Showing posts with label Natalie Portman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Natalie Portman. Show all posts

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.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

No Strings Attached

This is yet another sex friends romantic comedy, a genre that has become far too popular in the last couple of years. Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) keep bumping into one another over a period of fifteen years and eventually have sex. Emma is afraid of relationships and commitment etc so they decide to forgo any relationship and just have no strings attached sex. Predictably things don’t stay sweet for long and when Adam wants more from their relationship, Emma decided to break it off only to realise that she really does love him after all. Maybe I should have started this paragraph with ‘Spoiler Alert’ but anyone with an IQ higher than that of a Satsuma could guess how things are going to go.

After winning her Oscar for Black Swan it would appear that Portman is taking time off from acting by appearing in both this and Your Highness in the same year. I hope her sabbatical ends soon because she is wasted in these roles. Ashton Kutcher plays the Ashton Kutcher character, something he plays well but he is an annoying screen presence who sucks the life out of any movie he appears in. Some of the supporting cast are ok but there are far too many of them so no one character gets more than a few lines of dialogue. The character of Adam’s father, which was quite a large role, served no purpose and the father and son back story went nowhere.

Kutcher proving he can bench press 90lbs
The story is so unbelievably dull and predictable that my girlfriend (who made me watch the film) suggested turning it off half way though. I think it is trying to be clever by using the female character as the one who is afraid of commitment but this is hardly a new idea and the sex-friends angle has been done numerous times recently in films such as Love & Other Drugs (review here) and Friends with Benefits both of which are far sweeter and funnier.

The film did have one or two good lines and I laughed once and chucked a couple of times but it falls well short of the Kermode five-laughs-or-more-makes-a-comedy rule which I Adhere to. I also felt no compassion for Portman’s character who we are meant to feel sorry for when she realises she has made a mistake. It’s her own stupid fault.

This film should be avoided at all costs. If you really want to see a fuck buddies comedy then try one of the films mentioned above instead.


Friday, 10 February 2012

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

When Avatar 3D became a huge box office hit in 2009, taking over $2.8bn in theatres alone, one had the feeling that it was only a matter of time before George Lucas recycled his Star Wars franchise one more time with retro-fitted 3D. The first film to be released in 3D is the worst of the bunch The Phantom Menace.

The plot is basically the back story of Luke Skywalker’s parents, Anakin Skywalker and Queen Amidala. It shows their first encounter as well as about an hour of nonsense politics that even I with a Politics degree couldn’t care less about. Anakin is a slave on Tatooine who gains his freedom with the help of Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gonn Jin while Queen Amidala is under threat from The Trade Federation who with backing from Darth Sidious is attempting an invasion on her home planet of Naboo.

The first problem to address is the 3D. There is absolutely no need for it whatsoever and it actually detracts from what was already a quite bad film. At times I had to take the glasses off due to the background being fuzzy and sometimes it was like I had double vision in certain areas of the screen. It looked really shoddy. I had two pairs of 3D glasses with me and the problem was consistent with both. While I had the glasses off, it became apparent that only about half of the film was even in 3D. But this at least meant that it only looked crap half of the time. I can’t think of one scene in which the 3D enhanced my viewing experience. One can’t help but feel ripped off when the quality of the product is this poor. My 3D hopes had been raised after Scorsese’s Hugo but with poor retro-fitted 3D like this around, it is surely only a matter of time before people say enough is enough.

My problems with the film are two fold. Firstly it is really boring. I hadn’t seen it for a couple of years so thought maybe id been overly harsh on it before, but if anything I wasn’t harsh enough. There are a few scenes which get the blood pumping but these are usually interrupted by an annoying character. For the most part it is like you are watching an episode of The Daily Politics in a country you no nothing about and care even less. My second problem is with the films the characters. Upon its release, many people complained that Jar Jar Binks was just an opportunity for extra commercial tie-ins but I see him as more of a lazy, racist stereotype. It is quite clear that he and his race of Gungan’s are based on the people of Jamaica and it is quite incredible that no one during the films production pointed this out and had the character altered in some respect. The Trade Federation also sound like a ten year old doing a Chinese impression and slave owner, Watto is a hideous caricature of an Arab trader. Where the human characters are concerned, it cant be often that Yoda comes across as one of the most natural speakers in a film but here he is surrounded by Natalie Portman who sounds as though she is trying to do an English accent while eating peanut butter, Ewan McGregor who seems like he is acting with a baseball bat up his arse and Jake Llody who gives one of the worst performances of any child actor I’ve ever seen. The only actor who comes out with any credibility is Liam Neeson who does a decent job playing Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn.

On the plus side, while the thirteen year old CGI looks quite cartoony, it has held up well to the test of time. I liked the character of Darth Maul and his fight scene was good. Also, some of the scenes did look spectacular. The pod race in particular looked very nice but was incredibly boring. Another positive note is that it’s over now and we only have two more films to sit through until Episode IV.


If you don't like my review then try this from the BBC's Mark Kermode. click here for short video

DVD Extra --- I've seen the film at least four times now but yesterday I noticed something new. When I got home I googled what I thought I saw and it turns out I was correct. During one of the long, boring Senate scenes, have a look out for a well known alien from outside of the Star Wars franchise. When you see him you can 'phone home'...