RECENTLY, THE BIG-SCREEN VERSION of “Miami Vice” and the 25th birthday of MTV reminded us of how the small-screen fare of the 1980s ushered in a flashy, high-velocity aesthetic that transformed the moving image as we knew it. The timing seems especially apt because, at least for this viewer, 2006 marks the moment that the dizzying pinball effect of hyperspeed editing has finally permeated every last corner of mainstream American cinema-not just the ADD-inducing action spectaculars that breed in summertime, but also the character-driven, explosion-free films offered as an alternative to the blockbusters.
Even though moviegoers who never before gave a thought to film grammar can now put together epics on their laptops using iMovie and Final Cut Pro, film editing remains perhaps the least heralded and least understood of the cinema’s technical arts. The editor Walter Murch, whose astonishing resume includes the “Godfather” films, “Apocalypse Now,” and “The English Patient,” has said that film editing “could just as easily be called `film construction.”‘
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