Tag Archives: Anthony Hopkins

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

*Warning: this review contains mild spoilers. Read at your own risk.

A sequel of a sequel of a superhero movie walks a fine line. It has to be entertaining, but it also has to extend the narrative and the character arc in a way that feels right to both the universe and the characters.

Two weeks ago, Thor: Ragnarok hit theaters.  Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is no longer of this world. His previously unknown first child, Hela (Cate Blanchett), otherwise known as the Goddess of Death has returned from exile to return Asgard to the way it was before her exile. But to do this, she has to make sure that her brothers, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) are out-of-the-way. They find themselves in another world where Thor is a gladiator and fighting against The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). This world is ruled by Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), who might be crazy. With the help of Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Thor, Loki and The Hulk might be able to defeat Hela and save Asgard.

If there was a proper way to do a second sequel, especially for a movie which is based on a comic book, this film is the blueprint. It is funny, entertaining  and takes the narrative and characters in new directions without feeling stale or overproduced. And of course, the two female characters, played by Tessa Thompson and Cate Blanchett are amazing. They contribute to the narrative, both standing on their own two feet and neither relying on the stereotypical female caricatures that exist in the genre.

I absolutely recommend it.

Thor: Ragnarok is presently in theaters. 

 

 

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Throwback Thursday-The Mask Of Zorro (1998)

In every age, there is a hero who rights the wrongs and restores justice to the world. Created in 1919, Zorro (aka Don Diego de la Vega), was the Robin Hood of his day.

Zorro has had several incarnations on screen since his introduction to the world nearly 100 years ago.

In 1998, Zorro was re-imagined as The Mask of Zorro.

Don Diego de la Vera (Anthony Hopkins) is a nobleman living in Spanish controlled California with his wife and young daughter, Elena.  Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson) is Diego’s rival, politically and romantically. As Spain concedes California to Santa Anna, Rafael uses this opportunity to strike back at his rival. Diego’s wife is killed, his daughter is taken away and he is thrown in prison.

A generation later, Alejando Murrieta (Antonio Banderas) is a common thief who watched his brother die. Diego sees the promise in Alejandro, but knows that work must be done. While Diego is training Alejandro to wear the mask of Zorro, Rafael and the noblemen are becoming wealthy at the expense of the lower classes. Rafael has also raised Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) as his own. Alejandro will put on the mask of Zorro, but is he ready to avenge his brother and restore justice?

It’s Zorro. Rocket science and Oscar worthy, it’s not. But it is entertaining, even if Elena, like many women in this genre are reduced to love interests and damsels in distress.

Do I recommend it? Why not?

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Noah, The Flood That Did Could Have Been

The story of Noah is familiar one. Noah was told by G-d that he was going to create a flood to rid the world of those who had sinned. But Noah and his family would be saved by building an ark which would hold the world’s animals. After some time floating on the endless ocean, a dove was sent to Noah, a sign that that would waters would recede and land would soon be found.

Biblical epics have been a staple of Hollywood storytelling since it’s early days.   Transferring the story of Noah from the pages of the Bible to big screen would have happened eventually.

Directed by Darren Aronofsky,  co written by Aronosky and Ari Handel, Noah (Russell Crowe) is the descendant of Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve. He and his wife Naamah (Jennifer Connelly) have three sons. Shem (played as an adult by Douglas Booth), Ham (played by as an adult by Logan Lerman) and Japheth (played by as an adolescent by Leo McHugh Caroll). When Noah is given a message by G-d that the  flood is coming, he seeks out his grandfather, Methusaleh (Anthony Hopkins), for guidance.  During their journey, they find Ila, a orphan (played by as an adult by Emma Watson) who becomes their adopted daughter and the Watchers, fallen angels who become their helpers in building the ark.  But trouble comes in the form of Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone), a self proclaimed king who wants the ark for himself.

When making a biblical movie, Hollywood will inevitably come up against two barriers: the first being that the movie will never be universally approved, there will always be criticism. The second is that biblical characters, like mythical characters are often larger than life. We, as the audience know their story, but we do not know them as human beings, which allows the filmmakers creative license. That creative license may create controversy when a religious movie goer may disapprove of on screen depiction of the story and the characters.

One of the best elements of the movie was the strong female characters. With a rare exception, most of the women in the Bible referred to as the wife of ______ or the daughter of _______. She is not named, nor are we told anything about her other than she is someone’s wife or daughter. Naamah and Ila are both very strong and capable female characters, they are equal to the men as integral parts of the story.

The movie build up a steady pace up to the flood and then the problems start. The third act of the movie, when they are stuck on the ark, I had problems with. Frankly, that part of the movie could have been shorter, shortening the entire movie. Noah is not a bad movie,  but if I were the screen writer, I would written the third act differently.

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Behind Every Great Man- A Hitchcock Review

Behind every great man is a great woman who is loyal and hardworking & Alfred Hitchcock was no exception.

The movie Hitchcock details the making of the horror classic Psycho while allowing the audience a glimpse into the life of the movie’s iconic director, Alfred Hitchock (Anthony Hopkins) and his marriage to Alma Reville (Helen Mirren).

Alfred Hitchcock may have been public face of his movie and tv empire, but his wife, Alma was the brains behind the face, working tirelessly from begginning to end to help her husband maintain his success.

The supporting cast is well chosen: Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson), star of the movie, Peggy Robertson (Toni Collette), Hitch’s assistant, Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston), a writer friend of Alma’s with and Vera Miles (Jessica Biel), an actress who worked with Hitch in the past, but gave up part of her career to start a family.

The movie is entertaining and well done and an interesting view of a very iconic man whose personal life has been overshadowed by his work.

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