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…

To Rome with Love (♦♦♦)

A newlywed couple has dreams of impressing the groom’s powerful relatives and making it big in Rome; a prostitute mistakes the said groom for a paid client and must pose as the groom’s wife in front of his relatives while his actual wife gets entangled with a Roman movie star and a common thief; a normal guy finds sudden, unlikely fame and he gets a taste of the good and the bad sides of being a celebrity; an American architect who studied in Rome, meets a young architect student who invites him to his house to meet his fiancée.

I liked this Woody Allen’s movie, though it lacked the magic of Midnight in Paris or the quirkiness of Vicky Cristina Barcelona. While Midnight in Paris was an ode to the city and the enchantment of bygone eras, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona was a celebration of life, love and the madness of being in love, To Rome with Love has none of those underlying themes. The city of Rome is just a backdrop, and any backdrop would have suited this disparate story.

The characters best developed were Monica (Ellen Page), the seductress best friend of Jack’s girlfriend, Jack (Jesse Eisenberg), a young architect student, and John (Alec Baldwin), an architect turned voice-of-Jack’s conscience and love guru. The rest of the characters seem absolutely lost in the subplots. The funniest moments belonged to the vignette involving Monica, Jack and John and the storyline about the mortician singing opera in a shower on stage.

Overall, To Rome with Love is a somewhat funny story with plenty of forced situations and very forgettable characters. This is a movie you’ll forget while still seeing it.