Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pushed to Limit...I Lost Control

The Limits of Control


Many critics will say that it is far easier to talk about something you hate than it is to express why you loved a film. Well in the case of Jim Jarmusch's latest film, The Limits of Control, it is tougher talking about work that you disliked when it was made by people you normally love.

The story centres around a mysterious Lone Man (Isaach de Bankolé) who is sent to Spain to complete a job. While the nature of the job is not divulged to the audience at first, you get the sense that it is the type of work that can only be handled outside the realms of the law. In order for the Lone Man to complete his mission, he will have to exchange information with a series of individuals (Gael Garcia Benal, Twilda Swinton, John Hurt, etc.) and keep his mind pure of sexual temptation (Paz de la Huerto).

The Limits of Control is a film where the end result is not as important as the journey to it. To truly understand the journey, one must realize that the end result is being aware that our reality is not our reality. Confused? Well this type of philosophical discourse essentially makes up the majority of this film. Some of the discussions serve as clues to events that will happen later in the film; while others are merely random musings on everything ranging from the misuse of the word " Bohemian", when talking about artist, to this history of musical instruments.

If nothing else, The Limits of Control is easily one of the most quotable films of the year. Though you will have a heck of a time trying to figure out what all the lines mean in relation to the film. For example, Twilda Swinton's character remarks that "the best films are like dreams you are not quite sure you just had." The problem with this statement is the fact that the slow dreamlike nature, in which events unfold, is downright maddening. If anything it is a painfully slow nightmare is only scary due to how boring it actually is. Gael Garcia Benal offers up an enlightening pearl of wisdom in "everything changes by the glass you see it through." Despite all these deep and profound lines by time you reach the climax of the film, if you can even call it a climax, you realize that it all really boils down to a "I think I can, I think I can" moment. Where envisioning your goal allows you to achieve it.

I know some may argue that I am missing the bigger philosophical picture but I am not ashamed to admit I just did not get it. When Jarmusch's characters are not spewing cryptic philosophical rhetoric, the rest of the film plays like a silent travelogue for Spain. It is really tough to find the deeper meaning in a film when the one character who holds to key to everything, Bankolé's Lone Man, only manages a few words every twenty minutes. I was originally willing to give Jarmusch the benefit of the as he is a director I usually enjoy. Plus the cast featured many actors/actresses that I love. Yet it is tough to praise a film that feels like a warmed over David Lynch picture that was left in the philosophical oven for far too long. Due to the calibre of talent involved, The Limits of Control is one of the most disappointing films of the year.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Updated List of Big Thoughts From a Small Mind's Reviews.

Please note a more updated film review list can now be found in the "Film Review" tab at top of the page

2011 Movie Report Card (click on titles for full review)

Exceptional (Grade Range A+ to A-)
Beauty Day A+
Rubber A+
13 Assassins +A
Wiebo's War A-

Good (Grade Range B+ to B-)
I Saw the Devil B+
Super B+
The High Cost of Living B+
Machete Maidens Unleashed B
The Pirate Tapes B
Hobo With a Shotgun B
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives B
The First Grader B
The Black Power Mixtape: 1967 - 1975
The Trip B
Mighty Jerome B
Boy Cheerleaders B-
Trust B-

Passed the time (Grade Range C+ to C-)
The Hangover 2 C
Scream 4 C
Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen C
A Screaming Man C
The Chocolate Farmer C
The Lumberfros C
St. Henri, the 26th of August C-

Please make it stop (Grade Range D+ to F)
Viva Riva D
The Adjustment Bureau D
The Mechanic F
Vanishing on 7th Street F
Sucker Punch F

2010 Movie Report Card (click on titles for full review)

Blue Valentine A+
Winter's Bone A+
Inception A+
Micmacs A+
The Art of the Steal A+
Toy Story 3 A+
The Illusionist A+
Dogtooth A+
The Mountain Thief A
The Social Network A
Black Swan A
Dogtooth A
Never Let Me Go A
Ajami A
127 Hours A
The Fighter A
Scott Pilgrim vs the World A
The Kids Are All Right A
The American A
Exit Through the Gift Shop A
Mr. Nobody A-
The Last Exorcism A -
Fish Tank A-
The Messenger A-
Enter the Void B+
True Grit B+
Shutter Island B+
Cargo B+
One Big Hapa Family B+
Home B+
Dear Doctor B+
Year of the Carnivore B
Animal Kingdom B
The Kings Speech B
The Ghost Writer B
Youth in Revolt B
This Movie Is Broken B
Predators B
Machete B
The Town B
Gallants B
Waiting for Superman B
Toilet B
Kick-Ass B
The Book of Eli B
High School B
Despicable Me B
TRON:Legacy C+
Life During Wartime C+
Daybreakers C+
The Joneses C+
RoboGeisha C+
The Expendables C
Chloe C
The Losers C
Hot Tub Time Machine C
Alice in Wonderland C
Heartless C
The Last Lovecraft C
The Karate Kid C
Oxhide II C-
Iron Man 2 C -
Salt C-
Red D+
Faster D+
Edge of Darkness D+
Holy Rollers D
Brooklyn's Finest D
The Lovely Bones D
Centurion D
From Paris with Love D
Splice D
She's Out of My League D
Unthinkable F
Piranha F
Cop Out F

2009 Movie Reviews (click on titles for full review)

Hunger A+
Inglourious Basterds A
Up in the Air A
A Single Man A
Polytechnique A
Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire A
More Than A Game A
A Serious Man A
Gomorrah A
District 9 A
(500) Days of Summer A
Coraline A
Adventureland A –
Where the Wild Things Are A-
I Love You, Man A-
Tyson A-
Treeless Mountain A-
New York, I Love You A-
Black Dynamite B+
The Hurt Locker B+
PontyPool B+
Star Trek B+
Zombieland B+
Fifty Dead Men Walking B
Avatar B
An Education B
The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans B
Cloud 9 (Wolke 9) B
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus B
Taking of Pehlam 123 B
Sin Nombre B
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince B
The Brothers Bloom B
Taken B
The Hangover B
Watchmen B
Two Lovers B
Whip It B
Moon B
The Road B
Good Hair B
Sunshine Cleaning B-
Up B-
The International B -
The Princess and the Frog C+
Broken Embraces C+
Che C+
Paranormal Activity C+
Gigantic C
Bronson C
The Men Who Stare At Goats C
Duplicity C
Monsters vs Aliens C
Friday the 13th C
Obsessed C
Public Enemies C
The Informant! C
The Other Man C
Bruno C
9 C
The Proposal C
Antichrist C
Knowing C
Killer View C
Crazy Heart C
Surrogates C-
Sherlock Holmes C-
Orphan C-
Outlander C-
Angels and Demons C-
Fast and Furious C-
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra C-
Ninja Assassin D+
A Christmas Carol D+
The Box D+
He's Just Not That Into You D+
Ponyo D
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen D
The Blind Side D
Transporter 3 D
Observe and Report D
Drag Me To Hell D-
The Limits of Control D-
12 Rounds F
Paul Blart Mall Cop F
X-Men Origins: Wolverine F
Push F
My Bloody Valentine 3D F
Bride Wars F


2008 Movie Reviews (click on titles for full review)

Wall-E A+
The Visitor A+
The Dark Knight A+
Iron Man A
Doubt A
Milk A
I've Loved You So Long (Il y a longtemps que je t'aime) A
Rachel Getting Married A
Tropic Thunder A-
Kung-Fu Panda A-
Forgetting Sarah Marshall B+
Young People Fucking B
The Incredible Hulk B
The Good The Bad The Weird B
Happy Go Lucky B
In Bruges B
Funny Games B
Pinapple Express B
La Vie En Rose B
Hellboy II: The Golden Army B-
Rambo B-
Gran Torino B -
Blindness B-
Quantum of Solace C
The Secret Life of Bees C
Mongol C-
Sex and the City C-
Hancock C
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull C -
Speed Racer D+
Mr. Brooks D
Wanted D
Jumper D
Fool's Gold F
Saw V F
Death Race F
The Happening F
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian F



2007 Movie Reviews (click on titles for full review)

Zodiac A+
No Country for Old Men A+
Little Children A+
Children of Men A+
Michael Clayton A
The Darjeeling Limited A-
Black Snake Moan B+
I Am Legend B+
Vers Le Sud B
Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End B
Blood Diamond B-
Flags of our Fathers B-
Dreamgirls C
The Good Sheperd C-
Hairspray C
Beowulf D
Primeval F
Smoking Aces F


2006 Movie Reviews (click on titles for full review)

Apocalypto A-
Sherrybaby B
The Pursuit of Happiness C


New Classics?

Millon Dollar Baby A
Everyone Says I Love You A
Battle Royale B+


Vintage Flicks

Yojimbo A+
Strangers on a Train A+
M A+
A Married Couple A
Lenny A-
Roman Holiday B+
The Philadelphia Story B
Dial M for Murder B-
Sanjuro C
The Terror F

Retro Picks

Following B+
Extremities B
The Elephant Man C-
Hudson Hawk C-


Short Films

Jellyfish Boy B+
On the Flip Side B


Film Festivals (click on titles for full review)

Toronto After Dark Film Festival
TADFF Reviews
TADFF Daily Picks

TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival)
2010 TIFF Reviews
Countdown to TIFF 2010
2009 Recap Part 1
2009 Recap Part 2
2009 RecapPart 3
2008 Recap Part 1
2008 Recap Part 2
2008 Recap Part 3
2008 Recap Part 4

Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival
2010 Daily Picks
2010 Film Reviews

Shinsedai Cinema Festival
2010 - The Dark Harbour & Jellyfish Boy


Yearly Top Ten
Best Films of 2010
Best Films of 2009
Best Films of 2008
Best Films of 2007
Top Ten Films of the Decade: 2000-2009
Worst Films of 2009

Extras

Commentaries
Adventures in Podcasting
Press Releases
Top 10 / Top 5/ Random Lists
Which is Better?
The Must See List
Movie Marketing Monday
Sharing the Blogging Love
Film Pitches
Blog-a-thons
Whatever Happened To...?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Road Safety Is Key For Survival

The Full List of Big Thoughts From A Small Mind's 2009 Reviews

This review was originally posted in my 2009 Toronto Film Festival Recap. The review has been re-posted as the film will finally be released in select cinemas this week

The Road

Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, John Hillcoat’s The Road is bleak look at a world on the brink. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, a father (Viggo Mortensen) and son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) struggle to survive by any means necessary. As duo travel aimlessly day to day, they encounter various individuals (Robert Duvall, Michael K. Williams, etc) that will ultimately blur the lines between good and evil even further.

As weird as it may sound, I always find stories about the decay of society fascinating. The Road is a very bleak film that reminded me of Fernando Meirelles’ Blindness in many ways, though The Road is not nearly as graphic and the overall execution of is far better. The interesting thing about this film is that it does not care what caused the world to get to the point that it is at. The real focus is on the theme of family; and the lengths that people will go through to protect the ones they love.

There is also an underlying question of whether childhood innocence can exist in such a horrific world? There are times in the film where Smit-McPhee’s character comes off a little too naïve for my liking. Especially if you take into account everything that he has experienced up to this point. Having not read the source material I cannot say whether the character was originally written this way or if it was more a result of Hillcoat’s direction.

The real strength of the film is found in the casting. Viggo Mortensen is very good in the lead role; he has the right mixture of vulnerability and jadedness needed for the role. I also really liked the supporting performances of Duvall and Williams. Though I wish Molly Parker and Guy Pearce were given more to do. I understand their character’s roles are minor but, with actors of their talent, it would have been great to see them play some of the darker roles in the film. While it did not blow me away like other post-apocalyptic films have, say Children of Men for example, The Road did hold my interest the throughout.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hunger Can Be Quite Filling

The Full List of Big Thoughts From A Small Mind's 2009 Reviews.

Hunger

There have been many predictions regarding who the Oscar nominees will be this year. Yet the one thing that is usually left out of these discussions is timing. In a year in where the Academy Awards have expanded the Best Picture category to allow ten films, one of the best films of 2009 is not even eligible to compete. Although Steve McQueen's stunning debut, Hunger, hit most theatres this year it actually was eligible for Oscar consideration last year. If Hunger had been able to compete this year I am sure more people would be singing its praises. Similar to The Hurt Locker, I think Hunger would have benefitted greatly from the new Oscar rules; and what seems to be a weaker competition pool in general this year.

Set in Belfast's infamous Maze prison in 1981, Hunger looks at the events leading up to IRA hunger strike led by Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender). The interesting thing about this tale is that Bobby Sands only really factors into the third act of the film. The first part focuses on a prison guard (Stuart Graham) whose work has scarred him emotionally beyond repair. In the second section we see what has caused the prison guard all the mental distress. McQueen shows us two inmates (Brian Milligan and Liam McMahon) who endure hell while participating in a IRA prisoners' protest wear they refuse to wear prison clothes and bathe. The IRA prisoners do not see themselves as criminals and want to get political prisoners' status from the British Government. The protest results in a volatile and violent standoff against the prison guards. The remainder of the film focuses on why Bobby Sands was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the cause.

Hunger is a bleak and unrelenting film that will probably drive many viewers mad with its unconventionality. Why should you see it then? Despite its harsh realistic moments, it is an immensely rewarding picture. Hunger is a brilliant piece of filmmaking that not only renews your faith in the future of cinema, but also challenges you ever step of the way. This film raises many questions and shows you both sides of the tale. Yet do not expect any simple answers, this is a film where the viewer must ultimately come up with their own conclusion and the choice is far from easy.

On one hand you must reflect on the war outside the prison before you can look at the one waging within it. Regardless of the events which led to the birth of the Irish Republic Army, the group, during was considered by many to be a terrorist organization. McQueen provides a glimpse of their ruthlessness in a chilling scene at a nursing home. On the other hand, does this justify the harsh treatment that the men had to endure in prison? Does Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s final decision actually mean that the men, though misguided in their methods, were actually fighting for a proper cause on the outside?

The events in Hunger exist completely in a grey area where actions, no matter how horrible, can be justified for and argued against by both sides equally. The only real commentary that McQueen will divulge is that the whole conflict impacted both sides on a deep emotional level. The fact that neither the government/guards nor the IRA prisoners wanted to back down only made the emotional wounds that much deeper.

Hunger may be Steve McQueen's first film but it is far more accomplished than some of the veteran directors working today. This is a film that will resonate with you for a long while. McQueen is able to get extraordinary performances from his cast. One of my favourite scenes in the whole movie is the twenty minute conversation between Sands and a priest (Liam Cunningham). There is so much going on in this scene, from both an acting and story standpoint, that it take multiple viewings for all the subtle elements to come fully into view. Michael Fassbender, who was also good in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, gives a phenomenal performance as Sands. We have seen many actors gain and lose weight for a role but few have given a performance so powerful that you actually forget you are watching an actor.

Hunger is a film that will make you angry, gross you out at times, and ultimately make you sad for all the parties involved. Yet it is a film that you must see for the sheer magnitude and brilliance of it all. Hunger is hands down one of the best films of the year.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This Box Should Be Packed Away

The Full List of Big Thoughts From A Small Mind's 2009 Reviews.

The Box

If you could get one million dollars for merely pushing a button once would you do it? Take a moment to really think about this question. Would you push the button if you knew that somewhere in the world one person, who you have never met, would die as a result? These questions serve as the catalyst for Richard Kelly's latest science fiction work, The Box. Based on Richard Matheson's short story "Button, Button", The Box is film that is all about the unrelenting cycle of choices and consequences.

Norma and Arthur Lewis (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden) are a happily married couple living the typical suburban life in 1976. One morning the couple wake up to find a mysterious package on their front door. The parcel contains a wooden box with a red button encased in glass and a note stating that Arlington Steward (Frank Langella) shall be stopping by later. Sure enough, a slightly disfigured Arlington Steward appears later that day to make the couple an offer that they seemingly cannot refuse. Arlington informs Norma that if she, or her husband, pushes the button the couple will receive one million dollars. The only catch being that someone somewhere in the world would die as a result. Arlington informs the couple that they have twenty-four hours to make a choice.

The Box offers a very interesting premise as the themes of financial worth versus human life offers plenty to think about. Sadly the film does live up to its initial set up at all. What makes this film even more disappointing is the fact that this is director Richard Kelly's second straight strike (the first being Southland Tales) after hitting it out of the park with Donnie Darko. Richard Kelly has shown in his earlier works, most notably the aforementioned Darko, that he has the skill needed to deliver complex and engaging science fiction fare. Unfortunately we only get brief glimpses of Kelly's talent in this shamble of a film.

There are several elements that hurt this film, the most notable being the uneven editing. Due to the abrupt editing it often feels like chunks of the story are missing. Characters randomly appear and react to things without any real contexts. Several individuals are creepy just for the sake of being creepy. The flaws with the editing become more pronounced once Kelly reveals all of the major plot points.

Needless to say The Box does require the audience to take huge leaps of faith in order to avoid the numerous plot holes. The problem is there is only so much silliness a person can sit through before you start to question things. For example, if we are to believe that the events in this picture happened before and will happen again. Is Arthur's actions towards the latter half of the film as important as his NASA friends would have you believe? Also, the issue of freewill is both the cause and cure to certain situations, should Arlington's side really be that judgmental of the choices the characters make? Especially since Arlington is constantly arranging events to ensure things play out the way they do?

Richard Kelly strives to make The Box a dark and pulpy tale, as a result it plays more like a really bad episode of the Twilight Zone. Heck, even a television show like Fringe could make this subject matter far more disturbing and engaging. The cast does the best they can with the material but even that is not enough to salvage the film. Langella is the standout as he has the juiciest role in the picture. Marsden and Diaz have been far better elsewhere and never reach the level they should to give the picture greater significance. As much as it pains me to say, most of the blame has to fall on Kelly's shoulders for this. Instead of focusing more on tighter editing and a stronger script, Kelly seems to be more interested in making grand statements and incorporating moments merely because it allows for some "cool shots." There is a chance that The Box is one of those films that will reveal its hidden strengths upon multiple viewings. Frankly it was excruciating to sit through this film once, I can hardly fathom the idea of torturing myself again just to see if there is something more hidden at the bottom of this box.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

9 Ways To Cure Insomnia

The Full List of Big Thoughts From A Small Mind's 2009 Reviews.

9

There is nothing harder on a movie lover than watching a film that practically screams “potential to be great” slowly falter into banality with each passing minute. Such is the case with director Shane Acker’s feature length debut 9.

One day #9 (Elijah Wood) wakes up to find himself in a post-apocalyptic world. Void of all humans, the world now belongs to fearsome machines that canvas the earth destroying everything in their path. Through his travels #9 comes across a small community of numeric clad beings like himself. Led by #1 (Christopher Plummer), the group moves from one hiding spot to another in order to maintain their survival. Tension arises when #9 joins the commune and starts to question how the world reached its current state. When #2 (Martin Landau) is captured by one of the machines #9 and # 5 (John C. Reilly), against # 1’s wishes, sets out in hopes of finding their friend and unlocking the mystery of their existence.

At times, visually speaking, 9 is a stunning work filled with many inventive character designs. The ramshackle world that the creatures and robotic monsters roam in allows Acker to create some thrilling action sequences. Unfortunately the overall story does not have the depth needed for a film this ambitious. A film such as this really needs to have a compelling story to match the visuals. The pacing of this picture is painfully slow which, as a result, causes several major plot points to take too long to unfold. While all the gaps are eventually filled, most of which you see coming from a mile away, it requires a lot of effort on the viewers part to stay awake long enough to see the whole thing through.

Another issue I had with 9 is that for all the visual flair, and great ensemble voice casting, the majority of characters are surprisingly one-dimensional. Since there is no real depth to any of the characters, many of the same scenes are repeated over and over in different settings. There are only so many times that you can sit thorough #1’s old cowardly lion routine before you want to smack somebody. The same can be said for #7's (Jennifer Connelly) numerous “jumping into battle by herself” sequences. While I am all in favour of strong female action heroes, Acker never really develops #7’s character any further than what we see on the surface. While 9 is extremely fascinating on a visual level, it lacks the substance needed to truly make it a beautiful picture.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Delicate Hands Needed for This Precious Item

The Full List of Big Thoughts From A Small Mind's 2009 Reviews.

This review was originally posted in my 2009 Toronto Film Festival Recap. The review has been re-posted as the film will finally be released in select cinemas today

Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire

Winner of the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival's top prize, The Peoples Choice Award, Precious is a film that packs a very heavy punch. It is 1987 in Harlem and Claireece “Precious” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) is barely sixteen and already pregnant with her second child. Living with her emotionally and physically abusive mother (Mo’Nique), Precious constantly dreams of a better life. Unable to neither read nor write, and facing expulsion from school, Precious is forced to attend the Each One/Teach One alternative school. Can this school provide Precious with a way out of her miserable life? Or was she merely cursed from birth?

I am hesitant to heap too much praise on this film for I fear that adding to the buzz Precious has already generated might only speed up the backlash towards the film. Still, I cannot deny that Precious finally cements Lee Daniel’s as a director. He skillfully blends the dark themes with the more accessible moments far better here than he did in either The Woodsman or Shadowboxer. This is not to say that Precious is an easy film to watch. On the contrary, the film is extremely bleak and unrelenting. No matter how many times you tell yourself “her life cannot get any worse…” it does. Daniels smartly incorporates just the right amount of fantasy sequences in the film. This allows him to pull Precious, and the viewer, out of the sewage long enough to take a quick gasp of air before being submerged again. Daniels is wise not to overplay these moments as he keeps the dream sequences somewhat grounded.

Regardless of how you feel about the subject matter, there is no denying that the Precious features two of the finest female performances you will see all year. Mo’Nique is simply brilliant as Precious’ abusive mother. She brings so much intensity and emotion to the role that, even though you despise her, you fully understand her motivations. While Mo’Nique is already generating a lot of award buzz, and rightfully so, newcomer Gabourey Sidibe deserves some as well. Due to the nature of the subject matter, the film really lives and dies on Sidibe’s performance. Thankfully Gabourey rises above the extremely high bar that both Daniels and Mo’Nique have set. Gabourey Sidibe does such a wonderful job finding that dark uncomfortable place for Precious that you barely notice some of the more well-known cast members in supporting roles (e.g Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, etc). While I highly recommend Precious, you should try and see the film before the hype gets out of control. Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire works best if you go in without too many preconceived notions.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Staring at Goats Hazardous to One's Health

The Full List of Big Thoughts From A Small Mind's 2009 Reviews.

This review was originally posted in my 2009 Toronto Film Festival Recap. The review has been re-posted as the film will finally be released in select cinemas tomorrow.

The Men Who Stare At Goats

After a chance encounter with Lyn Cassidy (George Clooney), journalist Bob Wilton (Ewen McGregor) realizes that he might have come across the juiciest story of his career. Lyn claims to be part of a special military group of “super-soldiers” trained in the art of mental warfare. They can become invisible, located hidden items, and even make a goat’s heart stop beating through mere thought. Yet after traveling across the Iraq dessert, in search of Lyn’s former unit captain Bill Django (Jeff Bridges), Bob begins to wonder if Lyn’s tales are actually more fiction than fact.

Grant Heslov’s latest feature evoked mixed reactions out of me at various points in the film. There are times when the writing in The Men Who Stare At Goats is truly brilliant. During these moments the dialogue is fast paced and the film hits all the right comedic notes. Unfortunately there are also times when it becomes painfully obvious that there is really no substance to the picture at all. Clearly they had a great concept but just could muster enough material to sustain a whole movie.

Many people I spoke with, who loved The Men Who Stare At Goats, cited the Coen Brothers’ comedies as one of the reasons they enjoyed the film so much. Whereas this was one of the major reasons I found the film disappointing. To me, The Men Who Stare At Goats plays more like a poor man’s Coen Brothers flick. Even Jeff Bridges seems to be phoning in his old performance from The Big Lebowski for this film. Also, several of the running gags, most notably the Jedi and other pop culture references, become stale rather quickly due to the constant repetition.

The overall casting is great and Heslov allow his actors to really let loose in their roles. Unfortunately Heslov needed to rein in the story much more than he does, especially in regards to the ridiculous third act. Again, there are some truly funny segments that almost warrant a mild recommendation for those scenes alone. Yet on the whole, despite the potential it displayed, The Men Who Stare At Goats was ultimately more disappointing than anything else.