Bright and energetic brunette actress Paula Cale started her career on stage, and in 1995 landed a breakthrough recurring part on the long-running sitcom "Murphy Brown" (CBS) before securing a co-star...
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
Starred Off-Broadway as Gilda Radner in former "Saturday Night Live" writer Alan Zweibel's "Bunny Bunny--Gilda Radner: A Sort of Romantic Comedy"
Had a recurring role as McGovern, a Republican ex-VJ who joins "F.Y.I" and clashes with the title reporter on the CBS sitcom "Murphy Brown"
Worked as an assistant in the US Senate cloakroom
Acted in a recurring role as Cybill Sheridan's starstruck niece on the CBS series "Cybill"
Starred as a waitress on the Fox comedy series "Local Heroes"
Brought "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" to Los Angeles where she was spotted by Candice Bergen and cast on "Murphy Brown"
Raised in Great Falls, Virginia
Originated the role of Picasso groupie Suzanne in Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre production of Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile"
Featured in the independent horror comedy "Office Killer"
Provided comic relief, co-starring as spunky single mother Joanie Hansen on the popular NBC drama "Providence"
Was featured in the HBO biopic "Winchell"
Was a regular on the short-lived sitcom "Buddies" (ABC)
Played Tea Leoni's younger sister on episodes of NBC's "The Naked Truth"
Made Broadway debut in a Roundabout Theater production of "The Night of the Iguana"
Bright and energetic brunette actress Paula Cale started her career on stage, and in 1995 landed a breakthrough recurring part on the long-running sitcom "Murphy Brown" (CBS) before securing a co-starring role on the NBC hit series "Providence" in 1999. Known for her ease in playing outspoken and slightly eccentric but likable characters, the actress initially pursued a career in education, attending Vanderbilt University for one year before winning a drama scholarship to Chicago's Goodman School of Theatre. While in Chicago, she originated the role of Suzanne, an admirer of the titular artist, in Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" at the city's famed Steppenwolf Theater in 1993. When the production moved to L.A. in 1994, Cale (then billed as Paula Korologos) went with it, and her performance won the notice of the Hollywood crowd, particularly impressing Candice Bergen, who cast the actress in the acclaimed series "Murphy Brown".
In 1995, Cale made her TV debut with a recurring role on that sitcom as McGovern, an obnoxious former MTV on-air personality who lands a spot on fictional news program "F.Y.I.", representing the youth voice. Based on real life vee-jay Kennedy, McGovern projected a trendy style that belied her conservative Republican leanings, beliefs which caused constant clashes with Murphy. Cale's characterization was appropriately grating and crafty, and established her as a capable and engaging comedic actress. The real-life daughter of a conservative lobbyist and liaison to the Nixon and Ford administrations, Cale and her family found her casting on the program ironic, considering that the sitcom was the target of a highly publicized conservative tirade against TV's liberal values. In 1996 following this recurring stint, the actress took regular roles on two concurrently running sitcoms, playing the eccentric wife of an aspiring filmmaker in "Buddies", a failed ABC spin-off of "Home Improvement" and a spunky neighborhood waitress on Fox's short-lived "Local Heroes".
Back on stage, Cale made her Broadway debut in 1996 with playing the nymphet who is seduced by a defrocked minister in the Roundabout Theater production of Tennessee Williams' "The Night of the Iguana". The following year, she gave a winning performance as the late Gilda Radner in the Off-Broadway production "Bunny Bunny--Gilda Radner: A Sort of Romantic Comedy", penned by Radner's longtime friend and former "Saturday Night Live" writer Alan Zwibel (played by Bruno Kirby). The actress shone in the role, nailing Radner's energy, accent and manner, and managing to evoke the charming comedienne without doing a simple impersonation. Cale also made her film debut in 1997, with an appearance in the independent horror comedy "Office Killer", starring Carol Kane and Jeanne Tripplehorn.
She returned to television with a recurring role on "The Naked Truth" (NBC, 1997), playing the sister of Tea Leoni and daughter of Mary Tyler Moore as well as one on "Cybill" as the title actress' starstruck niece in 1998, the same year as she took a featured role in the HBO biopic "Winchell". In 1999, Cale debuted as zany but affable single mother Joanie Hansen on the surprise hit series "Providence", a mid-season replacement drama on NBC. As the sister of the often overwrought Dr Sydney Hansen, a prestigious Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who returns to her titular hometown looking for a new start, Cale brought a lively spark to her role, lending much needed comic relief and a refreshingly down-to-earth point of view to the sometimes syrupy show.
had a recurring guest role opposite Cale on "Providence" playing Doug the Dog Boy; no longer together
born c. 1934; worked with the Nixon and Ford administrations
born on October 29, 1936; died of cancer on January 23, 1997
born c. 1967
born c. 1963; has two children
The Theatre School at DePaul University
Billed as Paula Korologos in earlier credits, Cale is the actress' married name.
"I'm just a geeky girl who got into acting so she'd have a safe place to cry and a safe place to laugh." --Cale quoted in People, May 1, 1995
Cale on the reaction her father (Republican lobbyist Tom Korologos) had to her being cast on "Murphy Brown", a series previously targeted as an example of poor family values by Dan Quayle and other conservatives: "He joked, 'What are you doing on that liberal show? You might as well do porno.'" --quoted in People, May 1, 1995
Candice Bergen on Cale's potential: "Paula's not your typical Generation Xer, drowning in ennui. She's very smart, very poised. She'll be someone to be reckoned with." --quoted in People, May 1, 1995