The Edmonton Sun n Friday, May 25, 2012

the avengers
The Avengers has the Marvel superheroes team up to defeat the evil Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his alien army. Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) are brought together by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to battle a threat to Earth. There’s plenty of action in The Avengers, but director Joss Whedon handles it well, mixing it with a sparkling script and humour. ****

The weekend guide

Aliens attempt to take over Earth in Battleship. Alex (Taylor Kitsch), a screw-up who joins the Navy, finds himself caught in the middle of an alien invasion. What follows are alien attacks and battleship retaliation. The writing is such that you don’t care about any of the characters, even though some of them are portrayed by Rihanna, Liam Neeson, and people who appear to be real-life old salts and Navy vets. Battleship has plenty of action and explosions, but somehow it all unfolds without energy. ** can turn such dross into gold. *** class life for a passionate love affair with a louche, dashing, Battle of Britain pilot, Freddie (Tom Hiddleston). The Deep Blue Sea is an intense journey involving breathtaking cinematography, but it may be too slow for some. *** In The Dictator Sacha Baron Cohen takes on the character of Admiral General Aladeen of the North African Republic of Wadiya. Aladeen heads to New York, accompanied by his scheming aide Tamir (Ben Kingsley) to address the UN. After a botched assassination attempt, Aladeen is on the streets of Manhattan, beardless, and taken under wing by Zoey, the manager of a feminist organic grocery (Anna Faris). The result is that The Dictator isn’t as outrageous or screamingly funny as Borat. There are laughterfree stretches. And yet, the character of Admiral General Aladeen of the North African Republic of Wadiya, begins to grow on us. *** World War and now driving a bus in Toronto. Bored, Eddie quits his job in disgust and confusion and begins robbing banks to provide for his family. Edwin Boyd is a fascinating film about the robber’s alternative route to public recognition. ***.


I don’t know what game you played as a kid, but my Battleship game didn’t feature invading aliens or Rihanna. It did inspire plenty of fist fights, however.

chernobyl diaries
Opens today. Tim Burton’s big screen update of the overwrought gothic soap opera Dark Shadows that stars Johnny Depp as Banrabas who runs afoul of a witch (Eva Green) and finds himself turned into a vampire and buried alive. Flash forward to the 1970s and he’s unearthed by construction workers. He finds his family reduced to a dysfunctional few, including an imperious matriarch (Michelle Pfeiffer), her no-good brother (Jonny Lee Miller), his ghost-conscious son (Gully McGrath) and her surly hippie daughter (Chloe Grace Moretz). The result is more old-school fishout-of-water than blazingly original. But it retains that soap opera acting style that is fun to watch. ***

the pirates! band of misfits
The animated Pirates! Band of Misfits involves a mildmannered Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) and his quest to win the Pirate Of The Year Award. Trouble is, the Pirate of The Year is chosen for his plunder and his bloodthirsty ways, and the Pirate Captain is somewhat inept at villainy and at robbery on the high seas. But he’s willing to try. Pirates! Band of Misfits will also be of interest to anyone keen on laughing outloud at a charming comedy. ***

darK shadoWs

What to expect When you’re expecting
W hat To E xp ect W hen Yo u ’re E x p e c t i ng , V E RY loosely based on the pregnancy bible, features a host of characters. There’s fitness guru Jules (Cameron Diaz) whos e pre g nanc y announces itself on live television with her boyfriend (Matthew Morrison). Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) is a pregnanc y expert, while her father-in-law (Dennis Quad) has also knocked up his trophy wife Skyler (Brooklyn Decker). Rounding out the zygote squad is food-truck operator Rosie (Anna Kendrick) who gets pregnant from a one-night stand with her competitor Marco (Chace Crawford), and Holly (Jennifer Lopez), who has discovered she is infertile and wants to adopt. What To Expect When You’re Expecting has no laughs and feels longer than nine months.*
Ratings out of five

the dictator

the hunger games
Based on the popular book, The Hunger Games stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen who lives in an American dystopia, where the rich, decadent Capitol rules brutally over 12 “districts.” The Hunger Games are a ritual, wherein each district chooses a boy and girl to take part in a mass fight to the death. Katniss steps in to replace her fragile kid sister, and is joined by the local baker Peeta Mell a rk ( Jo s h Hu t c h e r s o n ) . They’re joined by a couple of dubious mentors, including etiquette advisor Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), wardrobe advisor Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), and the drunk and cynical Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson). The Hunger Games is undeniably a rich fantasy adventure. ****

the best exotic marigold hotel
Based on a novel, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel concerns a handful of retired Englishmen and women who decide to seek greener pastures in India. They are: a widow (Judi Dench) determined to make her own way; an unhappy couple with no money for retirement (Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton); a cougar (Celia Imrie); a High Court judge searching for his past (Tom Wilkinson), an aging roue (Ronald Pickup); and a terrible old bigot who needs to outsource her health care (Maggie Smith). The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is somewhat hampered by sitcom-ish writing, but this is a cast that

thinK liKe a man
T h i n k Li ke A Ma n i s a based on an advice manual for women about how men think. Jerry Ferrara as The Non Committer, and Gary Owen as The Happily Married Guy team up with The Mama’s Boy (Terrence J), The Player (Romany Malco), The Dreamer (Michael Ealy) and The Happily Divorced Guy (Kevin Hart) to talk about the women in their lives. Think Like A Man is a light, sometimes-sharply-written, credibly-acted comedy that quickly loses its flavour. **

the deep blue sea
The Deep Blue Sea is all ab o u t p o s t- wa r Eng l a n d as seen through the lens of a tragic love affair. Hester (Rachel Weisz) has thrown away her husband (Simon Russell Beale) and her middle-

edWin boyd
Edwin Boyd is a biopic of Canada’s famous criminal that stars Scott Speedman as Boyd and Kelly Reilly as his beloved wife, Doreen. Boyd is home after serving in the Second

men in blacK 3
Opens today.

Reviews by Liz Braun, Bruce Kirkland, Jim Slotek, Kevin Williamson and Steve Tilley

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