Helmed by Boys Don’t Cry director Kimberly Peirce, Stop-Loss follows Texan soldier (Ryan Phillippe) from a firefight in Tikrit to life back home, where his army buddies start to crack up and he goes AWOL upon learning he’s going back to Iraq as part of the military stop-loss program. The Voice thinks it’s too derivative of Vietnam PTSD movies like Deerhunter, but admirable for its measured contemplation of the Iraq fallout.
The trailer for 21, about a team of brainiacs who make a killing in Vegas counting cards, is so thorough that the New Republic’s Christopher Orr wrote his entire review before even seeing the movie. He says he got it pretty much right, and the biggest surprise is that 21 is “even worse” than he thought it'd be. The Times’s Manohla Dargis pans it too, saying Kevin Spacey, who plays the maverick professor who leads the team, is “on autopilot” in this “feature-length bore.”
Michael Ian Black, of the cult-comedy troupe Stella, wrote the original script for Run, Fat Boy, Run, which was set in America until Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz) whisked it away to England; the comedy concerns a plus-size security guard who enters a marathon to show his ex-fiancé that he’s an achiever. Pegg plays the titular runner, Thandie Newton is the jilted fiancé, Hank Azaria plays her rich American boyfriend, and Friends star David Schwimmer directs. The Times calls it “a rare comedy that believes in its own message, and that could inspire the depressed and the demoralized to grit their teeth and keep running.”
A.O. Scott says Priceless, a farce about sex and gold digging in the south of France, is “an amusing ball of fluff that refuses to judge its characters’ amoral high jinks.” The Cool School, a documentary about the nascent mid-century L.A. art scene, is “essential history,” according to Nathan Lee. The Michael Caine and Demi Moore ‘60s-era heist flick Flawless bores the Observer’s Rex Reed, who says “the two stars don’t have enough charisma to fill a demitasse.” And you’ve been warned not to see the Jared Leto vanity project Chapter 27.