Tag Archives: Jeff Goldblum

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 reviews: ‘Independence Day: Resurgence,’ ‘Free State of Jones’

20th Century Fox

By Tim Lammers

“Independence Day: Resurgence” (PG-13) 1 1/2 stars (out of 4)

“Independence Day” returns not with a bang – but a huge whimper – with “Independence Day: Resurgence,” a lackluster sequel to the entertaining 1996 original. Despite having 20 years to formulate something new and exciting, co-writer/director Roland Emmerich instead rehashes the original story (the aliens are back, and once again, they want to destroy Earth) – and making it worse by replacing the electrifying Will Smith (whose character is dead) with the boring duo of Liam Hemsworth (as a hotshot pilot) and Jessie T. Usher (as Smith’s son – another hotshot pilot).

Wasting the talents of his most valuable assets (chief among them, Jeff Goldblum), Emmerich  instead relies on a younger, unimpressive cast to tow the line. Left with little to go on after that, the director amply uses wiz-bang visual effects (which are no doubt great) an

d B-movie dialogue peppered with lame one-liners (“It’s the 4th of July, let’s show them some fireworks!”) in a desperate attempt to save the film. It’s a monster disappointment.

Tim reviews “Independence Day: Resurgence” and “Free State of Jones” on KQRS at 33:30 in.

“Free State of Jones” (R) 1 1/2 stars (out of 4)

The timing is odd for the release of “Free State of Jones,” a historical account of controversial Civil War figure Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey), who rallied fellow Confederate Army deserters and runaway slaves against the crumbling Confederate hierarchy in Jones County, Mississippi, in the 1860s. While the film is too long at 2 hours and 20 minutes it’s short on the story of Knight himself, thanks to a confusingly-placed side narrative about one of his descendants 80 years after the main events of the movie.

Like any tale based on history, “Free State of Jones” seems to play fast and loose with the facts – either with inaccuracies or ignoring large segments of Knight’s life. The story would have been best served as a History Channel miniseries.

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