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.
And journalists are happy to lead features and articles about him with quips he makes about returning as Brandon Walsh.
He says, "People refuse to let go of this film... It's gotten so I've told interviewers, 'We're all planning the sequel and I'm meeting with Meryl Streep about it,' and the next day, I've actually seen it reported as exclusive news."
Brolin has previously stated he fears the sequel will never happen, even though there's a script doing the rounds in Hollywood.
He recently said, "I saw (Goonies co-writer) Steven Spielberg on the street and I asked for the reality (of a sequel). I hear there is a script, yes, but there's no talk about doing a Goonies sequel at this very moment."
The movie, in which Brolin played Brandon Walsh, was recently voted the 1980s film fans would most like to see remade - and the actor insists that's more likely than a mythical sequel - which really does exist.
He says, "I saw (Goonies co-writer) Steven Spielberg on the street about a month and a half ago and I asked the reality. I hear there is a script, yes, but there's no talk about doing a Goonies sequel at this very moment."
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.
Sex parody This Ain't Beverly Hills 90210 XXX will hit adult stores next week (08Dec09) and feature Kelly, Donna, Brandon, Brenda and company as fans have never seen them before.
Hustler Video creative director Drew Rosenfeld tells WENN, "We go where the censors wouldn’t allow, but the viewer’s mind immediately went to.
"Watching Dylan bang Brenda in a Mexican hotel room... classic. Brandon working two hot chicks at once at the (TV show hang-out) Peach Pit... priceless!"
There's also an illicit sex session between the porn Donna and Jim Walsh - her best friend Brenda's father.
Directed by Axel Braun, the This Ain’t Beverly Hills 90210 XXX parody features adult film stars Alexis Texas, Madison Ivy, Jenny Hendrix and Chris Johnson.
Actor-turned-race car driver Jason Priestley was seriously injured Sunday when he crashed his car during a practice run for the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series at Kentucky Speedway, Reuters reports.
Priestely, who played heartthrob Brandon Walsh for eight years on the long-running 90's TV series Beverly Hills, 90210, was flown to the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington after the crash.
Henry Bock, the medical services director for the Indy Racing League, told Reuters that Priestley was "stable and responding" and was listed in serious condition. He is currently undergoing testing.
The accident occurred Sunday morning at the racetrack in Sparta, Ky., as the 32-year-old actor prepared for the race. Priestley, who drives for Kelly Racing, had been working toward the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series season since July.
Priestly's vehicle crashed coming out of the second turn in the final practice run. He was injured when his car crashed head-on into the wall.
Priestley won a 1998 Grand-Am race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car course, and he has also worked as an announcer for the Indy Racing League broadcasts for ABC Sports, including the Indianapolis 500.
The Canadian-born actor left 90210 in 1998 to persue big-screen features, including his latest film--the romantic comedy Cherish.
Just last year, the actor spent five days in a private L.A. work-release program after pleading no contest to a felony drunken-driving charge. He was arrested in December 1999 after he crashed his Porsche into a power pole, trash cans and a parked car in the Hollywood Hills.
Priestley also escaped injury last April when his speedboat collided with another during the Fountain Miami Super Boat Grand Prix in Miami.