When MGM moved Tom Cruise's Nazi biopic Valkyrie from a summer release (we want box office!) to a fall release (we want awards!) to a February 2009 release (we want to bury this movie where no one can ever find it!), there was a widespread expectation that it would, in fact, stink. Then, in a burst of renewed confidence, the studio moved the release back to this month, just in time for awards-season glory.
Except not quite. For some reason, Valkyrie is screening for New York critics (and Washington critics, and presumably others for that matter) just a couple days too late for end-of-the-year awards consideration. Meanwhile, MGM has evidently been trying to downplay Cruise's involvement and the fact that he wears an eye patch for most of the film. (I noticed yesterday that in the movie poster, half of Cruise's face is in shadow, as if to conceal the fact that he's wearing an eye patch; in fact, if you look closely, it conceals the fact that he's not wearing an eye patch.)
Will Valkyrie in fact be the immense trainwreck that the early trailers seemed to promise? We'll know soon. But one thing, I believe, is certain: It will not hold a candle to the greatest of all contemporary eye patch movies, Tom DiCillo's Living in Oblivion. (Those who remember the film can fast forward to the 1:35 mark in the trailer below.)