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New surge in war movies

Now that we’ve gotten war off our TV screens, we can put it back where it belongs, in movie theaters. Because it looks like the war movie is back, repackaged and marketed anew, just like the war we used to see on TV. So observes “The Hollywood Reporter” after taking a look at the upcoming films now being showcased at the Toronto Film Festival. Among those featured are Spike Lee’s “Miracle at St. Anna,” which is the war movie as vindication of overlooked African-American history and Paul Gross’s “Passchendaele” which is the war movie as reminder of the mind-numbing and pointless slaughter of thousands of Canadians on a blood-soaked hard to pronounce Belgian WWI battleground. And sneaking in too is the now untouchable Iraq War Movie, called “anything but an Iraq War movie.”  Such as an action-adventure movie that just happens to take place in Iraq like Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker,” or a romantic comedy involving goofy, attractive folks who just happen to be Iraq War veterans on stateside leave in the US like Neil Burger’s “The Lucky Ones.” "Iraq is a dirty word in film marketing right now," explains Roadside Attractions co-topper Howard Cohen, who is distributing "The Lucky Ones." The "Reporter notes that Cohen is planning a Sept. 26 release for "Lucky" "in hopes that the zeitgeist might change, making the film more marketable.’

And let us not forget the war movie as Tom Cruise movie, “Valkyrie,” or as Quentin Tarantino movie, “Inglorious Bastards,” (both of which apparently are raising controversies with German critics, who are still soreheads  more than 60 years after the war ended)..

But the real sign that the war movie is making a comeback is the Hollywood script-like story of John McCain as processed into his presidential campaign narrative. As another Hollywood Reporter article comments about the just-concluded Republican Convention and its nominee (and you can just imagine these words being spoken by the late voice of Hollywood trailers, Don LaFontaine)  “A prisoner of war who beat the odds during five years of brutality in a Hanoi jail cell, John McCain beat the odds again Thursday night when he accepted the Republican nomination for president. The story of McCain's youth was told in the 2005 TV movie "Faith of Our Fathers." But walking up to the podium at the Xcel Energy Center, the now 72-year-old McCain turned another page in a new script that brought him from nearly failed candidate to a possible Hollywood-style triumph as president of the United States.”

And if they can’t do it in real life, there’s already the movie version. "The Guardian" has been calling on readers for casting suggestions for all the leading figures. The leading candidate for the role of McCain is, no surprise, neo-Republican Jon Voight.


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