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…

Water for Elephants (♦♦♦)

Jacob Jankowski (Robert Pattinson, The Twilight Saga) is about to take his final exam to graduate as a vet, when he’s notified of his parents’ death in a car accident. With no possessions in the world, he jumps on a passing train, which is home to the Benzini Brothers Circus. August (Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds)—manager and master of ceremonies— names Jacob the circus’ vet. August is a cruel man with people and animals alike, so when he discovers the ever growing attraction between Jacob and Marlena (Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line), the circus main act and August’s wife, August sets on everything and everyone they hold dear.

The scenes when the circus is in session are rather magical. There’s no chemistry between Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson, but I would have been very surprised if they had had any. The most worthwhile moments in this film are ironically provided by Rosie the elephant and Christoph Waltz, who has shown a gift for playing cruel characters to a T. The movie followed the book, but it was short on emotions. My favorite part of the film is when the disaster happens; that’s when this motion picture packed all the punches that could fit into those sequences and it worked well.

I liked the book better, but you’ll like the movie if you’re not too picky.