Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stare Wars

Today I went to see The Men Who Stare at Goats, starring Ewan McGregor and George Clooney and Kevin Spacey as well as a bunch of actors who aren't total douches, and I found it somewhat enjoyable. Not great, but enjoyable. After I've managed to get over the fact that I couldn't sit in my favourite spot in the theater because sitting behind a group of these dumb noisy broads who were obviously there to see 'the new George Clooney movie' would have made me bleed my own body weight in guts out my ears (gawd I hate broads) I learned that young Obi-Wan's smokin' hot redheaded wife had left him for a cyborg with a robot's arm, I guess because some chicks just prefer the sensation of metal fingers in their bodies, and so in order to regain the bitch's affection or something he decides to go all the way over to the smelly Middle East and cover the war in Iraq for some newspaper he works for or some such thing. After spending some time at a fancy hotel, sitting by the pool and doing shots out of 14 year old Arab belly buttons and making quasi-obscene phone calls to his wife, he meets this old dude with a mustache who tells him that he used to be a part of some top secret military project back in the '60s that was supposed to develop super soldiers with paranormal abilities who'd be able to win wars peacefully, sort of. Together they go out into dusty Iraq in order to complete some sort of important secret mission, one that neither of them is quite sure about the nature of, which results in the usual chain of unusual events, including getting kidnapped by terrorists, getting shot at by American private contractors and getting completely lost in the middle of the desert. There's a lot of talking in this movie about paranormal stuff like walking through walls, invisibility, mind control, remote viewing and of course the ability to kill humans (and poor little goats, and poor little hamsters) by merely looking at them, but naturally there's very little of any of it onscreen, which I thought was a damn shame. Instead of a fun movie about nutty hippie soldiers with crazy super powers who save the free world at the last minute from evil, water-thirsty sand people (also known in some parts of the universe as Tusken Raiders) what we get here is a story that's mostly about sad, broken men with sad, broken dreams. The Men Who Stare at Goats was inspired by a book of the same name and it shows, and not in a good way. The movie keeps going back to show you how the unit was first formed and trained, and I'm not saying that this going back and forth is confusing or even uninteresting, but it certainly does break the flow of the story to a point where I just didn't care anymore about any of these odd, self-deluded men. And I definitely know a thing or two about odd, self-deluded individuals. I don't know, maybe it was the constant yapping in a language I didn't quite recognize from the second row, but I couldn't really connect with this movie on an emotional level. There were plenty of Star Wars references to keep me entertained, and the New Mexico desert posing for Iraq really does look a lot like Tatooine, but ultimately it just didn't leave me with much of anything.

And apparently Nessie is the ghost of a dinosaur!

And onto a whole other Middle Eastern war. Last night I went to see Waltz with Bashir at the Tel-Aviv cinematheque, even though I have already seen it twice at the movies and also own a copy of the limited edition DVD, because I really really like it and it was really cheap. Also, there was free beer, something I can rarely say no to. What I like about this movie is that even though it's animated and it's sort of like a documentary about the Lebanon War, large parts of it look and feel like a real movie, and an extremely cool one at that, something that most Israeli films never even come close to. Ari Folman's next project is a very loose adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's The Futurological Congress that will star Robin Wright and combine animation with live action, and I can't wait for it to finally be finished so I could finally have an Israeli movie that is actually good and doesn't have anything to do with boring wars, even if it will be in English and the star is some lady who may or may not have been hot way back in the '80s.

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