Posts Tagged ‘chris hemsworth’

ghostbusters 2016

Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is close to being a tenured physics professor at Columbia University, when Erin’s friend Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) puts a book about ghosts that she co-wrote on Amazon.  Erin wants Abby to take the book off Amazon, and visits Abby and her cohort, Jillian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon) and they are busy making various ectoplasmic blasting and containment devices.  Erin gets a tip about a ghost sighting at the Aldridge mansion, and reluctantly goes with Abby, and Holtzman to investigate.  The ghost is real, and Abby’s video goes viral, costing Erin her job.  The three women scientists open up an office to find out if more possible paranormal events are being reported.  They are soon visited by a former MTA worker, Patty Tolan, (Leslie Jones) who’s seen a ghost in a subway track, and wants to join the team.  The team is completed by a handsome but dim-witted receptionist named Kevin. (Chris Hemsworth)

Soon, the Ghostbusters are inundated with calls about reports of ghosts, and spirits of all kinds, because Rowan North (Neil Casey) is building a vortex that will bring the ghosts from the paranormal realm to the earthly realm.  Can the team of four stop the vortex from opening and keep New York City safe?

I hate sequels and reboots, but I like this movie.  Low expectations must have had something to do with it.  But to my surprise, this Ghostbusters was genuinely funny, and made me laugh, and can stand alone if the viewer never saw the original movie.  The dimwitted male receptionist is a nice role reversal, and the friendship between Abby and Erin is sweet, and believable. Ghostbusters is far from perfect, sometimes the ladies seem scared of the ghosts , that’s a little stereotypical sexism on the writers’ part, some scenes are directly lifted from the original movie, and for a movie that tried so hard to be a stand-alone movie, that is particularly annoying.  Finally, the product placement is obvious and unnecessary.  But the cameos are well-placed and add to the fun, and the ending is more Poltergeist than Ghostbusters, which was interesting. The 2016 version will never be as good as the original, Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis had a really creative original idea, but this movie builds on the solid foundation of Ramis and Ackroyd’s imaginative ideas.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good this version was.

The actors make any shortcomings in this script disappear.  Kristen Wiig is incredibly funny and even touching when talking about being teased for believing in ghosts.  Melissa McCarthy plays a likeable character for a change, and not the angry character with a chip on her shoulder, the chemistry between her and Wiig, first seen in Bridesmaids, is here in abundance too. Kate McKinnon is playing a combination of the Dan Aykroyd/Harold Ramis scientific jargon spouting physics geek, but she injects Holtzman with a spirit and spunk all her own, and made the character new.  And Leslie Jones, another SNL alum is funny as the non-scientific MTA worker.  Chris Hemswoth is my favorite in this cast, who knew he could do comedy?  Who knew he could act?  But he is funny, and can act.  Just kidding, I knew he could act from the movie Rush.

The direction relies a great deal of the ghost special effects, but they’re not that far removed from the effects in the 1980’s movie, and they shouldn’t be, this movie is not about special effects.  The director gets good performances from his cast and keeps the pace moving and the laughs coming.  I watched it in 3D, but I didn’t see the 3D used to great effect.  Still in all, a good, not great film.

Ghostbusters:  Get into the spirit!

avengers age of ultron

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) Thor (Chris Hemsworth) Captain America (Chris Evans) Black Widow (Scarlett Johansen) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)  try to get Thor’s scepter from Baron Von Strucker (Thomas Kreishman)  one of the leader of Hydra.  But Strucker is hiding more than the scepter, he’s been doing experiments on a pair of twins, Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor Johnson) and Wanda Maximoff (Elzabeth Olsen) and also building artificial intelligence.  Tony Stark finds the artificial intelligence in Strcker’s hideout, and thinks he can merge it with his own artificial intelligence named Jarvis (Paul Bethany) to protect the world.  Does Stark’s plan to protect the world work or will it backfire?

I must say I liked Age of Ultron better than the first Avengers movie, that may be damning this film with faint praise, because I hated the first Avengers movie.  This movie is better because is an Iron Man centered story, and not a Thor centered story of all the Avengers, none bores me as much as Thor, I hated the Thor movies, so building this story off of Tony Stark is a wise decision.  This movie also introduces Quicksilver and the Scarlet With into the Avengers storyline.  But everytime writer Joss Whedon develops an interesting plotline or character, director Whedon sabotages those characters and plotlines by jamming the movie with overextended action sequences, and cascading amounts of CGI. The first scene is an example of the excessive use of CGI.  The Avengers are battling Strucker, why?  There is no set up.  Later, cities are leveled, citizens are screaming for help, yet none of our heroes sustain so much as a scratch, not even Hawkeye.  What’s his superpower?  A bow and arrow? Just once I wish they’d tell us how these annihilated cites get rebuilt.  Maybe they could make a movie and call it, Avengers Reconstruction.  There are also not one but two clunky love stories that ruin the interesting plot lines even further, they try to humanize the characters, but only serve to slow the movie to a crawl.  There is also product placement so obvious that it’s maddening.  None of the Audi cars being showcased got decimated in the midst of cities being leveled. Small wonder.

The acting is ok.  As usual Robert Downey Jr. carries this film, and he should.  He has a real comfort level playing the snarky Stark, and could easily play Stark for the rest of his career, as Hugh Jackman has done with Wolverine. Scarlett Johansson tries very hard to play Black Widow as an emotionless killing machine, but the clunky love story saddles her with drippy romantic lines and wrecks what could have been a very good performance. I don’t like Mark Ruffalo, he plays Bruce Banner as sort of a sad-sack loner. Ruffalo has this dog-that’s been kicked persona that is offputting, I still say Bill Bixby played Bruce Banner better than anyone else has.  I don’t like Chris Hemsworth either, he’s not a very good actor, and he proves it over and over.  Jeremy Renner doesn’t bring much to the film except a few quips and a what –am-I doing- here-attitude.  Chris Evans who’s good in his own Captain America movies doesn’t have much to add here. Elizabeth Olsen, sister of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, does quite a good job as the Scarlet Witch, Aaron Taylor Johnson of Kick Ass fame, is also pretty good as Quicksilver, although I think Evan Peters was better as Quicksilver in The Days of Future Past. Claudia Kim was good as Dr. Helen Cho, Whedon could have done much more with that character and with the actress, but he did not.

Director Joss Whedon keeps the pace going strong except when he tries to integrate romantic elements into the story, then the pace lags.    Whedon tries to overwhelm the viewer with CGI, instead of integrating the special effects within the storyline.  There are extended action sequences that are in severe need of editing, but they go on and on.

Avengers Age of Ultron:  Not The Age of Dull-tron, but could have been much better.

Movie Review: Rush (2013)

Posted: December 24, 2014 in Drama
Tags: ,

rush

James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) began their rivalry in Formula 3 racing where Hunt beat Lauda.  While Hunt was busy being a ladies man and getting married to model Suzy Miller, (Olivia Wilde) Lauda signed with Ferrari, and won the Formula One championship in 1975. In 1975, Hunt was still looking for a sponsor, late in 1975 he signed with McLaren, but his personal life is in shambles, his wife leaves him for Richard Burton.  Now, Hunt is ready to take on Lauda for the 1976 Formula One Championship.  Throughout the year, Hunt and Lauda were neck and neck for the championship, Lauda doesn’t want to race in the German Grand Prix, but is goaded to do so by Hunt, who sees Lauda’s hesitancy to race as a ploy to hold on to his slim points lead.  What happens in the German Grand Prix in 1976?  Who wins the Formula One Championship that year?

Rush is an interesting story, it’s an interesting story because of the rivalry that develops between two men who want to achieve the same goal.  It is most interesting as a character study.  There is a real and distinct difference between how these two men go about achieving the goal of being a Formula champion.  Niki Lauda is a serious, restrained, and almost studious student of the sport of auto racing.  James Hunt is a man who approaches auto racing by instinct, by feel.  He is not interested in restraining his baser instincts, in fact, he wants to engorge them.  Frankly, Lauda’s story seems more interesting, not only because of his rise to become a champion, but for what happens to him in 1976 and beyond, the movie really becomes engaging when it tells Lauda’s story.

The acting is for the most part good.  Chris Hemsworth is much better in Rush then those ghastly Thor movies.  That may be damning him with faint praise, but he does show some emotional connection in this character, which is lacking in his characterization of Thor.  But it is Daniel Bruhl that carries this movie and makes it worth watching.  Niki Lauda is not the most likeable person in the world, but Bruhl humanizes him, and makes him approachable.  The viewer can at least admire Lauda’s work ethic if not like him as a person, Bruhl lets all those complexities show, it is a standout performance.  Olivia Wilde on the other hand, gives a jaw-droppingly bad performance with a horrid British accent to boot.  There is nothing good to say about Wilde’s performance.

The movie is too long and the pacing is uneven, at times there’s too much exposition, I wouldn’t have been disappointed if Ron Howard cut Wilde’s character down or even cut her out.  Her inclusion fed the gossipy tabloid side of this movie and detracts from the more serious aspects of this movie. Howard does get good a good performance out of Hemsworth, which is an achievement worth noting, and a great performance from unknown actor Bruhl.  The racing scenes add excitement and dramatic tension to this film, so Howard once again deserves plaudits for his work on Rush.

Some nudity, both male and female, so if you’re a parent with young kids, put them to bed and then, enjoy.

Rush:  Rush out and see it.

thor 2

Maleikith (Christopher Eccleston) leader of the Dark Elves possesses the Aether, a weapon with which he intends to destroy Asgard.  Thor, (Chris Hemsworth) prince of the Nine Realms, doesn’t want to be King of the Nine Realms, but neither does he trust his evil brother Loki (Tom Huddleston) to be King of the Nine Realms either.  When trying to slip through a wormhole to try to meet Thor, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is infused with the Aether, and given supernatural powers.  Malekith wants to retrieve the Aether from Jane to destroy Asgard and the Nine Realms.  Thor can’t kill Malekith by himself, he needs the help of his brother Loki.  Does Loki help Thor or join forces with Malekith?  What happens to the Aether?

Thor is when the Marvel cannon of characters hits the bottom of the barrel.  Thor is the weakest of all the Marvel superheroes in my opinion, a Norse god with a hammer as a weapon.  What’s so super about that?  The mythology around him is weak, Asgard is not exactly Krypton, Thor is hardly Batman, or even Spiderman, there is nothing compelling about the character, and unlike Iron Man, neither the story nor the character draw the viewer in.  I don’t care about Thor, or his rivalry with Loki, so what is left is a story with no plot development, no character development, and a movie that jumps form action sequence to action sequence, from special effect to special effect, with no rhyme or reason. And the terminology just sounds like so much gobbledygook. What the heck is Aether, the convergence, the Dark Elves, the Nine Realms?  What do the Dark Elves do?  Bake evil cookies? This movie suffers from the same problem as the Avengers, a scant plot, underdeveloped characters, and a rush to get to the action scenes and special effects.  Again, it took six people to write this dreck,  did they take turns writing in crayon?

Chris Helmworth is a wooden actor, he brings no dimension to this character.  Hemsworth seems only interested in creating a larger than life character, but he brings nothing else to the role. Tom Huddleston is not a menacing presence, neither is Christopher Eccleston.  Natalie Portman can be a good actress when given a good script, but she’s back in Queen Amidalla mode here, she has very little to say, trying to sound important but is only used as a love interest and damsel in distress. Anthony Hopkins is brought in once again to try to class up the proceedings, it doesn’t work.

Thor:  The Dark World.  The writers must have been hammered.

 

Five college kids head to a cabin in the woods for some time off the grid.  Curt (Chris Hemsworth) is a jock, Jules (Anna Hutchison) is Curt’s girlfriend, and she’s as easy as an open book exam. Dana (Kristen Connelly) is coming off a bad breakup with a professor. Marty (Fran Kranz) is a stoner, and Holden (Jesse Williams) is also a jock, but new in town.  The five head off in an RV to Curt’s cousins secluded cabin in the woods.  Little do they know that the every move of the five people in the cabin is being monitored by a group of people in shirts and ties and pant suits, who are in some kind of control room in an undisclosed location.  One of these men is named Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and one is named Hadley (Bradley Whitford)  Dana reads a diary about a father who kills his family in the same family, and no sooner had Dana finished reading the diary entry, than the slaughtered family rise from their graves as zombies and start chasing down the young people with murder on their minds.  Do the people in business attire help the young adults in danger?  Why are these people monitoring these young people?

This is just a fun movie.  It’s not a horror movie.  It’s got all the architypes of a good horror flick, the jock, the stoner, the sexually active girl, the vulnerable girl, and the shy, bookish new guy in town.  But this movie has something that most horror movies don’t have, it’s tongue firmly in it’s cheek.  What makes this movie worth watching is not what’s going on inside the cabin, that’s horror movie making 101, what makes this movie interesting is the answer to why the college kids are being monitored, and for that you have to know that Joss Whedon produced and co-wrote this film.  Joss Whedon, for those who don’t know, is the person responsible for such shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel, and Firefly.  In this science fiction/horror milieu, Whedon likes to mythologize.  Buffy Summers, for example, went to to a fictional school in California that is located on top of the Hellmouth, a convergence of bad energy where evil beings congregate. Whedon uses the same kind of myth building here, albeit in abbreviated form to explain why the kids are being monitored and the results are just plain fun to watch.  The last 15-20 minutes are more gory and special effects laden than they need to be but alas it’s a big budget Hollywood flick and the money has to be spent on something.  The acting is great, the biggest star here is Hemswoth, and he seems to be having a lot more fun than he did playing Thor, which was an awful movie. And in a fun twist, the African American guy wasn’t killed first, an oft joked about trend in horror movies.  Kristen Connelly was very good as the sensitive Dana, her character had the most depth, Fran Kranz is pretty good as the stoner, he wasn’t just a one joke character, and Jesse Williams brings more to his jock character than usual musclehead.  It’s nice to see Bradley Whitford again after his stint on the West Wing, and Richard Jenkins has these small but memorable roles in many movies.  It is rated R for some gore and a little nudity, so keep the kids away.
The Cabin in The Woods. Should you see it?  I would.