Trailer Reviews for May 18, 2012

BATTLESHIP



Call me crazy, but I actually kind of want to see this movie. Not because I think it might be good, but because I think it might be such a godawful trainwreck that it actually becomes funny, at least in review form. First Bottom Five of 2012 candidate! Whoo! Not only is it a film based on a loosely connected board game, but it also goes the massive alien invasion route that has become irritatingly common in the last few years. Rhianna is a singer who seems to be capable of only one facial expression, so it makes sense that she’d be on the cast, and Liam Neeson has effectively given up, but I have to wonder what Taylor Kitsch and Alexander Skarsgard were thinking. “I need to pay off my mortgage” seems more likely than “this looks like a good movie.”

THE DICTATOR



Sacha Baron Cohen is a funny guy (okay, maybe not so much in Bruno) but his track record combined with the inherently ridiculous lives some real life Middle Eastern dictators lead makes this movie appealing to me. I don’t know if it’s appealing enough to make up for the extreme trainwreck fascination I feel for Battleship though. I haven’t made up my mind yet. The second trailer reveals more of the plot than this one does – it seems like these funny Wadiyan scenes may all be from the opening act and that the bulk of the movie is occupied by “fish out of water” jokes after he flees his country for America and ends up having to live life like the rest of the riffraff. Still funny, but possibly not as funny as life in Wadiya.

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING



Geez, they’ll make a movie out of anything these days. Self help books (He’s Just Not That Into You), toys (Transformers), board games (Battleship) and now medical advice handbooks. What’s next? Lawn furniture? Having said that, though, I don’t know if the humor of the reality of pregnancy contrasted with the magazine version ever really gets old – the screeching, the mood swings, the crushing of husbands, the leakage of bodily fluids… it’s hard to imagine anyone being able to spin that into a plus. I just hope they don’t go the Valentine’s Day route and turn the ensemble into a ginormous, trite mishmash.

THE LADY



Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis – two actors I like but would not have thought of sticking together, probably because I would be expecting kung fu fights on treetops and “Avada Kedavra!” Anyway they have good chemistry here, even if David is looking a little worse for wear these days. Even more interesting is the story – I’ve read the graphic novel Burma Chronicles, which mentioned Aung San Suu Kyi in passing as an activist who was under house arrest that the author wanted to sneak in and see, and I always wondered what her story was (not enough to look up a book about it, obviously, but enough that I would see this movie). The events in this movie may have taken place years ago, but they’re still relevant – the military governing body that takes power is still in power in Burma (also called Myanmar).

THE SAMARITAN



Oh joy. A movie about criminals that stars Samuel L. Jackson. Let me quickly put on my hat and run down to the theater for tickets (not). Though it is good to see Samuel L. Jackson in a role that’s not some badass secondary character in every movie ever made, it’s also not good, because the reason he’s so often a badass secondary character is that he can only play that one character convincingly. Usually you can just squint and imagine him with an eyepatch or a lightsaber to turn his current role into Mace Windu or Nick Fury. But in this one he seems slightly more subdued. It’s progress! It’s not enough to make me want to see the movie (especially not when they give it all away in the trailer) but it’s progress nonetheless.

VIRGINIA



Okay… what? Dramatic hostage situation to quirky dysfunctional family comedy in the blink of an eye. After reading the description of this film (blah blah single mom, blah blah sherriff, blah blah political office) I was not interested in seeing it but a few seconds into the trailer I changed my mind (I think it was the peas and carrots comment that did it). Also, that Mormon kid looked like Justin Bieber, and that’s just funny.

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