Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Expendables 2


The Expendables was everything I had been missing from 1980s action movies. A part of my soul died when comic book movies took the place of the action movie in the 2000s. This poster was just released and I for one am very excited.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thor


Not the normal type of movie I would review here but I think I should start review movies I go to see in the theaters as well as the movies I watch at home (and that 98% of the general populace has never heard of or seen :P ) Anyway to the review!

This is a comic book movie and the main character, as you might have guessed, is Thor. Thor is an Asgardian warrior that pretty much likes to kick ass and take lots of names. He is reckless, fearless and arrogant, but who wouldn't be all of those things if you could fly around with a hammer and deal out stupid amounts of pain and call down thunderous storms of lightning and doom? Of course the astute reader will have gathered by now that these personality traits are going to get Thor into trouble with some pretty important people. I am not going to bore you with the details because this is a comic book superhero movie and the story arcs are pretty much vanilla so I bet you can guess what happens.

Obviously the vanilla comic book superhero movie plot is one of the major reasons I tend to groan and make funny faces when I decide to torture myself by buying a ticket, popcorn and a soda and attempt to 'enjoy' one of these movies. Enter Kenneth Branagh and some stupidly awesome special effects.

Special effects first. I did not see this movie in 'Three Dimensions!' mainly because it makes my head dizzy, gives me a headache and costs more money. The theaters make money off of concession sales and I would rather shell out money for overpriced food items than some special effect that makes me nauseous. Of course since there have been special effects long before the multiple 3D crazes that have swept blockbuster movie productions I can still discuss the basic and rather cool special effects. Here I am with this rather long-winded opening statement about the special effects and all that I really needed to say was this: Asgard looks freaking awesome!

Now enter Branagh. Last time I saw him he was in the movie Valkyrie, you would have a hard time remembering him because a certain Tom Cruise spent the entire movie trying to hog the screen. I could spend the next half hour complaining about Tom Cruise but that isn't why I am here, or is it? Anyway Kenneth Branagh to me is Shakespeare and he should be Shakespeare to everyone else that is reading this damn blog. He was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and then decided that Shakespeare needed to be brought to the masses who had largely groaned and grumbled while reading Shakespeare in High School English classes. And he did just that with some really good film adaptations of Shakespeare. I have now spent about 80% of this blog post talking about things other than the movie I am reviewing. Must focus! Branagh knows his stuff is what I am trying to say. He likes the Bard and he directs and acts very well in those plays and on the silver screen. He brings with him this sense of direction and acting that can be seen throughout the film and really makes this film something better and different than your standard comic book movie. The actors are all stellar and they have pretty decent chemistry. The lines are delivered very nicely and the dialog is witty and funny. The dialog also makes some jokes at the expense of itself but does so without delving into self-parody and never descends into total camp. Well done since you are making a movie about a dude with a hammer.

Chris Hemsworth plays Thor and does marvelous job portraying Thor as this arrogant but charismatic badass. Natalie Portman a human scientist named Jane Foster that happens to get involved with Thor while he is on Midgar, or Earth if you want to nitpick, by virtue of basically running Thor over with her science vehicle. Natalie Portman does a good job as always and the rest of the cast is able to keep pace.

I have noticed a slight debate over what parts of the movie people liked best. There are two camps. The one camp is braindead and wrong, as you could have guessed, and thinks the action sequences are the best. Let's be honest here, it is a guy with a hammer beating people up. Sure the special effects are cool and that is probably what got you to go to the movie in the first place but that is pretty much something you see in every superhero movie. Although the action sequences in the middle of the movie are pretty good. The part of the movie that focuses on character development and interaction between the characters was the best. It had just enough comedy to keep you smiling and the there was some actual development of the characters over the course of the movie that was a refreshing. You know not development like Tony Stark who goes from ultra-wealthy playboy to ultra-wealthy playboy with a big suit of armor that fires lasers to ultra-wealthy playboy with big suit of armor that fires lasers and is trying to do some good in the world in between bottles of scotch. Where was I going with this? Oh yes second-tier comic book heroes and there movies. I don't know if these guys are second-tier but it sounds good to say and they aren't Superman, Batman or Spiderman. As I was saying I found Iron Man to be dull and while this movie is built from the same mold, comic book superhero movie, this movie is actually good rather than just some fun action movie with Robert Downey Jr downing scotch and tricking Muslim terrorists into thinking he is making a missile when he is really making a iron suit of sheer awesomeness.

This was suppose to be a short little review but I went off the reservation and began hunting down other movies while engaging in a platonic love-fest with Branagh...so this movie is a must watch if you want to watch a big budget popcorn movie. It won't stir you with emotion like an Oscar winning drama but it will make you glad you went to see the movie.



3/5 stars