Movies: The Good Shepherd
Directed by Robert De Niro, "The Good Shepherd" is one of those movies that might have been improved by a better story and better editing. In its current form, it's a largely mixed mishmash of romance, spy movie cliches, and a cheerless monotone from Matt Damon.
Set during thirty years of U.S. spying (culminating in the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion), Damon plays Edward Wilson, a Yale grad who finds himself pushed into the world of intelligence largely through happenstance. In the end, the similarities with "The Godfather" become almost too large to ignore (I almost expected Laura to get killed by a car bomb).
The performances are fairly good, except for a funny but slightly hammy turn by De Niro himself. The movie is packed to the gills with stars, from the big ones like Damon and Angelina Jolie to well-known character actors like John Turturro and Billy Crudup. Without all the star power, though, the film is basically a mediocre and overlong spy movie.