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People Top 5
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PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- May 28, 2012
- Vol. 77
- No. 22
Picks and Pans: Movies
Battleship's Greg Gadson from War Hero to Movie Star
Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks, Chris Rock | PG-13 |
Not quite. This is what moms-to-be can expect if they're healthy, wealthy, heterosexual, have an involved partner, and are Hollywood gorgeous. No, What to Expect isn't nearly the warts-and-all take on pregnancy that it aims to be, but there's still much to like in this sprawling comedy based on the baby bible. The film tries to cover a range of experiences. Chef Rosie (Anna Kendrick) and reality star Jules (Diaz) get knocked up accidentally, while photographer Holly (Jennifer Lopez) and store owner Wendy (Banks) deal with adoption and infertility, respectively. Meanwhile, "magical pregnancy unicorn" Skyler (Brooklyn Decker) makes having a kid look like a day at the beach ... in a Ralph Lauren ad. They all have dads in the picture, a group of bros led by Rock's Vic in scenes that nicely balance all of the estrogen flowing. What to Expect's strength isn't in laugh-out-loud jokes, it's in finding pregnancy's relatable challenges and truths-even if the impossibly glam moms don't look like most of us.
Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Brooklyn Decker, Tadanobu Asano PG-13 |
The problem isn't that Battleship is based on a board game but rather that it's not nearly game enough, saddled with clunky dialogue, lackluster effects and a tired premise. Navy lieutenant Alex Hopper (John Carter's Kitsch) is a talented nitwit, dating physical therapist Sam (Decker), much to the annoyance of her grim dad, Admiral Shane (Neeson). They have bigger issues when aliens land on Earth, destroying half of Hong Kong and trapping Hawaii (and Kitsch's fleet) under a superbubble. While Alex fights at sea, Sam and wounded vet Mick (the remarkable and engaging Greg Gadson; see page 36) try to outwit the aliens on land. I'll say this for Battleship: It treats our military with enormous respect. But the explosions and slo-mo sequences get to be overkill.
Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Felicity Jones| R |
How do you make a Victorian comedy about the history of the vibrator? Slyly-and mostly clothed. Doctor Mortimer Granville (Dancy) is a specialist in "hysteria" (a catchall diagnosis for women), but he's the one with female trouble. He dotes on his boss's docile daughter Emily (Jones), spars with her feminist sister Charlotte (Gyllenhaal) and wears himself out treating his patients (truly, do not ask). Everything gets sorted out when pal Edmund (Rupert Everett, cheeky as ever) helps with that nifty invention, but Hysteria has plenty of coy fun in the meantime.
Unlike Borat and Bruno-Sacha Baron Cohen's previous alter egos-his Dictator, General Admiral Haffaz Aladeen, interacts solely with other actors in the comic's latest politically incorrect film.
THE GOOD: The laughs are plentiful for those with a taste for mildly to wildly offensive humor. Aladeen takes aim at everything from race and religion to coconut water and Crocs.
THE BAD: I missed the unwittingly hysterical nonactors from previous films. Cohen in character is funniest when ordinary folks are reacting to him. It's just not the same without them.
THE NOT-AS-UGLY-AS-YOU'D-THINK: Terrorism cracks sting at first, but as he has in the past, Cohen infuses the character with surprising heart: Aladeen isn't blatantly evil. He even manages to make tyranny funny, maintaining in earnest that "People love being oppressed!"
Army Col. Greg Gadson, who lost his legs to a roadside bomb in 2007, has fought bad guys in Iraq, Bosnia and Afghanistan. But now he's facing a very different type of enemy: CGI alien invaders in the megabudget Battleship. "I've got a newfound respect for the art of acting," says Gadson, a first-time performer who snapped one of his prosthetic legs when he fell during filming. "It's exhausting." The 46-year-old father of two made headlines in 2007 after giving an inspiring locker-room pep talk to the floundering New York Giants, who went on to win the Super Bowl and awarded him his own championship ring afterward. "I wear it sometimes, but it's big and I get paranoid that it might make me a target," he says. As the director of the Army's Wounded Warrior program, Gadson still marvels at making his big-screen debut. "I just figured: 'What do I have to lose?'" he says, laughing. "Being hit by that roadside bomb is a big reminder that none of us are promised tomorrow, so why not give it a shot?"
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