Archives for the month of: June, 2018

They did, in fact, make a movie based on the game Battleship, and I have, in fact, seen it more than once. And it is awful but compelling. There are aliens. There is Hot Tim Riggins. There is Rihanna for some reason. And there is the USS Missouri.

The premise? Aliens come to Earth, and they isolate the Hawai’ian islands and knock out communications. So they must be destroyed within the little impregnable dome they have made in the Pacific, by people who are already there, with the help of tsunami buoys, which make a helpful grid. Also Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch, who is probably named something, but in a movie this silly I can’t even care at all) is possibly pissing away his Navy career but also dating the Admiral’s (Liam Neeson, for no reason whatsoever) daughter (Brooklyn Decker).

MV5BMjI5NTM5MDA2N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjkwMzQxNw@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_So, like, it’s a game of Battleship, and also there is ludicrous romantic drama.

Now! For a change! The girl has stuff to do! She finds nerds and veterans to help her fight the aliens on the island while Hot Tim Riggins is fighting the aliens at sea. Hot Tim Riggins has with him both Landry (Jesse Plemons, and, yes, again, I’m sure he has a name in this movie but it doesn’t matter) and Rihanna. He also has the assistance of the Japanese Navy in the person of Tadanobu Asano.

You may be wondering how you could possibly have a movie called Battleship in a time when the Navy no longer uses them. And then you may recall that this movie takes place around Hawai’i. And you may recall that the USS Missouri is berthed, still, in Battleship Row at Pearl Harbor. And you may manage to ignore that her engines are gone and her guns are full of cement. And if you do all these things, you will love this movie, because the payoff is incredible.

Is this a good movie? No, it is not a good movie. It is asinine and ridiculous and a feature-length advertisement for the United States Navy. But it is also relentlessly gleeful and it knows exactly what it is doing, and it is so, so watchable.

Director: Peter Berg
Rating: PG-13
Length: 131 minutes
Score: unrateable. amazing.

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MV5BOTM2NTI3NTc3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzM1OTQyNTM@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Solo: A Star Wars Story is basically Space Oliver Twist followed by Space Any Double-Cross Movie. Maybe particularly that later Pirates of the Caribbean movie that didn’t make any sense. That is: Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) grows up in a gang of thieves led by a disgusting worm, and then he escapes to the glamor of smuggling, via the army. Since it is directed by Ron Howard, it at least resembles, in many useful ways, a film.

Also there is a girl, Kira (Emilia Clarke). Oh, sorry. Qi’ra.

Oh man. I was lukewarm on her until I realized her name was stupid for no reason, and now I hate her. She starts out also as one Fagin’s Lady Proxima’s gang, but she does. not. escape. She is forced to enter a life of misery and crime and large jewelry as organized crime honcho Dryden Vos’s (Paul Bettany) right hand lady. She and Han of course meet again, and this is most of the movie.

But first Han has to enter his own life of crime, via a small gang of smugglers: Beckett (Woody Harrelson), Val (Thandie Newton), and Rio (Jon Favreau). They are disposable, but they teach him valuable lessons about trust and introduce him to Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). Lando still owns the Millennium Falcon (with all her upholstery and other, you know, useful parts), and dresses like it’s the sexy space-70s. Billy Dee Williams should be extremely flattered. Lando is the best part of this movie, because Donald Glover appears to be having the time of his life, and his character makes sense.

The women in this movie are okay. At least they dress more or less appropriately to context, so that’s a step forward on The Last Jedi. There may be a fleeting moment when the film passes the Bechdel test, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge as an angry rebellious droid provides almost the right amount of moderately intelligent humor and social commentary (she is worse than K-2SO, but that’s a hard act to follow).

It was fine. I don’t think it was necessary. Sure, it’s neat to meet Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), but I already knew about as much about Han’s past as I wanted. Ugh. Why was there a girl? Just give me Han, Chewbacca, and Lando. I would watch hours of that.

Stray observations (Spoilers):

  • Darth Maul? Why.
  • Han’s surname is made up on the fly by a bored Imperial pencil-pusher. Possibly I love this.
  • I want Edna Mode to talk to Lando about his wardrobe.

Director: Ron Howard
Rating: PG-13
Length: 135 minutes
Score: 3/5