Friday, September 15, 2017

Two Vloggers Living out Their Dream of Traveling the World

               Have you ever wanted to drop everything and see the world?  To actually wander the world and see all the things you wanted to see?  While most people have brave aspirations, but not initiative, there are some who actually did it – who actually have traveled the world, seeing and doing everything that most people only dream of doing but never actually do.  While there are probably many who we may never meet, a select few post online of their experiences for all of us to enjoy.  Here are two of them. 
                In the Chris Across the World YouTube and Instagram account, Chris solo travels across the world, experiencing the culture and the people, focusing on adventure, simplicity, and love.  A free runner and adventure enthusiast, Chris started his adventure with Chris Across America in 2010, where he visited every single state and vlogged about his experiences, ultimately making a compilation video of him in doing flips and tricks in every state.  A huge lover of Asian culture, Chris also filmed Chris Across Hong Kong A to Z, where he visited 26 alphabetical places/things that represented Hong Kong.  Then Chris went on what was arguably his most daring adventure yet – a trip across South America.  Chris again set out to film himself free running and flipping in every single country and experiencing the culture and people there.  His short but awesome South America vlogs fully capture the adventurous spirit inside Chris on his journey.  Recently, Chris returned to a place very dear to him, Japan, and went on various odd jobs and adventures, but he couldn’t be in one place for very long.  Chris decided to start filming Chris Across Asia.  In his most recent video, Prelude, Chris talks about how he is so excited about his latest adventure because he loves Asian culture.  His current location, South Korea, can be seen on his Instagram, where he posts incredibly gorgeous pictures of the landscape and significant landmarks.
                The Bucket List Family is exactly that, a family that travels and experiences the entire world, experiencing the culture, animals, and people in the country they are visiting.  They focus on adventure, culture, and service.  In 2015, Garret and Jessica Gee were a young family, with a toddler named Dorothy and a baby named Manilla, living in an apartment in Provo, Utah.  Along with his two college classmates, Garrett developed an app called Scan, which was sold to Snapchat for $50 million.  Being financially secure enabled Garrett and Jessica to think about what they wanted to do in the future, but the idea of settling down in a house did not appeal to them. They invested the money from the sale instead of using it.  Then, they decided to sell everything they owned at the time, and using the money from that to go on an adventure around the world for four months, and set up a YouTube channel just to show family and friends.  The first videos feature Garrett and Jessica talking about the adventure they are planning on doing and selling everything.  Their weekly vlogs feature Garrett, Jessica, and the kids talking about where they visited that week.  After recording a couples retreat in Rangiroa and Bora Bora, their family journey around the world began in Hawaii and proceeded through New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore.  After four months traveling, Garret and Jessica made the huge decision to continue to travel full time, staying self-sustaining by  partnering with brands, resorts and other companies to stay or be paid using their service or staying on their property in exchange for them posting about it on social media, creating a win/win scenario.  Recently, the Gees have made their way through Europe, visiting Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, and the Netherlands.  Currently, the Bucket List Family are at Disney World, finishing up Disney’s challenge to stay in all the different resorts over 30 days. 
                Whether solo traveling or with a family, these people are living the dream of seeing and doing all the things that they always wanted to do.  Check out these awesome vloggers who are traveling the world.  

Chris Across the World:
The Bucket List Family:

Friday, September 8, 2017

Four Movies Which Began At or Near the End [Spoilers..?]

               Linear storytelling conventions say that a story must begin at the beginning and proceed to the end.  However, there are some movies which deliberately start at the end to ask the audience the question: “How did we get here?”  Here are several movies which give the audience a quick glimpse of the end before starting the regular narrative.
                Memento is probably the first and most famous of these movies which start at the end.  In Memento, during the opening credits, a Polaroid picture starts developing into a dead man lying on the ground around his blood.  Then the movie tracks a few minutes backward, to Leonard, the main character, convincing another character, Teddy into an abandoned warehouse to kill him.  We soon find out that Leonard has anterograde amnesia, and can’t store any recent memories, so he writes down important information on himself through tattoos and on Polaroid pictures with notes on them while trying to find his wife’s killer.  From there, the movie switches between several short segments which go back in time to reveal how and why Leonard came to kill Teddy, to a linear story which Leonard tells to someone on the phone.  Memento was released on September 5, 2000, at the Venice Film Festival, and later on March 16, 2001, in the United States.
                Sunset Boulevard also famously begins at the end.  The first shot is of the main character’s body floating in the swimming pool outside a Sunset Boulevard mansion.  Then the story proper begins: the main character is a down-on-his-luck screenwriter named Joe Gillis, who is rudely critiqued in front of a studio producer by a script reader.  After he leaves, Gillis must escape men who want to repossess his car.  That’s when he turns into a seemingly deserted mansion, which actually belongs to former silent film star Norma Desmond, and from there the two people form an uneasy partnership as Gills tries to write her comeback piece.  Sunset Boulevard was released August 10, 1950.
                (500) Days of Summer also has a nonlinear narrative, jumping back and forth in time, with a “day ticker” to show the audience where they are in the story.  The movie begins on Day 488, with the main character, Tom, holding hands with Summer on a bench.  Summer is seen wearing a ring, and they both smile at each other.  Then the narrator gives a quick intro about Tom and Summer, ending with, “While this is a story of boy meets girl, this is not a love story.”  While not presently linearly, the movie details the complicated romantic relationship of Tom and Summer.  (500) Days of Summer was released on January 17, 2009, at the Sundance Film Festival, and on August 7, 2009, in the United States.
                Pan’s Labyrinth, a dark fantasy movie directed by Guillermo Del Toro, starts with a disturbing shot of an eleven-year-old girl dying and struggling for breath with blood on her face.  The story then flashbacks and introduces the story of the girl, Ofelia, who is the stepdaughter of Captain Vidal, a Spanish Officer, and her mother is pregnant with her stepbrother.  When Ofelia and her mother travel to meet Vidal in his mansion, a fairy finds Ofelia and leads her into the Labyrinth, where she meets a fawn who thinks she is the reincarnated Princess Moanna and must complete three tasks to achieve immortality.  Meanwhile, Vidal begins to show his true violent nature to the people around him.  Pan’s Labyrinth was released May 27, 2006, at the Cannes Film Festival and later on October 11 in Spain and October 19 in Mexico. 
                Whether presented in a non-linear fashion, like Memento or (500) Days of Summer, or more straightforward, like Sunset Boulevard and Pan’s Labyrinth, which are told in flashback, these movies all begin at or near the end.  They use the opening shot of the ending to get the audience asking, “How Did We Get Here?” and the audience keeps watching, waiting for the eventual tragic ending.  

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Even More In-Depth Movie Analysis from YouTube

                Ever wonder what makes a movie work, both in message and production?  Do you wonder how the themes play out in the film or just about the production of movies itself?  In this blog post, two YouTube channels will be covered, and one particular series on a YouTube will be discussed. 
                The Now You See It YouTube channel follows in the footsteps of Every Frame a Painting, in providing discussion on particular aspects of movie analysis in terms of the themes and storytelling methods.  Some of the subjects include: The Beauty of the Dinner Scene, How Film Scores Play with Our Brains, Settings are Characters Too, Dolly Zoom: More Than a Cheap Trick, the most recent being How to Do a Plot Twist.  Like Every Frame a Painting, the male YouTuber, Jack Nugent, of Now You See It never shows his face, but rather gives a voice over while clips from the movie he’s profiling are playing.  Unlike Every Frame a Painting, Now You See It also has a series of Supercut videos, where a particular aspect of movies is cut together in a montage set to music.  On this YouTube channel, there are Supercuts on space flight in movies (One Small Step), The Hero’s Journey and Touch.  Check out Now You See It for some awesome In-Depth movie analysis. 
                Filmmaker IQ, instead of focusing on themes and storytelling methods, goes into detail of movie production and the history of film.  Filmmaker IQ started as a camera review and help site, but then made the switch to film production.  Designed as a free film school, the channel was created by Dennis Hartwig and John P. Hess and hosted by John Hess.  John talks directly to the camera, cutting to stills or videos of the subject he is covering.  Some of the movie production videos include The Fundamental Elements of Film Music, The Science of Deep Focus and Hyperfocal Distance, Posing and Rendering CGI Characters, and How a Director Stages and Blocks a Scene.  Some of the film history videos include discussion of the history of Movie Title Sequences, The Hollywood Musical, the Mockbuster, and the origins of such things as the Auteur Theory and Acting and the “Method.”  Check out Filmmaker IQ for a great discussion on the production of movies and history of film. 
                Crash Course is one channel that does 9-12 minute video series on various college-level and high-school level subjects, such as Chemistry, Philosophy, and Economics.  In April 2017, Crash Course launched a new series on Film, the first part is about Film History.  In the first sixteen lessons, hosted by Craig Benzine (who has his own YouTube channel, Wheezy Waiter), various aspects of Film History were covered.  Starting with an Introduction to Film, the series went through the early days of short silent film throughout the world, and then followed as feature films began to take shape and films transitioned to sound, with an emphasis on film movements not just in the US but around the world, such as German Expressionism and Soviet Montage.  The final five lessons were about types of movies, such as Independent Film, World Cinema and Experimental and Documentary Films, plus a video on the impact home video had on the film business.  With that series over, the Film series transitioned to Film Production, hosted by Lily Gladstone, an actress who has been acting since 2012.  The first in the Film Production series premiered on August 24, 2017, about Screenplays.  Check out this series on Film History and Film Production on the Crash Course YouTube channel.
                Now You See It provides more essays about film storytelling and themes, while Filmmaker IQ and Crash Course’s film series provide discussion about film production and film history.  Check out these YouTube Channels and series about film-making and film storytelling.



Sunday, August 27, 2017

Beyond Whose Line, Part 3: Dan Patterson/Mark Leveson Improv Shows

The most famous Improvisational comedy show of the last 20 years, the US Version of Whose Line is it Anyway? originally ran from 1998 to 2004 on ABC, with unreleased previously recorded episodes premiering on ABC Family from 2005 to 2007.  The show is enjoying a revival on the CW, with a fifth season on that network (hosted by Aisha Tyler) premiering on May 29, 2017. In the previous post, various shows that the cast members hosted or were a part of were featured.  This final post will feature Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson’s non-Whose Line shows. 
Dan Patterson and his partner Mark Leveson are more well known in the UK, but to US audiences, they are the producers and creators of Whose Line is it Anyway? Whose Line the UK Show originally began as a radio show on BBC Radio 4 in 1988, with Clive Anderson as host and John Sessions and Stephen Fry as the regulars.  The show moved to Channel 4 in September 1988 with 13 episodes and lasted 10 Series (or “seasons” as they’re called in the US).  Dan Patterson and Mark Levinson have created other UK shows which use improvisation games similar to Whose Line.  Here are some of these shows.
The first and perhaps the most famous is the show Mock the Week, which airs on BBC Two.  In Mock the Week, there are two teams of panelists, each consisting of three people.  They are given a topic and must do comedic improvised answers, or challenges based on that topic.  “Points” are awarded each round and a panel is declared a winner at the end.  Mock the Week’s regular games include Wheel of News (where a wheel is spun and the panelists make jokes on that topic), If This is the Answer, What is the Question? (where the panelists are given a category to choose from, are given an answer and must come up with a comedic question), Scenes We’d Like to See (where the performers act out a short scene, similar to Scenes from a Hat on Whose Line), and Picture of the Week (where the performers respond to a picture from a news story that week).  Mock the Week premiered on June 5, 2005, with Dara O’Briain as the host, and Hugh Dennis and Frankie Boyle on one side with one guest panelist, and Rory Bremmer on the other with two guest panelists.  Dara O’Briain and Hugh Dennis are the only cast members who have appeared in every series.  Other regular panelists were Andy Parsons, Russell Howard, and Chris Addison.  Mock the Week just finished its 13th series in December of 2016. 
Fast and Loose (the American version, Trust Us with Your Life, was covered in the previous blog post), was a one series show which premiered in January 2011 and lasted eight episodes.  Fast and Loose unlike Trust Us with Your Life, did not have a celebrity guest.  Instead, like Whose Line, a rotating group of six performers with a seventh guest performer would act out improv games, sometimes with suggestions provided by the audience, sometimes from suggestions from the host.  Some of the games included were Forward/Rewind (in which a performer must go forward or backwards based on direction from the host), Interpretive Dance (a performer mimes a popular song and the other must guess what the song is without hearing said song), Sideways Scene (in which the reformers must act out a scene while lying on the floor).  Fast and Loose was hosted by Hugh Dennis and the regular performers were Greg Davis, Justin Edwards, Pippa Evans, Humphrey Kerr, Marek Larwood, Laura Solon, Wayne Brady, Jonathan Mangum (Brady and Mangum appeared in two episodes), Jess Ransom, Ruth Bratt, David Reed, and David Armand. 
Other shows Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson have created include The Brain Drain (in which a panel of 4 performers give a humorous response to a question from an audience member) and Room 101 (in which a celebrity talks about things they hate and the host consigns some of those things they hate to Room 101; like Whose Line, the show involves participation from the studio audience).  Brain Drain lasted two series in the early 1990s and Room 101 lasted 11 series from 1994 to 2005, and was revived in 2012 and is currently in its 17th series. 
The duo of Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson has created several successful UK shows, not just Whose Line is it Anyway?  Mock the Week has become an icon of British Television, while Fast and Loose became a one-series wonder similar to Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza.  Check out these UK improvisational shows similar to Whose Line is it Anyway.  

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Beyond Whose Line, Part 2: Cast Member Productions

                The most famous Improvisational comedy show of the last 20 years, the US Version of Whose Line is it Anyway? originally ran from 1998 to 2004 on ABC, with unreleased previously recorded episodes premiering on ABC Family from 2005 to 2007.  The show is enjoying a revival on the CW, with a fifth season on that network (hosted by Aisha Tyler) premiering on May 29, 2017.  In the previous installment, Drew Carey produced three shows (two television and one live show) with his improvisational friends.  Today, the cast member shows are covered, which usually involve two or three performers instead of a group of eight or nine, like with Drew Carey’s shows.
                In 2005, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood split off to form their own duo, An Evening with Colin and Brad.  Colin and Brad’s live show, unlike the television show, enables the performers to do longer bits, sometimes lasting 10 to 20 minutes long.  While some of the games are the same as whose line (like “Moving People”) there are some that are unique to the stage, such as a bit where Colin and Brad blindfold themselves to do a scene barefoot…with mousetraps all over the floor.  Colin and Brad’s different styles serve them well together, and they continue to tour to this day.  They continue to tour throughout the US and Canada in the spring, summer, and fall of 2017. 
                In 2008, Ryan Stiles reunited with his Whose Line co-star, Greg Proops to make the live show Proops and Stiles Unplanned, which was modeled after Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned, a popular improv talk show hosted by David Baddiel and Mike Skinner.  In Proops and Stiles’ show, the two sit on a couch and take a topic discussion from an audience member.  They also ask one particular audience member to come up on stage write down notes and suggestions on a whiteboard.  The show was performed at Montreal at the Comedy Festival in July 2008.
                Following the success of Stiles and Proops Unplanned, Ryan Stiles, Greg Proops, Jeff Davis, along with Joel Murry, formed the live show Whose Live Anyway?, joined by Bob Derkach proving music, just like he did on Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza.  Chip Esten has also appeared on Whose Live as well.  The show features many of the same games as Whose Line, with one of the unique games being an audience giving details of their personal life, and then watching the performers act the details out on the stage.  The four current performers had several dates lined up to perform in May 2017. 
                In the summer of 2012, the summer before Whose Line is it Anyway? returned to television, many of the Whose Line performers were recruited to a show called Trust Us with Your Life, which was hosted by Fred Willard.  In this show, based on the UK show Fast and Loose, a celebrity has their personal life acted out by the improvisers, which included Wayne Brady, Colin Mochrie, Greg Proops, Jonathan Mangum, and rotating players Greg Proops, Craig Cackowski, Brad Sherwood, Nicole Parker, and Josie Lawrence.  The celebrity would give a detail about their life, and the improvisers would act them out in games.  Some of the games were similar to the games on Whose Line and Improv-A-Ganza, but with different names, and somewhere unique to the show: for example, in the game Shorter and Shorter, the performers must do a scene in 60 seconds, then in 30 seconds, and so on.  The show only aired six episodes over three weeks in July 2012 before it was pulled due to low ratings, as well as the controversy surrounding Willard’s arrest due to “lewd conduct.”  The celebrities covered in the aired were Serena Williams, Kelly and Jack Osborne, Mark Cuban, Ricky Gervais, Jerry Springer, and Florence Henderson.  The remaining two, while unaired on television, were available online and featured David Hasselhoff and Jane Seymour. 

                Whether doing a live show or a Whose Line spiritual successor, the improvisers continue to show their varied, wonderful talents.  Check out these live shows, or the short-lived television show to see these talented performers again.  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Beyond Whose Line, Part 1: Drew Carey Productions

                The most famous Improvisational comedy show of the last 20 years, the US Version of Whose Line is it Anyway? originally ran from 1998 to 2004 on ABC, with unreleased previously recorded episodes premiering on ABC Family from 2005 to 2007.  The show is enjoying a revival on the CW, with a fifth season on that network (hosted by Aisha Tyler), which premiered on May 29, 2017.  After Whose Line ended, Drew Carey, the host of the show, looked for ways to continue to perform with the cast members.  Here are three shows Drew Carey did with Whose Line cast members.
                While Whose Line was still on the air, Drew Carey did a live Pay-Per-View special in 2001 called Drew Carey’s Improv All-Stars for Showtime Entertainment Television.  The live show, which utilized some of the Whose Line games but also introduced new ones, as well having Drew Carey, Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles, Brad Sherwood, Greg Proops, Kathy Kinney, Chip Esten from Whose Line, and new performers Sean Masterson and Julie Larson, with Laura Hall providing music.  From there, Carey and the Improv All-Stars would tour occasionally, the most frequent being after Whose Line ended production in 2003.  In 2005, Drew Carey and the Improv All-Stars went on a 37 city nationwide tour, called the Green Screen Tour.  While Carey and the Improv All-Stars have not toured together for quite a while, smaller groups from the All-Stars have formed their own live shows, which continue to tour today. 
                In the fall of 2004, Drew Carey returned to television with the CW premiere of Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show.  Drew Carey got the idea from a Whose Line game called “Moving People” where two audience members would move the bodies of the performers, and Carey thought it would be funny to see the cast members without the audience members.  Like Improv All-Stars, Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show, featured more than just four players for each show.  The cast included Brad Sherwood, Colin Mochrie, Jeff Davis, Greg Proops, Chip Esten, Jonathan Mangum, Sean Masterson, Julie Larson and Kathy Kinney.  The performers would act in from a green screen and later, animators would be brought in to animate the scenes that the performers would act out.  The show also featured games not originally on the Whose Line show.  Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show premiered on October 7, 2004, before it was removed for poor rating with only five episodes aired, and the show was ultimately cancelled.  Drew Carey then took the remaining seven episodes to Comedy Central, which aired in the fall of 2005, giving a total of twelve episodes of Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show.
                In 2011, Drew Carey tried again to make a Improv Show, this time called Drew Carey’s Impov-A-Ganza.  This show was most like the live tour, with some games featured on Whose Line and some featured on Improv All-Stars and the Green Screen show.  The cast included Ryan Stiles, Jeff Davis, Chip Esten, Colin Mochrie, Jonathan Mangum, Greg Proops, Kathy Kinney, Brad Sherwood, Heather Anne Campbell, Sean Masterson, and Wayne Brady.  It was recorded at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and Bob Derkach provided the music.  The show premiered on April 11, 2011 on the Game Show Network and aired weeknights until June 3rd, totaling forty episodes.  Although all forty episodes aired, GSN declined to renew for more episodes, leaving Drew Carey’s Impov-A-Ganza with only one season to its name.
                Drew Carey’s lesser known improv shows may not be as well known as Whose Line is It Anyway?, but still provide as many laughs as the classic show.  Check out these Whose Line-related Drew Carey television productions.Who 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Infernal Affairs and The Departed [Spoilers]

WARNING: This post spoils both Infernal Affairs and the Departed.  You have been warned!
                The Departed’s premise looks on paper to be the craziest of ideas: a mole for a gang infiltrates the police force, while the police force also places a mole inside the gang.  However, in the hands of a master director, Martin Scorsese, and an all-star cast, Leonardo DeCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Martin Sheen, the movie won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. The excellent movie The Departed (2006) was, in turn, a remake of a Hong Kong movie, whose English Title is Infernal Affairs (2002).  This post will highlight the differences and similarities between the two movies, in terms of plot and overall message. 
                One of the biggest differences is at the very beginning: In the beginning of the Departed, a young Colin Sullivan (the future mole for a Boston Irish Mob gang) is taken under the wing of crime boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), who gives him special attention.  On the other hand, in Infernal Affairs, young Lau Kin-Ming is part of an initiation ceremony where several gang members pledge to become the gang boss Hon Sam’s eyes and ears inside the police force.  In the Departed, he was paid special attention, but in Infernal Affairs, he was one of many.  Another early scene difference: in The Departed, Billy Costigan is recruited, following his graduation by the police academy, by Captain Oliver Queenan (Martin Sheen) to go undercover based on his family background in organized crime, and go to jail for a short time on a fake assault charge.  In Infernal Affairs, no such scene exists, instead, in a montage of scenes in the police academy, Chen Wing-yan, is at first impressed by Superintendant Wong Chi-shing, but then is “kicked out” and goes to a life of petty crime, which attracts the attention of crime boss Hon Sam, and his background is revealed later.  In The Departed, the scene fills in much of the exposition, while in Internal Affairs, the viewers have to fill in the details themselves. 
                In an early scene in both movies, the police find out about an illegal black market trade and both times, the mole inside the police tips them off, so that the crime boss gets away without a charge on his back.  Both times, this tips off the higher ups that there is a mole in the other’s organization.  One major change in Internal Affairs is that the entire gang is brought to the police station and both Hon and Wong allege that they know the other has a mole inside their organization and they will find them.  No such confrontational scene exists in The Departed.  Probably the scene, while tense, was considered too unbelievable to be put in the movie.  Another scene in Internal Affairs but not in The Departed occurs directly after the montage at the Academy: Lau enters and tries to buy audio equipment from Chen, who runs a “hi-fi” store (this sets up Chen’s knowledge with audio equipment).
                One of the biggest differences has to do with the supporting characters: In The Departed, Colin Sullivan (Damon) romances psychiatrist Madolyn Madden, who is assigned to be Billy Costigan's psychiatrist after his release from prison (DeCaprio).  Sullivan eventually moves in with Madolyn.  Madolyn has a confrontational relationship with Billy while his psychiatrist, but after she tells him she no longer wants to be his psychiatrist, she starts meeting Billy in secret, eventually having an affair with him late in the movie.  Later on, Madolyn reveals to Billy that she is pregnant.  In Infernal Affairs, Lau, the mole inside the police force, meets and moves in with his girlfriend Mary, a writer.  Chen, the mole in the gang, on the other hand, meets with a psychiatrist named Dr. Lee Sum-yee and flirts with her, but she has no connections to anyone else in the movie.  Chen also randomly meets ex-girlfriend May midway through the film with her daughter, and May lies about her daughter’s age because he doesn’t want Chen to know the daughter is his.  In both versions, both Madolyn in the Departed and Mary in Infernal Affairs find out their boyfriend is a mole from a recording sent by the mole inside the gang.  In Infernal Affairs, Mary leaves him after finding out.  However, in the Departed, Madolyn attends Billy’s funeral and refuses to speak with Colin.  The twist that Madolyn is romancing both moles in the Departed gives much more drama to both relationships.  However, the interactions in Infernal Affairs are much more realistic and believable, with no connections in their romantic lives.  While it didn’t change the plot very much, a supporting character not in Infernal Affairs is Staff Sergeant Dean Dignam, who is very confrontational and is quick to anger.  He hates Colin Sullivan, the mole in the police force and makes his feelings well-known throughout the movie.  He also gets into a fight with Billy, the mole in the gang, when during a meeting with him and Captain Queenan for information about the gang. 
                The final act of The Departed follows the actions of Infernal Affairs to the letter, from the police chief caught and thrown off a building, to another bust in which this time with the mole inside the police force pulling the strings to the crime boss will fail, to the mole in the gang being brought in, the mole in the gang finding out who the mole in the police force is, the former mole in the gang trying to arrest the mole in the police force, but the former mole is shot by another officer who used to be a mole in the police force.  The mole in the police force shoots the other officer so no one knows his true identity.  There is a funeral for the mole in the gang, giving him full honors. 
However, there are numerous subtle differences during the climax between the two movies, and a big one at the ending.  For example, in The Departed, Colin Sullivan, the mole inside the police force, finds out that the crime boss Frank Costello might be an informant to the FBI.  Costello escapes during the bust gone wrong and is confronted, alone, by Sullivan, and Costello admits he was an FBI informant (which could expose Sullivan’s role in the police force).  Costello aims his gun to shoot Sullivan but Sullivan volleys multiple shots at Costello.  In Infernal Affairs, no type of FBI connection is brought up.  Lau, the mole in the police force, also confronts Hon alone after the bust goes bad, but this time instead of confronting Hon about his secret connections, kills Hon, unarmed, to sever his connection with his old life completely.  At the very end, in The Departed, after getting away scot-free from his crimes, Colin Sullivan enters his apartment and is shot dead by Dignam, who had prepared to get away clean.  The last shot is of a rat crawling along the outside of Colin’s apartment.  However, Infernal Affairs ends at the funeral, where Lau gets away scot-free.  He salutes Chen and wishes he would have taken a different route in life.  The endings in the two movies emphasize different things: In The Departed, there was no way for Colin to miss his comeuppance.  Even though he killed all of the people who would have reported him, in the end, he was done in by another officer who hated him, Dignam.  The rat symbolized Sullivan’s life as a “rat” for the gang, not a true police officer by any measure.  In Infernal Affairs, Lau gets a personal victory, he is seen a respected police officer and gets away with crimes as a informer to the gang and a murderer, but at the expense of his innocence and his soul.  A reference is made to a level in Hell in Buddhism called Avici, where one endures suffering incessantly, without end.  In fact, the literal English translation is “The Unceasing Path,” which refers to Avici.  While Lau lived, he nevertheless was in his own private hell of Avici, dealing with the choices he made to keep his position as respected police officer.
Both movies excel with two aspects: the destruction of the soul of Colin and Lau, the mole inside the police force, and the eventual breakdown and moral clarity of Chen and Billy, the mole in the gang. Both the Departed and Infernal Affairs’ basic plot are the same, but the differences show how each film was tailored each countries’ audience, such as the Hong Kong ending where Lau lives but suffers through his own private hell, or the American ending where Sullivan gets his comeuppance for his actions as a rat no matter how hard he tries to tie up all the loose ends.  The Departed and Infernal Affairs are both excellent movies which depict the costs of living double lives, with different ways and different emphasis on telling their stories.