Directed by Peter Berg (Hancock, Friday Night Lights) and co-produced with Hasbro legend, Brian Goldner, of the Transformers and G.I. Joe franchises, Battleship is the latest science-fiction, action thriller to hit the big screen. Inspired by the Hasbro board game of the same name, Battleship has also been hyped as music star Rihanna's film debut.
Based on its Transformer's credentials, audiences are likely to expect a lot from Battleship, but does it deliver?
Unfortunately, with a somewhat long-winded opening that is more comedic than exciting, Battleship is not instantly gripping. After breaking into a convenience store to steal a chicken burrito for gorgeous girl Samantha (Brooklyn Decker), Hopper is forced to do something with his life and joins the navy. But, as Samantha's father is a hard to please Admiral (Liam Neeson), Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) has to prove himself before he can marry her.
This overly-long introduction is sporadically interspersed with scientists sending messages to Planet G - a planet with a similar climate to ours. When Planet G's aliens send their ships to earth during a naval exercise, Lieutenant Hopper embarks on an intense ocean based battle with the help of Petty Officer Cora Raikes (Rihanna) and Japanese Commanding Officer, Nagata (Tadanobu Asanu).
Once the action gets going, Battleship does ramp up the excitement level. The alien ships are convincing, with the exception of weaponised, metallic, fire balls that just seem a step too far. But much of the suspense falls apart when the aliens' faces are revealed. Being somewhere between human, fish and lizard, it might have been better if they had just left their helmets on.
It also never really becomes clear what the aliens want. They appear to target objects that threaten them - guns and roads - being unconcerned with humans themselves. This aspect of Battleship would have benefitted from further development, or at least a summing up in the film's closing moments.
On the plus side, the US military battleships are nicely showcased, particularly a steam based veteran ship. But this is sadly undermined by an overly patriotic script that becomes almost cheesy in parts. To its cost, Battleship lacks interesting characters that go beyond mere action movie stereotypes. For her debut, Rihanna is not given a particularly challenging role, although she does manage to pull off the part of the tough weapons officer fairly well.
The film's tenuous link to Hasbro's boardgame is introduced neatly in the form of an electronic grid that monitors water displacement, enabling identification of the alien ships. On the downside though, this is also part of a much too sentimental Japanese-American subplot.
Although Battleship is bursting with patriotism and has numerous plot holes and cliches, it does deliver entertainment value through its action sequences.
Fans of television series 'Buffy' and 'Angel' welcomed the release of Joss Whedon's latest film creation, Cabin in the Woods. Co-written by the Buffy and Angel creator and long time series writer Drew Goddard, who also directs the movie, Cabin in the Woods is a twist on classic horror that is both quirky and fun.
Both Cabin in the Woods' trailers and official plot synopsis give away only limited details. Five, very stereotypical, college friends go to a woodland cabin for a short vacation and horrific things begin to happen. But this is not all there is to Cabin in the Woods and it does have a great deal more to offer. Although the secrecy about the plot is a deliberate attempt to save the film's genre-bending twists for the cinema experience, it seriously endangers Cabin in the Woods' credibility in the eyes of potential viewers. This secrecy is certainly a good decision for those who actually see the movie, but perhaps a poor one for those who will be put off by the trailer and miss out.
Whedon and Goddard's genre-bending does make the first twenty minutes or so of Cabin in the Woods hard to place and the audience is likely to fall into one of two camps, finding it either interesting or confusing. Shaky performances from the five cabin goers during their early scenes also weakens the opening. But, once Cabin in the Woods gets going, it becomes near impossible not to fall for its characters, its approach and its intrigue, dragging its audience completely into its bizarre version of reality.
A major plus for Cabin in the Woods is that it doesn't rely on one single twist. Movies that do this are typically enjoyable only once, put back on the dvd shelf never to be watched again. But Cabin in the Woods hints at its twist from the very beginning, unveiling its secrets gradually. A trait likely to make Cabin in the Woods enjoyable even after multiple viewings.
Cabin in the Woods' horror is convincing and well put together. But the film is also incredibly funny and there are moments when it feels like a hilarious spoof. The script is also brimming with Whedon-speak and this flair for invented language gives the dialogue an exciting, original feel.
But I'll bring myself to a halt now, before I go on to spoil the very well kept secrets of this film that you should enjoy for yourselves. Cabin in the Woods is original, creative and funny. It is also quite weird and constantly surprising. Disregard what you've seen in the very misleading trailer and see it if you're a fan of quirky, imaginative meta-horror, or simply want to be surprised.
In case you haven't heard of Pinterest, it's an online virtual pinboard that allows its users to create their own boards to collate the things they love.
My Pinterest page is a medley of cinema, culture and chic. On my pinboards you can find images from films, movie memorabilia, portraits of the stars, recommended books and beautiful vintage things. For the fashionistas among you, I've also included pinboards for my favourite fashion trends. Pinterest is new and is growing - I'm building my boards day by day, so keep checking back.
Pinterest is definitely worth a look - there are some wonderful images to lose yourself in. And if you're tempted to create your own boards, request an invite today. Be warned though it's incredibly addictive!