Tuesday, May 29, 2012

LIZ SMITH: Give "Battleship" A Chance ...

Liz Advises: Give "Battleship" (and Taylor Kitsch) A Chance. It's Better Than "The Avengers." Really.
Peter Cincotti Changes His Tune ... Russell Brand, Tiptoeing Through the Tulips? Bargain Lobster in NYC — Go To Swifty's.

by Liz Smith
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

“HEAR THE other side,” advised ancient Roman law.
WHY, OH, WHY? When young moviegoers get out of their third viewing of the booming hit The Avengers, what in the world do they have against going to see Battleship?

This movie is named after a classic Hasbro naval combat game. The subtitle, “The Battle for Earth begins at Sea,” says it all. Plenty of action. lots of thrills. So let me say a few words about this neglected sci-fi thriller. (At least it is neglected in the mega-mega millions shadow of The Avengers.) It’s exciting.

A lot happens when aliens visit us with negative feelings and some of it is simply spectacular. The movie is a bit like the Transformers genre in that the aliens seem totally unbeatable, are made of something that is practically indestructible, are huge, have powerful weapons and kill 20,000 people in Hong Kong right at the beginning. (A nice start; it gets your attention.)

Battleship, while predictable, boasts a misbehaving naval officer — leading man Taylor Kitsch in a second try since Disney’s failed John Carter. Though the character is written in a too-obvious manner, Mr. Kitsch gives it his all. The very fine Alexander Skarsgard plays his disciplined older brother. (He is one of HBO’s conflicted True Blood vampires.)

Everything about this movie was much more interesting to me than Transformers ever were. Because? Because most of it happens at sea and around Pearl Harbor and it harks most memorably back to World War II. (In this one, the American hero-against-his-will — ends up as pals with another more moderate officer who just happens to be Japanese. (Actor Joji Yoshida).
Taylor Kitsch and Liam Neeson in Battleship.
The sea-worthy ships are beautiful and so is Hawaii and, especially, the old-fashioned Battleship Missouri, having been made into a Museum. (It was on this true historical artifact that the surrender of Japan took place back in 1945 with General MacArthur accepting for the U.S.) Well, it’s nice to see our old friend, the Missouri, again.

The real plus for Battleship is that good actor Liam Neeson who once more gives a true and honorable performance as the chief of naval operations. I liked the athletic and blonde leading lady, Brooklyn Decker. As well as the real hero, actor Gregory D. Gadson, who performs without his legs. He is outstanding.

In the words often uttered during the Great Depression — what do people want for a nickel? Battleship, directed by Peter Berg, is a very entertaining movie, unlike most smash-and-bang films of today. In fact, I liked it better than The Avengers. (Blasphemy!)
IF YOU go to Google and type in “Russell Brand/Tiny Tim” — the eccentric 1960’s “singer” not the poignant Charles Dickens character — you’ll find dozens of articles about how much Russell resembles TT. I don’t see it myself, except for the long dark hair, but ... I like Battleship more than The Avengers. I’m being contrary today.

Now I hear that maybe Russell agrees on the resemblance and is considering portraying Tiny Tim in a Judd Apatow-produced film!

Tiny, in case you need a reminder, was pop-culture phenom with his ukulele, his high pitched voice and marriage to “Miss Vicky” on the Johnny Carson show. Though his popularity was short-lived, Tim continued to work until his death in 1996. He was completely serious about his music, and was known as an archivist, as well as the man who memorably sang “TipToe Through the Tulips.” Tiny was one of the more innocent distractions in the often-terrible, endlessly tumultuous decade of the 1960s.
PETER CINCOTTI made his singing debut in 2003 at the age of 18, styled as a crooning cabaret piano whiz in the manner of Harry Connick, Jr. But Peter’s broken out recently into more pop material, which has made him, especially in Europe, a big seller, alongside Coldplay and Rihanna.

Last week Cincotti — still a youngster at 28 — performed songs from his latest CD, “Metropolis,” at the dark and trendy Le Poisson Rouge in the West Village. He has composed all the songs on the album. He’s also written, with his sister, Pia, a musical titled “How Deep Is the Ocean.” (This debuts in June at the New York Musical Theater Festival.) The fans at Le Poisson Rouge loved all his new material.
WHERE CAN YOU go in New York City to eat a lobster and get a bargain? The other night I was in one of my favorite watering holes at Swifty’s on Lex near 72nd Street.There was a beautiful card on the table.

It read: Two steamed 1 ½ lb. Lobsters with butter
Cole Slaw and French Fries and
Dessert whether it be sorbet, ice cream
Or cookies.
A bottle of red or white wine

And the price of this outing for two on Sunday nights is $90. Now, that’s a bargain.

Of course, Sunday night is everybody’s favorite night to stay home in front of the TV. But then, you could choose to be different. Go to Swifty’s on Sunday evening.

Tell Robert and Steve that Liz sent you. I see that Swifty’s sometimes advertises on the New York Social Diary. But that doesn’t matter to me. I wouldn’t tell you to go anywhere for a mere advertiser. But for a bargain — yes!

Contact Liz Smith here.

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