Snapshots - #42: Thor: Ragnarok, Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, LBJ

Thor: Ragnarok (2017), (♦♦♦♦½): Thor has saved earth twice by now and has, for the last two years, wandered the universe searching for infinity stones. He hasn't found any. He has, however, become prisoner of an enemy of Asgard, Surtur, who tells Thor that his visions of Asgard engulfed in flames is a premonition of Ragnarok—the destruction of Asgard, which is already in motion. Thor frees himself and arrives at home to find Loki sitting on the throne, passing as Odin, and neglecting his duties to protect the Nine Realms. With Odin's exile, Asgard's enemies have been reassembling, but Odin's death may just free Hela, a goddess against whom neither Thor nor Loki are enough.
It was in Thor: The Dark World where Loki, an antagonist, first threatened to steal the show. He became the villain that Marvel fandom loves to hate. While Loki is at his most charming in this film, the director, with the help of a sparkling screenplay, has very much exploited the great chemistry of t…

Temple Grandin (♦♦♦♦)

This movie made for HBO television, covers the topic of autism in a very tender way. Temple Grandin (Claire Danes in an Emmy winning performance), an autistic savant, is diagnosed with autism at age four. Learned to speak at age four thanks to her mother’s unwavering support and dedication; later on, a science teacher in middle and high school recognized her amazing ability to see things differently and encouraged her to develop her scientific mind. After spending a summer at her aunt’s ranch in Texas, she began to observe and understand cattle behavior, which led her to develop a machine that was able to simulate the effect that hugging have on most people. Temple went to college and had to fight against the misunderstandings associated with her condition, but graduated at the top of her class and went on to obtain a Master in Animal Science. Her articles on animal behavior and her inventions to improve the treatment of livestock to make the process as humane as possible have made her a recognized expert. Today she teaches courses at university level.

I always enjoy Claire Danes performances; they’re something like guilty pleasure, but I would say that this is one of the most vibrant performances that I have seen from her, unexpected too, because she is typically the sweet, innocent girl, who meets a certain fate, not in this movie! Danes is inspiring as Temple Grandin, and from what I saw during the Emmy ceremony to which the real Temple Grandin was invited, she was spot on since she looked exactly as the title character does in real life. Julia Ormond, as her mother, also delivered a moving performance.

I also liked the way the movie covered the topic of autism; it obviously presented Temple’s perspective since the movie was about her, but it also shines a light on the frustration of family members for not being able to connect with the person suffering from that illness and the pain that the person feels for being misunderstood.