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The Men Who Stare at Goats
BLU-RAY disk
5 years ago By: J.A. Hamilton
The Men Who Stare at Goats order download
Director:
Grant Heslov

Actors:
George Clooney
Jeff Bridges
Ewan McGregor

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A down on his luck journalist trying to get into Iraq for all the wrong reasons, stumbles upon an ex-military man claiming to have been part of a secret army project designed to teach and master psychic abilities to be used in combat.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Despite a star spangled cast, THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS in no way, shape or form looked enticing to me and had I not received it to review, I would never have watched it. That said, I enjoyed the theme of “government psychic training” despite the offbeat comedic overtone, but although this film does open a good many interesting doors, sadly these doors don’t really lead anywhere. The truth of the matter here is that this film has something to say, but stumbles when it comes to saying it, which is a shame because I truly did want to know more.

The story and subject matter are fun, even if they aren’t meant to be. There has been mass speculation for years that the army conducted “tests” on many soldiers in hopes of gaining or granting them psychic abilities, but of course like all military secrets, we’ve been left with just that, speculation. This is a side of the army we will never see, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the subtle nuances like the haircuts and all the little things Ewan McGregor’s character chalks up to “changes” that were implicated. I can appreciate the black comedy here as there no doubt was no other way to present this film (I’m unsure if the book it was based upon was similar in tone, but I can only assume it was).

At first I was a little surprised by this cast, and then I stopped to really think about it and realized that great as they may all be, these stars aren’t exactly doing much these days. George Clooney works well here, but I want to see another bad ass character like he played in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey have become supporting actors of late, and I suppose the same can be said of Ewan McGregor as well. Now the “Jedi” aspect of this film was laugh out loud funny the first time I heard it, but they really did lean on it quite a bit, making me wonder if George Lucas watched this flick with a raised eyebrow as he calmly dialled his lawyer’s number. The banality of it all took away from a cool premise.

THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS deals with smart ideas that are loosely based upon circumstantial evidence lost within the many secrets of our government and its army. But even the coolest ideas need proper pacing and this film took quite awhile to actually get somewhere, and even then, it didn’t get far. The cast was likeable and in good form, but again, it doesn’t change this fact that this film felt like straight to DVD fodder. I’ll be the first to admit that a man killing a goat (or any other animal) with his mind is indeed cool beans, but that sort of thing is better suited for an action/thriller rather than a bland comedy. And in the end I couldn’t really distinguish the genre they were shooting for as it’s a combination of many, yet not one of them stands out more than the rest.
THE EXTRAS
Featurettes: There are two here; one that gives us a look at the real First Earth Battalion (huge difference), and the other features the author of the novel and the writer of the screenplay going over the transition from book to film. They both feel this is much more clever than it really is.

Character Bios: Not sure about this feature, as it’s nothing more than a four minute glorified trailer for the film that simply highlights the four main actors.

Deleted Scenes: This extra four minutes gives us more Jeff Bridges insanity as well as Ewan moving a cloud with his mind. Maybe he really is a Jedi.

Previews: There’s a theatrical trailer as well as a handful of other trailers and a Blu-ray commercial. There is also a Digital Copy of the film.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Not one of these guys seemed thrilled with their roles here, but this was just one of many flaws found therein. I wouldn’t say this movie was horrible, but I’d recommend saving it for that Sunday afternoon where boredom has overtaken you and the couch is simply unavoidable.
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