Showing posts with label Chris Hemsworth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chris Hemsworth. Show all posts

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


Rush, the latest offering from director Ron Howard, is an exhilarating and dramatic biographical action movie set in the glamorous world of the 1970s Formula One driver. Being a fairly faithful retelling of true events, the movie focuses on the careers of and rivalry between Austria’s Nikki Laura (Daniel Bruhl) and Britain’s James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) in the mid 1970s during which the pair were the cream of the motor racing world. Though the movie begins in 1970, the main thrux of the plot is the 1976 F1 season during which the pair’s rivalry and willingness to put themselves in the path of danger reached an all time high before the season reached a dramatic climax in Japan.     

I need to mention very early on that personally I’m a huge fan of Formula One and have only missed around three races since my first in 1994. I love the history, the strategy and the technology of the sport and would rank it amongst my biggest passions. Because of this I was worried that my judgement of the film would be clouded but I’m confident that the film is good enough that my love of its backdrop hasn’t affected my enjoyment. In many ways the movie reminded me of the sublime BAFTA award winning documentary Senna in that although both movies are about F1 and F1 drivers, they could be about anything. It’s the story and characters who make both films great. They could be set within any discipline.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Red Dawn

Red Dawn isn’t a film I had any interest in seeing and certainly wouldn’t have gone out of my way to see but as with Cloud Atlas, I took the opportunity to see it on a recent flight. And as with my Cloud Atlas review, this will be half remembered, rambling and make little sense. A bit like the film – who’s with me? No. Ok. The movie’s ridiculous plot is based on the 1984 movie of the same name, a film I remember seeing when I was in my early teens but a film which left no impact on me. The story is set against a North Korean invasion of the USA. When his small Washington town comes under a surprise attack by the North Korean army, on leave U.S. Marine Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth) escapes to the woods with a group of teens and begins a fight back against the new regime.

I remember playing a video game with a similar premise to this film about twelve years ago which I really enjoyed. From what I recall you played a plumber in New York City and had to take back the city from the Soviets using guerrilla tactics. It was a lot of fun. Red Dawn isn’t. In 1984 the idea that the Soviets could attack, let alone invade the US was far fetched but you go with it. In 2013 the idea that North Korea could invade the US West Coast is preposterous (famous last words) but the movie makes use of current tensions and enemies to provide an adversary. As ridiculous as the idea that the North Koreans could successfully invade the US is, the idea that all that is left to defend the country are a group of unbelievably attractive teens and Thor is perhaps the most ridiculous part of the entire movie.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is the daughter of King Magnus (Noah Huntley) and is known as a great beauty. Her mother, the Queen dies when she is young and her father remarries a freed prisoner called Ravenna (Charlize Theron). On their wedding night Ravenna kills the King and takes the Kingdom for herself. Snow White is locked up in an isolated tower for several years as the Kingdom is left to rot under Ravenna’s cruel rule. When she comes of age it is revealed to Ravenna that she is no longer the fairest of them all and that Snow White’s beauty has usurped hers. Ravenna tries to eat Snow White’s heart in order to stay forever young but Snow White escapes. Ravenna sends a drunken widower Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to bring Snow White back but things don’t pan out the way Ravenna hopes.

The film appears to be influenced by many different stories and ideas with the most notable being Snow White (obviously), but there is also a lot of Joan of Ark in there as well as a little Twilight, Game of Thrones, Royal Wedding and the visual styling of an acid trip. The castle appears to be modelled on Mont St.Michael in Normandy. The film’s design and effects are amongst its most successful features. Debut director Rupert Sanders has created a sumptuous world of dark forests, great castles, dancing fairies, giant trolls and medieval towns. The film looks stunning.

Sunday, 3 June 2012


"Legend tells us one thing; history, another. But, every now and then, we find something that belongs to both"

A thousand years after his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), king of Asgard defeated the Frost Giants of Jotunheim, his arrogant but powerful son Thor (Chris Hemsworth) returns to take on his father’s old nemesis after an unprovoked attack on Asgard. This is against his father’s will and as a result Thor is cast out of Asgard, losing all of his power and most importantly Mjolnir, his hammer. Landing on Earth, Thor is accidentally run over by scientists Jane (Natalie Portman) and Erik Selvig (Stellen Skarsgard) who are skeptical about his story. Thor must prove his worth to Asgard and protect the Earth from his jealous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in order to be able to ascend his father’s throne.

I think that the tone of this film was judged very well. It didn’t take itself too seriously which considering the plot involves caped Viking Gods talking in late Middle English and large blue Frost Giants was a good call. It wasn’t as funny as Iron Man but I laughed several times.

Friday, 27 April 2012

The Avengers

"I have an army..."
"We have a Hulk."

The Avengers or Marvel’s Avengers Assemble here in the UK for ridiculous reasons is the long awaited teaming up of the characters from Marvel’s recent and successful movies. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) returns to Earth and steals The Tesseract, an energy source being worked on by scientists at S.H.I.E.L.D. In response, S.H.I.E.L.D Director Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) activates the Avengers Initiative and assembles a team of superhuman men and women that comprises of Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Loki’s brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth) who join S.H.I.E.L.D Agents Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) in attempting to stop Loki from subjugating the world’s population.

There was always the danger that things could go ‘tits up’ for Marvel when producing a film on this scale and with so many well known characters and actors/personalities involved. I’m delighted to say that they have pulled it off and that The Avengers is a terrific film. The plot itself plays second fiddle to the assembling of the team and I don’t think this was a bad thing. Obviously Marvel will be hoping for a sequel or five to come after the film so it was essential that the characters interactions and developments with each other were given high priority. The sharp dialogue is thrown between the characters with more force and precision than a throw of Thor’s hammer.  In the end the story is similar to every other superhero movie; bad guy brings destructive forces to Earth in an attempt to rule and/or destroy humanity while superhero(s) attempt to stop them. In Loki and Tom Hiddleston though, there is a bad guy who carries great menace and feels more dangerous when he is doing nothing than when he is thrashing his weapon around. I think that Hiddleston gives the best performance of the piece.

Friday, 13 April 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

This is a film that is best seen without hearing anything about it so I will try to keep spoilers separate and in red ink.
The set up is fairly conventional slasher-horror. Five friends, two hot chicks, two football player types and a stoner head off to a cabin in the woods for the weekend to get drunk, get laid and get stoned. As you’d expect something is lucking in the woods and wants to kill them all. They must try to fend off their attacker(s), figure out what’s going on and escape alive.

The film opens a bit unexpectedly with two men in suits talking about a scenario that they are currently dealing with. Then we get to meet the five young people who are at the centre of the story. Apart from occasional cuts back to the scientists who give very little away about what they are doing the action remains conventional as the group set off to the woods. On the way they stop at a scary looking gas station and meet an equally scary, Wrong Turn looking man who insults them and warns them about the Cabin. The group arrive at the cabin and get the feeling that something isn’t right when one of the rooms turns out to contain a two way mirror. And that isn’t the half of it! After a night of drinking they stumble upon the cabin’s cellar and from then on things become very strange indeed.

Much of the action is as you’d expect. There are long periods of quiet and fumbling around in the dark then short, sharp scares. The characters are also what you’d expect, from the slightly slutty blonde, to the funny stoned guy and the shy virgin. The script is funny and isn’t too cheesy.

After the cellar scene the whole genre is subverted. The film draws from the likes of Scream, The Evil Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and even shares themes with The Hunger Games and The Truman Show but is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Unfortunately the opening titles give away a little too much for my liking but there is still more than enough suspense and intrigue. The film is like a puzzle which the audience has to try to unravel, combining ancient legends and practices with a modern Big Brother style subplot.  

While remaining gory, funny and scary enough to satisfy casual horror fans, there is so much more for the seasoned fan. The twists and reveals are excellent and the film never truly reveals itself until the closing minutes. The very last minute I found a bit poor but up until then, it was excellent. All of the cast are good but I think that Fran Katz stood out as the stoner, funny man who kind of has an inkling as to what is going on. The scientists played by The West Wing’s Bradley Whitford and Six Feet Under’s Richard Jenkins are also excellent. Their dead pan performance gives the film a really creepy edge and they appear to have great chemistry. The script manages to avoid being too cheesy for the most part but it does slip into corny teen horror territory a couple of times. How much of this is intentional or not I don’t know. Josh Whedon and Drew Goddard’s writing and direction will be evident to those who know their work and there is a lot of Buffy in there but with the WTF’s of the likes of Cloverfield and LOST. The special effects are excellent, especially towards the end of the film and there are plenty of surprises right up to the final scene.
The standout scenes take place in the underground complex and are amongst the best I’ve seen in a horror film. It is like having every nightmare and horror movie monster coming at you all at once and is a great sequence that will probably be remembered for a long time. It is a memorable part of the film which I absolutely loved.

This is a really original horror that almost reinvents the genre. There is an awful lot to like about it. It is funny, a little bit scary (though not overly so) and it is very well made by people who obviously know about and love the genre. What people will remember though is the twist and reveals and I’d recommend it to anyone. As well as looking into the traditional horror themes, it also turns the camera on the audience and looks at our relationship with reality television and our desensitisation towards death and violence which I think is an interesting idea.