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.
The hit show has garnered nods across the board including the coveted Best Musical category at the 65th annual prizegiving, which honours the best on Broadway.
The Book of Mormon will go up against Catch Me If You Can, The Scottsboro Boys and Sister Act for the top prize.
Chris Rock's play The Motherf**ker with the Hat will compete for Best Play against War Horse, Good People and Jerusalem.
The ceremony is sure to be a star-studded event - Hollywood actor Al Pacino is nominated in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play category for his part in The Merchant of Venice, while Vanessa Redgrave (Driving Miss Daisy) will go head-to-head with Frances McDormand (Good People) for the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play title.
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe missed out on landing a nomination for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, but his co-star John Larroquette is up for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical trophy.
The satirical musical grabbed seven other nominations, including Best Revival of a Musical.
In the Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play category, British actor Mackenzie Crook (Jerusalem) will face off against Billy Crudup (Arcadia), as well as John Benjamin Hickey (The Normal Heart), Arian Moayed (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) and Yul Vazquez (The Motherf**ker with the Hat).
Meanwhile, Ellen Barkin (The Normal Heart), Edie Falco (The House of Blue Leaves), Judith Light (Lombardi), Joanna Lumley (La Bete) and Elizabeth Rodriguez (The Motherf**ker with the Hat) are all up for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play.
The winners will be announced on 12 June (11) at The Beacon Theatre in New York City.
The main list of nominees is as follows:
The Motherf**ker with the Hat
The Book of Mormon
Catch Me If You Can
The Scottsboro Boys
Best Book of a Musical:
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson - Alex Timbers
The Book of Mormon - Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone
The Scottsboro Boys - David Thompson
Sister Act- Cheri Steinkellner, Bill Steinkellner and Douglas Carter Beane
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre:
The Book of Mormon - Music & Lyrics: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone
The Scottsboro Boys - Music & Lyrics: John Kander and Fred Ebb
Sister Act- Music: Alan Menken, Lyrics: Glenn Slater
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown - Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek
Best Revival of a Play:
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Merchant of Venice
The Normal Heart
Best Revival of a Musical:
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play:
Brian Bedford - The Importance of Being Earnest
Bobby Cannavale - The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Joe Mantello - The Normal Heart
Al Pacino- The Merchant of Venice
Mark Rylance - Jerusalem
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play:
Nina Arianda - Born Yesterday
Frances McDormand - Good People
Lily Rabe - The Merchant of Venice
Vanessa Redgrave - Driving Miss Daisy
Hannah Yelland - Brief Encounter
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical:
Norbert Leo Butz - Catch Me If You Can
Josh Gad- The Book of Mormon
Joshua Henry - The Scottsboro Boys
Andrew Rannells - The Book of Mormon
Tony Sheldon - Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical:
Sutton Foster - Anything Goes
Beth Leavel - Baby It's You!
Patina Miller - Sister Act
Donna Murphy- The People in the Picture
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play:
Mackenzie Crook - Jerusalem
Billy Crudup - Arcadia
John Benjamin Hickey - The Normal Heart
Arian Moayed - Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Yul Vazquez - The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play:
Ellen Barkin - The Normal Heart
Edie Falco - The House of Blue Leaves
Judith Light - Lombardi
Joanna Lumley - La Bete
Elizabeth Rodriguez - The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical:
Colman Domingo - The Scottsboro Boys
Adam Godley - Anything Goes
John Larroquette - How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Forrest McClendon - The Scottsboro Boys
Rory O'Malley - The Book of Mormon
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical:
Laura Benanti- Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Tammy Blanchard - How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Victoria Clark - Sister Act
Nikki M. James - The Book of Mormon
Patti LuPone - Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Best Direction of a Play:
Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris - War Horse
Joel Grey & George C. Wolfe - The Normal Heart
Anna D. Shapiro - The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Daniel Sullivan - The Merchant of Venice
Best Direction of a Musical:
Rob Ashford - How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Kathleen Marshall - Anything Goes
Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker - The Book of Mormon
Susan Stroman - The Scottsboro Boys
Rob Ashford - How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Kathleen Marshall - Anything Goes
Casey Nicholaw - The Book of Mormon
Susan Stroman - The Scottsboro Boys
Doug Besterman - How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Larry Hochman - The Scottsboro Boys
Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus - The Book of Mormon
Marc Shaiman and Larry Blank - Catch Me If You Can.
Campbell, who played Klingon warrior Captain Koloth on Star Trek, also teamed up with Elvis Presley in his first film Love Me Tender.
He was married to President John F. Kennedy's one-time girlfriend Judith Campbell Exner.
Campbell made his film debut in The Breaking Point in the early 1950s. He also appeared in Cell 2455 Death Row in 1955, The Naked and the Dead and Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte.
The former family court judge was admitted to Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after experiencing intestinal discomfort. After a series of tests and the all-clear from doctors, the TV personality, real name Judith Sheindlin, checked out on Thursday (31Mar11).
She tells TV show Entertainment Tonight, "I am on my way home. All is well. Thank you all for your loving messages. See you in court. Be on time."
The former family court judge, real name Judith Sheindlin, was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday (30Mar11) after experiencing intestinal discomfort.
She underwent an MRI scan and a number of tests, but the 68 year old, who will be discharged on Thursday (31Mar11), insists she just needs some rest.
She tells TMZ.com, "I was feeling funky this morning ... funky enough that I knew someone should give a gander over what I got.
"I'm just exhausted, and my body was telling me it needed a day to chill. At my age, I know my body. My body is fine."
The Charmed star, 38, is expecting her first child with husband Dave Bugliari, and she announced earlier this week (15Mar11) the new arrival will be a boy.
Light, who worked with Milano for eight years on Who's The Boss until 1992, has now reached out to her pal ahead of the impending arrival.
She tells UsMagazine.com, "It's kind of stunning to me that she's old enough to have a baby because to me she's still 10 years old... Alyssa is an extraordinary woman and I know she'll be an amazing mother.
"She has a huge heart and she is a very committed person. She's a great humanitarian and I think that will be the thread that runs through her being a mother. I wish her every joy in life. I just want to send her lots of love."
Ironically, the Judith Ripka Evil Eye design is worth $2,500 (£1,670) - exactly the price of the item she's accused of stealing.
The 18 karat gold and diamond necklace has been sent to her by a rich fan called Eric Freiberg, who tells website TooFab.com, "I felt it was the right thing to do.
"Everyone takes any chance they can to pile on to her (Lohan). The accusation that she stole a necklace is totally ridiculous. It was an easy decision for me to send her the necklace. It's particularly appropriate because it is an Evil Eye, which will hopefully ward off any bad spirits coming Lindsay’s way."
The British supermodel is currently locked in a legal dispute with her former agent, Carole White, and executives at cosmetics marketing company Moodform Mission, who are suing her for allegedly backing out of a fragrance deal with the firm and failing to meet obligations to promote the range.
A lawyer representing Moodform filed papers late last year (10) asking for the Manhattan District Attorney in New York to consider prosecuting Campbell for perjury after she allegedly lied under oath in her affidavit. The star strenuously denied the claims.
White has also offered up a recording of a 2006 meeting about the deal, which she claims supports the allegation that Campbell lied.
The case went back to court in New York on Thursday (27Jan11) and Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Judith Gische called the accusations "serious," according to the New York Post.
The publication reports the judge has given Campbell and her legal team the chance to respond to the allegations in court before she decides whether to refer the case to the district attorney.
Campbell is counter-suing White, claiming she signed the fragrance deal without knowing the full details and accusing the agent of concealing her role as a co-director at Moodform.
The couple wed in 1993 but Owen became depressed during her first festive season in sunny California because she missed the traditional wintry weather in London.
So Shearer invited his pals over to their house for a Christmas sing-song to remind his wife of her roots - and the party inspired the couple to produce their seasonal stage show, Judith Owen and Harry Shearer's Holiday Sing-Along.
He says, "It comes from a party that my wife Judith Owen and I used to have at our house in California cos she was sad - she had moved to California and missed the cold and the damp of the London winter and the London Christmas and she wanted to recreate the feeling of a musical gathering. So we invited our musical friends over. And we would sing and have all sorts of musical friends around, and food and wine would be served, and it was just a way of recreating the warmth of a Christmas musical gathering. So we have now taken it to theatre."
The Monster's Ball beauty held hands with French hunk Martinez as they posed for pictures at the Carousel of Hope event in Beverly Hills, making their first official outing since becoming romantically involved while filming Dark Tide in South Africa over the summer (10).
An eyewitness tells UsMagazine.com the stars were "inseparable" at the bash, while Unfaithful actor Martinez was "constantly leaning in and whispering in Halle's ear, making her laugh".
And the couple appears to be getting serious - Berry reportedly introduced Martinez to her mother, Judith, earlier this month (Oct10).
Berry split from model Gabriel Aubry, the father of her daughter, in April (10). Martinez previously dated pop star Kylie Minogue.