340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Non est disputandum

Fugazi and All Saints; lentils and hard maple candy; Terry Brooks and C.S. Lewis... quality and appeal share an ambiguous relationship. In other words, one often says, "[product A] is of a superior quality to [product B] and yet &mdash while I enjoy consuming [product A] &mdash I prefer [product B]."

To wit:

The Good Shepherd feels like a particularly well-written textbook: weaving a complex narrative from strands of history, political theory, economics and dramaturgy, the film presents a detailed, nuanced account of the CIA's inception. It's also unevenly-paced, dry as chalk and a bit unsure of its thesis.

Directed by Robert De Niro, the film chronicles the birth of the CIA in the wake of World War II and the emergence of what would come to be dubbed the Cold War. De Niro is clearly trying to create a psychological landscape of epic scale, to match the vast cultural and philosophical implications of counterintelligence work. Comparisons to The Godfather were inevitable and to a certain degree warranted, but there's an arid, ascetic quality to this movie which inhibits the complete identification required for the objective correlative loop to close. Nevertheless, this remains a compelling, intricately crafted film capable of sustaining multiple viewings.

* * *

Shooter is predictable, self-important and a waste of some genuine talent... and yet I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Mark Wahlberg's natural charisma drew me into the paradoxically claustrophobic world of the scout sniper: alone in broad expanses of wilderness and forced by necessity and circumstance to confine their perceptions to a pinhole of light, a single trajectory and a destination roughly the size of a golf ball. Although I'd seen it all before &mdash the First Blood parallels were particularly striking &mdash I was interested and engaged by this movie (almost against my better judgment).


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