Another week where no movie challenges The Avengers. We’ve got a movie based on a board game, a movie based on a book and a movie that’s essentially a bunch of skits cut together with a single thread running to it. Really, you’re better off spending a weekend with Netflix or Redbox than heading to the theaters. Unless you’re looking for an indie film, there are some in smaller theaters that are worth your time.Battleship
In short, if you are in the market for a big-budget action movie this weekend, see The Avengers. If you’ve already seen it, see it again. But if you’ve seen it as many times as you can bear, and you absolutely need to go out to an aliens-versus-humanity blockbuster—no, I can’t go that far.
Not being an aficionado of the grid-based Hasbro board game Battleship, I can’t comment on how closely “Battleship” the movie replicates it. But if the movie is anything like the game, I say stay at home and read a good book (or graphic novel). Or listen to an audiobook – In short, do anythingelse.
Skillful conductors of mayhem, director Peter Berg and his music composer Steve Jablonsky try to manipulate the audience by alternating from victories to defeats with music that slows down to incorporate mournful bugles. At least the alien missiles look like the pegs from the board game.
Verdict: Skip It What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Those whose chief interest is in watching things explode on screen may find “Battleship” thoroughly satisfying. Things do explode. And explode. And explode.
Perhaps, once all these actors were hired, there wasn’t any money left for decent filmmakers. Perhaps, as in many star-driven properties, signing up malleable filmmakers who’d simply ensure everyone got nice closeups and yummy catering was always the point.
Let’s face it, though: happy endings don’t deliver themselves, and for anyone drawn in by all those famous faces on the poster, “Expecting” should deliver exactly what they’ve come to expect over these past few years.
With instant brand recognition, a winning cast, familiar TV elements and an easy-to-follow nine-month structure, What to Expect When You’re Expectingis engineered to deliver something for everyone. Just don’t expect a bundle of joy.
Verdict: Skip It The Dictator
Forget including a single mother or a same-sex couple — “What To Expect” can’t even acknowledge a world where sometimes it’s the man who’s itching for a baby, and the woman who dreads the loss of freedom, sleep and sex drive.
I wish we had more American movies like this — entertainments that mix low farce and high political satire, reminding us that extreme silliness does not preclude extreme seriousness. The Dictator rules!
The Dictator also represents the moment in which Baron Cohen runs up against the limitations imposed by his own abrasive persona. I think it’s safe to say that he has no equal as an un-embarrassable guerilla satirist, but for that very reason, he’s an odd fit as a romantic hero.
In the film’s final moments, Aladeen extolls the joys of dictatorship, which winds up sounding suspiciously like our Western brand of government. It is broad and obvious, and like much of the movie’s bits, you can see it coming from a mile away.
Verdict: Wait For It
That’s why The Dictator leaves you laughing helplessly. It starts at outrageous and rockets on from there. Screw the occasional sputter.