Thor: Love and Thunder

The Mighty Thor and Thor

Though the Asgardian deity has appeared in other Avengers movies in the interim,Thor: Love and Thunder is the first outing for Chris Hemsworth’s caped godhead since the last standalone Thor movie, 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok. Time has moved on and we’re now in a different phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one determined to bolt a “meta” onto the usual stew of tall tales, quips, dressing up, special effects and heroics. Some things have changed, but some remain the same. In textbook Thor fashion, we first meet the villain. Christian Bale plays Gorr, a grieving father driven into a frenzy when he discovers that Rapu, his liege lord/godhead, doesn’t give a stuff about his … Read more

A Murder of Quality

Denholm Elliott as George Smiley

Written by John Le Carré, a master spy storyteller, and featuring a masterspy, George Smiley, you’d expect A Murder of Quality to be, well, a story about spying. In fact it’s a bare-bones whodunit with not a spook to be seen. Both Le Carré and Smiley are here essentially moonlighting. The grisly murder of a woman at a private school is what sets it off, retired George being called in by old agency chum Ailsa Brimley to look into it as a favour for her. Strictly off the books, hush hush etc. This is a murder pure and simple. One for the police. Smiley is there as an outsider with no official involvement. … Read more

The Prestige

Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson and Hugh Jackman in The Prestige

    After Insomnia and Batman Begins, big Hollywood numbers taken on to show studio willing – or so it seemed – Christopher Nolan is back to being master of his own destiny, writing with his brother Jonathan and also producing this lavish smoke and mirrors cat-and-mouser. Clearly an attempt to “do another Memento”, it’s about a pair of Victorian magicians in a “this town ain’t big enough for the both of us” London, who once were bosom buddies but fell out after a trick went wrong and the wife of one of them died. And since that day they have gone on to different sorts of glory, but as deadly rivals, each trying … Read more

The Fighter

Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale in The Fighter

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     28 June   Mike Tyson bites Evander Holyfield’s ear, 1997 On this day in 1997, during a boxing match for the WBA Heavyweight Championship title, one of the fighters, “Iron” Mike Tyson, bit off a chunk of the ear of his opponent, Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield. The fight was a rematch, after Holyfield had knocked out Tyson in the 11th round seven months earlier, to take the title. Billed as “The Sound and the Fury”, the fight took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and right from the start Tyson was complaining to … Read more

I’m Not There

Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 19 March Bob Dylan releases first album, 1962 Having dropped out of the University of Minnesota and relocated to New York City to visit the dying Woody Guthrie and break into performing, today in 1962 Bob Dylan released his first album. Eponymously titled Bob Dylan it came about after Dylan played harmonica on Carolyn Hester’s album in September 1961 and caught the eye of producer John Hammond. Hammond signed Dylan to Columbia Records in October 1961 and within five months the album was done. It was a collection of folk standards, coffeehouse favourites plus two Dylan originals – Song to Woody … Read more

Velvet Goldmine

Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Velvet Goldmine

        In 1988 Todd Haynes made Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story. In it he used Barbie and Ken dolls instead of actors to play out the tragic story of the singer with the golden voice whose anorexia eventually killed her off. Karen’s brother Richard Carpenter stamped it out of the record books, claiming Haynes didn’t have clearance to use the music. It has since resurfaced as an entry on imdb and pops up on youtube in various shitty resolutions. Haynes is in pop-music territory again with Velvet Goldmine, moving Ewan McGregor and Jonathan Rhys Meyers into 20th-century-boy poses in a story about a newspaper reporter (Christian Bale) in 1984 doing a story on the high point … Read more

Batman: The Dark Knight

dark knight 2jpg

  Not having enjoyed the first Nolan/Bale Batman film (yes, he was traumatised by bats. I get it!) I wasn’t looking forward to the second. But, having been told how great it was, how awesome Heath Ledger was, how dark it all was, I was prepared to put prejudice to one side and settle back to watch it with an open mind. And I hated it. But no one else seems to feel this way. Why? My own lack of soul to one side, it’s possibly something to do with the death of Ledger, a good actor who generally did more than was necessary in whatever role he took on, was happy to … Read more