Spring Movie Guide: May 2012 – Week 3

The Dictator

Written by Sacha Baron Cohen & Alex Berg  & David Mandel & Jeff Schaffer

Directed by Larry Charles 

Starring Sacha Baron Cohen and Anna Faris

“The heroic story of a dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.”

Sacha Baron Cohen teams up with his film collaborator Larry Charles (of Seinfeld fame) and they bring a long a few of the Seinfeld writers to punch up Baron Cohen’s script.  Taking a slightly different, non-mockumentary approach to the film, they are still sticking to the same basic formula, without relying on the unknown-ness of Sacha Baron Cohen.

The film is supposed to be a satirical take on the novel by Saddam Hussein, so he has a lot of material to take on, and this time he has Anna Faris co-starring with him to make it a bit more of a real narrative film.  Otherwise, it’s a dirty Coming to America with Sacha Baron Cohen, for his fans specifically.  It has a lot of competition this weekend, but we’ll see if the comedy crowd comes with their dollars.

See what Jeremy thought of the movie in his review.

Battleship

Screenplay by Erich & Jon Hoeber

Directed by Peter Berg

Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Rihanna, & Liam Neeson

“A fleet of ships is forced to do battle with an armada of unknown origins in order to discover and thwart their destructive goals.”

Yes, in the first of the Hasbro properties to make it to the screen has done so.  Battleship has made it to theaters in the sure hands of Peter Berg, a studio filmmaker who is like Michael Bay that can sit still for more than a minute.  However, his films are still prone to the faults of the studio system, like the casting of Rihanna, but Alexander Skarsgard is still breaking out of his shell into a leading man in America, and I’m sure this movie will further cement him as such.

Sure, the script is probably silly, and most of the film is probably things exploding, but the people going to see it are going to see it for those reasons, so they won’t be disappointed.  I’m still curious how much The Avengers will affect this film as I know there are still people trying to make it to that first summer blockbuster before they forget about it amid a bunch of other summer movies.  This is the first challenge to The Avengers‘ throne, so we’ll see how the weekend goes.

See what Jeremy had to say about the movie in his review.


What To Expect When You’re Expecting

Based on the books by Heidi Murkoff

Screenplay by Shauna Cross and Heather Hach

Directed by Kirk Jones

Starring Chris Rock, Elizabeth Banks, Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison & Jennifer Lopez

“A look at love through the eyes of five interconnected couples experiencing the thrills and surprises of having a baby, and ultimately coming to understand the universal truth that no matter what you plan for, life doesn’t always deliver what’s expected.”

That old favorite of moms worldwide, What To Expect When You’re Expecting is finally finding its way into a movie theater, just in time for all the new summer babies.  Yes, everyone has baby fever, and since I’m expecting later in the fall, I get a kick out of the humor here where I normally wouldn’t.  The studio managed to gather a comical cast (for the most part) along with some interesting choices, and gave it a whirl.

It seems like the movie itself is more reliant on the laughs than getting actual information across, but a lot of people that are expecting don’t want to be daunted by a film, so the humor will definitely pick up some of that slack.  This one has a crowded schedule against it, but at the same time, it’s very effective counter programming to superheroes and aliens.

See what Courtney thought of the movie in her review.

IN LIMITED RELEASE

The Samaritan

Starring Samuel L. Jackson

Written by David Weaver & Elan Mastai

Directed by David Weaver

“After twenty years in prison, Foley is finished with the grifter’s life. When he meets an elusive young woman named Iris, the possibility of a new start looks real. But his past is proving to be a stubborn companion.”

This one is getting a limited release this weekend from IFC Films after a limited VOD release, and it’s good to see Samuel L. Jackson making smaller movies in between the big studio fare.  This one seems like a lot more personal a movie for Jackson, but it still makes the best of his on screen persona.

Probably not for everybody, but this one will open in a few theaters this weekend, with a bit of a roll out to other cities beyond that depending on per-theater averages.  For those looking for a bit of a tortured bad ass Jackson, as opposed to the swaggering superhero Jackson, this film might be for you.

I’ll be reviewing this one as soon as possible.

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