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Glenn, you might want to re-read Christgau's review of "Ghost in the Machine," if you're going to be at all fair to his views on how extra-textual knowledge affects his appraisal of art and its political sympathies. Christgau wasn't even accusing The Police of pushing any kind of CIA agenda or message when he wrote that. But that's Greenwald's (and others) real knock against ZDT. A charge which you conveniently ignore. The CIA kidnapped, tortured and likely killed hundreds of people, including innocents, since 2001. They destroyed the tapes of their torture sessions, and then worked with Bigelow and Boal to restage them for Hollywood's official narrative of the event. They have forbidden the agent who inspired "Maya" from talking to journalists, while allowing her to meet with the filmmakers. This special relationship is now the subject of a Justice Department investigation. I know you want to defend film and its prerogatives from the Philistine Greenwald. But you're being intellectually dishonest when you avoid the central charge lobbed at the film. That it was made in close cooperation and support with an institution that literally got away with torture and murder.
I was disappointed in DRIVE, which struck me as a Beat Takeshi movie crossed with a cologne ad. Yes, that action centerpiece is great, and Albert Brooks has a juicy role (though not as fun as in OUT OF SIGHT.) But, the story is crap. And the courtship of the Denny's waitress is laughable. Gosling plays these scenes with a goofy serene grin and long awkward pauses. How did Refn turn a bonafide hearthrob into such a mute, low-charisma stiff?
Toggle Commented Sep 18, 2011 on "Drive," I said at Some Came Running
Minor quibble with RUSSIAN ARK on this list. If I recall correctly, a girl looks directly into the camera during the big dance sequence at the end. SPOILERS Re: SHUTTER ISLAND, I saw the twist somewhere in the 2nd act, and found the long, red-herring filled journey, a tough slog. It reminded me of MEMENTO. Also JACOB'S LADDER. And both iterations of TV's THE PRISONER. I kept wondering how anyone who has seen MEMENTO or any late-period Lynch could even be suckered by the setup. By the time Kingsley and Ruffalo tediously explained it all, I was clawing at the armrests. That line about the whole deal being a "cutting edge psychological roleplay" is a real howler. Really? They go to all this trouble to spare the guy a lobotomy? Fake gun, roughed up prisoners, endless paranoid exposition by Jackie Earle Haley & Patricia Clarkson, the whole nine? Sure, plausibility is overvalued by literal-minded audiences, pace Hitchcock, but Scorsese's dramatic gutpunch depends so much on this convoluted mess adding up to something in the ballpark of believable psychiatric intervention.
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Feb 28, 2010