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…

Biutiful (♦♦♦)

Struggling to make ends meet, Uxbal (Javier Bardem, Vicky Cristina Barcelona)--father of two children--has a side business involving illegal aliens from Senegal and China. Both sides of his business suffer due on one hand to police raids and on the other hand to an unexpected tragedy. At the same time, Uxbal is dying from cancer, which forces him to face his own mortality. His employees’ tragedy also obliges him to face his own demons and those of the people closest to him, finding help to care for his children in an unlikely ally.

This film is directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, the director of 21 Grams and Babel. Unlike his previous works--where stories are told in non-linear fashion, characters colliding unexpectedly in the end—in this movie the story in linear, at times overwhelming by the slow pace and other times hallucinating as in the scenes in the disco bar. In my opinion, this is Javier Bardem’s best work to date; his performance is subdued, resigned yet forceful as that of a man refusing to die.