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GRITZ Movie Reviews: Stop Loss, 21, Meet The Browns, more

Posted: Apr 03, 2008

Of the plethora of Iraqi War movies that have hit the silver screen over the past couple of years, Stop Loss may very well be the best. Going into the theatre I had my doubts, simply because the movie was release through MTV Pictures, and judging from what MTV has become over the past years, I just felt like it was going to suck. I was wrong.

The story concerns friends from Texas who volunteer, go to Iraq, and are changed forever. When one of the guys wants out at the end of his tour of duty, he receives information that the Army has “stop lossed” him, which is like a “back door draft” whereby he is forced to take another tour whether he wants it or not. He fights for his right to refuse service, after all, he barely made it home alive, as we see is the all too realistic and massively bloody war sequences.

It is a story of friends, girlfriends, hometowns, the horrors of war, love and decisions.

Southern Rock Watch: There is a great soundtrack, which includes not a clip, but the entire song “Can’t You See’ from Marshall Tucker Band, during a scene where the guys are back home, drunk, and shooting up all of the sarge’s wedding gifts.

A true to life film. Hard to watch at times, but that’s what makes it real.



Kevin Spacey stars as a college professor with a secret. He uses his brilliant math students to make him a fortune in Vegas at the Blackjack tables. He has devised a system that is virtually foolproof, using all of his elite group of students to count cards and win. Everything goes great while the money, wine, comped suites at the hotels, sex and power are flowing freely, but like all fool proof systems, there is always a chance of getting caught. And that is when the you know what hits the fan big time.

It’s a great script with equally great acting, lots of twists and turns all the way up until the end.



I didn’t like the Scary Movie series or Epic Movie at all. They were just dumb. Superhero Movie is a little better, although they did tend to parody Spiderman way too much, with just a few short takeoffs on X Men, Fantastic Four and Batman. It might have been funnier to mix in all of the recent comic movies like The Hulk, Superman, Blade, Hellboy, The Punisher, Ghost Rider, etc. Another thing that kind of ticked me off was how they play up Pamela Anderson as a star, when the truth is she is only onscreen for five minutes. Not that Pam is any great actor, but its the principal of the thing.

I must say the bad guy “Hour Glass” would actually be right at home in a “serious” comic movie. And Leslie Neilsen brings his classic deadpan comedy to the film, which is worth a star or two itself.



The best way to describe Shutter is to say The Grudge 3. The movie is very similar to The Grudge. A young photographer starts seeing ghostly images showing up on all of his photographs. As it turns out, they are all pictures of the same restless spirit, a young lady who died before her time, in a brutal way. The movie is pretty good, but it did seem to drag in places, and really didn’t present anything new in the horror genre. Not a total loser, but nothing memorable.





This was an excellent film, and Frankie Faison’s character had me in stitches. Like all of Perry’s films, there are strong ties to family, friends, the South (Angela Bassett’s single mom character uproots from Chicago to move to Georgia) and anti-drug sentiments. There is both drama and comedy, as well as some genuine heartwarming scenes as well. But for me, I will never forget Leroy Brown’s word spinning and manner of dress. His speech at the funeral of his Daddy, and one liners help to make Meet The Browns a true classic. Lots of beautiful scenery from rural Georgia.




What a waste of film. This one was being filmed during Owen Wilson’s much publicized personal problems a while back, so he seems to just walk through the movie, which is built around the premise of three high school freshmen who are being tormented by a bully, so they place an ad for a bodyguard, and end up with a homeless con artist named Drillbit (Wilson). The standout performance comes from the bully (Alex Frost, who also turned in a great performance in Stop Loss), but even his thespian skills can’t save a movie that actually had four people walk out halfway through my viewing.


All Movie Reviews by Michael Buffalo Smith

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sarasmile says...

I agree. I went to see Drillbit Taylor. What a let down. Leatherheads made up for it.

coconut1955 says...

I wondered if you saw Stop Loss. Thought about you when they played Marshall Tucker.

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