What to Watch prides itself on often offering a wide variety of material from TV seasons to On Demand exclusives to remasters of classic flicks. Not this week. All six of the New Releases that you may be drawn to in your favorite store or on your favorite service are movies, and all released in the last 18 months. But the variety within those movies is remarkable. A Best Picture winner, action flicks, a superhero, and two indie drams that waste talented casts. Pick your favorites. Here’s how we would rank ‘em.
Film Review: Despite Rihanna, Peter Berg’s ‘Battleship’ Lands as One of the Best Popcorn Flicks Ever
CHICAGO – “Battleship” certainly could simplistically be reduced to a 131-minute propaganda piece of why you might want to enlist in the U.S. Navy – that is, if Earth had to ward off lizard-like creatures from a deep-space solar system we can only reach by slingshotting a highly amplified “What’s up, aliens?” broadcast to them.
And “Battleship,” which is rock-concert loud and lacks in strategically placed comedy, definitely will regret going down in history as being the first to offer the already rich, famous and slutty singer Rihanna a wasted, feature-film launching pad when she – like many other musicians before her (read: Britney, Mariah, etc.) – should simply stick to singing and (pole) dancing.
Thanks to “Battleship,” Rihanna has already been cast in 2013’s “The End of the World” with Seth Rogen and may even appear in 2013’s “The Fast and the Furious 6”. (We seriously need as many “Fast and Furious” films as “Star Wars” movies?) The “Battleship” camera – helmed by director Peter Berg (“Hancock” and the upcoming “Hancock 2”) – fears leaving it on her for more than a second and winces at giving her more than a few words to speak. Clearly she’s a blockbuster miscast.
|Read Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Battleship”.|
But U.S. Navy and Rihanna aside, “Battleship” succeeds where it absolutely must: in the department of unadulterated entertainment, special effects and just plain popcorn-flick fun. While popcorn flicks like “300,” “Transformers,” “Terminator,” “Predator,” “Iron Man” and “Die Hard” are notoriously known for being a monumentally entertaining waste of time, “Battleship” fits the grouping with one exception: at least some semblance of a script to make all the ass kicking make sense.
The film’s story, which is based on the classic Hasbro naval combat game of the same name, takes Jodie Foster’s “Contact” to a whole new level. Aliens in “Contact” – communicating through satellites – give humans the coded schematics to build a machine that whizzes across space and time for Earth’s first rendezvous with little green men. “Battleship” begins the same way – with amplified satellites – but then brings the aliens in the reverse direction: to Earth.
Image credit: ILM/Universal Pictures