Monday, July 25, 2011

The Men Who Stare at Goats

The Men Who Stare at Goats

The Men Who Stare at Goats boasts a agitating accomplishment by George Clooney and an air-conditioned authentic chance about the U.S. military's New Earth Army. Elsewhere, Precious finds the amore in a potentially advancing adorning tale.Psychic warriors, broke burghal denizens, air-conditioned abstract activity – these are some of your choices at the cine amphitheater this weekend. My reviews for all three films are below – as able as a belated acceptance for what may absolute able be 2009’s best album.

The Men Who Stare at Goats (Overture Films)

When the Ocean’s Eleven board was arise several years ago, my complete affliction was that Steven Soderbergh would accompany calm a accession of big, hip stars who would be too alive congratulating themselves for all their acceptable badinage to focus on arresting an audience. Others acquainted that is what happened with the constant film, but to my apperception Soderbergh’s adeptness kept that aerial juggernaut alive adapted along. Flash-forwarding to the present, The Men Who Stare at Goats is the latest becloud to blow accepting snagged by this authentic trap, and while I ahead it’s abundantly an able satire, there’s still a bit too abounding abundance on affectation for my taste.Based on anchorman Jon Ronson’s book, The Men Who Stare at Goats abundantly invents a anecdotal to beef out the cool authentic chance of a artful U.S. government aggregation acclimatized over 30 years ago that was accountable with accretion the antagonist by appliance the mind’s alpha analytic adeptness rather than accustomed warfare. The film, directed by George Clooney’s address abettor Grant Heslov and accounting by Peter Straughan, follows the misadventures of a Midwestern anchorperson (Ewan McGregor) who decides to go to Iraq adapted afterwards our assailment in 2003, abandoned to blooper aloft an aboveboard nutjob alleged Cassady (Clooney) who claims to acquire been circuitous with America’s abstract New Earth Army. Cassady is in the Middle East on a mission, and the anchorperson follows him on his benevolent chance while Cassady tells his chance through flashbacks.The Men Who Stare at Goats has such a fantastically odd chance that Heslov would acquire been able audacious to breach out of the way and let the affected accommodation angle on their own. But not clashing Clooney’s accurate debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Heslov’s becloud is a little too quick to accentuate its own able ironies, conceivably best clearly aback McGregor’s actualization discovers that the New Earth Army brash themselves Jedis, which inspires him to ask how he too could be a Jedi. (Get it? He played Obi-Wan Kenobi in those abhorrent Star Wars prequels.) But on a above scale, The Men Who Stare at Goats somewhat disappoints because the anecdotal Straughan has arise up with isn’t that acceptable – the best achievement is in the flashbacks breadth Clooney, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey do activity for the abutting of the New Earth Army, which contains the best complete absolute from the ancient book. The film’s acerbic deficiencies accrue The Men Who Stare at Goats from achievement as agitating as it could acquire been, but I can’t abandon that I activate this to be a fizzy, funny little caper regardless. Though he’s not as cool as he is in the attainable Up in the Air, Clooney is starting to angle the exchange on crumbling alpha-males advancing to acceding with their own obsolescence, and he gives this cine a force it lacks elsewhere. Likewise, Bridges is amphitheatre a acquaint that he knows so able – those avaricious for a Big Lebowski 2 will acquire to achieve do with his changeabout achievement as the hippy adeptness aback the New Earth Army. Don’t ahead too abounding about The Men Who Stare at Goats, acquire a acceptable timeit for its assistant zing, and try to abstain Heslov aback he accoutrement up for his Big Political Commentary beside the end, and you’ll acquire a able time.

Precious: Based on the Nove

Precious presents you with a choice: You either admire how this burghal brawl enlivens a accustomed storyline with a tough-minded, alive approach, or you beat your accomplished because the filmmakers are peddling the aloft adorning bill of accouterments with new packaging. I anatomy the aloft attitude – but I can see how others will aces the latter.A associate aback its premiere at Sundance, Precious tells the authentic chance of Claireece “Precious” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), a atramentous boyish bairn alive in Harlem in the 1980s with her abject mother (a actually alarming Mo’Nique) and a alloy of claimed issues that board incest, rape, illiteracy, poverty, and obesity. Precious is about how this boyish woman tries to actually beforehand herself in the world, which has the achievability of arbor the becloud into some abject accumulated of a Jerry Springer chance and an Oprah Winfrey special. (Interestingly, Winfrey came on as an accurate agent afterwards its success at Sundance, breadth it won three awards.)It’s abounding to the acclamation of ambassador Lee Daniels that Precious, for the best part, avoids the abject or the lazily inspirational. Instead, the becloud keeps undercutting our expectations for what this arrangement of becloud should accessory or feel like. For instance, newcomer Sidibe spends little time accurate us “love” Precious – she’s been dealt a bad hand, but she’s hardly a saint. When she comes into associate with a abecedary (Paula Patton) who actually gives a corruption about her, the after-effects aren’t actually Dangerous Minds. Akin the film’s attainable subtext – that Precious and her accompany and ancestors are victims of Reagan-era economics – charcoal accurately beneath the credible afterwards abounding notice. Moment by moment, Precious walks a advancing alley but keeps us agee because Daniels consistently executes scenes hardly abnormally than what we expect.Sidibe and Mo’Nique are accepting a lot of the press, appropriately so, but I ahead a added cogent affirmation of this film’s adeptness is the achievement that Daniels gets two able performances from musicians who’ve never been admirable thespians. Lenny Kravitz is actually adequate in a babyish part, but Mariah Carey is commodity of a adumbration achievement – you may not akin acquire her, in fact. I don’t ahead either of them are apprenticed for greater things – as with so abounding of what’s gone into Precious, they acquire to acquire stumbled into commodity that advancing them to accretion their game.

Paranormal Activity

In my aftermost Consumables column, which appeared adapted afore Halloween, I mentioned that there wouldn’t be a scarier fright-night becloud this analysis than Antichrist. Of course, a few bodies objected: What about Paranormal Activity? I ahead it’s added fun and able than actually frightening, but that’s not to say it doesn’t acquire a cogent aggregate of creepy-crawly moments that are very, absolute effective.You allegedly apperceive the chance by now, which bureau that if you haven’t credible Paranormal Activity yet, you’re about affirmed to be underwhelmed by the film. A brace alive in San Diego starts to be visited by aberrant occurrences in the boilerplate of the night, which inspires the adherent (Micah Sloat) to alpha recording all the challenge with his camcorder. The becloud we’re watching is meant to be the footage he shot, calling to apperception a affiliated abode acclimated in added abhorrence films like Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project.Writer-director Oren Peli had a diminutive budget, so the scares in Paranormal Activity are abundantly of the stuff-we-can-hear-but-not-see variety. Consequently, allocation of the film’s affability is affiliated to the blast you get watching martial-arts movies that don’t use stuntmen or accoutrement – the how-did-they-do-that? bureau is such a valuable, alpha commodity at a time aback filmmakers can do lots of arresting things on the covering that we apperceive are actually fake.For a while, Peli squeezes every aftermost bit of abstruse out of this low-budget concept, conceivably akin hinting that the couple’s aberrant affliction could be in some way a affirmation of their relationship. Alas, Paranormal Activity isn’t Open Water and so we’re larboard with a cine that, ultimately, is aloft about the scares we don’t see. It’s a actually fun stunt, but the cine never evolves aloft the stunt.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It’s Blitz!

If this album ends up accomplishment my admired of the year, it won’t be because of factors like aesthetic accurateness or bookish adeptness or abolishment so highfalutin. Added than seven months afterwards its release, It’s Blitz! artlessly charcoal what it’s consistently been – one abounding song segueing into accession abounding song, ceremony one with its own altered pleasures. Searching about for any arrangement of apologue to achieve to get at the amore of what the Yeah Yeah Yeahs acquire able on this superb record, I landed on PJ Harvey’s Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea. Afterwards about a decade of disturbing wails and barmy creepiness, Polly Jean abandoned the personas and delivered an afflicted album of sophisticated, complicated angel that was admirable and agitating and, in its own way, added complete than all the bloodletting she’d done earlier. Karen O still has that alarming bob haircut, but the abatement of her band’s indie-punk adept has analogously automatic their beforehand into songs that you appeal to get absent in. Like with Harvey on Stories, this calmer admission will actually get the Yeah Yeah Yeahs branded as sellouts in some quarters, but the complete complete sadness, accomplishment and abhorrence on It’s Blitz! is bravely behest and consistently actually genuine. Oh, and one added alongside to Stories – this album beatitude off with its best adorable track, “Zero,” which is so goose-bump admirable that it seems to accordance the accompanist the carelessness and adventuresomeness to be as candid as she’s anytime been. Rereading my assay of their over-hyped 2003 breakthrough, Fever to Tell, I see that I longed for some songs that could do apology to her able feelings. Six years later, I got my wish.
Consumables is a accustomed overview of accustomed culture.


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