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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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Film Reviews: Battleship (2012) and Silent House (2011)
Battleship (2012). Directed by Peter Berg. Set initially in 2005, NASA sends a communication to a planet in another solar system believed to be in the "Goldilocks" zone and capable of sustaining life. Meanwhile, Alex (Taylor Kitsch) is a young tearaway trying to impress a girl at a bar by breaking into a local shop to steal a chicken burrito for her. After he is caught by the police his far more serious brother, Stone (Alexander Skarsgård), enlists him in the US Navy in an attempt to sort him out. Move forward to present day, and it transpires that NASA's communication has brought aliens to the world. Right from when this was first announced it was hard to see how a gripping film could be made of the board game (yes, this is genuinely supposed to be based on the board game of Battleship(s)). The film relies on the Michael Bay formula of vapid characters, big CGI effects, a strident soundtrack, and little else. Amazingly they even managed to shoehorn in a Battleship-esque board game moment of sorts, to somewhat presumably unintentional hilarious effect. As you may have guessed already, I didn't like it. Recommended for fans of Michael Bay-like films. Others will probably want to avoid. 1/5 (Awful)

Silent House (2011). Directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, and a remake of the Uruguayan film La Casa Muda. The film starts with Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen), her father and uncle staying at an old house they're renovating. After a disagreement between the two brothers, one goes off into town to get some tools. A woman knocks at the door and says she's an old school friend, although Sarah does not recognise her. Even so they plan to meet later. Sarah hears noises upstairs, and she goes upstairs with her father to check. Kentis and Lau also worked on Open Water, which is a film where not a lot happens, yet they try to maintain the suspense (and do a pretty good job of it). Silent House is similar, albeit there's a little more content. The film appears to be shot in a continuous take from the viewpoint of Sarah, which works to good effect. It's made even better by the use of camera, cinematography, and lighting, which are all excellent in some difficult environments. Olsen is also excellent in an inevitably difficult and demanding role. Recommended for fans of horror films that don't need lots of gore, but bearing in mind the story is fairly hard going in places (without giving anything away). 4/5 (Good)