IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

‘Stop-Loss’ is a Can’t Miss film

This week, Ryan Phillippe stars in “Stop-Loss,” a film that explores the struggles of soldiers who have to serve multiple tours in Iraq, Plus, Jonathan Rhys Meyers returns as King Henry VII on Showtime's "The Tudors."
/ Source: msnbc.com contributor

Movies

Serving in Iraq is difficult enough for a young soldier, but serving over and over again is unimaginable for most of us out of uniform. Yet many in the armed forces are being asked to do just that, given the shortages of man power in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The resulting toll on relationships here at home is the subject of “Stop-Loss,” a new film by director Kimberly Peirce (“Boys Don’t Cry”). “Stop-Loss,” which stars Ryan Phillippe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, avoids the politics of war and focuses on the soldiers’ stories as they cope with the demands of the government upon their lives as they’re asked to serve multiple tours. As the ads remind, the film is not anti-war, it’s pro-soldier. And soldiers deserve to have their stories told, over and over. (Paramount Pictures, opens Friday)

Television

Well before Mel Brooks pointed it out to a whole new generation centuries later, Henry VIII was one of the first to illustrate that it is good to be the king. His exploits are the subject of the Showtime series, “The Tudors,” which begins its second season this week. Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars as the big boy, although some critics were quick to point out that Rhys Myers is thin and slight, unlike the bearded, robust glutton most people know and despise. In this second season of 10 episodes, Rhys Meyers takes control of church and state, becomes a real bully and breaks up with Anne Boleyn (Natalie Dormer) the hard way. The series takes a dark turn during these episodes, and Henry VIII shows that while it is indeed good to be the king, the job involves more than just ale, mutton and wenches. Not all kings get that. (Showtime, Sunday, 9 p.m.)

Music

Most people associate the B-52s with “Love Shack,” and to a lesser extent, “Rock Lobster.” What is certain is that the B-52s like to keep the feet moving. Their music is wild, wacky, energetic and fun, and it’s hard to sit still and not shimmy when one of their songs comes on. Unfortunately, they haven’t made any new music recently. But that polka-dotted, beehived period of drab inactivity is over. “Funplex” is the B-52s’ first album of new music in 16 years. This is considered a reunion record, as it brings back original member Cindy Wilson. The group picks up where it left off in its heyday, with such offbeat selections as “Juliet of the Spirits,” “Deviant Ingredient” and the title track. You just know that the party going on inside the love shack will have this new disc playing until the soles of everybody’s go-go boots wear out. (Astralwerks)

DVD

Nine out of 10 people would probably agree that it’s preferable to go from the real world into fantasyland rather than the other way around. In fantasyland, everybody is cute, funny and animated. In the real world, there are bills to pay, bad weather and traffic. But the premise of “Enchanted” has Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) going from a cartoon world where she is about to marry a prince, to the gritty streets of New York City. The pitch meeting probably described it as “Snow White” meets “Taxi Driver,” only without the Mohawk. “Enchanted,” which also stars Patrick Dempsey, is out on DVD this week with a solid number of extras, including deleted scenes, making-of mini-docs and bloopers. (Walt Disney Video)

Books

Patricia Pearson found out that her lover was sleeping with another woman, and as a result she had a nervous breakdown. She was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder in 1987 at the age of 23. Most people might keep all of that a secret, but not Pearson. Instead, she embarked on an exploration of her malady and has put the results in a book called “A Brief History of Anxiety … Yours and Mine.” In it, she delves into her own past, telling with wit and candor about her younger days on the move as the daughter of a diplomat. It is estimated that more than 40 million American adults suffer from some form of anxiety. Much of the book is a memoir, but Pearson also researches the topic of anxiety in different cultures throughout history. If everybody who suffers from the disorder bought this book and told a friend, then Pearson won’t have any anxiety about whether it will be a best seller. (Bloomsbury)