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…

Prisoners (♦♦♦½)

Two young girls vanish in front of their house in the suburbs in midday. The only clue pointing to their whereabouts is a white van parked in the street but no one knows to whom it belongs.

Early on in the investigation an unlikely suspect emerges, one supposedly with the IQ of a ten year-old. A young detective with a perfect record assigned to the case divides his time between following the limited leads and trailing the father of one of the girls after the main suspect disappears.

As I was watching, the plot of Prisoners kept reminding me of the novel Down the Darkest Road by Tami Hoag, among other things because of the unassuming nature of the suspects and ultimately of the killer. I have to say that the screenplay was successful in not giving much away. I couldn't figure out the culprit before the end but I'm glad they didn't make it up; the killer was there all along.

Despite a star-studded cast composed by Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo and Jake Gyllenhaal, Jackman and Gyllenhaal virtually own the movie, the former as an enraged father and the latter as a determined police detective.

In summary, Prisoners is a gritty film, more complicated than the standard movie fare, yet quite satisfying.

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