Hitting movie theaters this weekend:
Jumping the Broom - Paula Patton, Laz Alonso, Angela Bassett Something Borrowed - Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield Thor - Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman
Movie of the Week
The Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman The Plot: The powerful but arrogant warrior Thor (Hemsworth) is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard and sent to live amongst humans on Earth. The Buzz: When I first heard about this film there was no accompanying metaphorical rumble of thunder. As a matter of fact, I instead grumbled at Marvel’s blunder — a film about Thor? He’s got to be one of the least popular Marvel Comics heroes out there. He’s not even a super hero, he’s the god of thunder, and his books are some of the most boring that Marvel has ever published. What was Marvel thinking? I just couldn’t get my mind around it. But in hindsight, after seeing the film's trailer, I now see they were thinking something like, “We’ll get Kenneth Branagh to direct, cast an attractive up-and-comer as the lead, throw Natalie Portman in as the love interest (she’s up for anything these days), and add old Anthony Hopkins to the mix, as Thor’s father Odin, just for good measure.”
Boy, was I mistaken. Not only was Marvel thinking, but they were thinking rather well (at least that’s what the film's trailer has lead me to conclude). This trailer is without a doubt my favorite Marvel Studios trailer I’ve seen, which might not be saying much, as typically I’ve considered most of Marvel’s trailers to be pretty weak.
Thor's trailer was a really pleasant surprise, on all levels. It begins with a good action/mystery hook, reveals Chris Hemsworth’s Thor-worthy mug perfectly, and then, about 45 seconds into the trailer, we see Thor’s home world of Asgard, and it’s beautifully rendered and totally awesome. The music in this trailer is consistently excellent, the special effects look fascinating (I love the CGI wormhole), and the dialog seems very good for this type of film — I like Hopkins’ delivery of the line, “you are a vain, greedy, cruel boy.” It’s simple writing, but good.
My favorite part of the trailer is when Natalie Portman’s character first finds Thor, who has just been cast out of his heavenly home, banished to Earth via some amazing CGI wormhole action. Damaged in transit, burnt out to heck, Thor is lying in a dusty field, hungover as all get out. Portman approaches him and pleads, “open your eyes.” Thor then mutters the awesome line, “oh no, this is Earth isn’t it?” Talk about a heroic guy: he’s lying flat on his back, with the beautiful Portman crouching over him pleading to assist, and all he can do is grouse. He laments his fate like that of a spoilt rock-star. I love the disinterest he exhibits — a true hero — above even the wiles of women (well, he is a god, after all).
Marvel Studios has a spotty track record. Sure, you’ve got your success stories (Spider-man, Iron Man), but you’ve also got your flat out embarrassments (Ghost Rider, Elektra) and a long list of films that failed to truly satisfy a relevant fan-base (X-Men, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, etc.). It’ll be interesting to see how this one fares. I imagine it’ll come down somewhere in between the mega-successes and the flops.
The god of thunder is certainly not one of Marvel’s top heroes, but based on this trailer, it looks like they might have a winner in Thor.
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New Blu-ray and DVDs released this week:
All the Right Moves (BD) - Tom Cruise, Lea Thompson, Craig T. Nelson The Crow: City of Angels (BD) - Vincent Perez, Mia Kirshner, Richard Brooks The Dilemma (BD/DVD) - Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Winona Ryder, Jennifer Connelly Fat Girl [The Criterion Collection] (BD) - Anaïs Reboux, Roxane Mesquida, Libero De Rienzo From Dusk to Dawn (BD) - Harvey Keitel, George Clooney, Juliette Lewis From Prada to Nada (BD/DVD) - Camilla Belle, Alexa Vega, Kuno Becker The Green Hornet (BD/DVD) - Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz Halloween H20 (BD) - Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, Adam Arkin Houdini & Those Daring Young Men and Their Jaunty Jalopies (BD) - Bourvil, Lando Buzzanca, Walter Chiari The Malta Story - Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Anthony Steel Smiles of a Summer Night [The Criterion Collection] (BD) - Ulla Jacobsson, Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Andersson Twelve O'Clock High (BD) - Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlowe, Gary Merrill Waiting for Forever (BD/DVD) - Rachel Bilson, Tom Sturridge, Richard Jenkins What Dreams May Come (BD) - Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Annabella Sciorra The Yards (BD) - Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Charlize Theron
Blu-ray/DVD of the Week
The Stars: Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Winona Ryder, Jennifer Connelly The Plot: A man (Vaughn) discovers that his best friend's wife (Ryder) is having an affair. The Buzz: Nothing too great released this week. Not much buzz really for The Dilemma. This was pretty standard rom-com fare. Strong female cast for sure, and Vaughn's always likable enough, but Kevin James was borderline unbearable. James must have a really good work ethic, and a really great agent -- he's the Sesame Street "one of these things is not like the other" of this film.
The Dilemma was none too special, but I suppose it's a decent way to kill some time -- that is, if you happen to have some time to kill AND you aren't very imaginative as to how to go about doing so.
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