villain is a nepo-baby tech brat played by Josh Hutcherson. Though Jeremy Irons helps to keep things grounded as Hutcherson’s corporate fixer, and Jason Statham does what Jason Statham does best with some fun (and brutal) action beats, “The Beekeeper” is unable to rise above its D-grade script and lame supporting characters. FINAL VERDICT: RENT

Drive-Away Dolls” — The Coen brothers have been making movies together for so long that they can’t all be winners, but none of them come close to the disaster of Ethan Coen’s first solo feature, which makes you wonder whether Joel was the real genius all along. “Drive-Away Dolls” isn’t just a massive disappointment — it’s aggressively bad in almost every way, from its paper-thin plot and complete lack of character development to its insulting attempts at humor. The cast doesn’t fare much better, especially Margaret Qualley, whose ridiculous Southern accent doesn’t work in the slightest. Though there are hints of classic Coen zaniness sprinkled throughout, “Drive-Away Dolls” feels more like a cheap imitation than the real thing. Extras include a pair of behind-the-scenes featurettes. FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

Rolling Thunder” — Quentin Tarantino has frequently cited “Rolling Thunder” as one of his favorite films — it was even the name of the short-lived distribution company set up by Tarantino in the late ‘90s — but it’s hard to understand why, as the movie is a fairly boring post-Vietnam revenge flick that doesn’t really kick into gear until the final 10 minutes. It’s also a bit strange to see veteran character actor William Devane in a leading role, as he doesn’t have the charisma needed to carry a film on his own — especially one in which its main protagonist is an emotionless shell of a man who doesn’t seem all that bothered by the murder of his wife and child. Though the film’s climax is pretty great, and the new 4K release looks incredible, “Rolling Thunder” doesn’t come close to living up to Tarantino’s praise. Extras include a pair of audio commentaries (one by screenwriter/novelist Heywood Gould and author/film historian C. Courtney Joyner, and another by filmmakers Jackson Stewart and Francis Galluppi), as well as a making-of featurette, an interview with composer Barry De Vorzon and more. FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

Disclosure: Bullz-Eye was provided a copy of the above titles for review purposes.


About Author

In addition to writing for, Jason is a proud member of the Columbus Film Critics Association (COFCA) and the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS).