I’ve mentioned it before, (here in the S.H.I.E.L.D. trailer write-up) but I love when shows embrace social media, especially when they come up with a clever hashtag with which to brand themselves. There are few better than the HBO vampire show, True Blood, with their #WaitingSucks campaign. In addition to having something that is easy for people to spread around twitter, they put out YouTube videos as well.
When bloggers first got word of a film based on the popular game “Battleship”, an eruption of laughter seated deeply within the orifices of the blogosphere was cast out into the sky. There were storms and hurricanes and tsunamis; people around the world were affected by the tragedy. I’ll admit that I participated in the royal beheading regarding the mere idea of this film. Coupled with the awful first trailer and I was set to avoid this film at all costs.
Just the idea of a film based on a simplistic board game is enough to make any critic gag with disgust. But, you know, time goes on, the laughter dies down, and things change. So when I finally got around to seeing Battleship, I was fresh off the disappointment of The Avengers, so pretty much anything this film had to offer couldn’t be more of a let down than that. Within Battleship‘s first ten minutes, I was engaged, I was cracking up, and I was ready to go along for the ride, promptly leaving my brain at the door.
Battleship follows Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch), a slacker who lives on the couch of his brother, Commander Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgard) of the US Navy. After a tazer filled run in with the law, Stone leads his brother down a new direction. Fast forward seven years, Alex is now referred to as Lieutenant Alex Hopper of the United States Navy. In a serious relationship with his beautiful girlfriend, Sam (Brooklyn Decker), Alex plans to ask her father, Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson), for her hand in marriage. But Hopper will find out that surviving Sam’s father will be the least of his problems.
During an annual Naval war game, five extra terrestrial air crafts crash into the ocean, startling the fleet of ships currently occupying those waters. Hopper goes to identify the ships, bringing along trigger-happy Petty Officer Cora “Weps” Raikes (Rihanna) and Chief Petty Officer Walter “The Beast” Lynch (John Tui). Hopper touches the ship which turns it back on, causing it to lift itself out of the water and into the air. Further startled by this, the sailors back on the destroyer ships proceed to attack the unidentifiable spaceship that seems to be posing a threat. What ensues is a battle for the safety of Earth that will forever change the world.
Back on land, Sam, who works as a physical therapist for injured veterans, is taking a hike with her newest patient, a legless officer who is still adjusting to his condition. Up there, they run into Cal Zapata (Hamish Linklater), a scientist who worked with NASA to send out signals to an extrasolar planet with conditions similar to the Earth. Back when the signal was first sent out in 2005, Zapata claimed that the arrival of another life-form would be akin to Christopher Columbus and the Indians, only we would be the Indians.
The only way to ensure that alien reinforcements don’t make it to Earth is to destroy the satellite where the first signal was sent out. They have until 8:43 AM the following morning to do so, and if they fail, there could be upward of 500,000 UFOs invading Earth and all of its inhabitants.
From its first minute, Battleship differentiates itself from other similarly plotted films with its engaging characters, rather ingenious script, and breathtaking direction by cult filmmaker Peter Berg. Most people know Berg for his “blockbusters with brains” approach to big-budget filmmaking, and let me assure in saying that Battleship is no exception. Despite the shit-blows-up approach to the preview, the film has a lot more to say than one would originally think.
Berg’s decidedly anti-war film is actually a twist on an overly patriotic genre that shoves the importance of the military down the throat of its viewers. Instead, Berg forces the viewers to question the actions of the “invaders” of Earth. When analyzed from another perspective, one could make the argument that they were actually the good guys. The first major point to be made is that we, the humans, invited them, the aliens. We got a response, and what do we do? Attack.
Secondly, why do you think the aliens landed in the ocean in the first place? They could have just as easily landed on actual Earth and saved themselves a trip to land. I theorize that it’s because they didn’t want to harm any of the humans living on Earth. The simplistic weaponry used by the aliens is, in fact, not weaponry at all; it’s mining equipment. Yeah, I said it, mining equipment. It’s explained in the film that there’s only one periodic element that they can recognize which was in their fuel. So why mining equipment?
Well, for starters, they probably only had enough fuel to get themselves to Earth, but not back home. I don’t know if you know, but intergalactic space travel probably eats up a lot of gasoline. The mining equipment was so the aliens could mine out the element used in their gasoline so that they could get home. Am I making sense yet? Also, not to spoil anything, but during the battle scenes, the aliens have quite the moral complex, only attacking anything or anyone that poses an immediate threat to their safety. Misinterpreted as an attack, it was actually the humans that took the first shot.
At face value, Battleship is a mindless action movie that does nothing but aesthetically please anything that comes its way. But viewers who are willing to put in the effort will find a Peter Berg-ified blockbuster that has something to say. Furthermore, in the “cool stuff taht goes boom” department, the film delivers. I can guarantee you that Battleship is the only film that has an 80-year-old man that says, “Let’s drop some lead on these motherf***ers!”. But with that, the film never loses its sense of humanity. For that, Battleship is enjoyable on almost every level. From the gorgeous visuals to the engaging subtext, Battleship is the year’s first, and hopefully not last, intellectual action film.
Summer time is right around the corner, and so is the premier of the 5th season of HBO’s True Blood. We’ve covered some of what we know about season five, let’s get caught up to speed on the rest of what we can expect!
Back in May Dr. Kronner wrote an article about the new Straw Dogs remake. Allow me to start off by saying, unlike him, I have not seen the original version of Straw Dogs or read The Siege of Trencher’s Farm, the book that the original film was based on. So I watched it and did my best to judge the movie as it stands on its own merits, rather than how it compares to the other versions.
“Los Angeles screenwriter David Sumner (James Marsden) and his wife, Amy (Kate Bosworth), move back to Amy’s hometown in the Deep South. Tensions begin to rise due to Amy’s former lover Charlie Venner (Alexander Skarsgård, True Blood), who rapes Amy after having his friends lure David out into the woods and strand him. When David agrees to help one of the locals (Walton Goggins, Justified), whose mentally retarded brother Jeremy (Dominic Purcell) has been falsely accused of rape, the normally pacifist David offer the two sanctuary and prepare to defend their home against Charlie and his friends, who seek to eliminate the people in the house.”
Something a lot of critics seem to be complaining about are the minor changes Lurie made to the story. Like changing David’s profession from math teacher to screenwriter, or changing the location of the film from rural England to the American south. I don’t feel any of the changes made have hurt the plot or the feel of the film.
I have also read that this version of the story is less dark and disturbing than the original film. Now, personally I didn’t feel like Lurie pulled any punches and if the original was darker and more disturbing I really don’t know what else they did to make it that way.
The rape scene alone was fairly unnerving not to mention all the killing.
One of my favorite moments in the film was when David refers to Charlie and his pals as a “…Bunch of straw dogs.” When questioned he explains “In ancient Chinese rituals, dogs made out of straw were used as offerings to the gods. During the ritual they were treated with the utmost reverence. When it was over and they were no longer needed they were trampled on and tossed aside. They become nothing. When their football careers are over that’s all these kids become Straw dogs.”
Overall I felt the acting was really good. James Woods and James Marsden actually impressed me the most. It was also nice seeing our buddy Walton Goggins even if it was a minor role.
I recommend seeing this movie; it’s a little slow at the start but picks up in the third act.
Side Note: One critic (who I will not justify with a link) let’s call him Bob, complained that it made no sense that Amy didn’t tell David about her rape, and stated that this movie ended with the couple having bonded through their shared trauma. Bob is a moron. Clearly he knows nothing about how rape victims, considering more than half don’t report the crime. Also that movie ended with the main characters being horribly broken, Amy in particular.
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Though I thought this season had easily the weakest premiere of any season to date, the episodes since then however, have been some of the most entertaining ever. And that’s saying something consider how little I care about most of the storylines.
hilariously tragically killed Sookie’s fairy godmother he becomes extremely inebriated (read: drunk off his ass) and funnier than ever. He pinches Sookie’s butt and then takes off into the woods…just prior to sunrise. Now all this makes for a mighty fun watch. Sookie and the wolf track Eric down in the water, as the fairy blood in his system is starting to wear off. Lucky timing.
Outside of the Sookie/Eric story, which encompasses the werewolf as well, the next best section tonight was surprisingly the ‘Jason vs. the Hillbilly Panthers’ part. He escapes – finally – and kills Felton, delivering a favor to the entire viewing audience. This is the section that normally bores me, but when Jason drove that stake through the Panther Felton, I actually cared for a minute.
Bill finds out that the crazy chick from Dexter that he banged last week is his great great ect. ect. granddaughter. Ewww. But hey, at least Mona Robinson is her’s and Andy’s grandmother.
Jason later collapses by the road where luckily some friends are driving by – Jessica and Hoyt. The young couple is barely in this one, but Hoyt’s adopted replacement – Tommy seeks out his mother only to be predictably betrayed again. Sam will no doubt eventually free Tommy from his newly restored prison, but for the time being, I’m not worried about him. The whole shifter collective is pretty lame right now, I mean really, you can be any animal and none of them choose a bear? Pathetic.
The other story picked up tonight was the witches, or more accurately, how they dealt with Pam. Marnie once again channeled the witch that we saw in the premiere (and in an earlier flashback) and triggers Pam’s face to begin rotting. It was awesome. Growing up in the 80’s (pre-Twilight) this is the kind of thing you’d expect from a show or movie about vampires and werewolves and witches and demons.
Face Rotting Off > Sparkly Vampires
Aside from Pam and Eric, my other favorite part has to be the development of Terry and Arlene’s baby…and IT’S CREEPY DOLL!!!
Overall, good – not great. I’d give it 3.5 Bears. Might’ve been lower because of so little Jessica, but the baby, the drunk Eric, and Pam’s face rotting off, those all count big in my book…