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…

The Town (♦♦♦♦)

Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) is the mastermind of his small crew of bank and truck robbers in Boston’s neighborhood of Charlestown. During a bank holdup, Jim Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), Doug’s best friend, decides to take the bank manager as a hostage, to free her later when it appears that police are not following them. Jim takes away her driver’s license, later to discover that they live in the same neighborhood; so Jim decides to take the matter in his own hands before it becomes an issue, but Doug intervenes.

Doug approaches Claire (Rebecca Hall), the bank manager, and starts a casual friendship that eventually becomes a relationship; but when he falls in love with Claire and decides to leave the pilfering behind, Jim and a character known as “the florist” resort to coercion to make Doug change his mind.

This movie is superbly directed by Ben Affleck. He also co-wrote the script. The acting is flawless, despite having few stars in the cast. The musical score helps to enhance the drama. The pace is fast, but not so much to make you dizzy or confused; it is easy to keep up. What I like the most about this movie is its no-nonsense style; there are no perfect robberies, real life is messy and plans seldom unfold as they’re conceived. That, I think, is the true value of this film.