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From Game Night to Movie Night

JediCole here with a special look at what could well be a genre of film that is finally coming of its own. I have often said that technology finally caught up to the super-hero genre and this year alone we have seen that borne out with a slew of films from that category. But there is another genre that has suffered from many a false start, but may at last be carving out its own unique niche. I am speaking of the tabletop game genre of course. In the past we have seen Clue and Dungeons and Dragons find their way to the silver screen with mixed success. But they failed to spearhead a game movie movement in Hollywood. I had hoped there would be more with the release of the Eddie Murphy movie Life, but it proved to be just another Murphy comedy vehicle and not a clever screen adaptation of the board game wholeheartedly endorsed by Art Linkletter. Imagine my disappointment!

But the upcoming film Battleship*, actually based on the Milton Bradley strategy game, could well be the new vanguard in a push to take our favorite family games from the shelf in our entry hall closet to the forefront of cinema history. While it is not the first new movie in the renaissance of this genre to see release this year, it is the first to proudly bear the name of its source. An adaptation of Marx Toys’ Rock-‘Em Sock-‘Em Robots called Real Steel quietly lay the groundwork for Battleship like an elite scouting party moving into new territory. The trail will be further blazed this Christmas by Paramount Pictures’ Stratego. And this is only the beginning! Here is a sneak preview of what is in store for game playing movie goers in late 2011 and well into 2012:

Stratego (December 23, 2011) – Action and intrigue ensue in this super-charged war picture. Two armies mass on a desolate frontier ravaged by constant war. In a final gambit that will lead to either an end to the combat or the destruction of two empires Commander Yslev (Arnold Schwarzenegger) squares off against General Canterley (Patrick Stewart). Stratego takes an unflinching look at warfare, obsession, and greed as martial forces seek to capture officers and spies and avoid the unexploded bombs that are artifacts of their constant struggle. Hugh Jackman, Morgan Freeman, Kenneth Branagh, Jeremy Irons, and Christof Waltz also star.

King Oil (January 1, 2012) – An industrial drama set in the high paced boom or bust world of the petroleum industry. Christian Bale delivers a dynamic performance as Marcus Heywood III, a powerful Texas oil baron. The family legacy weighs heavily on Heywood who struggles to maintain the venerable dynasty that bears his family name while facing a high profile divorce, the alienation of his best friend, and a hell-bent federal regulator. Michael Caine and Salma Hayek co-star.

Trouble (January 20, 2012) – Robert Rodriquez directs this family farce starring Jack Black, Brendon Frasier, and Lindsey Lohan. Frasier and Lohan play Martin and Mary Everman, a busy working couple who never outgrew being yuppies. When friends and relatives express concern that their business-first attitude is leading to their children being neglected they have to find a solution. A variety of nannies fails to be the answer when the couple are suddenly visited by the mystical Poppa Matic (Jack Black), a half genie/half robot from another dimension. Wild times ensue as the kids follow the lead of their fun-filled new guardian and everyone learns a lesson about what it means to be a family.

Connect Four (February 14, 2012) – Matchmaking mayhem ensues in this romantic comedy about four friends and their ongoing struggle to find “just the right person”. Jude Law, Rene Zellweger, Natalie Portman, and Jason Lee star in this playful kick-off to the new year. “Sometimes it is all it takes is the right combination and much to your surprise true love comes at you diagonally!”

Trivial Pursuit (April 27, 2012) – “Life is like a pie…everybody wants the biggest piece.” Jeremy Ruttiger (Zachary Quinto) is obsessed with facts. And with good reason. He has been vying to be a contestant on Brain Power, a long running game show with a two million dollar grand prize, for the past ten years. And he has just been confirmed! Will a decade long obsession with a trivia game show prevent him from finding happiness while chasing his dream?

Sadly Monopoly (reportedly a contrived Wall Street rehash with Michael Douglas and Shia LaBeouf) and Jenga (an international espionage thriller starring Matt Damon and Keneau Reeves) have both been stalled in preproduction as studios await the public reaction to the game related films already slated for release.

*This just in! Battleship has been rescheduled for a May 2012 release, further illustrating studio concerns as to the strength of this genre.



It worked for Clue back in the 80s. Oh wait, no it didn't. I still love that movie unabashedly though.

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