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

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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 Help (♦♦♦)

This movie takes place in the segregated South in the 1960s.

Eugenia Phelan, a.k.a. Skeeter (Emma Stone) is given a job as a backup writer for a housekeeping column in a newspaper at Jackson, Mississippi. She asks Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis), a black house maid in the house of white folks, for help. Aibileen accepts to help Skeeter, but the latter soon has another idea: she plans to write a book telling revealing stories of white folks from their maids’ perspectives.

At first Aibileen refuses, but a sermon at church makes her change her mind. Then Minny (Octavia Spencer), a maid who has recently lost her job jumps onboard as well. As the Civil Rights Movement is beginning to take shape and raids on black people increase, more maids collaborate with their own experiences. The publisher asks one more condition before publishing: to include Skeeter’s tale of the maid that brought her up, but finding out what happened between her mother and her maid may be more than Skeeter bargained for.

This movie unfolds at a very slow pace, but the script is funny at times. The cinematography is great, with emphases on Southern landscapes and open roads sided by trees (a real beauty). Last but not least, the film is full of magnificent female performances; it’s hard to pick just one, but Emma Stone holds her court in a movie with acting heavyweights such as Viola Davis and Sissy Spacek.

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