Tag Archives: Michael Fassbender

Thor, Jane Eyre and Ringer

I’ve wanted to see more of Chris Hemsworth since his too-brief appearance in JJ Abram’s Star Trek.  Yesterday Thor was released on DVD, so my friend and I watched it together.  I’ve never read the Thor comics or studied Norse mythology, unless watching Erik The Viking counts.  My impressions of the movie will focus on the actors.  I’m still not sure what a Bifröst is, and there will be no whingeing about the differences between the movie and the comic books.

Thor was enjoyable enough, but I’m not a huge fan of all digital backgrounds.  Asgard shimmered and glowed with shiny surfaces and deep colors, but I never suspended my disbelief for moment. Jotenheim didn’t shimmer and shine at all, but it was still too digital.  I much preferred the scenes set on planet earth—even the scenes set in a small town in the New Mexico desert, a town that looks like it was built expressly for a giant silver robot to ravage.

I must say, the few seconds of Chris Hemsworth bare-chested in jeans was worth the price of the DVD rental.  Oh, my.  Hemsworth is 6’3″ but he looked even bigger in several of his scenes.  Perhaps the DVD extras reveal some special effects involved with that.  I wouldn’t know, since rental DVDs like Thor don’t come with extras.   Hemsworth has beautiful blue eyes, and his beard didn’t bother me too much.  It’s easy to dismiss the acting talent needed to play a superhero, but Hemsworth had to make some pretty silly lines sound convincing.

Thor began without any opening credits, so my friend and I had to play the “name that actor” game throughout the movie.  I knew I’d seen the actor playing Loki, but the straight black hair threw me off.   I guessed JJ Feild instead of Tom Hiddleston.  These two actors look a lot alike, and I’m hardly the first person to notice it.  They would be perfect for a remake of A Tale of Two Cities.  Tom Hiddleston, sporting light brown curly hair, has a supporting role in Wallander with Kenneth Branagh (director of Thor).  I’ve watched the series wishing Hiddleston had more to do.  He had plenty to do in Thor.  In many ways, Loki is a more interesting character than Thor, and Hiddleston had my attention throughout the movie.  He’s definitely on my “actors to watch” list, and his next film is War Horse this Christmas.

Tom Hiddleston and JJ Feild

Tom Hiddleston (left) and JJ Feild (right)

I’ve liked Kat Dennings since I saw her in Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist.  She provided some welcome comic relief in Thor.  She played the assistant to Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster.  Portman was okay, but it was hard to take her seriously as a scientist, since her character spent most of the movie swooning over Thor.  Not that I can blame her.  Stellan Skarsgård was fine, but he didn’t have a whole lot to do except get hammered drinking with Thor (sorry, couldn’t resist).  I’m familiar with Canadian actor Colm Feore, but my friend and I were at a loss to figure out who he played when we saw his name in the closing credits.  Then we read further.  He played the king of the frost giants.   All those blue prosthetics with glowing red contacts made him unrecognizable.

Speaking of closing credits, I only found out after I returned the DVD that there was a post-credit scene.  Damn.  Now I have to see if anybody has put it on YouTube yet.  It’s a teaser for the Avengers movie, I assume, which will also feature Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston.

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I was prepared to embrace the new Jane Eyre with Mis Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, but it was disappointing. It’s told in flashbacks after Jane runs away from Thornfield, so it might be confusing to someone who hasn’t read the book or seen other filmed versions.  Many parts were rushed or dropped altogether to squeeze the story into two hours. Too much of this valuable time was spent on Jane and St. John (Jamie Bell), while the relationship between Jane and Mr Rochester developed too quickly to be believable. Normally I like Fassbender and Bell, and Wasikowska impressed me as Jane, but I still didn’t care for this movie.

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Sarah Michelle Gellar plays identical twins in the new CW drama Ringer.  I watched the premiere because favorite Ioan Gruffudd has a supporting role.  He was great in Horatio Hornblower, but his career lost momentum after he appeared in the Fantastic Four movies.  I was relieved that his accent in Ringer is British, because I’ve never been impressed with his American accent.  The series is about a twin on the run who takes the place of her rich sister.  In spite of the ridiculous premise, it wasn’t as bad as I expected.  It shows some promise, at least, and I’ll watch again to see if it grows on me.  I forgot how interminable the commercial breaks are on the CW, so that will probably influence how often I watch.  It’s a tough time slot.

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X-Men: First Class

If you’re going to title a movie “first class” you better be sure it’s a good one.  And the latest X-Men movie certainly is.  I will probably always like the original film the best, because of Hugh Jackman and the relationship between Wolverine and Rogue.  Still,  X-Men: First Class is a very entertaining film, and I’m glad I saw it the first day without reading any reviews or spoilers.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender have no difficulty leading the movie with their charisma and intensity.  They are both excellent in their individual scenes, and they have the necessary chemistry in their scenes together.  I have to give a shout out to Laurence Belcher, who plays Xavier as a boy, because he’s such a good match to McAvoy.  Jennifer Lawrence is great as Mystique;  January Jones as Emma Frost is cool and distant, but at least she’s tough and smart.  I appreciate strong female characters in this genre, ones who aren’t just dumb sex toys.  The new faces playing the other young mutants are all enjoyable to watch.  Kevin Bacon was obviously having a grand old time playing villain Sebastian Shaw.  I can’t believe all the brilliant character actors who keep popping up in tiny roles, like Ray Wise, James Remar, and Rade Serbedzija.  Another favorite actor makes an appearance, but mentioning his name would just be a spoiler, and you’d hate me.  Matt Craven and Oliver Platt have bigger roles, and they are a treat, too.   Brendan Fehr from Roswell, and more recently CSI: Miami and Bones, has a blink-and-you-miss-it part, as does Randall Batinkoff.   Who’s Batinkoff?  He appeared with Kellie Martin in the 1994 TV show Christy.

I do find it strange that a movie set in 1962 had almost no period details.  The hair, makeup, costumes, and sets seem deliberately generic.   Banshee has hair that would have gotten him stranger looks in 1962 than any genetic mutation.  In other words, it looks totally normal for any time after 1968.  I didn’t mind the lack of period details, really, but I do wonder about the decision to go in that direction for the film’s look.   Another thing I couldn’t help noticing is that all the mutants except Angel and Darwin have blue eyes.X-Men: First Class

Without giving away any spoilers (and if you hate spoilers, don’t read this paragraph just in case I’m not obscure enough!) there’s one thing that happens early on that makes no sense to me, when young Magneto first faces Sebastian Shaw.  I suppose it happens, or doesn’t happen, “because if it didn’t, or did, there would be no movie.”  (That classic plot device!)

As much as I enjoyed X-Men: First Class, I have no desire to see it a second time, at least not until it comes out on DVD in a few months.   A key ingredient to a blockbuster hit is repeat viewings from loyal fans, so it will be interesting to watch the box office numbers over the coming weeks.   I do want to go back and re-watch the original X-Men.   I also want to see more of Michael Fassbender’s films.   I’ve already seen just about everything James McAvoy has done, so it’s just a waiting game until he hits the big screen again.

Note:  Comments are encouraged and welcomed, but I will not post any with spoilers.

Related posts:  Stage Door (2): James McAvoy   Stage Door (6): Hugh Jackman

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