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Entries in Thor (28)

Wednesday
Jul162014

Lukewarm Off Presses: Colin, Emma, Birdman and Thor

You might have thought you were done discussing these but I'm just getting around to posting about them, so don't shut your trap just yet. Here's five stories that we didn't get to in anything like a timely fashion but so what? Time is a flat circle

Story 1 COLIN IN TALKS
I was going to wait to post about this until it was official and not just "in talks" but since the internet moves with the speed of everything casually mentioned as fact that everyone is aware of and will be old tomorrow, it should be noted that it looks like Colin Farrell will be the leading man of True Detective Season 2 (possibly Taylor Kitsch beside him). Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey will be tough shoes to fill but as I relayed on twitter, he's a smart idea because people will be surprised when he's great because they haven't noticed that he often is. It's very Matthew McConaughey if you think about it. An actor who was always talented and then only through a unique set of career moves did people admit it and suddenly acted like he was a brand new actor. And then they overpraised but that's another topic. 

Colin has been utterly amazing a couple of times (Tigerland and In Bruges) but even in his less heralded successful or more divisive pieces where the performance arguably feels more strained (A Home at the End of the World, Alexander, Saving Mr Banks) he often feels like he's reaching for greatness. He doesn't phone it in... which is more than can be said for many actors who get paychecks that big.

Story 2 FESTIVALITIS
The Fall Film Festivals are approaching which means before too long I will be having weekly nervous breakdowns trying to keep up with all the news and discuss all the Oscar buzz. I'm waiting on my TIFF credentials now but it's exciting to hear that Venice will open with Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance starring Michael Keaton and Emma Stone. (I had never quite processed that it had a longer title than just "Birdman" though we've already discussed the brilliant trailer) Websites are already speculating on which films will show up at which festivals but I prefer not to try and guess. Half the excitement of festivals is all the "another present? for me!? ABUNDANCE!" elation that comes with discovering the goods. And since I can't afford to go to them all I don't want to worry about the films I'm missing at the other ones.

Story 3 A FEMALE THOR
It's probably worth mentioning that Marvel has announced that we'll have a female Thor for awhile (in the comics. Don't worry for Chris Hemsworth's career just yet) and she'll be wielding Mjölnir. Superheroes are replaced more often than the layman thinks within comics (and actors are replaced in movies too -Bruce Banner holla!) but it almost always reverts back to the original guy.

Besides messing up all of our favorite Thor/Dr Horrible jokes...

...this news bugs me for two reasons.

  1. A female hero (Yay!) but she'll just be a glorified substitute (Boo!) for the real thing (a man, natch). What kind of message is that sending?
  2. This is in the comics where there have been several female superheroes given their own books over time. What we need is a female superhero at the movies. That would still be revolutionary which is a pretty pathetic thing to type in 2014. Female characters have been carrying stories in virtually ever medium for as long as any of those mediums existed. And yet the studios are still assuming that female superheroes can't carry movies... don't they realize that two of our top ten grossers this year thus far are essentially female superhero movies (Divergent & Maleficent) but not by name and in entirely different genres.

 

soon every movie will be a bit expensive one episode season of a tv seriesStory 4 FRANCHISES WILL BE THE DEATH OF US ALL
There's some speculation happening in the superhero-crazed internet (when isn't there?) that Sony is rethinking that whole Amazing Spider-Man reboot thing now that the movies are underperforming and just as they were announcing a whole set of spinoff movies around them. Release Emma* & Andrew into the wild again, I BEG YOU!

"Underperforming" is a sad word when these movies should have bombed spectacularly. Shouldn't you at least have to wait for another generation to arrive before you yell "do over!"? All the movie studios want to essentially make movies into multiple TV series that release one big expensive 2 hour long episode each season so there are 22 superhero films on the way in the next 4 years and Universal is now going to try an interconnected Classic Monsters Universe. Um, none of those monsters except for the Invisible Man ever went away? Talk about long running franchises. I guess, in keeping with tradition, we should start complaining now that the Bride of Frankenstein is never going to get her own solo movie so it's another universe that will utterly fail the Bechdel Test.

Tell me something that will give me hope for the future in the comments!

* Story 5: EMMA & WOODY
Since Emma Stone was already name-checked twice in this post ... let's note that she is also filming her second Woody Allen movie in a row (Untitled 2015) before Magic in the Moonlight has even landed so expect media stories about Emma as Woody's new muse in  3...2...1...

Do you think she'll pull a Scarlett and make a third? Her romantic interest isn't Colin Firth this time.

 

 

Monday
Jun162014

Bobby Holland Hanton: The Man Who Has Been Thor, Batman, and Bond

Bobby Holland HantonHave you ever fantasized about being a superhero? Bobby Holland Hanton doesn't need to. He's done it time and again.

Though he's only been in the movie business since Quantum of Solace (2008), the young fit Brit stuntman has already worn the Batsuit, Thor's cape, James Bond's suits, and... well whatever it is anyone was wearing on the set of Green Lantern before it was replaced by CGI. You can see Bobby somewhere in the battle sequences of Maleficent at the moment, albeit much less foregrounded than he usually is due to doubling a who's who of A list leading men.

A former gymnast, he competed for Great Britain until he was 17, he lives a very regimented life. Before any shoot, he shifts the training to "match" the body of whoever he'll be stunt doubling for. He's stepped in on the difficult stuff for Christian Bale, Daniel Craig, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, and Channing Tatum. He's with Chris Hemsworth all the time now, which is hard work due to his size.

Hemsworth is huge and when he's Thor he's massive"

To prepare for The Avengers Age of Ultron he was training six days a week, twice a day to look like the God of Thunder. You'll see Bobby -- but you won't know you're seeing him since that's the magic and the craft  -- as Hemsworth's more acrobatic twin on two 2015 pictures: Heart of the Sea and the superhero sequel. He's also doing Captain America stunt work on Ultron somehow though we hope not in the same scene. 

I spoke to this in-demand stunt man by phone. Superpowerless mortal that I am, I couldn't very well fly to South Korea to drop in on the day's filming of The Avengers! He was out of Thor's wig on a rare early finish day (it's usually "six to six and longer") and he'd already had dinner, trained, showered and applied all his Dove Men + Care products*. He'll start the routine again the next day in the wee hours of the morning, for makeup and costuming, clipped and banded into Thor's long blond tresses all of which is rough on the hair and skin, hence the products. [*Yes, this is your requisite product placement scene within the movie. Bobby is a spokesperson for the line. I received a set in the mail after the interview which was a most welcome surprise.]

I'd never spoken to a stuntman before so at first I had to get the skinny on how one gets started. Gymnasts are naturals which should surprise no one...

[Bobby talks Hemsworth, Tatum, Batman & Bond  AFTER THE JUMP...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec062013

VFX Finalists. Which will have the honor of losing to Gravity at the Oscars?

The Academy has named ten films finalists for the visual effects Oscar and now the branch members will screen 10 minute clip packages from each film and make their selections.  Half of these films recede into the ether and the other half enters the history books as "Oscar Nominated" on January 16th, 2014. 

the cavalry in Iron Man 3... soon to be Oscar nominated

TEN FINALISTS

I am clearly not adept at predicting the finalists because two of the film's I had actually predicted for nominations did not even make the list: say goodbye to the Man of Steel and Oz: The Great and Powerful. Other films that Oscar won't even be considering now for this prize include: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Conjuring and The Wolverine. 

Each of the ten films listed above will be able to hide their clunkiest CGI and just show the really great stuff to the branch. Which films will be nominated and share the honor of losing to Gravity? Time will tell but it might be too steep a wall for World War Z to scale since Oscar doesn't like zombie flicks (in any category) and a bridge too far for Thor since he wasn't nominated last time around. Franchise history suggests that the crews on Iron Man 3 and The Hobbit can start fitting their tuxes. If we still had only 3 nominees in this category the nominees would be Gravity, The Hobbit and Iron Man 3. Which means there are essentially only two spots open. Any combo of the others seems possible which means we'll soon be haunted by this agonizing possibility: will The Lone Ranger be forevermore referred to as  'The Oscar-nominated The Lone Ranger'?)

A final tangential thought: I'm glad that we don't have bakeoffs and "showreels" for acting categories. Could you imagine? Not that greatest hits clips aren't how some people experience the acting nominees in the age of YouTube but you can't properly judge a whole unless you've seen all the parts. Even the lesser parts. Each of these ten films will be able to hide their clunkiest CGI and just show the really great stuff. Which films will be nominated and share the honor of losing to Gravity? Time will tell. 

Sunday
Nov172013

Box Office, Best Men, and Bootlegs

Between "Frozen" and "The Best Man Holiday" it's going to be a good year at the Diggs/Menzel householdI live in Harlem where bootleg copies of Tyler Perry movies are priced $2 higher than all other bootlegs. I only tell you this because I was hoping to have some choice 'overheard' tidbit about The Best Man Holiday to share with you, picked up on my street or elevator or some such since I knew it would open big. You can sometimes somehow hear future box office receipts, in the stale air of movie theaters when certain trailers play. But the only movie conversations I've heard on my street lately were about superhero movies (pick a movie, any movie) and, in my lobby, 12 Years a Slave... where three elderly women were complaining about how expensive the tickets were. "When did they raise the price?" I'd say those ladies don't get out to movies much but then I myself am often surprised at the ticket counter. I'm not sure what the algorithym is or the triggers to raise them but it's been happening so often lately I'm beginning to think the trigger is each new Matthew McConaughey movie. He's in another one? alright alright Raise it again, people!


BOX OFFICE BAKER'S DOZEN
01 THOR: THE DARK WORLD $38.4 (cum. $146.9) Review
02 THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY $30.5 *new* 
03 LAST VEGAS $8.8  (cum. $46.9)
04 FREE BIRDS $8.3 (cum. $42.2)
05 JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA $7.6 (cum. $90.2)
06 GRAVITY $6.2 (cum. $240.5) All Posts 
07 ENDER'S GAME $6.2 (cum. $53.7) Posts
08 12 YEARS A SLAVE $4.7 (cum. $24.9) Discussions
09 CAPTAIN PHILLIPS $4.5 (cum. $97.6) Podcast
10 ABOUT TIME $3.4 (cum. $11.5) Review
11 CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE... 2 $1.9 (cum. $113)
12 DALLAS BUYERS CLUB $1.7 (cum. $3.0) Posts
13 ALL IS LOST $0.9 (cum. $4.2) Review & Podcast

The Best Man Holiday came a lot closer to shearing Thor than I expect most expected. And with a budget exactly 10% of Thor's ($17 million vs. $170 million) it's got to be feeling pretty great about itself right now. In limited release, Nebraska opened at 4 theaters on the coasts. The Oscar-baiter won the highest per screen average (for context a better original per screen average than All is Lost or Dallas Buyers Club in their tiny opening weekends but not as good as 12 Years a Slave) but we'll know more about its box office prospects in the next couple of weekends. The last three Alexander Payne movies, buoyed by the chattering Oscar classes, have averaged $72 million in theaters. But can a black and white movie without a Jack Nicholson or a George Clooney at the helm do that well? Time will tell. 

What did you see this weekend? 

Sunday
Nov102013

Box Office: Thor Hammers Non-Existent Competition

Amir here, bringing you the weekend’s box office report with the world’s easiest, least funny pun in the title.

Looking at this week’s numbers, virtually everything screams unremarkable. The mega-blockbuster that tops the list, Thor 2: Marvel blah blah, raked in a solid $86m, but hasn’t really excited anyone. Is this possibly because critical and audience reaction had already been heard when the film opened around the world last week? No. It’s more likely because it has only been 6 months and 5 days since the last Marvel film assaulted multiplexes and it will only be another 4 months and 26 days before another one does the same, and almost all of the studio's outings fall within a very narrow range between B- and B, qualitatively.

BOX OFFICE
01 THOR: THE DARK WORLD $86.1 *new* Review
02 JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA $11.3 (cum. $78.7)
03 FREE BIRDS $11.2 (cum. $30)
04 LAST VEGAS $11.1  (cum. $33.5)
05 ENDER'S GAME $10.25 (cum. $44) Previous Discussions
06 GRAVITY $8.4 (cum. $231.1) Many Previous Posts 
07 12 YEARS A SLAVE $6.6 (cum. $17.3) Slavery in Cinema & Previous Discussions
08 CAPTAIN PHILLIPS $5.8 (cum. $90.9) Podcast & Hanks For All Ages
09 ABOUT TIME $5.1 (cum. $6.7)
10 CLOUDY WITH CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 $2.8 (cum. $109.9)

Following Thor in the second, third and fourth spots are Bad Grandpa, Last Vegas and Free Birds, the three films that occupied the same three spots last week. Free Birds maintained a better hold that I predicted seven days ago, so take everything I say with a grain of salt, always. That means last week’s chart topper, Ender’s Game, nosedived all the way down to fifth. Given the film’s weak business overseas, it’ll be a miracle if it can turn any profit. Talk of a potential sequel is also already turning mute. The three surefire Oscar nominees are still present in the top ten, with 12 Years a Slave doing great business now that it is playing on more than a 1000 screens.

In limited release, The Book Thief opened on four screens with respectable returns. This has been touted as a potential Oscar nominee in some categories by certain pundits, but I just don’t see it happening unless there is… no, it’s not going to happen. Furthermore, At Berkeley, a 4-hour documentary literally about being at Berkeley has opened on two screens for a very lucky few. I don’t know if this one will ever expand, but I regret missing it at TIFF. I’m hearing it’s one of the best films of the year.

Anyway, my weekend consisted of Dallas Buyers Club (B-), Michael Mann’s Heat (A+), Blackfish (B-) and Museum Hours, which I watched for a second time and it is still my favorite film of the year. What did you watch?