32 Thursday, 5 November 2009 London Lite A nimal activists look away now: this film contains goaticide. and, come to think of it, a small meas- ure of hamstercide. Of course, the sceptics among you, hesitant to swallow the story laid out in Grant Heslovs ram- bling, left-field military comedy, might ease Petas trembles. Based on British journalist Jon Ronsons 2004 non-fiction book of the same name, its the story of a soft-centred branch of the american militia who opted to explore the practical application of non-violent, psychoparanormal warfare. Basically, a bunch of shaggy- haired yogic fellows who ditched guns for tofu and, nicknaming themselves the First Earth Battalion, began to train by part- ing clouds with their minds and slaughtering goats by staring them out. Our narrative guide is US hack Bob Wilton (Ewan mcGregor, sporting a so-so american accent and a typically tawdry blank- faced gawp), a small-town news- paperman desperate to make it as a front-line reporter in 2003 iraq in order to prove to his ex- wife that he really can swim with the big fish. En route, a chance Kuwait encounter with a mysterious moustachioed chap named lyn Cassady -- one of these so-called psychic warriors played by a playfully intense George Clooney -- leads to an invitation to buddy- up on a vague psychic mission. So Wilton finds himself travers- ing the desert with a psychic spy/certifiable lunatic, hearing tales of the founding Jedi war- rior Bill Django (Jeff Bridges) and the current mO of the whole new age gang, practising these Seventies techniques in the War On Terror. its a sort of supernatural, based-on-true-events, historical road movie war comedy, if you will. This is -- see above -- a movie that thinks itself rather clever, much cleverer than it is. Though Clooney is, at times, truly moving as the orthodox warrior monk who begins to question both the morality of goaticide and how humane it is to torture iraqi POWs with a 24- hour loop playback of the theme song from Barney The Purple Dinosaur, the film lacks the struc- tural pull to get you caring about when and where he lost his way. mcGregor doesnt help you invest anything especially emotional with the story. and apart from a few stunted giggles here and there (Kevin Spaceys Jedi bully struggling to guess whats inside a box, Clooney crashing his car on the only rock in the desert) the chief laugh is doled out by a bit of footage of a bored goat masticating on some grub. much the same way i felt about my popcorn. JENNIFER (Megan Fox) is your typical high school bitchy beauty -- but her friendship with the ostensibly nerdy Needy (Amanda Seyfried) at least keeps her partially human. Until, that is, she drags her speccy mate along with her to a local bar to see a band, Low Shoulder, with an extra salty lead singer Nikolai (Adam Brody). Theres a devastating, lethal fire that the girls somehow escape before Jennifer stupidly takes a ride with the band in their tour bus. Later, back at home, Needy heads downstairs to investigate noises (hey, this is a horror, of course there are clichs) where she finds her friend, covered in blood, savaging a chicken and regurgitating crude oil. The next day, at school (clearly there are no days off in Devils Kettle, Minnesota, even if youve only just escaped a fatal fire), Jennifer shrugs off Needys concern: You have a tendency to overreact, Needy. Then boys begin to die -- nastily. One corpse is described as lasagne with teeth. Needy starts to suspect her friend, with very good reason, especially when Jennifer takes an interest in Needys white bread boyfriend Chip (Johnny Simmons). Jennifers Body is better than it should be because Diablo Juno Codys dialogue is whipsmart fresh and the central relationship is believable -- Needy really does seem rather more than platonically interested in Jennifer. However, where the film falls down is its focal selling point, Megan Fox. Shes the weakest actor on show and signally fails to convince as a teenager. Seyfried, meanwhile, is fantastic and its her Needy and Codys script that just about help this uneven, strangely clich-ridden teen horror to transcend its many flaws. Paul Connolly REVIEWSCINEMA TheMenWhoStareAtGoats Cert 15, 93 mins HHIII REVIEW By MaRTHa DE laCEy Whatalot ofdigital humbug DIRECTOR Robert Zemeckis is convinced his performance capture animation technique, previously used in The Polar Express and Beowulf, rocks our world. Hes wrong. This ghastly blend of CGI and real actors does nothing more than transform familiar figures such as Jim Carrey, Colin Firth, Gary Oldman and Bob Hoskins into zombified waxwork figures and strips away any nuance or semblance of acting skill. Still, at least with Carreys Scrooge, this is no bad thing -- here hes almost unrecognisable as an ungodly cross between Albert Steptoe and Jimmy Hill. The rest of this trillionth version of the Charles Dickens classic is a curious concoction, as Zemeckis simultaneously strives to remain faithful to the original text while putting on a 3D thrill ride that bears no resemblance to any other adaptation. PC Lacks body: Foxs acting lets the film down FoxyMeganisarealhorror Jennifers Body Cert15,102minsHHHII Alsoshowing... THiS acute and beautiful account of the short and doomed affair between Romantic poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and his next-door neighbour Fanny Brawne (abbie Cornish) manages to pack a considerable emotional wallop without the need for histrionics or sentimentality. Director Jane Campion, who made the haunting The Piano, again displays her knack for making distant lives come to life on the screen, while some of the photography on offer, especially a scene featuring Cornish in a field of blue flowers, is sumptuous. PC Bright Star Cert PG, 119 mins HHHHI The Horseman Cert 18, 96mins HHHII Paper Heart Cert PG, 88 mins HHHHH JUnO fans will love this real-life version of the quirky comedy -- without the pregnancy. Charlyne Yi stars as herself, a cute-as-a- button comedian who meets and falls for the charmingly awkward michael Cera while shes filming a documentary to prove love doesnt exist. is it real life? not quite, but who cares? Paper Heart is the most adorable indie film youll see this year. lauREn PaxMan alTHOUGH sometimes veering uncomfortably close to torture fetishism, this revenge thriller, which sees father Christian (Peter marshall) tracking down and slaughtering those he sees as responsible for his daughters death, works because of marshalls enigmatic performance and the claustrophobic photography. There are problems with the structure and pacing but this is still compelling, if very violent. PC On a mission: George Clooney as psychic warrior Lyn Cassady Zombified: Carrey as Scrooge A Christmas Carol Cert PG, 96 mins HHIII In&ouTTonIGHT Youve goat to be kidding us! index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html44.html45.html46.html47.html