Brooklyn Decker

When a “loose” adaptation of Hasbro’s iconic board game Battleship was announced, it didn’t take a genius to figure out what type of film was in the making: big, loud, manic summer fun. The man to deliver on that promise was none other than Peter Berg, a director whose filmography ranges from Friday Night Lights to Hancock. After over three years of working on the film, Berg didn’t make a film that passes itself off as anything it’s not; he’s made Battleship. Battleship features the expected markings of all commercial tentpole films, something Berg did not want to shy away from. As the anti-film school director put it, he wanted to make a global event film, one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. When your film’s based on a popular board game, how could you? Berg, along with his potential blockbuster, could not be more self-aware. Here is what Battleship director Peter Berg had to say about letting life inform storytelling, his organic and actor-friendly approach to filmmaking, and how to keep your sanity while crafting a $200m event film:

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On December 7, 1941, the naval base at Pearl Harbor was attacked by 353 Japanese planes. It was a day that lives in infamy, but now director Peter Berg has reconciled the Americans and Japanese (finally!) in the dumbest, broadest, most pointlessly explosive way possible with Battleship. This obnoxious chore of a movie suffers from two cardinal sins. One, it’s probably the smallest-feeling big movie of the past three decades. Two, it steals so much from other, better movies that there’s no doubt Universal‘s legal team spent time considering possible action. Everything from the script to the CGI are low quality, making this $200m tentpole feel like it was made for fifteen bucks and a pack of gum.

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Pregnancy and childbirth are nothing new. In fact, there are few things less new than humans reproducing. It’s been done before. But Kirk Jones’ What to Expect When You’re Expecting accurately captures the inherent selfishness of expecting parents,and their individual “journeys” to the delivery room (and beyond). Unfortunately, even when gifted with a large, mostly eager cast, Jones is also saddled with a script from Shauna Cross and Heather Hach (working off of Heidi Murkoff‘s guidebook of the same name) that is deeply uninterested in providing much variety in their work. The effect is simple one – the film itself is deeply uninteresting. While What to Expect continually reminds its viewers that pregnancy and childbirth are miracles, unique and thrilling gifts, Cross and Hach have concocted one of the most bland, basic, and unadventurous scripts in recent memory.

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Look, Battleship will probably end up proving that it has at least a few original ideas in its head. Someone out there has to have shoved in one or two scenes that don’t look exactly like other movies, but the trailers certainly aren’t out to prove that. Nevertheless, it’s time to stop ragging on this flick for being a moronic idea and time to start ragging on it as a clear patchwork of other movies. Somehow, Universal has bypassed the need to do Hollywood math by simply copying and pasting directly from other films that have been successful. Why make something like Iron Man or like Transformers when you can go ahead and just make them again under a different name. Watch this new trailer and try to say with a straight face that the alien design isn’t Iron Man with a paint job. Watch the giant building collapse and try not to think up 5 other movies within the past 2 years where it’s happened (and try extra hard not to imagine the exact same scene in Dark of the Moon). No one says much of anything. Probably a good thing. But, whew, the action sure does look eye-popping.

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Director Peter Berg is making his bid for A-level status (box office-wise) this summer with an adaptation of the Hasbro game Battleship. That, by the way, is a complete misuse of the term ‘adaptation’ seeing as the game has zero story elements to adapt. Maybe if the movie featured naval combatants going head to head and controlled by unseen forces? Or if the aliens were manipulating ships to fight each other? I don’t know, I’m just spit-balling here, but you can see how difficult it would be to make a good movie from the game. So why do it? Obviously Universal is hoping to find the same success with Hasbro that Paramount has with their Transformers movies, but it’s still so nonsensical. The Battleship name offers no recognizable pull for audiences. These aren’t fighting robots that viewers have seen in action previously on TV or via toys in their hands…this is a board game with no moving pieces. The film could exist exactly as is under a different name and would end up with the exact same box office results. Check out the new ad below.

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There’s something great about the female-centric advertising coming out of a generic comedy based on an advice book for mothers about to deliver a bun fresh from the oven. The marketing team has faith in the women, and Lionsgate has faith in a woman-driven adult comedy. It’s clearly propelled by the success of Bridesmaids, but the more perverse secondary effect that that raucous comedy had on the studio math world is that crass women now equal box office gold. And thus, the posters for What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Again, it’s great to see women used so overtly for marketing without oversexualizing them (or, using their image months after their being sexualized?), but shoving bad lines with buzzwords in them reeks of desperation to appear edgy without actually having to be edgy. They won’t set back the women’s movement or anything, but they’re at least 10% heinous. Check them out for yourself:

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The first glimpse we got of Peter Berg’s upcoming board game adaptation (it hurts me somewhere deep to have to type those words) played a little coy with us, and at first made it look like the film would be sticking to the Battleship board game’s naval battle roots. Once a spaceship popped up and the whole thing turned into an alien invasion movie, it was kind of a surprise. This second look at Battleship, however, doesn’t bother to take any time tying this movie to the board game at all. It’s all alien invasion from beginning to end. And with a color palette very reminiscent of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, a bunch of elaborately techno ships and weapons that look like they’re right out of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, sound effects that seem to be ripped from Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, and a big ol’ headline that says this movie is from the company that brought you Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, I think it’s safe to say that Universal is aiming this thing less at fans of grid based strategy games and more at fans of Michael Bay’s big, dumb Transformers movies. It leaves me with a question: if this movie isn’t going to have anything to do with naval battles at all, why even attach it to the Battleship name? Why not just admit what you’re doing and call it Gobots? Check out the new trailer below.

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Seriously folks. Battleship may very well turn out to be a fun action flick, but this trailer makes it look like a massive chore to sit through. Directed by Peter Berg (who has proven that he knows good character and story), this film shows off the talents of Liam Neeson’s one-liner abilities as well as the fill-in-the-blanks action prowess of Dolph Lundgern’s son Taylor Kitsch. It goes strictly by the book, and the comparison to Transformers and Skyline is so apt that you can still see the afterbirth pooling around the edges if you look hard enough. So, look hard:

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If you think that making a Space Invaders movie is the most desperate attempt Hollywood has made to tie a new film to a pre-existing property lately, you might have need to think again. Making headlines in the film world recently has been the upcoming movie What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which is a feature film adaptation of a pregnancy manual by Heidi Murkoff. So many actresses have been announced for this thing, one at a time, that it’s starting to reach Hunger Games levels of casting announcement fatigue. Perhaps appropriately enough, their latest addition to the cast is an actress who will be appearing in The Hunger Games as well. Elizabeth Banks is said to be joining the film as a first time mother who has already built an empire writing books about her breast-feeding methods. There is some indication that despite her so-called expertise, the experience of actually having a child herself is one that she’s not ready for. Banks will be joining a cast that already includes Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Brooklyn Decker, and Anna Kendrick. The film is being directed by Waking Ned Devine’s Kirk Jones, from a script originally by Heather Hach and re-written by Shauna Cross. I can’t say that this is one that I’m looking forward to, but the inclusion of quality actresses like Banks and Kendrick is starting to make it look like it could have some potential. We shall see. [Coming Soon]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly entertainment news column that doesn’t usually participate in such overt misogyny. However, in a week that has inundated us with more Michael Bayhem than the world was built to handle, it would like to take out its man card, flop it down on the table like a wet fish and display it to the world. Yes, this is about to get sexual. And no, it will not last long. That’s just how any good late-nite movie news linkdump rolls. It’s a slow news night. Allow me to illustrate right off the bat: Tonight’s lead story is about Brooklyn Decker, model-turned-actress and all-around attractive human being who has been cast in What to Expect When You’re Expecting alongside Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez. Chris Rock will also star. The only thing about this story that I find interesting is the image above, which has less to do with a movie based on a pregnancy self-help book and more to do with reasons why anyone would want to make Brooklyn Decker pregnant in the first place. I think we all still win.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr spent the night in jail after trying to sneak in and see Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D. The cops didn’t believe him that he was trying to watch the latest remake of Thunderball. Sadly, they just saw a pervy looking fat guy squealing and crying with a group of thirteen year old girls. Fortunately, he had a chance to catch the other movies of the week, including Gnomeo and Juliet, Just Go With It and The Eagle. He also gives a little bit of love (what’s left of it anyway after spending the night in lock-up) to the Oscar-Nominated Shorts.

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There’s an unspoken agreement between Adam Sandler and American audiences… basically he guarantees to make (at least) one terrible movie per year, and they guarantee to make it a hit. Sandler’s reaped large sums of money from the arrangement, but it’s unclear what viewers get out of the exchange. If one was to hazard a guess though it’s probably the gamble that his next comedy may be his last a truly fun and well made movie. Well guess what… Just Go With It comes pretty damn close to being okay! Other surprises contained within this latest gem from the Happy Madison sausage factory include: Jennifer Aniston is the best part of the movie, and not just through the process of elimination! The child actors are talented and only slightly annoying! The funny sidekick (Nick Swardson) is less funny than the lead! Rob Schneider is nowhere to be seen!

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this shit late at night, what do you expect?

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Finally, after months and months of waiting for the next fad in Hollywood, it’s finally emerged: casting women who look hot in their underwear professionally as stars of action films. Apparently flipping through a Victoria’s Secret catalog is easier than combing through head shots. Or whatever they’re doing gives a new meaning to the term “head shots.” Or some other tasteless joke. The point is that Brooklyn Decker has been cast in Universal’s big budget toy movie Battleship – in which a US Naval fleet has to defend the world from aliens…just like in the classic game! Decker is a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and has done shoots for Victoria’s Secret. Clearly, she’s good at what she does, but whether that will translate to the big screen when she has to move around and talk has yet to be seen. Keep your fingers crossed for the next announcement of a model turning actress so we can all rejoice in Michael Bay creating yet another trend in film. And for those who feel we’re blatantly chauvinistic for using that particular photograph of Decker – it was the most discrete we could find. [Latino Review]

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