Chris Hemsworth is all set to play James Hunt in the Peter Morgan scripted and Ron Howard directed Rush. It follows the 70’s rivalry of Formula 1 drivers Hunt and Niki Lauda and considering its the team up of Morgan and Howard again, it’ll probably be awesome. Fast cars, awesome dialogue, killer drama, and Thor. The academy will eat it up.
What’s interesting about the casting is Hemsworth will be playing kind of a dick, something we glimpsed at (and loved) in Thor. Sure Hunt and Lauda were friends early on, but success kinda turned Hunt into a rich playboy and his performance suffered because of it. I mean, the only way he was able to win his F1 championship was because Lauda was in a coma. That’s kind of a dick move, right? That said, if anyone can make it work, it's probably Hemsworth.
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.
Dick Cheney is the subject of another HBO mini-series, this time based off the book Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency by Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Barton Gellman. The story will follow his ascension to power through the Republican party, from working under Donald Rumsfeld in the Nixon administration to his full transformation into the nation's most powerful schadenfreude.
Anyway, this was all just an excuse to make little dick jokes at the expense of the former Vice President. It’s really too bad he couldn’t create a full feature and had to settle for the mini. But I hear there’s medication for that. Hopefully the aim of the show won’t be too off because the last time that happened a lawyer got shot in the face. But in all seriousness, can Danny Devito play Cheney and basically play him exactly like he did the Penguin? Please? Pretty please? Pretty please with deregulated banking and shady corporate bidding on government contracts?
The Moon star has been dating actress Leslie Bibb since 2007 after they met while he was filming Frost/Nixon in Los Angeles, and they later appeared together onscreen in Iron Man 2.
But even though he is enjoying the romance, Rockwell has no plans to exchange vows with his partner.
He tells the New York Post, "I've never been married. I have a steady girlfriend I'm going with (for) three years. Will I get married? Who knows? Probably not."
Rachel Weisz will have sex in her next movie. Again, Rachel Weisz will have a sex scene and possibly multiple sex scenes in 360. Oh, hello Google pervs. Nice to meet you. Please wash your hands.
Of course, we won’t get to see said sex scenes (bye Google pervs!), but the film shows great promise. Directing is Fernando Meirelles who previously guided Weisz to her Oscar win in The Constant Gardner, a riveting international drama. The story "revolves" around a constantly rotating (you like my choice of vocabulary, don't cha?) cast of characters after they have just done the whoopie (but since it’s supposed to be dark and psycho sexual, they will probably not call it whoopie). From the AB post-coital conversation, we go to the BC post-romp convo, to the CD, to the DE, till we finally come full circle back to A. Thus the 360 title. Clever isn’t it?
Which is why it was originally written in 1900 by Arthur Schnitzler titled La Ronde. But I’m sure you remembered that from your Early 20th Century German Dramatics class.
This time around, it’s being penned by Peter Morgan. Morgan is responsible for many critically lauded films like The Queen, The Last King of Scotland, and Frost/Nixon. And we all remember the sexual tension and hot passion from The Queen (hubba hubba QE2!). Hopefully, 360 will also feature Michael Sheen. We’re long past due for a Michael Sheen sex scene. Oh, hello Google pervs again!
Sacha Baron Cohen has demonstrated his ability to completely disappear into roles with his cult hit films Borat and Bruno. Cohen’s next big character will be just as flamboyant, but this time based in reality. He just signed on to play Freddie Mercury in a Queen biopic.
The Queen and Frost/Nixon scribe Peter Morgan is handling the script, though no director or other cast members have been announced (but since it’s a Morgan script Michael Sheen is expected to play a role). Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Productions and GK Films are producing. The film has the complete cooperation and blessing of Mercury’s estate and the three remaining members of Queen. And if parts of that sentence were a surprise to you then you should know (spoiler alert) Mercury is dead. He succumbed to AIDS in 1991 while the band was still going strong (end 19 year old spoilers).
Let the wild speculation about a potential Oscar nomination begin! Cohen's playing a musician in a biopic that has a disease and we all know the Academy only needs those three things to hand over a statue. It worked for Jaime Foxx, Jeff Bridges (kinda, sorta as Crazy Heart was a faux-biopic) and almost did for Joaquin Phoenix, so it’ll be interesting to see at least whether or not this portrayal will be as successful.
Alternate/shameful headlines considered for this piece: Borat to become a Queen; Baron Cohen Now ‘Under Pressure;’ Borat to exclaim ‘I am a Champion, very nice!y;’ Queen: Cultural Learning of the Band to Make Benefit for Cohen’s Quest for Oscar; Boratian Rhapsody; Mercury Rises For Baron Cohen. You can see why we didn’t use these. You're welcome.
In The Future, All Journalism Will Be This Doubleplusgood.
The Onion News Network, home of all fake news stories that hit uncomfortably close to home has come out with a 12-minute, special edition report, Future: News From the Year 2137, availible for purchase today on iTunes. Now usually I don’t condone spending money on anything, ever (why eat out when Whole Foods has perfectly good dumpsters?) but if you have $2 to blow, you could do worse than supporting one of the funniest groups on the intertubes. The special, which took a year to film, brings you the world’s top news stories from 2137 AD. I know it's a bit early for him, timeline-wise, but I can't help hoping that everyone's favorite futuristic news reporter, Morbo, makes an appearance.
This Week In The Obvious: Reality Dating Shows Do Not Create Long-Lasting Relationships
In shocking news, Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi, the “winners” of the last season of The Bachelor, are breaking up in typical reality style: messily and on TV. Who could have guessed that two people who got to know each other on national TV might not get along in real life? Still, since they seem intent on airing their grievances to America at large as though we were their own personal sassy gay friend, they’re at least having the courtesy to be pathetically entertaining in the process. The couples’ complaints range from the almost sitcom cliche (she doesn’t listen to his directions in the car!) to the uniquely surreal (he doesn’t fly planes anymore!), but it’s refreshing to see any sort of genuine emotion in reality TV, even if it’s sheer annoyance and dislike. The whole interview is imbeded below, but stuff starts to get violent around 6 minutes in.
No, Mr. Bond, I Did Not Expect You To Die
Daniel Craig’s third James Bond film, which would have been written by Peter Morgan of Frost/Nixon and directed by Sam Mendes, is officially kaput due to MGM’s financial woes. While it seems unlikely that this will be the end of the Bond series as a whole (if it can survive George Lazenby, it can survive anything), it will probably be the end of this specific production. It’s a huge missed opportunity for the studio: both in terms of talent, which we’re unlikely to see together again; and in marketability, since Craig has been the most exciting and popular 007 in years. Plus, without a place for Bond in our cinemas, who will save us from evil world domination conspiracies and elaborate deadly contraptions? I'll leave you with a reminder of happier times: remember when Quantum Of Solace's dumb name was the most of our problems?
Morgan, who penned screenplays for critically-acclaimed films including Frost/Nixon and The Queen, was hired to work on the 23rd Bond movie, but reports over the weekend (10-11Apr10) suggested the writer had quit the project.
Morgan's rumoured departure was linked to the recent arrival of Mendes, with speculation that the director planned to replace him with Closer creator Patrick Marber.
But a spokesman for Hollywood studio MGM has dismissed the story as gossip, telling Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, "The filmmakers say the Morgan/Marber switch is just speculation."
The Titanic star and her American Beauty director husband announced their split on Monday (15Mar10), bringing their seven year marriage to an end.
According to recent reports, the pair struggled to work together while filming Revolutionary Road and drifted apart after the movie wrapped.
And new claims in several British newspapers suggest Winslet was furious about the amount of time Mendes spent with Frost/Nixon star Hall after he cast her in two of his plays.
A source tells U.K. newspaper the Daily Mirror, “Sam is a huge admirer of Rebecca’s work. He can be quite a lovey at times and really worked well with her, which would obviously wind Kate up. There’s no suggestion of anything untoward but undoubtedly the friendship didn’t help mend the struggling marriage. They are most definitely just friends. To suggest anything else is wide of the mark."
And the publication adds that Winslet's decision to stay in America to star in a U.S. TV drama instead of returning to her native U.K. with him for his filming commitments caused a deeper rift between the couple.
The insider says, "Sam raised several questions over whether she should be doing it, insisting she was above a TV script, and it wouldn't progress her career. Not surprisingly, Kate went ballistic."
The Jarhead filmmaker, who is married to Kate Winslet, will take charge of the 23rd 007 adventure if Bond producers get their way, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Daniel Craig will reprise his role as Bond in the production, which is expected to go before cameras this summer (10).
Frost/Nixon screenwriter Peter Morgan is among the writing team for the new, unnamed 007 project.