Sign in using your account with
Battleship: Humans Vs Aliens Action Flick
Summer is all but here and we have been blessed with another alien-action blockbuster based on a toy and no, this time around it’s not Transformers, though by the way this film’s been marketed, you’d think Battleship was an extension of the Transformers franchise; ‘Transformers at Sea’ if you will. And while the two films have several things in common, they’re also quite distinct. For one Transformers focuses on the robots - and truth be told, they’re pretty damn impressive - while on the other hand, Battleship, surprisingly, focuses more on the human characters. Neither of the films managed to combine the two - interesting robots/aliens and compelling humans that is- but the human element in Battleship makes it easier to get caught up and emotionally involved in the film.
NASA discovers a planet in a different solar system that has very similar conditions to Earth, conditions conducive to life, and promptly builds a satellite station in Hawaii to try and establish contact with any forms of extraterrestrial life that may be out there. The scientists discover the success of their experiment when five huge unidentified objects hurtle into our atmosphere. One takes out a huge chunk of Hong Kong while the rest crash land in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Hawaii, in the middle of a bunch of international navy fleets that have gathered for an exercise. A massive battle takes place between the aliens and the navy as the humans try and thwart the aliens’ attempts to communicate with their home base and send for reinforcements.
Since Battleship is being marketed towards the same demographic that made Transformers such a cash cow, you’d think they’d have put a bit more effort into their alien design. Firstly, their spaceships look like metal cubes, kind of like a rectangular version of the AllSpark cube in Transformers, and secondly, the aliens themselves look like tall, metal Power Rangers. Another thing is that it’s never really explained why the aliens come to Earth in the first place. All we get is the hypothesis that when the humans managed to establish contact, a few aliens decided to mosey on over here to check out our planet.. Thankfully, and this may be a product of entering the film with zero expectations, the humans mostly make up for the aliens and the general lacklustre visuals.
Kitsch plays Alex, a smart slacker with attitude issues who’s forced by his older brother, Stone (Skarsgard), to join him in the US Navy as a way of getting his life on track. Decker plays Samantha, Alex’s girlfriend, who’s a physical therapist and the daughter of the fleet’s captain. Thanks to the fact that the film clearly emphasizes Alex’s potential, his transformation from immature slacker to a bona fide leader is actually believable while Samantha, thankfully, gets to be more than just the token girlfriend and plays a large part in saving the planet as well. Rihanna makes her acting debut as a badass Navy officer named Raikes while Linklater plays Cal, a wimpy, nervous scientist and the source of most of the film’s comic relief.
The film as a whole takes a while to settle into its groove, but when it does it becomes quite engaging. By the final third, when the war reaches its peak, you’re actively rooting for the Navy and restraining yourself from cheering out loud and singing along to AC/DC. The film as a whole is far from perfect and is actually too uneven to be called good, but the final half hour is wall-to-wall fun, ending the film on a pretty high note.
Peter Jackson’s fourteen-year-long Middle-Earth adventure has finally come to a close with the third and final instalment Bilgo Baggins’ journey with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; a slightly bloated, but generally successful, finale that boasts plenty of action and technical superiority over its immediate predecessors.
Hitting the ground running and wasting no time in plunging audiences in the deep-end, The Battle of the Five Armies begins exactly where the second film left off, with Smaug (once again voiced superbly by Cumberbatch) setting Lake-town ablaze as Bilbo (Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield (Armitage) and his army of loyal dwarf-followers watch from the Lonely Mountain.
After escaping imprisonment, Bard (Evans) slays Smaug, leaving the endless treasures of the mountain unguarded for Bilbo, Thorin and co. to continue their quest. But as news spreads of Smaug's demise, the lure of the mountain's coveted riches triggers an inevitable path to war.
A With a running time of just over two hours, The Battle of the Five Armies is the shortest of all of The Hobbit entries, though it’s also the most ambitious and visually-creative of the lot. The cinematography is exquisite and the CGI techniques seem to have been pushed to their very limit.
The cast is, as always, steadfast and dependable with Armitage delivering a blockbuster performance as Thorin, though Freeman’s usual whimsical nature and superb comic timing is, surprisingly, underused. Similarly, the rest of the cast, including Lilly as the she-elf, Evans, as the newly-emerged leader of Lake-town, and McKellen take a back-seat.
With this being the finale, it plays out like a climax and is heavy on the action and not much else – as a standalone film, it may feel a little hollow for some, but for fans, it's a fittingly spectacular conclusion to the series.
The tension and atmosphere is palpable in Jim Mickle’s latest genre-bending thriller, Cold in July; a riveting and a deliciously twisted adaptation of Joe R. Lansdale’s crime-novel of the same name.
Set against a Texan backdrop, Cold in July takes place in the early 80’s and centres on a man dealing with the shock of having killed an intruder in his own home. Richard Dane (Hall) is a quiet and a good-mannered frame worker who live in a small town with his wife, Ann (Shaw), and their young son, Jordan (Hall).
His relatively mundane, but happy, life is sent into turmoil after the deadly confrontation. Despite being assured that the man he shot and killed was a wanted felon, his guilt pushes him to visit the cemetery in which his victim is buried, where he comes by the deceased’s father, Ray (Damici); a paroled convict who seems intent on avenging his son’s death.
If you’ve already had the pleasure of watching Jim Mickle’s efforts in the moody and the somewhat unconventional 2013’s thriller, We Are What We Are, then you probably already know what to expect from the director’s fourth entry.
Following three unconventional horror films, Jim Mickle manages to channel his bloodcurdling standards into something much more grounded without losing his penchant for the unsettling.
Grim, edgy and full of unpredictable twists and turns, Cold in July keeps its audience on its toes the entire way through. As the two main characters begin to interact, things become much more complicated and a potential case of mistaken identity propels the plot into more than just a revenge mission. Just as you think the leads figure out a piece to the puzzle, the story takes a new direction altogether.
Deeply-layered and underlined with a sense of unpredictability throughout, one of Cold in July’s biggest assets is the stellar performance of its cast, who, collectively, manage to keep the story authentic amidst the twists and turns. Leading the way is Hall, who is convincing as an everyman caught up in a violent world; Shepard is his usual fantastic self while Johnson – who comes in a little later into the story – is infectious as a detective with quintessential Texan predilections.
While this film is unlikely to make a huge mainstream impact, it serves as another example of Jim Mickle’s terribly underrated directorial prowess. Its slow, broody build-up doesn’t sit comfortably in the scope of modern thrillers, but given time, it unfolds into a unique piece of filmmaking that will linger with you for days, maybe even weeks, after the credits roll.