Cert: 12A Runtime: 130 mins Director: Taika Waititi Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddelston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Jeff Goldblum and Anthony Hopkins
I don’t hang with the Avengers anymore. It all got too corporate.
The Thor franchise isn’t everyone’s favourite in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.For me I like it, Kenneth Branagh’s original was pure Shakespearean and Alan Taylor’s grew on me the more I watched it. Now a man I admire and respect Taika Waititi attempts to tackle the God of Thunder. From Eagle vs Shark to What We Do in the Shadows to Hunt for the Wilderpeople he keeps impressing me. He has a specific style and vision, not the type of director you’d expect for Disney. It seems like a worthwhile punt, the first trailer I saw I knew it was a Taika movie. What sweetened the pot for me was Jeff Goldblum, he is my Lord and Savior. So what is Thor: Ragnarok about? Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), his former ally and fellow Avenger. Thor’s quest for survival leads him in a race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela (Cate Blanchett) from destroying his home world and the Asgardian civilisation.
For the first ten minutes with a tie-in that I hated Thor: Ragnarok didn’t start too well for me. It actually boiled my blood this specific tie-in. Once the contractual obligations are out of the way Ragnarok was great fun. Taika Waititi made a film that you’d expect from him. He keeps the aesthetic of Thor and injects it with his colourful pallet. Such vivid characters and landscapes, gone are the dark tones of the previous two. One scene in particular that I loved was the battle with the flying horses. It was beautiful, the slow motion made it look like a giant painting, utterly breathtaking. For what could have been a three hour run-time, the film flows so well and it summarises nicely. No pointless moments or conversations. The second act does last a lot longer than you’d expect but you never get bored. That third act was juicy, it broke the Marvel blueprint this made it interesting because it wasn’t as conventional. You do question whether Thor: Ragnarok has a lot of improvisation? it fits to Waitit’s style but it comes across unclear. The score with the synthesizer is very 80’s but the 80’s style we expected doesn’t exist. My only hope now is that Taika Waititi doesn’t become a Studio whore, he needs the artistic freedom to do what he wants.
Thor: Ragnarok’s cast is nothing but stellar. Chris Hemsworth doesn’t really ooze out as a comedian, but damn he has good comedic timing and he is actually funny. His balance between action and comedy is just right. Tom Hiddelston does take a step back here, normally he stands out in most of his Marvel ventures but here he is a lot more tame. It’s always great to see Idris Elba and Anthony Hopkins reprising their roles even for a short while. The advancement of Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk is a big stand out here. He is more of a character now and the CGI really gives him more life. Cate Blanchett’s Hela was a good villain, she isn’t as prominent through the film (it was a waste of talent in that sense) but she has some great moments. It goes the same way for my Lord and Savior Jeff Goldblum, when he is on screen he is just hilarious. Tessa Thompson was a great action heroin throughout, for a secondary character she has a story and some skills. Thor: Ragnarok is a breath of fresh air to this over crowded comic book movie phenomenon. ANUS ANUS ANUS.
Cert: 15 Runtime: 123 mins Director: Marc Abraham Cast: Tom Hiddelstone, Elizabeth Olsen, Bradley Whitford, Cherry Jones, Maddie Hasson and David Krumholtz
Everyone has a little darkness in them
The best part about going into a film with low expectations is being pleasantly surprised. “I Saw the Light” is Marc Abraham’s biopic about country music legend, Hank Williams. I am no fan of country music, but I’ll be honest, I am a big fan of Tom Hiddleston. Hank Williams was one of the true giants of the country music scene. As the singer of such classic songs as “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “Hey, Good Lookin'”, and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, he was a trailblazing talent who lived fast and died young. The movie explores Williams’ rise to fame and the tragic effect it had on his health and personal life. In preparation for the lead role, Tom Hiddleston learned to play the guitar and ran ten miles and cycled 15 miles everyday to copy Williams’ pencil-thin appearance. Despite living a very short life (Williams died when he was only 29), Williams managed to write and release dozens of hit singles and leave an everlasting mark on the history of music. “I Saw the Light” attempts to capture this short, but brightly burning star, in his entirety and in doing so, manages to miss on most everything.
There is no denying that both Hiddleston and Olsen give remarkably nuanced performances and Hiddleston’s transformation from English gentleman to small-town Southern boy is nothing short of brilliant, but sadly not even their acting can make up for a poorly conceived and executed story. The story, while apparently linear, jumps from place to place, with little explanation, thus leaving the audience to try and fill in the missing pieces, which is an impossible task for those who do not know Hank Williams’ life. “I Saw the Light” is a flawed film from the structure, to the script, with some truly cringe worthy lines, to some terrible use of hand held cameras, yet I still enjoyed myself. Knowing that it was not a great film, I was able to just focus on what were Oscar worthy performances by both Hiddleston and Olsen. I left with little understanding of Hank Williams, but perhaps a better appreciation of his music. It was a fine way to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. If you like Olsen or Hiddleston, it is worth seeing.
Cert: 15 Runtime: 119 mins Director: Ben Wheatley Cast: Tom Hiddelston, Luke Evans, Sienna Miller, Elisabeth Moss and Jeremy Irons
Leave the real world behind
Ben Wheatley is probably the most up and coming British directors for some time now. Kill List, A Field in England and the phenomenal Sightseers have been given wide acclaim. But the general cinematic public either love him or hate him, his films are dubbed pretentious and boring (for me he is a visionary). Now his latest film High-Rise is from a novel written by J.G. Ballard, many people will not know who he is but my days read some of his books! It’s an exceptional book that’s worth anyone’s time.High-Rise has received wide acclaim from critics but the vast amount of movie going reviews have hated it. So what is High-Rise about? Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) has just moved into a plush London high-rise development and soon becomes an integral part of the class struggle within its walls. Among the new people he meets are belligerent filmmaker Richard (Luke Evans) and his long-suffering wife Helen (Elizabeth Moss), seductive Charlotte (Sienna Miller) and architect Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons). However, the atmosphere of the building also fosters an increasing sense of alienation between the various floors, and before long its inhabitants descend into bloodshed and chaos.
Well my opinion is with the critics I am afraid! High-Rise is equally Ben Wheatley’s best film along with Sightseers. If you have read the book I do believe it gives you more of a narrative edge going in. But the screenplay is slightly different to the book. I have no issue with this in all fairness, it gives it slightly a different angle. The message about the social divide is still prominent through out. Amy Jump’s screenplay has such a great humour to it, but the darkness of the story shines from page to screen. I would imagine Ballard would of approved of the film. Ben Whatley’s creation is of visual beauty within a large concrete jungle of pompousness, death and rubbish bags. His evolution continues with High-Rise, the pallet of colour is just stunning the colouring just sets each scene so well. Free Fire his next project is something I can’t wait to see now. My only big issue with High-Rise is the pacing at some points, some scenes seemed unnecessary but no film is perfect. I can understand why some people have walked out of the film, but High-Rise and me got along just fine.
Clint Mansell’s soundtrack created the blood that pumps through the veins of the film. Not since Mica Levi’s Under The Skin soundtrack I’ve respected a soundtrack so much. Probably by now some of you must think, what a pretentious twat. I’m just a working class lad that enjoys cinema, it may not be for you but it was for me. The cast was of a stellar level, mainly Luke Evans and Sienna Miller. This is Evans’s best role to date, I’ve never really rated him before. But he did bring Wilder to life, he brought a lot of passion to the role and I commend him. Sienna Miller made Charlotte Melville more three dimensional too me. I never really understood her in the book, but now I have more sense of her. Tom Hiddelston and Jeremy Irons give admirable performances. My issue with Hiddelston is that it seems to be the same character he plays over and over again. Jeremy Irons didn’t have as much screen time for me! Anthony Royal is more of a prominent character in the book. All in all High-Rise is insane, risqué and unnerving! It breaks the boundaries of modern cinema and a breath of fresh air for me.