Michael Slezak
July 31, 2006 AT 08:08 PM EDT

The Black Dahlia (Sept. 15) Maybe it’s because I’m a huge fan of James Ellroy’s novel, but I just circled this film’s release date on my calendar with a giant red heart. (It’s dripping with gore, natch.) But seriously, director Brian De Palma appears to have set the mood nicely, especially with the way this trailer lingers on a naïve, desperate, and enchanting Mia Kirshner as the titular victim. I can’t say I wouldn’t have liked to see a few words from the always terrific Aaron Eckhart, and I won’t argue with blogfather’s gripe that Josh Hartnett is a, um, controversial choice as Bucky Bleichert (maybe if we saw him do more than stoically drive a car in the rain…), but it’s nonetheless refreshing to come across a trailer that doesn’t act as a mega-spoiler. And again, the source material rocks. Count me in.

The Departed (Oct. 6) Here’s a case, for me anyway, of the whole not really looking equal to the sum of its parts. You’ve got Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, and Alec Baldwin in a Martin Scorsese film. The preview should have me as excited as a Pointer Sister circa 1983. And yet, the way this trailer is edited, and especially with the dialogue that’s chosen — ”There’s a leak from the inside, it’s real.” ”We are an elite unit.” The whole business of the blurred lines between cops and criminals — the whole thing looks awfully familiar, or, more bluntly, played out. Is it just me?

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