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…

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (♦♦♦♦)

When Harriet Chetwoden-Talbot (Emily Blunt), an assistant with an investment firm in London, contacts Dr. Fred Jones (Ewan McGregor), a fishery expert, for an impossible fishery project in Yemen financed by a Yemeni Sheikh, Dr. Jones believes this idea to be the stuff of fantasy, a pet project destined to fail. Introducing salmon to a river in Yemen, according to Dr. Jones, is as “theoretically possible as man going to Mars”. Yemen supposedly doesn’t have vast water reservoirs to make the idea feasible, and the temperatures are too high…Yet, Harriet Chetwoden-Talbot convinces Dr. Jones to come up with a plan that ends up becoming a reality.

Against the backdrop of the dam construction is the bond emerging between Dr. Jones, a man of science with domestic troubles, and Harriet, a financial assistant whose boyfriend has been reported M.I.A. in the Afghan war. Through tribulations and triumphs, love blooms between Dr. Jones and Harriet, but on the day the finished complex is to be unveiled a few unexpected difficulties dampen the spirits and jeopardize the possibility of their love becoming a reality.

I really liked this movie. I confess I saw the trailer earlier in the year and when the movie was exhibited at a local movie theater I refused to watch it for lack of interest. Shame on me! This movie is understated yet very well acted; the chemistry between Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor is undeniable. There’s an air between this pair of “I’ll always love you even if it’s not meant to be” that it’s hard to capture in today’s mainstream movies and acting.

The solid script is a breath of fresh air and provides an original backdrop for a love story that has all the ingredients of a classic. The jokes are elaborate yet far between, so this film wouldn’t be properly considered a romantic comedy, though comedic elements are certainly present.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a film about faith, realizing impossible dreams, miracles big and small and the experiences that we can draw from nature….And old fashioned love.

Overall, this little film is a winner!