Showing posts from July, 2012

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…

Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster (♦♦♦)

Adam Lockwood inherits his grandparents’ cottage in the North Yorkshire moors, and convinces his wife Grace to relocate there from London alongside their toddler Millie. However, a week after arriving at the moors, Adam vanishes without a trace leaving Millie on the front porch just after dusk.

Grace leaves the moors after Adam’s disappearance and travels to France with her parents to nurse her wounds, but after a year, she is ready to find answers and goes back to the moors accompanied by her daughter. When Grace arrives, she is welcomed by members of the Blakeney family, whose matriarch has lived in the village since birth. Not without difficulties Grace begins to find clues in the most unexpected places and only when it seems she is on the brink of losing her sanity, she has a daring thought that changes everything.

This is a good ghost story though not a memorable one. The desolate moors contribute to the sinister atmosphere and so does the folklore of the place, but in this book…

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 unvei…

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 cha…

People Like Us (♦♦♦♦♦)

What happens when a married man has two families at the same time? Sam Harper’s estranged dad, Jerry, dies of cancer and leaves Sam his shaving kit full of $100 bills amounting to $150,000 to be given to Josh Davis, with the petition to “take care of them.”

Sam goes to the address his father provided and finds a young woman who he immediately suspects was his father’s mistress but who turns out to be a sister he didn’t know he had. Sam befriends Frankie and her son Josh without telling them they’re family, but what will Frankie do when she finds out the truth?

This movie is the best of the year thus far. I loved it! It made me cry so deeply. It is extremely well acted, free of profanity and the story will steal your heart.

People Like Us is touching and heartwarming. It explores themes of family dynamics: marital betrayal and trust and the emotional toll of having two families at the same time. The plot is original and very well developed. People Like Us has a robust screenplay and th…

Your Sister’s Sister (♦♦♦½)

Iris is secretly in love with her best friend Jack; the problem is that Jack is Iris’s late fiancé’s brother. Since Jack isn’t coping well with his brother’s death after a year, Iris recommends him to take time away from everyone at her father’s cabin. Jack goes to the isolated cabin to have some downtime on his own, but there he meets Hannah, Iris’s free-spirited sister who is dealing with a messy breakup.

I liked this movie, despite its unnecessary use of excess profanity. It is emotional and well acted by the three main characters that have great chemistry together. The complications that ensue from Jack meeting Hannah make for a great story albeit an odd one.

This movie is not a classic romance but it is worth watching and rather enjoyable.

Emily Blunt, Rosemary DeWitt and Mark Duplass co-star as Iris, Hannah and Jack, respectively.

Brave (♦♦♦½)

Merida is a Scottish princess who on the day of the announcement of her betrothal, escapes the castle, rides to the forest and is guided by Will o’ Wisps to the house of a witch. The witch tells Merida that she can have anything she wants, thus Merida chooses to have a spell concocted to change her mother so she can change her own destiny. However, as we’re often reminded, all magic comes with a price, and Merida must learn the importance of family and traditions if she is to save her mother, her siblings and her kingdom.

This is a magnificent family movie where a girl rules. It isn’t that funny for adults, but it’s visually lush and entertaining, and as all Disney films, there’s a strong moral to the story such as the powerful bond of family and people’s power to make their own destinies regardless of fate.

The film was made using motion capture technology, which I find mesmerizing because it looks like there are real people behind the animation. The musical score is fantastic; I wo…