Release date: Nov. 6

Distrib Overture

Think of “Men Who Stare at Goats” as a cross between “Three Kings” and “Catch-22” as filtered through “Dr. Strangelove.” The lunacy of war is certainly the issue in this stranger-than-fiction chronicle of a reporter (Ewan McGregor) who has a chance encounter with a member of an experimental U.S. military unit (George Clooney) charged with highly unorthodox, new-age methods to neutralize the enemy.

The movie represents a return to the sociopolitical terrain that marked Clooney’s collaboration with production partner Grant Heslov, producer and co-writer of “Good Night, and Good Luck” (for which he and Clooney shared an Oscar nomination). Heslov directed and produced here.

Clooney is not only enjoying a banner year (he’s the star of the buzzed-about “Up in the Air,” which may result in a push for supporting laurels), but he’s developed a reputation as an activist who puts his money where his mouth is by making movies that are both provocative and entertaining, which the Academy appreciates.

He joins a star-studded cast that includes Oscar winner Kevin Spacey and four-time nominee Jeff Bridges. Robert Elswit, who won an Oscar for “There Will Be Blood,” lensed.