Well, there have been a lot of films made about the ongoing conflict in Iraq and its effect on soldiers, and here’s another one! Stop-Loss is probably the glossiest, most-Hollywood looking attempt so far (no mean feat, considering Paul Haggis has had a shot already) and it remains to be seen if anyone in America really wants to be reminded that its sending its army off to fight a war that the majority of them didn’t want, especially when in many cases the soldiers don’t want to go. Haggis’s attempt at examining the psychological fallout of the Iraq war In The Valley of Elah absolutely sucked a big one at the box office, and honestly we don’t see this having much of a bigger impact, even though Ryan Philippe is generally considered nicer to look at than Tommy Lee Jones.
We could link to a review of this as we normally do, but instead let’s link to Susan G. Cole’s interesting interview with director Kimberly Pierce over at NOW. Not quite sure we’ve ever read an interview that so heavily implied that the writer thought the person they were talking to was stupid from the off, but fair enough!
So from something that Americans don’t like to think about (the war) to something they love: gambling. Heck, we all love it, if the amount of poker (and advertisements for online poker) on TV is anything to be believed. Of course, 21 is about blackjack, in which the sternly heterosexual Kevin Spacey leads a team of MIT students to rip off Vegas casinos using the team method of card counting. It’s based on a true story, but as you may well know, juiced up because otherwise it would be totally boring, man. Frankly, it looks boring anyway. Heck, it’s so boring that some film critics (as we have been informed by The Ampersand) have just reviewed it based on the trailer.
Also on release this week: Run, Fatboy, Run, which we called “utterly pedestrian fare livened by a reliably amusing performance from Simon Pegg and a glorious (if short) role for Dylan Moran” when it played (bizarrely, in retrospect) at last year’s TIFF, and The Year My Parents Went On Vacation and Superhero Movie. We totally want to see Superhero Movie. Unlike previous comedy films that we’ve been juiced for because we were pretty sure they were going to be hypnotically terrible (Meet the Spartans, etc.) this one has not only a Zucker involved but also Leslie Nielsen. How can it go wrong?
This is a good week for festivals, however. The Canadian Film Festival and Female Eye Film Festivals continue across the weekend, and Cinefranco opens tonight with You, at 7 p.m. at the Royal Cinema. There’s a nice round-up of the films on offer from Eye’s Jason Anderson.