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…

Thin Ice (♦♦♦♦)

In Thin Ice star Greg Kinnear as Michael (Mickey) Prohaska, Alan Arkin as Gorvy Hauer, Billy Crudup as Randy and Lea Thompson as Mickey’s ex-wife.

Michael Prohaska is an insurance agent who owns a two-man company in Kenosha, Wisconsin. During a trip to an insurance convention, Mickey recruits another agent named Bob and agrees to give him 5% in sales commissions. Back in Kenosha, Bob meets an absent-minded old man named Gorvy Hauer who has a house full of old things that belonged to his sister. On Bob and Mickey’s urgings, Gorvy buys an insurance policy for his house. Mickey wants to take advantage of Gordy, but soon things spiral out of control when Gorvy has to go to take care of his dying sister, leaving a precious fiddle behind in his attic.

This movie delivers a few good laughs brought about by situations that appear silly at the time, but no doubt it’s the ending that packs a big punch. I liked the script and the performances, and despite inevitable comparisons to Fargo due to the setting and double crossings, I found it funnier, darker and more likeable than Fargo. It’s a caper movie with a stylized plot; though not as elegant as Ocean’s Eleven, it’s certainly more believable.

As Mickey says near the end of the movie, “Beware of anything with strings attached”. That’s nowhere truer than in this film.