Thursday, August 27, 2009

Book, TV and Movie Reviews: Lightning Round

Alright gang, some of these items are definitely worth a full review, but time is of the essence. Four sentence limit per review.


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Loved it, I suspect for completely different reasons than the female populace. Wicked epistemic satire - people think that they know things about other people for really stupid reasons. Mr. Bennett is very dear to my heart.


The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law by Robert Bork - Central argument - Supreme Court justices ought to rule and opine based strictly upon a compliance with statutes, and with statutes' compatibility with the text of the US Constitution. If they turn to other sources, they inevitably rule on the basis of personal preference, and since their positions are not subject to referendum, they undermine the representational basis of American republicanism. Brilliantly argued and often humorous, I accept his central argument though I disagree with some of his finer points. Not nearly as right-wing as one might think; don't be afraid.



Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - It would take a pretty serious cinematic sin for me not to enjoy a Star Trek film, and this is a darn good one. Obsessive villain, new challenges for the leads as they deal with aging, some extremely tense scenes, and above all a giddy sense of discovery and scientific wonder. One quibble - the ultimate weapon is thoughtfully developed, but really could be any old weapon and the film would play out exactly the same way.


District 9 - Begins with tremendous promise, establishing a relatively credible science fiction scenario with refugees from outer space living in a slum in Johannesburg, using a faux documentary style. Soon it becomes a cliched, albeit exciting chase film. I was entertained a lot, made to feel a little, but not made to think at all. Note: Very icky.


Paul Blart: Mall Cop - I didn't select this film myself, as you can probably guess. I chuckled a few times. Here are some other things that make me chuckle: the ingredients lists on cereal boxes, the NY Times opinion page, high schoolers' love poems and people who walk out of the bathroom with toilet paper on their shoes. None of these things is worth spending 82 minutes on, and neither is Paul Blart.



House, Season 1: In many ways I prefer television to film because it gives much more time for character development. House fascinates me. I keep rewatching the series hoping to better understand his scientific and ethical paradigms, or if he just does what he feels like at a given moment. Cutty and Cameron are perfect foils.


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