Thursday, July 7, 2011

the hangover II: is a movie i've seen

the hangover II: movie starring bradley cooper, ed helms, zach galifianakis, justin bartha, ken jeong, mason lee, and jamie chung

nice to see jamie chung again.  in a world in which some people are pretty good looking, jamie chung is so freaking beautiful.  she had no lines and wasn't allowed a character, but she was absolutely lovely, so there's that.

insofar as the premise of the hangover II is that it's a stepped-up version of the hangover I, this movie is successful.  it's a stepped-up version of the hangover, that is for certain.  instead of a tiger, you have a drug-dealing cigarette-smoking gay monkey--instead of the groom being lost, you have the brother--instead of mike tyson, you have paul giamatti (and also mike tyson)--instead of vegas, you have bangkok.  it's not funny and it's not very entertaining, but that can happen when you try to do the same thing again but different, and that's definitely what they were trying for, i think. 

i mean, the whole remaking-the-same-concept idea can go well or it can go poorly.  i haven't seen all of the road to... series, but the ones i have seen seem to be pretty consistently amusing, just as a possibly kind of dumb example.  maybe some concepts are just one-trick ponies (that sounds dirty).  for example, the blair witch project II: not a good idea!  momento II: i don't know if it exists, but if it does: so not a good idea!  the ring II (american version--i haven't seen the japanese one): oh my god not not not a good idea!  and don't get me started on 28 weeks later.  or transformers II: revenge of the fallen (dumbest...ever...why...robbed of faith...michael bay...whyyyyy).  not going to mention the heavy preponderance of horror film sequels in here.  oh wait i just did.  i may not have what is sometimes described as "taste" in my moviegoing experiences.

now, on the other hand we have movies like shrek II (one of my favorite movies ever), gremlins II (so much cuter than the original!), empire strikes back (my favorite of the original trilogy [and as always, of course my opinion counts for just everything]), and i assume chucky II has to be better than the original because the original is really really kinda stupid.  i also liked kung fu panda II very much (though i don't know if it was for personal reasons or the merits of the movie, so i'm not going to review it).  step up 2 was more fun, i thought, for reasons of the heroine being adorable, than step up.  and iron man II is hecka pretty good (scarlett johansson may or may not be wearing a freaking catsuit some of the time--that's neither here nor there).

what conclusions can we draw here?  okay.  DO NOT SEQUENTIATE YOUR MOVIE IF:
-it requires creepy little girls to drag out of wells...again.
-it will gain nothing from special effects (blair witch project II--just stick with the original budget of $50 and two free packs of teriyaki beef jerkey, i beg of you)
-it involves a major concept, like a virus or a memory deficiency
-it involves sexy sexy robots
-it involves michael bay

-it involves magical furry creatures or a member of a race of space-furries
-it involves animated animals (as a main component--those deer in the ring II weren't doing it any favors)
-there is a large dancing component
-it involves sexy sexy robots
-it involves an evil doll (presumably)

ergo, the hangover II did not have enough magical/sci-fi furries, evil dolls, and dancing--it did not involve enough sexy sexy robots (though that might have worked against it)--and it had too much budget, concept, girls crawling out of wells, and michael bay, with not enough $50 and beef jerkey.

wow, how universal is this?  i have discovered the universal standard as to whether to make a sequel to your movie or not!  i am literally a genius!

and it brings up an interesting point: the reoccurance of a funny animal component was not enough to make the hangover II a good sequel.  therefore we may logically conclude that the animal component in a sequel must be more magical and/or animated than that chain-smoking gay monkey in order for the sequel to be successful.  how much mor magical and/or animated?  interesting question, and one i cannot answer.  perhaps we can find out if they (GOD FORBID) try to make a the hangover III...maybe an advice-dispensing cocaine-sniffing walrus will do the trick?  maybe if he is a main character.  perhaps zach galifianakis can be granted powers of animal speech by saving a butterfly's life and they can work it in that way.  OR, the mason lee character can fall in love with an animatronic toaster decepticon (but be careful, because if michael bay is involved, this can backfire). 

OR, maybe they'll get to meet dorothy l'amour.

i leave it to the creators' discretion.

bad teacher: or, how cameron diaz has such great gams they should just call her gam-eron di-thighs

bad teacher: movie starring cameron diaz, jason segel, j-timb, wonderful redhead, and attorney wayne jarvis...

...who a friend of mine has babysat for!  or is it "whom?"  and i know her, and he knows jane lynch, who knows the cast of glee, including jayma mays, who knows eric mabius who knows katherine moennig!!! who knows pam grier!!!  AUGH!!!!!

but this is neither here nor there.

what i have to say about this movie is that i really liked it.  it was pretty dang funny, and all the cliched moments were done really well.  like the moment when cameron diaz character finally connects with one of her students--we knew it was coming and we were kind of hoping for it, but the way she does it is funny and original.

hunh, actually i think i do have something to say about the movie besides "i unqualifiedly enjoyed it very much."  it had a lot of examples of, like, actors doing something subtly different than what i've seen them do before in a really cool way.  the most obvious example of this is jason segel, because i've seen him in the most stuff (i think).  i mean, he gives good very-sweet-guy in how i met your mother and forgetting sarah marshall; he gives good cute-idiot in freaks and geeks; and he gives good smarmy-but-fun guy in knocked up; but i don't think i've seen him do anything as...sincerely, or something, as in bad teacher.  i mean, he really gives an honest performance or something.  not that he's not honest in other stuff, just not this honest--he's really honest-appearing in this.  his eyes get darker, for instance, and his delivery gets even more subtly off-the-cuff.  he has a capital-c Character, and he acts it as such.  the p.e. teacher he plays isn't a nice guy.  he's maybe a good guy, but not a nice one, which is a distinction that doesn't immediately spring to mind when one is thinking about decency in men (for me), but he makes that distinction clear (i mean, this is one way of explaining what i'm talking about) and it's extremely enjoyable to watch.  phyllis smith is another example.  god knows how much of the office i've watched, and it's been enjoyable to see phyllis lapin turn from a very sweet, shy, unhappy woman with an inner core of bitch fighting to get out, into a confident, still-sweet, still-bitchy woman with a core of solid steel.  it's an interesting character arc, and gives phyllis smith range to act in, but i don't think i've seen her do the exact type of shy and sweet that she does so well in bad teacher.  finally, john michael higgins plays that tightly controlling and hilarious character a lot (particularly enjoyed him in fired up and of course freaking arrested development), but, again, i don't think i've seen him have the sort of human-ey integrity he plays as having in bad teache--WOAH HE'S DUCKING BEHIND THAT LITTLE GARBAGE CAR!

the man's a pro.

it's like, all these people are playing types of parts it would seem i've seen them play before, but they're doing such a good job with them that they might as well be new types.  and that's what i mean, i guess, about liking bad teacher so unqualifiedly.  it's a type of movie i've seen before, done really well.  like bad santa.  or fired up, for that matter.  these are high compliments, people.  high-ass compliments.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

x-men first class: seriously.

x-men first class: movie starring mr. rochester as magneto, the dude from wanted as professor x, kevin bacon, and many others...

why did i delay so long in writing this review?  i saw this movie, twice, like two weeks ago (or maybe it was one week), and i thought it was awesome, so why the delay?  i think it's because there are a lot of things that i thought it did unusually well, and they're kind of complicated to talk about...and i am lazy.  note the entire lack of capitalization in its proper grammatical place anywhere on this blog.

so let's start with the simple stuff.

1. magneto's little soundtrack motif: awesome.  it's an awesomely james bond-esque sound (that rubber band snapping bass sound) without being at all corny.

2. magneto period: awesome.  i knew michael fassbender could do something great if given half a chance.  in x-men first class, he's given that chance, and he takes the heck out of it.

3. kevin bacon speaking russian: not 1000% convincing, but totally awesome.

4. the art on the walls of kevin bacon's blimp: i don't know enough about modern art, but it looked like faux thiebauds or something.  anyway, AMAZING.*


6. young mystique: beautiful, complicated, funny, intelligent performance by jennifer lawrence.

stuff about the movie that was complicated and good:

sexism.  one of the things i loved about this movie was that it depicted without condoning sexism.  professor x's line that he uses on every girl, the way the cia treats its lady operative (threatening her with the typing pool), the way shaw uses emma frost as a glorified ice machine, the way magneto, even, in treating mystique as close to a person, both highlights the sexist conditions she endures and the way she sees herself as enduring them... this is all good stuff, people.  and--and, the way the woman characters don't quite rebel against the treatment.  they take it.  they don't fight it.  the way that the american agent lady deals with it is by ignoring it, focusing her energies away from it, and not begrudging professor x his assumption of her support.  mystique has a complex relationship with being a woman, because she's got a lot more to deal with than just having boobs--her self-esteem is overly wrapped up in a lot of different factors--and hence magneto's call for her to regard herself as lovely in her natural state seems to have something to do with her femininity as well as her mutantinity...  anyway, it was just interesting.

hetero-ism: i have a friend who objects to what he thinks of as closeted attractions between characters who might as well be gay (i may not be doing you justice, brian).  in the case of x-men: first class, i liked the absence, considerations-of-gayness, because i think it made room for the magneto/prof x relationship that there wouldn't have been if the movie were set at a later date.  much as i love a lot of judd apatow's stuff, the question of just how gay the bromances he depicts are is an overriding one ("you know how i know you're gay?  you are eagerly awaiting the response to this question").  they're stories of men trying to love each other in a world in which men loving each other is gay.  they're about more than that, too, but that question--how do we know how gay we are--is a real concern (i'm talking all lit theory right now--i apologize).  but in the world of x-men first class, that question isn't exactly a concern.  gay isn't something that you might be--you either are it, or you aren't.  and so magneto and prof x aren't gay for each other.  they're in love with each other, but they aren't gay for each other.  and that gives their relationship a lot of freedom, and that freedom is explored really thoroughly and honestly by the film.  professor x comes off as a bit of a leightweight who has never suffered for his ideals; magneto comes off as a freaking badass (and much more convincing speaker of german than kevin bacon, much as i laud mr. bacon's attempt).  but magneto's slightly pathetic eagerness to accept professor x's friendship shows how much he needs help, companionship--their relationship may be flawed and in the end unsustainable, but it's based on a really sympathetic platform.

and there totally may be gay characters in x-men: first class.  it's just that gayness isn't part of the landscape yet, so they don't depict it.  mystique could yet become bi; she's just at the beginning of figuring out her own identity.

that's what it is: they all are able to discover as much about themselves as the cultural landscape of the world of the movie will allow.  when homosexuality becomes a part of the discussion, they will probably be able to develop along with the questions it asks.  because those questions haven't been asked yet, they haven't been answered, and prof x and magneto can this healing and growing connection thing and it's cool and stuff.

in short, x-men first class is totally first class in my opinion**.  and it's so much fun to watch, that's the other thing.  really really fun.  of course at this point literally everyone in the world has seen it.  i just hope you all agree with me. 

*i wonder how one would check up on this.  google "art on walls of sebastian shaw submarine?"  i tried it, and didn't come up with much.  oh well, at least i've given my all.

**i had one objection: guess which named character dies first?  yes, by pointing it out in my completely insignificant movie blog, racism in america will someday be wiped out entirely!  you're welcome, dr. king.  you're welcome, sun-ra (space is no longer the only place!).  you're welcome, america.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

bridesmaids: what has a cornfield done for kristen wiig lately?

*review contains spoilers.  SPOILERS people.*

bridesmaids: film starring kristen wiig, maya rudolph, melissa mccarthy, rose byrne, wendi mclendon-covey, ellie kemper, jon hamm, chris o'dowd, and some others

due to the ambiguity of the title of this blog, i want to clarify right off that i liked this film very much.  i thought the premise was funusual (combination of "fun" and "unusual"--you're welcome!), the acting was incredible, and the writing was often very funny.

melissa mccarthy!!!  in a daringly makeup-free performance, melissa mccarthy was freakishly dead-on comedic.  she got the broad stuff just right (speech to the air marshall was incredible), the weird stuff just right (more of a six dog than a nine dog person--amazing), and the sensitive characterization stuff just right (whole pep talk to kristen wiig character done very, very right, i thought.  i mean, she was that character exactly while she was doing it, so it made me really respect the woman she was playing, and not in a grudging way [it would have been grudging if melissa mccarthy hadn't been so fabulous; i would have (being the paranoiac asshole that i can be) been like, "meh, this movie wants me to respect this character now so i guess i will because i have no reason not to, but i don't want to because this is kind of coming out of nowhere," but melissa mccarthy didn't make it come out of nowhere, she made it an integrated part of who the character was, and that toughness-through-vulnerability thing was quite awesome]).  it was like melissa mccarthy asked the question, "how does this woman survive--nay, celebrate--being who she is?", found the answer, and went with it full-bore.

it's pretty super-easy to steal the show when you're playing melissa mccarthy's character, and i thought she did, so i'm not going to ramble about anyone else quite so much, but i really thought everyone was super-good.  wendi mclendon-covey took her three jokes about the grossness of her marriage and really sold them; same to ellie kemper (some way in which she described wendi as like a disney princess and smelled good or something--very funny); i think rose byrne played her petulant, paranoid, managing, spoiled and vulnerable hot girl role very well, hitting all of that stuff at one point or another so that we did end up feeling sorry for her and liking her.  i also really thought maya rudolph was pretty fantastic insofar as she didn't let her character get any less sweet despite her increasing gentrification.

a lot of what i'm talking about is attributable to the writing--i think, anyway, not knowing ANYTHING ABOUT FILMMAKING.  i mean, like, rose byrne character could have been a managing maneater, but she wasn't; maya rudolph character could have gotten entirely and enthusiastically lost in the wedding stuff, but she didn't (that is, she got lost in it, but it wasn't for stupid superficial reasons like some films like to offer us--rose byrne character didn't have a stronger personality than maya rudolph character, for instance, and maya rudolph character was hardly a social climber or anything like that; her getting lost in the wedding stuff seemed eminently reasonable, is what i'm trying to say).

which is why when the film occasionally veered into algorithm-driven rom-com territory, it was kind of disappointing.  i love the IT crowd, and i think chris o'dowd is a hilarious and pretty sensitive actor, but all the algorithmic rom-coming happened on his time, so he gets evaluated accordingly.  okay, so let's break down exactly what leads up to his reconciliation with kristen wiig character: 1., they sleep together (oh, spoilers--why do i always forget to warn about spoilers?  i'll do it now).  2., he asks her to bake with him and she refuses.  3., this pisses him off extensively.  4., she bakes him something he ignores.  5., he eats racoon food and then kisses her with that mouth.  now, i'm not getting all the subtleties down here exactly, but the point is that chris o'dowd character, even taking into consideration the fact that he likes kristen wiig character a lot and that therefore her hurting him is extra-important and deserves a more sulky rom-com-esque punishment than it otherwise would, is either underwritten at this point, or is being sucked into rom-com algorithmia.  she's already told him she doesn't want to bake, so he is actively ignoring her expressed thingee in getting the baking ingredients.  of course she ought to bake, of course it's what's good for her, and he can go ahead and purchase the materials if he wants, he can push her, but if she refuses, it's kind of not her fault that she's not ready, and it's not realistic that he wouldn't acknowledge that without a more pressing reason than what we're given (that he really likes her and is a sensitive guy).

in most romantic comedy situations, the whole "it's not realistic" argument is...what's the phrase i'm looking for...completely irrelevant?  sure, i'll go with that.  but bridesmaids is good.  sure, it has a little too much of kristen wiig falling apart in front of a cornfield, but she does it so well.  her refusal to take care of herself is interesting and relevant and uplifting in a weird way and, like, doesn't gloss over failure stuff, really reflects what it's like to lose everything and have to self-destruct over it (aside from the super-cute outfits--when i get depressed i never bother to dress nice [though i know everyone is different, it would have been nice if she'd owned some sweatpants, but this is a very fine point]).  and chris o'dowd's character is well-written and well-played too, as honest and gruffly charming dude.  so why does a super-generic plotline have to swoop in and steal the sensitive sanity right out of the movie?

maybe it's because we don't know how to settle romantic conflicts in movies--maybe bridesmaids is trying to assure us it's more 40-year-old virgin than juno (though they're both awesome, and wildly popular, movies, and i don't see why a movie would want to be one more than the other).  but i really don't have the answers.

final analysis: see movie!  (keeping it simple.)  for yea verily it is most enjoyable.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

the dolph lundgren the punisher: no, thank you, america

the punisher: '80's version starring dolph lundgren

i have been waiting to see this movie for a long long time.  the tom jane the punisher is one of my favorite movies ever--can't exactly explain why (something about its extreeem baroque aesthetic), but i love that movie.  and so naturally seeing one version of the punisher that makes one feel all fuzzy and violent inside makes one wish to see all versions of the punisher, and hopefully thereby achieve more fuzzy, violent feelings.  the ray stevenson version was, as far as i remember, okay--i mean, it was awesome*, but was it anything more than awesome**?  i don't know.  i think i was drunk.  i'll have to give it another shot.

the dolph lundgren version was...yeah.  it had all the elements.  the twisted moral platform, the racism against japan...the eyelid surgery by which dolph lundgren was made to look perpetually on psychotropics...  no, i really enjoyed it.  not as much as the tom jane version, but it was up there.  here's the thing: it was totally racist, but it was more than that too.  i mean, you can't just sell the mobsters' kids into white slavery, yakuza!  that is uncalled for!  BUT the pre-o-ren ishii female yakuza lesbian (?) boss (which just proves that quentin tarantino is a filter for everything that is cool) and her adopted mute (america's own deadly little miho) of a sidekick (who has next to nothing to do but is awesome nonetheless) in their ratted bangs and pleather are, like, really worth seeing.  in the same manner that the tom jane version is baroque in its execution--that is, filled with ornate, replete details, crafted in ways that do not augment but rather become the point (which details are, in some ways, the essence of action movies, but most action movies aren't up-front about this, and most action movies don't spend enough time to make the details that they're really actually about as complete as they need to be), so that this "outside stuff" actually sucks right back to the center of the movie and the whole thing turns into some kind of tone-poem with a beating singularity at its heart (i really like the tom jane the punisher)--the dolph lundgren version has an almost rococo approach to violence and human suffering. 

as opposed to sin city, which is much more italian rennaissance in its aesthetic.  or to kill bill, which is definitely an el greco.  WHAT?

what's the conclusion we draw here?  that all punisher movies are NEAT.  and that they should really re-release the dolph lundgren version on something other than videocassette.

and that die hard is attributed to peter bruegel but was probably actually a copy painted in the 1560's.  here is a poem about it:

Musee des Beaux Arts
W. H. Auden
About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

...and here is another (dub-cee williams, the filter for everything that is cool):

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was plowing
his field
the whole pageantry 

of the year was
awake tingling

the edge of the sea
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings' wax

off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning

the above is an example of the moveable foot.  the dolph lundgren the punisher, on the other hand, was an example of the kicking-ass foot.

*like hotdogs
**like, for example, a billion hotdogs

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

check-up time

here's the thing: i began this blog as a way (in part) to find out what reviewers are thinking, how reviewers do what they do.  i think i've learned a lot from it (not just about reviewers, but about aesthetics and the process of judgment), and i'm not going to stop doing it, but i have to step back and ask myself,

"is this honestly okay?"

now, i'm up-front about the fact that i'm not a trained moviemaker (am i up-front about it?  i think i am--must go check--yes, i appear to be up-front about it [check the sidebar if you don't believe me]).  a performer myself, i tend to be generous with actors and downright rude to producers.  i profess to hate the hollywood machine (see entries about government-generated algorithms being used for writing evil scripts), and i draw a distinction between reviewing a multi-billion dollar industry and the kind of reviews that make me pretty mad--that is, the completely unsympathetic slams that get delivered to certain local performance companies who are trying to get by with about five dollars and a dream.

but how real is this distinction?  should i be more sympathetic to...

wait a second.  no.  i am sympathetic.  to a certain extent.  i appreciate the struggles that people who are trying to express something go through--often...  i don't appreciate it when there are no struggles and nothing gets expressed (except sometimes, in the case of dance movies, i really really do appreciate it).

or maybe i'm not sympathetic.  i slaughtered the imaginarium of dr. parnassus--in my defense, i thought the movie sucked, but it still wasn't nice of me. i mean, is the epistolarium of clive and his cellist really a legitimate example of the hollywood machine being hollywoody and machinistic?  i can profess to say, but i don't really know.  i just didn't like it, and thought it looked high-budget.

the end diagnosis is that i have no idea if what i'm doing on this blog is right, or morally reprehensible.  considering that i've probably gotten about six views TOTAL, this probably shouldn't matter too much to me.  on the other hand, considering the fact that i occasionally scour google for my name, and end up hurt when reviews are anything but absolutely stellar...maybe i should be worried about the people i'm slamming.

okay, people i'm slamming (michael bay springs to mind, as does james cameron): if by some chance in hell i've hurt your feelings, i am truly sorry.  i will probably not stop hurting your feelings, but as much as i like to pretend otherwise, i can't truly see into anyone's aesthetic soul, and therefore all that my whining about your movies really boils down to is "i don't like (many of) them."  and what do i know?  nothing.  nothing period.  and we all know what comes from nothing (hint: it's nothing.  "nothing from nothing" is one of the best philoso-math-related relationship songs ever, in my opinion).

what have we all learned?  sra admits to, a., being kind of a jerk, and b., thinking that she knows stuff but not actually knowing stuff.  oh, and that billy preston plus parmenides equals awesome math funk.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

thor: the hammer is so much more than his penis

*uh, this review contains a couple spoilers. consider yourselves warned, chumps!*

thor: starring natalie portman as the god of thunder, wait, she was something else. and was she ever!

i really liked this movie. really, really, really. here's the thing: i feel like i liked it a lot because kenneth branagh directed--but hopefully i didn't like it because kenneth branagh directed, if you see what i'm getting at. in the best-case scenario (which is how i remember it happening, but i might not be remembering accurately), i was thinking to myself at the end, "hunh. this movie was not super-original, and sometimes the dialogue wasn't great. why did i like it so much? the acting? the directing?" and then kenneth branagh's name popped up on the screen and i was like "OH!"

the above sounds pretty harsh, or damning with faint praise, or what have you.  but i think that plot and even dialogue are often just window-dressing.  see previous entries to do with thoughts about a well done cliche being much better than a weak original idea (how to train your dragon is the main entry on this subject--there are also plenty of entries where i'm really mean about badly-done cliches.  hey, i don't have to be consistent; i'm a woman!).

i liked it so much because it really was all about the characters. perhaps unfairly, i am attributing that to branagh.  it reminded me of iron man (1), but a little more basic, though not in a bad way--the same sort of, like, "focused more on character development than originality" fight scenes (not that i've ever in my life attempted to write a fight scene, here), and the same sort of focus on expressing who the people in the film were as opposed to what they were up to (indicative detail of both sides of this point: thor fighting the frost giants with a grin on his face, completely despite the fact that the "action" of the fight was happening elsewhere). and so it was awesome, because no matter how semi-fleshed the plotline was (and it did occasionally have that hopping-from-sequence-to-sequence feel about it, which is, you know, pretty common to most movies that have a crapload of plot to cover in not a ton of time), there was always something you cared about watching to watch, and that something was always being done very well.

of kat dennings (playing the ipod owner) i've never had enough, obviously--she's always great. natalie portman (playing the assorted clothes wearer) was awesome--really great vulnerable-eager-quasi-unafraid thing going on. chris hemsworth (god of haircut) was really fabulous--both ripply AND emotionally on-point, straightforward without being stupid (i'm guessing not a simple balance to strike, but he did so real well). shout-out also to stellan skarsgard (furrowed brow), who didn't have a ton of things to do but did them all (including an evacuation scene made somewhat fatuous by lack of time) with an awesomely complete character, and tom hiddleston (sulky steve valentine), who played his gay satan role with its unbalance lingering very skillfully below the surface. everyone was good. i didn't like anthony hopkins as much in this as i did in the wolfman. i think he does bad daddy better than he does good daddy, but i still liked him.

half the time i thought the aesthetic of the movie was beautiful, and half the time i thought it was olivia newton john's xanadu meets bart station. but that stuff doesn't really matter. i'm just getting my digs in because i like to dig. because somebody (that would be me) is just a rude gus.

OH!! and the man of color DOESN'T DIE! heimdall, excellently played by idris elba, comes close-ish, but he doesn't!

and plenty of the time, the dialogue is quite good, by the way.  thor's elevated diction and nordic god habits are confronted really well with the not-overdone disbelief of the human realm--and he doesn't just talk fancy without meaning anything (which in my opinion does sometimes happen, and i notice it, because i am stupid-picky).

the only thing i really violently protest is the tagline. "the god of thunder" isn't a tagline, it's too basic a description of the thing itself (would dub-cee* williams approve?  food for thought...or not). maybe it's trying to capture the straightforwardness of the nature of thor-the-character's aesthetic? i just know it didn't work for me. i thought maybe they could have gone with "the hammer is my penis" as the tagline, but according to my movie friend, that would have been just as much a description.

*still william carlos williams' '90's emcee name.  i am just too proud of it to give it up.