Tag Archives: trailer

Thor: Marvel’s Shakespeare

10 May

How do you bring a Middle English talking Norse God of Thunder to the big screen without upsetting the fan boys, but still making enough money to show that you are a commercially viable company for the long run? You hire Kenneth “call me Hamlet bitch” Branagh.

Those are quotations and really more air-quotes than anything else. But even without the seemingly appropriate nickname Branagh brings a complete range of film making to the table. He’s a classically trained actor/director who not only brought some of Shakespeare’s most notable works to the big screen, but was also in Wild Wild West.

For the basement dwelling nerdfolk Branagh can bring a complex understanding of Thor as a Marvel character and the Norse mythology that inspired him. For everyone else, Branagh understands how to bridge the gap between nerdspeak and the big-guns, big-boobs, big-special effects world of studio made blockbusters.

What we are talking about is Thor, played with a steady confidence by little-known Australian actor Chris Hemsworth. At its core Thor is a story of sibling rivalry and self realization,but on the incredible stage of Asgard and the ethereal plane.

See I’ve already lost you with all rainbow bridge talk. But wait we’ve got Natalie Portman, come on back. That’s right you can still be entertained by the Norse God of Thunder and Mjolnir, his hammer.

I’m loosing you again, wait we’ve got Anthony Hopkins as Odin the King of Asgard. He may not look good with his shirt off, but this guy brings gravitas and credibility to the world Branagh is building.

To stir the plot we’ve got Tom Hiddleston brilliantly as Loki, the mischievous brother of Thor whose mysterious past provides the entirety of the story really. But we’re not going to get into that.

Still not buying it? Ok, we’ve also got plenty of action sequences, sexual tension and guys with their shirts off for the ladies. Not to mention good special effects and a decent amount of comedy.

But the real key to success for Thor is its ability to get you into the world.If you don’t buy the premise, you’ll never get into the characters and spend $11 to see the midnight show of the Avengers.

Sure you can just let it be, and just throw a wink to the camera and say, “buy into this, it’ll be fun.”  But the average person doesn’t like to be told to come along, they like to be led along. The nudge-nudge-wink-wink approach gets you mediocre box office numbers and a life-time of reruns on FX.

But that doesn’t mean you have to explain every last detail,  I call this the “Midi-Chlorian Conundrum” or the “Lucas’ Ruination Effect”.  This is the tendency on the part of filmmakers to make you believe completely, rather than just provide a degree of plausible deny-ability.

I don’t need to know every detail about how Thor’s Hammer is actually the iPad-T1000, just give me something to anchor my understanding. Branagh and the writers at Marvel bridged this gap with a brilliantly simple line of dialogue that has been in every trailer, including the one below.  But I won’t spoil it. Otherwise I’d have to put up stupid flashing lights to tell everyone I was ruining the movie.

It’s a classic Hollywood blockbuster that delivers all the right things. It’s a fun and funny popcorn flick. But to Marvel it is the cornerstone of their world. If you can enjoy this journey down the rabbit hole, then Marvel’s Nerd-A-Motive can steam into the future on the backs of this cash cow and so many others.

Now let me state at this point I’ve used the word “nerd”, and it’s many conjugations,  several times so I think I should say at this point that I ( and I know this is hard for many of my loyal readers to believe) am an Uber-Nerd. Minus the parents basement.

So I use the word not only out of love, but out of ownership…Nerd it’s the other N word.

I wanted to add something at the end there. Just like Marvel always does in their movies to tease you. HINT. HINT. COUGH. STAY AFTER THE CREDITS. COUGH.

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Arthur: Everyone is funnier with a British Accent

4 Apr

British people are hilarious when they use complex sentence structure and big words while being silly. That is how they conquered half the world. Who would feel threatened by a group of people who can’t operate without drinking hot flavored water (tea) and use proper diction. The Indians (dots and feathers) probably thought they were getting quality education and a snack when the mayflower showed up.

Not that this has anything to do with the film, though basically you can see this movie being sold to a studio. Filmmakers: We would like Russell Brand to be himself with hot chicks, Richy Rich toys and Helen Mirren.  Studio: Add a formulaic happy ending and you’ve got yourself a picture.

Not that I really know how that conversation went, though I’m sure the words Russell Brand, Helen Mirren and Richy Rich were probably involved. Regardless of how Arthur got made it is hilarious from start to climax. Then there is the wildly predicable and annoyingly comprehensive conclusion. But I’ll let you form your own conclusions about the conclusion.

Because this is a film worth seeing, even if you previously haven’t enjoyed the comedy of Russell Brand. While the character of Arthur is almost tailor made for Brand’s farce-like brand of comedy, no pun intended, and his British-ness makes it a lay up, he still knocked it out of the park. Or the cricket circle, pitch…whatever it is they have in Harry Potter land.

Helen Mirren, as the doting nanny Hobson, has an unexpected chemistry with Brand that either indicates her skills as a thespian (it means actor according to Wikipedia and my thesaurus..I mean, crap) or the Oscar winner actually formed a bond with the former BBC and XFM castaway.  Either way, Arthur is a laugh a minute comedy that is probably worth $8 of the $11 you’ll pay to see it.

Transformers 3: The Dark Side of the Moon

13 Dec

I don’t know about you, but I was underwhelmed by Michael Bay’s second installment of Transformers. I mean don’t get me wrong I love me some explosions on top of explosions on top of Megan Fox.  But all three of those things have something in common, they aren’t you know traditionally…good.

I’m not saying I want a gay robot persevering through the challenges of the judgmental boys-club of autobots or a “special” robot that teaches Megatron how to love. I just need a little bit of quality to hang my hat on.

Take Iron Man 2, it was a little more awesome with a boatload of quality acting. And it was enjoyable and brought the awesome. That is all I’d like to see from Transformers 3 and friends I think there is hope.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: You have to earn it

23 Nov

Somewhere an executive at Warner Brothers is crying in a Scrooge Mcduck size pool of money.  That comically large pool of gold coins was not due to a government bail out but one of the most successful franchises in entertainment history, the tears are because the Harry Potter franchise has started to end.

Although, they are squeezing every penny out of the final book installment, splitting the 784 pages of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows in two feature length films.  And to be fair the story is large enough to split into a Ken Burns documentary, so it’s not like WB is spreading this out to weasel an extra $10 out of you, that is just the icing on the gold plated  birthday cake they are sending to JK Rowling at her Scottish castle-home.

The thing I really enjoy about Part 1 is that it is not for everybody. It is for the fans. You could not just show up to this movie and understand anything that was going on. These final two films are  the payoff for those who read the books and followed the movies, and if you didn’t well then you are SOL.

For those of you who are fans (of the paleness or Harry Potter) continue.

With so much story to cover in the final two films director David Yates and writer Steve Kloves do an excellent job of establishing the most important aspect of the Deathly Hollows – the stakes.  The world of Harry Potter isn’t going to spell’s class, pranks on Snape or even Hogwarts anymore, schools out and it’s time to get expecto patronum on some death eaters imperiusing asses.

( I told you fans only)

That is why the early deaths of Hedwig and Mad-Eye Moody are so important. Both in the novel and in the film.  At it’s core the Deathly Hollows is about transitioning from the innocence of youth to the reality that we will all die, and all that we can control is how we go about living.

To effectively communicate this though, Yates has to keep the pace high and cut out a lot of the secondary character’s background stories. Bill Weasley is awkwardly introduced in the first few scenes as if he were a throw-away character and then all of a sudden you are at his wedding.  But that is what has to happen when you have so much story to cover and only so much attention span to work with.

Also, Yates has a uncanny ability to mix the humorousness that is so much a part of the Harry Potter franchise with the incredibly dark and evil events of the deathly hallows. This is war and you know it, but with a few laughs along the way…like a children’s book morphing into a adult fiction.

But that is basically the way Rowling wrote it so Yates must be doing something right.

Though their are more than a few moments where the dialogue is weak and awkward shots seem to waste valuable screen time, on the whole this will be an enjoyable film to Potheads everywhere.

Inception: Pixar Style

3 Aug

Thor Trailer: Superman with a Hammer

29 Jul
Kenneth Branagh is an acclaimed Shakespearean actor so naturally if he was going to be involved in a Superhero movie he would choose the one based on Norse Mythology.
Thor is the first Marvel Studio’s comic book adaptation that is seriously risky. Thor isn’t a witty web-slinger, a billionaire playboy with awesome toys or even a dark superhero struggling with metaphysical questions of truth and justice.  Thor is the hammer wielding God of Thunder, and he speaks like he wrote Beowulf.
This is what I’m talking about on the left there, you’ve got a couple hundred million dollars to make that cool. You can’t use phrases like ‘burst worth’ or words like ‘enchanted’ without being stuffed in a locker. But Thor is a founding member of the Avengers so you kind of have to fit him in somewhere or comic nerds everywhere will revolt in a tanless uprising the likes of which haven’t been seen since they stopped making pocket protectors.
But to balance things out here we’ve got Kenneth Branagh directing a film starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman with Anthony Hopkins. We’ve got Queen Amidala herself with Hannibal Lecter and a very large Australian man who looks like the a Hitler Youth recruiting poster.   Sounds about right for a Scandinavian superhero who spends a good bit of his time fighting in the mythical realm of Asgard, which exists somewhere above earth…sometimes located over Oklahoma. (I kid you not)
Based upon this 5 minute preview from Comic Con I think Marvel has done pretty well.

Trailer Tuesday: Casey Affleck is Scarey?

25 May

So I’m suppose to believe that Casey Affleck is American Psycho jr? I guess there is a first time for everything.