Tag Archives: Chris Hemsworth

Movie review: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is (Hulk) smashing great time

VIDEO: See Tim’s review of the film with Adrienne Broaddus on KARE-TV (NBC Minneapolis).

Chris Hemsworth is back and funnier than ever as the God of Thunder in “Thor: Ragnarok,” an action comedy-style adventure that diverts from the path established by the first two “Thor” movies and as a result, thrives through the kaleidoscopic vision of director Taika Waititi.

The film doesn’t waste any time raising the stakes for Thor, who learns while in the capture of the fiery demon Surtur (voice of Clancy Brown) that his home planet of Asgard is facing Ragnarok – the end of days – which he thinks he puts a temporary stop to.

That all changes, though, when his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) warns Thor and his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) that Hela, the Goddess of Death (Cate Blanchett) has broken out of her imprisoned existence and is coming to Asgard to wreak havoc. In their first attempt to stop her, both Thor and Loki are cast off to the junk planet of Sakaar, where its savvy ruler Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) features Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) in gladiator-style battles to entertain the planet’s inhabitants.

But with his powers restricted after being captured by the bounty hunter, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Thor must first find a way to convince Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) to revert to Bruce Banner to escape from Grandmaster’s clutches to get back to Asgard to face off against Hela, whose powers are growing stronger by the minute.

While the first two Thor films weren’t overly serious, “Thor: Ragnarok” establishes almost from its opening frames that it will be marching to the beat of a different – and very funny – drummer. Yes, serious things do happen in the film, but through Waititi’s lighthearted approach, we’re treated to a fast-moving, neon-infused adventure romp that’s loaded with action, colorful costumes and sets, and hilarious dialogue created largely through the improv skills of the gifted ensemble cast.

All told, Waititi injects a burst of energy that’s so welcome in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  And while the previous films in the MCU were hardly lacking, it’s exciting to see a filmmaker take risks and break free from the studio’s other offerings and establish its own identity. While some sequels face the danger of falling into a trap and becoming formulaic with each passing film, that’s never the case with “Thor: Ragnarok.” It’s a (Hulk) smashing great time.

Lammometer: 9 (out of 10)

AUDIO: Hear Tim’s review of “Thor: Ragnarok” with Tom Barnard on “The KQ Morning Show.”

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Movie review: New ‘Ghostbusters’ doesn’t answer call

Sony Pictures

By Tim Lammers

“Ghostbusters” (PG-13) 1 1/2 stars (out of four)

Don’t bother calling … the new “Ghostbusters” is a mere specter of its former self. Dull and uninspired, the reboot of the 1984 smash no doubt boasts a talented cast and director in Paul Feig – yet it feels like they are all operating under some strict studio mandate and following marching orders to avoid doing anything risky that will taint the “Ghostbusters” brand.

Despite a new story and characters, the new “Ghostbusters” ultimately feels like a rehash of the original, where a ragtag group of scientists (Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon) and a street savvy New York City transit worker (Leslie Jones) try to rid the Big Apple of some very nasty spirits and the evil human force who’s unleashing them.

The biggest problem with “Ghostbusters is that it’s a PG-13 film that’s preventing the hilarious R-rated comedy team of Feig, McCart

hy and Wiig (who first did “Bridesmaids” together) from doing what they do best.

Had Feig (who also directed McCarthy in “The Heat” and “Spy”) been allowed to turn loose his performers in the territory they know best – bawdy, R-rated comedy – the film would have been infinitely better.

Apart from some obviously improved visual effects, the new “Ghostbusters” is a tremendous disappointment considering the level of talent involved.

Not even cameos from most of the original cast can juice up the newfangled proton pack: Bill Murray is given the most to do although his two scenes are brief, while Dan Aykroyd’s appearance is short, silly and of no consequence.

On the other hand, the turns by Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and Sigourney Weaver (in the end credits) are welcome, and even the late, great Harold Ramis is represented in the form of a golden bust in a blink or you’ll miss it scene at the very beginning of the film.

Rick Moranis, who dropped largely from the public eye for the last 20 years, declined a cameo, and perhaps smartly so. Some franchises are better left untouched.

Hear Tim’s review of “Ghostbusters” and more above with Tom Barnard and the “KQ92 Morning Show,” beginning at 7:30 in.

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Movie review: ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’

Universal Pictures

By Tim Lammers

“The Huntsman: Winter’s War” (PG-13) 3 stars (out of four)

The stars of “Snow White and the Huntsman” are back – sans Kristen Stewart – in “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” a solid prequel/sequel to the 2012 original that adds Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain to the cast.  Stewart was creatively omitted from the follow-up, which first looks at the origins of Eric the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and the fellow warrior, Sara (Chastain), he grew up with; then skips forward over the events of “Snow White and the Huntsman” as it heads to an epic showdown between Eric & Sara, the evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and her sister, the Ice Queen Freya (Blunt), over the all-powerful magic mirror.

While “The Huntsman’s” premise – a mishmash of fairy tale characters from “Frozen,” “Brave” and, of course, “Snow White” – is hardly original, a talented cast (including the hilari

ous Nick Frost as one of the Huntsman’s dwarf warriors), makes up for the film’s shortcomings. “The Huntsman” is far from perfect, but a crowd-pleasing film nonetheless.

Movie review: ‘In the Heart of the Sea’

'In the Heart of the Sea' (photo: Warner Bros.)

By Tim Lammers

“In the Heart of the Sea” (PG-13) 3 stars (out of four)

Director Ron Howard skillfully navigates some treacherous waters in “In the Heart of the Sea,” a riveting whale tale that only suffers from its shaky imagery during the film’s most pivotal moments. Realism is a good thing in films, but in this case, the turbulent depiction of the high seas is too much of a good thing.

The film uses the classic literary work of Herman Melville’s (Ben Whishaw) “Moby Dick” as a framing device, as the author convinces Tom Nickerson (the always great Brendan Gleeson) – one of the few survivors of the shipwreck of the Nantucket whaling vessel, the Essex, in 1820 – to open the deep wounds he’s kept tightly sealed for 30 years. Melville is obsessed with the legend of a monstrous, 100-foot-long white whale that purportedly destroyed the Essex, and Nickerson is the only person the writer can locate to validate the tale.

However, there’s more to the story that Melville ever expected, as his confessions reveal Nickerson (played in flashback by Tom Holland), First Mate Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth), his longtime shipmate Matthew Joy (Cillian Murphy), Captain George Pollard (Benjamin Walker) and a handful of others resort to desperate, dark measures to survive. Not only does the whale continue its rampage after he sinks the ship; the survivors are also floating aimlessly 2,000 miles off the western coast of South America with no hope in sight.

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“In the Heart of the Sea” reteams Hemsworth with Howard two years after the woefully underrated Formula One racecar drama “Rush” make a quick and quiet exit from theaters in 2013. Much like that reality-based drama, Howard goes to painstaking efforts to put you aboard the Essex, bringing to life in great detail the inner-workings of a whale ship as it defies the elements of nature to harvest blubber from the benevolent sea beasts for oil. To that end, “In the Heart of the Sea” is a fascinating voyage, as Howard puts you squarely in the shoes of the people who endure, what is still one of the world’s most dangerous professions.

Sadly, the display of danger is where “In the Heart of the Sea” takes a huge plunge, as the scenes of the ship being rocked at sea by storms – and eventually, the whale – simply become too chaotic. Imagine a shaky cam amped up to violent extremes, which really does nothing more than threaten to nauseate the most sensitive of viewers’ stomachs. Fortunately, a weak 3D presentation doesn’t enhance the sea-sickening experience, and only makes the image more distorted. If the 3D would have worked as intended, the film might have been too dizzying for its own good.

While “In the Heart of the Sea” falls short on its overly-ambitious visual effects, it’s hardly a failure. The calmer scenes of the whale will no doubt leave you awestruck in the creature’s presence, especially during its unexpected final confrontation with Owen and his dwindling number of crew members. While still a sight to behold on the big screen, “In the Heart of the Sea” will likely find a friendlier reception in the closed quarters of viewers’ homes. As a film immersed in a screen too big to escape, the experience will likely make you feel more wobbly than wowed.

On the plus side, you have to commend Howard for opting not to make another “Moby Dick” film, and instead examining a fascinating story that inspired the beloved Melville classic. The film feels fresh despite its faults, and another trip with Captain Ahab would have felt waterlogged.