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Keep your enemies close

I have never been to the Middle East nor do I want to go, which is sad as the area is awash in culture and history. With no clear boundaries, the Middle East is basically made up of the areas in and around Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia among others. Throughout history the area has been an epicenter of world affairs while also being the geographic origin of the worlds three major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It also sits on the planets largest supply of oil. Its no secret that America has a vested interest in the Middle East because of its natural resources. And we are not alone in this interest as China, India, and Russia are modernizing at a frantic pace and also eyeing the areas copious supplies of crude oil. Geographically America is at a massive disadvantage since we are surrounded by oceans and located on the other side of the world. Basically, if we lose our presence in the Middle East, things could go awry very quickly (just another reason why we should be focusing on alternative energy sources). So with so much at stake, it makes sense that our government will go to great lengths to secure our interests and increase our presence. One of the ways this is done is by infiltrating the camps of those who despise us in an effort to undermine their future attempts at aggression. By utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, government spies can literally zoom in from the sky to watch and listen in on the bad guys. However, all the high-tech equipment in the world cant take the place of a well-positioned spy on the ground, kind of like the undercover agent in this weeks feature, Body of Lies. Body of Lies stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe as American CIA agents looking to bring down a powerful terrorist leader. DiCaprio is on the ground sneaking about the Middle East while Crowe is back in the States watching the action from the camera lens of a hovering spyplane. As far as Ridley Scott films go, Body of Lies rests firmly in the middle. There is plenty of action something weve come to expect from Scott and a high degree of tension. Unfortunately, the drama is distracted by the interjection of a few unrealistic sequences. Check this one out if youre not feeling too overwhelmed with coverage of the Middle East. While it failed to reach the emotional level of Syriana, Body of Lies does stand as one of the better examples of a modern terrorist drama. This is a timely picture with powerful performances, copious action, and an involved storyline sort of like a grittier version of James Bond. A duplicitous B for Body of Lies. Around the World in 80 Days Heres a gem from 1956 that walked away with five statues on Oscar night. Around the World in 80 Days is the story of an English gentleman (played brilliantly by David Niven) who places a wager with his cronies about using modern travel options to circumnavigate the globe. No one feels the gamble is possible, but Niven is undeterred in his quest. Check this one out for the sheer magnitude of the film. The cinematography is magnificent as are the gigantic constructs of many scenes. While this picture was handcuffed by the technical capabilities of the day, it still stands as a grand achievement in filmmaking. Got a question or comment for Dom? Contact him at moviediary@comcast.net

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