Finally saw Gangs of New York last night. Some good stuff in it—particularly in connection with Nick's Northern Gothic, the only other piece of fiction I've seen that deals with that particularly turbulent period of NYC history—but overall I didn't think it was all that great; I certainly wouldn't have nominated it for all those Oscars.
Thought the acting was fine, though Daniel Day-Lewis sounded a little too much like an Englishman trying to put on an American accent (I'm sure the accent was just supposed to represent the way the character would've actually talked, but it sounded a little fake to me), and the voiceovers by Leonardo DiCaprio nearly drove me nuts, partly because he didn't use the accent that the character used to speak. (But he did have one great line in the voiceovers: "It's a funny feeling, being took under the wing of a dragon. It's warmer than you think.") Cameron Diaz was fine (and I kept forgetting it was her, which is a compliment), though I wish her character had stayed as interesting as she started out.
The movie was long and bloody. The first half was okay; not bad, but not great. The third quarter or so did some really interesting things, with a couple of plot twists that worked really well and that I totally didn't expect. (And the plot twists that I did expect didn't happen, which also pleased me.) The dramatic tension got lost, alas, in the final quarter; overall, I'd say it was an okay movie with moments of being excellent.
Nitpick: isn't it really bad for edged weapons to leave blood on them? Or is that just a fantasy-novel genre convention?