(originally published at adultswim.com)
May 18, 2012, brings to big screens nationwide Battleship, an “epic-scaled action-adventure that unfolds across the seas, in the skies and over land as our planet fights for survival against a superior force. Inspired by Hasbro’s classic naval combat game, Battleship stars Taylor Kitsch as Lt. Alex Hopper, a Naval officer assigned to the USS John Paul Jones; Brooklyn Decker as Sam Shane, Hopper's fiancee; Alexander Skarsgard as Hopper’s older brother, Stone, Commanding Officer of the USS Sampson; Rihanna as Petty Officer Raikes, Hopper’s crewmate and a weapons specialist on the USS John Paul Jones; and international superstar Liam Neeson as Hopper and Stone’s superior (and Sam's father), Admiral Shane.”
Jenga is Die Hard in a building... under construction... but not on Christmas Eve, or in L.A.! Cleveland police detective Manny Dexter (Will Smith) has trapped sinister armed robber Chris Jenga (Nicholas Cage) in an unfinished 18-story edifice... just when the construction crew is told to make the building taller! With additional materials unavailable due to a strike of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, the builders begin to move sections of the tower-in-progress from the bottom to the top. putting both Dexter and Jenga on very unsure footing. This cat-and-mouse caper is poised to be an instant blockbuster.
Melissa “Misty” Pennybags (Elle Fanning) has spent all of her life in an orphanage. Her tenth birthday brings a surprise, though, in the form of a long-lost—and wealthy—relative. Rich Uncle Pennybags (Rowan Atkinson) wants to give his niece the childhood she never had, and then some. Starting with the street her orphanage stands on, Pennybags buys up the entire neighborhood, lot by lot, intending to turn the area into a colossal amusement park for Misty. But when beat cop Edgar Mallory (Harry Potter’s Robbie Coltrane) discovers irregularities in Pennybags’s development plans, the whole scheme might be derailed. Monopoly: The Motion Picture features a score by Danny Elfman and the song “Turn Off Your Water Works” by Elton John.
Black Jack (Jack Black) is a crack animal tracker hired by a wealthy socialite shut-in (Queen Latifah) to find and rescue her beloved Teacup Bloodhound, Ace, abducted and being held for ransom by the scheming pair known as the Split Fives (Academy Award® winner and multiple-nominee Sir Anthony Hopkins in a dual role). But when Jack gets in over his head and the stakes are raised... who will be rescuing whom? A true heart-warmer, Blackjack will show audiences worldwide that the combination of Jack and Ace truly is a winning one. You can bet on it. (Jaden Smith plays “Chip.”)
In 1932, life in America was a grim affair. Outgoing President Hoover (Andy Richter) tried again and again to reverse the severe economic downturn—but each attempt was met with failure. Almost worse than the devastating financial effects of the Great Depression was the widespread despondency. What the country needed was something to root for again. Men, women, and children alike needed something—or someone—or a team of people—to get behind and cheer. A paralyzed man named Roosevelt (Sam Neill) had a notion: a grand game of elimination leap-frog... on the White House lawn. Recruiting the country’s 24 best athletes (including Owen Wilson as Bronko Nagurski) for a Red vs. Black showdown... FDR proves himself king of good ideas in Checkers.
Scrabble is a taut legal thriller starring Katherine Heigl as Carolyn Haskell, a Texas public defender charged with a seemingly impossible task: File a brief on behalf of her client—a fifteen-year-old being tried as an adult (Justin Bieber)—using only twelve Es, nine As and Is; eight Os; six Ns, Rs, and Ts; four Ls, Ss, Us, and Ds; three Gs; two Bs, Cs, Ms, Ps, Fs, Hs, Vs, Ws, and Ys; and one each of K, J, X, Q, and Z! Prosecutor Bill Schwartz (Ryan Reynolds, Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place) is clearly in cahoots with Judge Butts (Alfred Molina)... but Haskell has a trick up her sleeve: a little-known rule of procedure permitting her to add two letters of her own choosing! (Cameo by Mos Def as “X.”)
The fate of the planet is once more at stake when an alien ship enters the atmosphere and perches, for reasons unclear, in the Yellowstone Supervolcano. Although the extraterrestrial visitors remain silent, expert American tacticians determine that the vessel is preparing to launch a giant explosive sphere into Wyoming—where the resultant explosion could wreak havoc with the tectonic plates in this geologic hotspot. The military has only hours to erect a device to intercept the projectile... and catapult it back to its point of origin—repeatedly! The entire world holds its breath as the deadly orb arcs through the desert sky... back and forth... back and forth. Will the aliens ever tire of the game? Or will the activity awaken the granitic magma bubbling just below their ship, and with what consequence? Find out in the summer of 2016, with the release of Catch!
Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.