Sunday, April 22, 2012

A surprising encounter with *Battleship* and a new pair of socks (2012 FO#2)

Battleship: A Review

Yesterday I saw Battleship. Before I review this film I think it's important to add the disclaimer that I don't usually watch action movies. The representations of women in these films are consistently awful, I don't like gratuitous violence and the action sequences always go on for far too long. I'm not familiar with the tropes and traditions of this genre and I would not normally watch this film. However, my friend is in love with Taylor Kitsch and we have a deal - I'll see his movies with her and she'll allow me to wax lyrical about Michael Fassbender for as long as I like. Everyone's happy, although I suspect that Sam is the happiest because he now doesn't have to listen to either of us talk about our Movie Boyfriends or how our real-life men don't measure up to the impossible fantasies we have constructed about these incredibly good-looking men (well, he doesn't. Michael Fassbender wouldn't put his dirty dishes in the sink instead of the dishwasher when the dishwasher is right there next to the sink. I haven’t met him but I just know.)

Battleship is based on the Hasbro game of the same name (which, for the record, I was terrible at as a child. There’s no skill involved in playing Battleship – it’s all about guesswork and luck. I was much more of a Connect 4 kind of girl). Alex Hopper (Taylor Kisch) is a loser with no job, car or girlfriend. After a being arrested for drunkenly breaking into a convenience store to impress a girl (Brooklyn Decker, who – fun fact – is married to Andy Roddick IRL) his brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgard, aka Eric from True Blood. It took me a while to recognise him because without prosthetic vampire fangs he actually has a really weird underbite) forces him to enroll in the navy. Then aliens invade the earth, et cetera et cetera et cetera.

If that summary makes the movie sound terrible, that is because it is terrible. Battleship is a really bad film. The characters are one-dimensional stererotypes who don’t develop at all over the course of the film. The plot is as full of holes as Swiss cheese. If someone told me that a computer program had processed every action and science fiction film every made and, from them, produced the script for this film I would not be surprised, because even with my limited action movie experience I could see that Battleship is highly derivative and formulaic.  But … (and this is a big but) … I actually enjoyed watching this movie. It’s Disney-fied action movie lite – there’s very little blood and no swearing, minimal death or destruction of the characters who have names, a bit of self-consious winking at the audience and the comfort of knowing from the opening credits how the story is going to end. This movie was predictable with healthy lashings of sexism, racism and jingoism, but it was fun*. If more filmmakers should remember that at its very core Hollywood is an entertainment industry and a successful film must entertain, not manipulate, preach or talk down to its audience, then movies would be better than a lot of the crap that's made today. (The Help, I’m looking at you. Your saccharine sweetness and persistent attempts to manipulate me emotionally made me want to vomit.)

I’m giving Battleship three out of five stars. A movie that can be summed up in four words (Boobs! Explosions! Yay America!) doesn’t really deserve that high a score but it was an enjoyable movie experience that didn’t invoke the desire to throw things at the screen (Battle Los Angeles, I’m looking at you. You sucked and you get no stars). Be warned – this is a really awful film, but not a bad way to spend two hours on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Ta Da! Another finished object.

A really good knit blogger would model their really gorgeous finished socks, taking shots that display the pretty lace pattern of the sock and subtle variations of the yarn. A really good knit blogger would wax lyrical about the ease of knitting (1) compared to how complicated the finished project looks (8).  

I, however, am a sucky knit blogger who can't even manage to connect her camera to her computer. Instead, I give you this iPhone photo of my latest finished object:

You'll have to trust me when I say these socks are really gorgeous. The pattern, Spring Forward from Knitty, is simple yet looks really effective. The yarn, Tofutsies, is lovely to work with and creates a fabric that is soft and light yet feels durable and long lasting as well as being naturally anti-bacterial (bonus!). I love these socks and they will be hard to give away. I think I might be displaying a second pair of these socks finished before the end of the year but for me this time. I hope the recipient likes these because I think they're fab.

* Sexism and racism = bad and not excused by fun. But the sexism and racism were so overt in Battleship that it was almost ironic.


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