Men Who Stare at Goats Likely the Best Military-Psychic Film Ever


George Clooney and Grant Heslov's collaborations to date have proven to be pretty hit or miss -- which bodes well for The Men Who Stare at Goats, Heslov's feature-directing debut whose new trailer either has all the film's jokes squeezed into 2:19 or at least promises a sharp absurdist satire worthy of your anticipation. Either way, what else have you got to do this morning besides watch it?

Ewan McGregor gets the intro to himself as Bob Wilton, a journalist "investigating a story about a classified government program." The music defies any literal hint of intrigue, however, as does Clooney's lunging entrance as Lyn Cassady. The farce accelerates from there, mixing in Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey as Clooney's colleagues in a top-secret troop of psychic U.S. military officers. It's not especially clear whose minds they're supposed to read, but think of it like Inglourious Basterds for the Iraq era. "We're Jedi," Lyn instructs Bob. "We don't fight with guns, we fight with our minds." Right -- tell that to the vulnerable goat population, one of whom learns the hard way in one of the trailer's funnier scenes.

Overall, the proceedings are a little more bungling than not -- and fast, at least as portrayed here. I'm not quite sure what's being sent up (if anything): Army decorum? The military-industrial complex? Journalists? Enh, who cares? Heslov and his ensemble know what they're doing, as does Overture, which even makes one of the fall movie season's most unwieldy, unsellable titles look good in the end. This bows in two weeks at the Toronto Film Festival; look here for more in-depth consumer reports at that time. Until then...