Battleship: Where everyone tries very hard to act..

What do you think before you decide to go watch a movie that is based on a board game?

Thought 1: I don’t have a good feeling about this…

Thought 2: I wish I had better things to do this weekend..

 

What do you think after your get out of the movie hall after watching Battleship?

Thought 1: Well.. I deserved that..

Thought 2: I wish I had better things to do this weekend..

Battleship is one of those movies where your expectation levels before the movie is inversely proportional to how good you’ll feel about it after you’ve watched it. IMDB’s description about the movie is far more interesting than the actual movie.

IMDB says –

“A fleet of ships is forced to do battle with an armada of unknown origins in order to discover and thwart their destructive goals. “

We say –

“A bunch of hot-shot Navy guys (and 1 girl) fight highly sophisticated alien ships using an outdated, converted-into-a-museum battleship. All this with loud music constantly blaring in the background and everyone (except Liam Neeson) trying extremely hard to act.”

 

"aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.... hi there... aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...."

It is painful every time Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) comes on the camera to do anything other than run, scream or look good. Similar is the situation with almost every character in the movie. Liam Neeson as Admiral Shane is a force as usual, but it is sad that he doesn’t have any worthwhile screen time. Rihanna as Raikes is cute running around with a bunch of guys and manages to stay clear of the “irritating bimbo who’s not needed in the movie” tag.

"Hey.. that was my line.."
"aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa....."

Another low with the movie is its pace. For what is supposed to be a adrenaline pumped action movie, this one is distressingly slow. Absolutely nothing interesting or exciting happens in the first 30 or so minutes of the movie (I mean there’s not even a needless scene of semi-nudity). And when the alien ship finally crashes into Hong Kong, everyone in the audience heave a collective sigh of relief – “Finally.. we thought you’d never come”. The almost 2 hours of its running time, could very well have been cut to 1:15 – 1:30 and no one would have noticed. Not even the actors.

The action is bearable. Without getting into too many spoilers, the scene where the Japanese captain uses tsunami buoys to seek out the alien ship is a charming reminder of the original board/video game. The action sequences with the aliens are decent. But again, like with most mindless action movies, the director goes a little overboard (ignore the pun) with some scenes like when they manage to drift a huge battleship like it was an old Honda Civic. But all in all, the action scores a few (and the only) positives, for the movie.

Dig up the movie on a lazy Friday night when your girlfriend/wife is out of town and you have a bunch of guys over for an alcohol fest. The high will make the movie interesting for all of you and the hangover will ensure you forget the movie the next morning. Win-win.

Rating: 4.5/10

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The Descendants : The great Oscar snub

Let me be blasphemous right at the beginning and state that when I talk about the Oscar snub here, I am not talking about George Clooney not winning the Best Actor award.  He really did give a very good performance in the movie and some of his hardcore fans might be crying in their beds even today that he didn’t take home to Golden Man with him this year. But not me. You see for me, quite honestly, although his performance was most definitely worthy of a nomination, in the year of Jean Dujardin’s The Artist, Clooney really didn’t stand a chance to win that award. I think we are all so tuned to watching him play these witty, sometimes outrageous and quirky roles (read the Ocean’s trilogy, Confessions of a dangerous mind, O brother, where art thou?) that every time he pulls of a decent serious role (read Syriana, Michael Clayton, Up in the Air), we all jump in a collective yelp of joy akin to a group of 16 year old girls who just found out there’s a sale on woolen clothes….in March.

"That's what we think about this year's Oscars"

What I am talking about rather is the less appreciated, but highly impressive performance of Shailene Woodley. The 21 year old plays the role of Alexandra King with such nuance and effortlessness that it’s a shame she didn’t get nominated for a supporting actress award at the 2012 Academy Awards. I mean honestly, if Christopher Plummer can get away with an Oscar for just kissing a guy a few 10 times, Woodley surely deserved a nomination at least. Anyone who’s watched a movie will agree that if you were willing to look beyond the oh-my-god-i’m-going-blind brightness of Clooney, it is the performance of Woodley that will stay with you for a few hours, if not a few days.

"I won an Oscar because I am 82 years old, I kissed a guy on camera and I wore a purple sweater.. in there is my advice to you"

The Descendants tells us the story of the lawyer Matt King (Clooney), who is so dedicated to his profession that he has neglected his wife and kids for very many years. All that changes when a freak accident leaves his wife Elizabeth (Patricia Hastie) in a coma and King is forced to become a father he never was and build a connection he never had with his two daughters – the rebellious 17 year old Alexandra (Woodley) and the intellectual but foul mouthed 10 year old Scottie (Amara Miller). As if this getting-back-together uncomfortable-ness wasn’t quite enough for King, he has to negotiate a multi million dollar deal to sell a huge ancestral property in  Hawaii (of which he is the main trustee) that will make a lot of his relatives filthy rich AND he discovers that his wife was having an affair and was considering leaving him. How’s that for a bad week?

It is in the portrayal of a man drowned in multiple crises that Clooney delivers. The pain is always there, never surfacing enough for the audience to see a full blown breakdown. The tears are always around the corner, but never in such quantity to make it a sappy-flood-of-glycerin scene. And I think that’s where the director Alexander Payne scores so many points with his viewers. This could very well have take the PS I Love You route to mushyness, but it doesnt and it manages to hold on its own.

And there are so many other characters in the movie that you will remember fondly every time you think of the movie – Alexandra’s dumb and cartoony friend/boyfriend Sid (Nick Krause), King’s woozy bawa of a cousin, Cousin Hugh (Beau Bridges), the exceptionally judgmental and perpetually disapproving father-in-law Scott Thorson (Robert Forster) and of course Matthew Lillard

Undoubtedly one of the best movies of the year. Undoubtedly one of Clooney’s best performances. Undoubtedly a movie you must watch if you haven’t.

My rating: 7.5/10

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