Tagged: Idris Elba

Martha Thomases: With A Rebel Yell, She Cried Thor! Thor! Thor!

The hype was timed perfectly for this one. The new Marvel Studios movie, Thor: Ragnorak, was not going to be just another super-hero movie. It was directed by a respected indie director with comedy chops. The advertising wasn’t too heavy, nor did I feel like I had seen all the good stuff in the trailers.

Still, I was a bit worried. Thor: The Dark World, was, in my opinion, the worst of the Marvel Studio movies. When I watch it, instead of getting caught up in the story and the characters, I wonder what it felt like to be an actor on that set, wearing those ridiculous outfits. I wondered why a movie so dependent on Norse mythology was made so many years before Wonder Woman, which relied on Greek mythology (my personal favorite, no matter what the cool kids say).

I was again invited to a Marvel Friends & Family screening on Monday, and I can report that Ragnorak is big fun, especially if you can see it in a big theater, on a big screen, with all the seats filled with rabid geeks. There’s a lot of character-based humor. There are a couple of really great villains, including my long-time crush, Jeff Goldblum, whom I have loved since at least California Split. Cate Blanchett, as Hela, Goddess of Death, is not only evil incarnate, but she will make you believe that you, too, could fight in skin-tight leather and a spiked head-dress wider than your average car.

Tim Hiddleston is back as Loki, Idris Elba is again Heimdal, and Anthony Hopkins is Odin. It’s great having the band back together.

If you’ve seen the trailers, you know that Mark Ruffalo co-stars in this film as Bruce Banner/The Hulk. For those of us who have seen the Avengers movies, this is fun. If you’re a fan of classic superhero stories, where two heroes meet, fight, and then team-up, this is fun. If you haven’t done either of those things, the relationship might be unintelligible, but then, you probably aren’t in the audience.

Benedict Cumberbatch is his brooding, handsome self as Doctor Strange, in a scene that is entirely unnecessary, although it is fun.

The best new character (to the Marvel movie oeuvre) is Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie. A hard-living, hard-drinking mercenary with a past that ties her directly to Odin and Hela, she is a fully realized character from her first appearance, when she tried to take Thor as her prisoner and falls down drunk. The character is tough and vulnerable and completely capable, and Thompson never reduces her to the kind of “strong female character” we get all too often in mass-market movies.

According to the link above, “Thompson even summoned the courage to pitch Waititi on making Valkyrie bisexual, based on her comic book relationship with anthropologist Annabelle Riggs. ‘There’s this great illustration of them in a kiss,’ swoons Thompson, and while Valkyrie has yet to meet Annabelle in her Hollywood timeline – and who knows if she’ll get to – she convinced Waititi to shoot a glimpse of a woman walking out of Valkyrie’s bedroom. He kept it in the film as long as he could; eventually the bit had to be cut because it distracted from the scene’s vital exposition.”

This is a problem for me. There are so many scenes in which some random action is taking place so the characters can explain themselves and their motivations that they might as well have hired Michael York. I would have preferred more time with Valkyrie and fewer scenes of Asgardians walking through caves and forests.

As required by law, the movie ends with a bombastic CGI fight scene. It’s loud and there are lots of explosions, but these scenes exhaust me. The best part of this one is Fenrir, the giant wolf. The worst part is waiting for the Asgardians to line up for the getaway vehicle.

About these Asgardians. They are very white. This isn’t really a big deal for me, since nearly every Norse person alive when the myths were created was probably white. However, the Thor films, to their credit, have made a point of including actors of all races among the gods. We see a few swarthy faces in the crowd scenes, and there are Asian actors prominently featured in a couple of fights, but mostly, we see hundreds of helpless blondes, waiting for Thor to rescue them. The scenes on other realms have more varied body types and colors, and as a result, even those extras seem to have more personality.

Still, I was excited to see a movie in which a white male hero has a respectful, comradely relationship with a woman warrior of color. There was no flirtation. There was no “will they or won’t they” vibe. Or, at least, no more than there was between Loki and Hulk.

The gods can do it. Now let’s see if we can get corporate executives to do it, too.

Box Office Democracy: The Dark Tower

I wonder if it bothers Stephen King that his 54 novels and 200 short stories have produced exactly one great movie.  (Two if you count The Shining, and you probably shouldn’t, considering the very public feud between author and director.)  We have the greatest pulp author of a generation, perhaps of all time, and he just keeps sending his ideas off to Hollywood to die.  I don’t mean to turn the man in to too much of a martyr; he keeps cashing the checks, so he knows what this is.  But to see The Dark Tower, the sprawling thirty year epic he wrote threading through so much of his work, turn in to a pale reflection on the silver screen must sting worse than most.  The Dark Tower is probably the best attempt we’ll ever see to turn a 4,000 page story in to a 90 minute movie, but also maybe no one should ever try that again.  There just isn’t room for any nuance.

I’ve never read any of the Dark Tower novels and I’ve never felt particularly tempted.  I understand that this movie is a sequel of sorts to the books and also that it tries to tell a fair bit of the overarching plot of the novels in this 95 minute movie.  I don’t understand how both of those things can be true but there’s no possible way this is a reasonable adaptation of eight Stephen King novels, that man writes a dense book.  I appreciate that this isn’t anything like the Peter Jackson Hobbit movies and they didn’t turn this in to an endless stream of movies with endless amounts of exposition until I feel like I’ve been ground to dirt.  The Dark Tower, for all of its other faults, has a sense of tempo that is lost with books by directors that make movies like an overly defensive book report needing to prove they did the reading.  I always felt The Dark Tower wanted to get to the next scene and wanted to be entertaining.  It didn’t always succeed but it was trying.

Of course, I can’t tell you anything about what this movie was about.  There’s the eponymous tower and it’s good that it’s there but some bad guys who are basically all Vincent D’Onofrio from Men In Black are trying to use psychic children to destroy the tower.  The first half of the movie has a fairly compelling plot about family and trust but that just completely falls away.  It ends up just being a boy (Tom Taylor) hanging out with The Gunslinger (Idris Elba) in a barren dessert world that looks an awful lot like a studio backlot but according to the credits was South Africa.  Occasionally an evil sorcerer (Matthew McConaughey) will turn up and make everything interesting but they try to keep him as far away from the action as they can.  Probably because it’s all building to a confrontation that takes less than three minutes.

Matthew McConaughey seems like he was basically born to play a slick Stephen King villain.  He has the honeyed way of American speaking that I always tried to do in my head when someone was trying to talk someone in to giving up their soul for a trinket or whatever.  He’s playing a rather generic villain here, I presume because the intricacies of licensing made The Man in Black a little smaller than his literary equivalent (I don’t know how I know so much about this character despite never reading the books but here we are).  He shows up to be menacing and he backs up his bluster by being very mean to his subordinates and characters who are no longer useful.  He’s like a Saturday morning cartoon villain that can actually kill people.

Idris Elba is a talented actor given no chance to act.  The Gunslinger is every gruff hero you’ve ever seen in anything ever.  He doesn’t want to form emotional attachments and he doesn’t want to talk about why that is.  He’s very good at shooting things and there’s solid work given to showcasing that talent but it’s a waste of Idris Elba.  All they needed from Elba was a look and while he looks amazing (he’s a handsome man) there’s no there there.

I’ve seen something like 250 movies since I started reviewing them in 2012 and I’ve learned a little bit about good movies and a lot about bad movies.  The Dark Tower is a bad movie but it’s a great bad movie.  It isn’t excruciating to watch, it has the sense to be short, and there’s always something to pay attention to even if the story is bland nonsense.  They put a giant amusement park sign that said “Pennywise” and I was on edge for a whole scene that had literally no other content.  The Dark Tower is the kind of bad movie that you can walk out of feeling refreshed, remarking to yourself that it “wasn’t really as bad as people said” and while it might not be true it feels better than the movies where you can’t wait for the lights to come up.

Mike Gold: Yep. It’s A Bird! Deal With It!

Yesterday, Frank Coniff, a.k.a. TV’s Frank, revealed a little-known event: the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema folks who are having those women-only screenings of Wonder Woman that’s upsetting the snowflake boys so much, also held another such event. They did a screening of Baywatch – but just for those people who wanted to actually see Baywatch. I don’t think it did very well.

Nor did the snowflake boys. They are really pissed about these women-only screenings of Wonder Woman. They say it’s discrimination. They say it’s sexist. They say that if there were men-only screenings of, say, the next James Bond movie those very same women would be picketing the theater. Yeah, that high-heeled shoe sure is uncomfortable on the other foot, isn’t it?

Well, they’re right. It is discrimination. How does it feel, snowflakes? As a man who these gerbils respect and some worship said before many of them were born… Get a life!

To give lip service to sympathy, these guys have had a rough couple of years. They had to deal with the fact that the new heroic lead in the Star Wars series is a woman. In Doctor Strange, the Ancient One was morphed into a woman, and a white woman at that. The new Star Trek teevee series, if it actually ever gets on the air, stars two women in the leading roles. One is black, the other is Asian, for those of you who are still pissed that Idris Elba played the part of Heimdall in the Thor movies.

You know why this act of discrimination doesn’t bother me? Well, men have been routinely excluding women for several millennia. Private clubs, public bars, juries, the polls, combat… you know, we guys can live with a couple of women-only screenings of Wonder Woman. It ain’t gonna hurt nobody, and, quite frankly, if it brings more women into the world of superhero movies, that inures to the benefit of Geek Culture overall. More, better movies for everybody.

Hollywood has been saying women do not go to heroic fantasy movies, and they point to the box office failures of such films as Catwoman, Elektra and Supergirl. Personally, I think the fact that all of those movies really sucked had something to do with the revenue deficit. I’m looking to Wonder Woman to change that. Talk about your superhero feats.

I think these screenings sound like a lot of fun. If not for the snowflakes pissing in the fountain and my own political sensibilities, I’d be jealous. I wish the snowflakes were jealous as well. That’s far more adult than their current behavior.

Damn near the entire ComicMix staff already has their tickets for Wonder Woman, with the arguable exception of Glenn Hauman, who is in Ireland right now teaching falcons how to write code. Did I mention our staff is more than 50% women? Seriously. How many of the snowflakes wanted to read Emily’s piece about Wonder Woman fashions yesterday? Only those with girlfriends. Both of them. Buh-dump-bump.

Some snowflakes say they are going to boycott Wonder Woman. They’re too late. If they wanted to do some good, they should have boycotted Batman v. Superman. But for those few who do give Wonder Woman a pass, hey, there’s always seating available for Baywatch.

Mindy Newell: Star Trek – Beyond Tribute and Redemption

Star-Trek-Beyond-2

Kirk: We make a good team

Spock: Yes, we do.

Bones: We could be mauled to death by an interstellar monster!

Kirk: That’s the spirit, Bones.

Considering today is Monday the 25th and Star Trek: Beyond came out only three days ago, how much can I tell you about it without doing the dreaded HERE THERE BE SPOILERS dance? Hmmm…let’s see….

Did I like it?

Yes.

Did I luvvvvvvvv it?

Well, that’s hard to say. If you had asked me that last night as I was walking out of the theatre, I would have said, “No, I didn’t luvvvvvvvv it.”

Meaning that I didn’t want to turn around and immediately buy another ticket, ‘cause I’m too honest to just stay in my seat and wait for the next show, and besides, with my luck, I would have gotten caught by that one guy or gal in the whole wide world who has the thankless job of cleaning up after all us movie slobs between showings and who takes his or her job seriously enough to throw me out or hand me over to the theater manager. The way I wanted to do when I first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark or the original Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back or, come to think about it, the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot back in 2009.

However, as I was talking about the movie while playing and cavorting in the pool this afternoon with grandson Meyer, daughter Alix, and son-in-law Jeff, I realized that while I didn’t luvvvvvvvv this third entry of the rebooted Trek universe, I definitely do want to see it again, because:

1) Chris Pine is simply becoming more and more handsome. In fact, before sitting down to write this I watched the Wonder Woman trailer – the one unveiled at this year’s San Diego Comic Con – just to feast my eyes on those amazing blue eyes.

Ahem No, not really. Let me try that again.

1) Chris Pine is inhabiting the character of James Tiberius Kirk more thoroughly with each film, allowing us to follow and appreciate the growing maturity of the young(est) captain who sits in the command chair of the Federation’s premier starship, all while never losing the charm of the boy inside;

2) Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban, as Spock and Leonard “Bones” McCoy respectively, still frankly fucking amaze me with their dead-on interpretations of the First Officer and the Chief Medical Officer of the starship Enterprise as we knew and loved them in the “before” time. It’s not only in their acting skills that totally get the quirks and mannerisms of the Vulcan-Terran hybrid and the “old country doctor,” but also in their spoken intonations and, yes, the very sound and timbre of their voices. How do they do that?

3) Speaking of the Euclidian – or is that Isosceles? – triangle that is Kirk, Spock, and McCoy…it’s all there. The wrangling, the bemusement, the annoyance, the loyalty, the friendship.

4) And with regards to that triangle… two sides, Spock and McCoy, are more cantankerously and crabbily thrown together than ever before, giving us the chance to revel in their ornery, and yet loving relationship.

5) Yes! Finally! Hurray!!!! The women of Star Trek get their due!!!!! Communications Officer Lt. Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana) has more screen time than ever, and she kicks ass, not only physically but also emotionally and with smarts. Not to mention Melissa Roxburgh as Ensign Syl. Yeah, she may be a “red shirt,” but she’s not simply disposable. And then there is Sofia Boutella as Jaylah, the woman who becomes the crew’s ally. Yeah, she kicks ass, too. But here’s a word that I haven’t seen in any of the media review. She’s adorable. As in, I adored her relationship with “Montgomery Scotty,” which lead me to…

6) Simon Pegg, as the Chief Engineer, is once again simply wonderful. (And by the way, he co-wrote the Star Trek: Beyond with his writing partner, Doug Jung, ably Robert Orci, Patrick McKay, and John D. Payne.)

7) Although I do have to say that John Cho, as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, does get a bit shortchanged this time around, in what I thought was a great addition to the character (not to mention to the franchise), it’s established that not only is Sulu gay but that he and his beloved are parents to a little girl. I also think it’s an absolutely wonderful tribute to George Takei, who has been in the forefront of gay rights since he first came out; Mr. Takei was one of the first to marry his partner when California finally voted in the legality of same-sex marriage. The funny thing is, Mr. Takei objected to this “change” in Sulu’s character. That seems odd to me…

As for the reasons I didn’t luvvvvvvvv STB, well it comes down to…

1) Idris Elba.

No. Not the actor. He was, as usual, pretty damn fantastic, especially – nope, not gonna go there. Not going to get all SPOILERY.

In fact, I can’t really get into why Mr. Elba, or, rather, and more specifically, his character, bothered me without getting all SPOILERY.

So I’m just going to have to drop it for now, until (I assume) Art Tebbel and/or Vinnie Bartilucci or someone here at ComicMix gives a more, uh, thorough review.

Until then, live long and prosper.

However…

One thing I did truly luvvvvvvvv, immediately luvvvvvvvved: The honor and respect and love given to Leonard Nimoy, both within the movie itself and in the credits. And the saddest thing about Star Trek: Beyond is the passing of Anton Yelchin. Stay for the credits. You’ll see what I mean, and you’ll “hate” it, too.

Finally…

Alexander Courage’s theme gets me every time!

MIXED REVIEWS: “Thor: The Dark World”

Thor_Payoff_1-Sht_v2_lgIt’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, and this time we’re bringing in Sara Raasch to mix things up a bit with Glenn Hauman as we talk about Thor: The Dark World.

Glenn: So. How long have you been waiting for this film?

Sara: I was actually less hyped about this than any of the other Marvel films. I enjoyed Thor, but of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One, excluding The Incredible Hulk, it was my least favorite. I didn’t buy tickets till after a friend saw it at the premiere. The thing that made me choose to go to the opening night screening rather than waiting was Loki. I really feel like he and Banner stole the show in The Avengers. So as it became clear that he was going to have a large role in Thor: The Dark World, I became more excited about it.

Glenn: What worked for you here that didn’t work as much in the first film? What improved for you?

Sara: I liked that the movie took itself more seriously than the first film and that it did away with the sorta slapstick Greek god fish outta water humor. I was glad he grew out of his petulant teenager phase.

Glenn: Thor was really Thor, in other words. Not so much humbled as humble. Although he still has trouble making his parents happy.

Sara: True. But that’s true to the comics and his back story.

Glenn: In so many ways, the story of Thor is one of family— not dysfunction, per se, but disapproval. In the first movie, Thor was a headstrong kid who couldn’t make his dad happy. In this one, he’s a more mature individual and he still can’t make his dad happy– and this time, it’s more Dad’s fault.

Sara: Yes, but even within that, they are all dedicated to each other.

Glenn: Very true. Thor and Frigga are still even loyal to Loki, at different levels.

Sara: The other thing that I found so much improved from the first movie was the size of the world. The first movie seemed very small. So much of the film was spent in that town in the middle of the desert. Where as in Thor: The Dark World we got to see Thor and crew across the 9 realms.

Glenn: And even on Earth, we get London and Greenwich as compared to New Mexico.

Sara: And then the Asgard sets were stunning.

Glenn: Did you see the film in 3D?

Sara: I did, which I normally wouldn’t do– I hate 3D movies. But I really wanted to see the 5 minutes of Captain America: The Winter Soldier footage.

Glenn: Do you feel the actors improved, or the characters and what they were given to do?

Sara: In general, both. I felt like the acting was consistently good with a few exceptions. Zachary Levi’s character fell flat for me. And as always, Kat Dennings plays Kat Dennings.

Glenn: But not as annoyingly as in 2 Broke Girls, so thanks for small miracles.

Sara: I thought Christopher Eccleston was good, but not exceptional, which is shocking becuase in general I love Eccleston.

Glenn: Eccleston was good, although it led to a particular moment of dissonance— when you see dimensional rifts opening up over England, my instinctive reaction is to wonder where the Time Lord is— and here he’s on the wrong side.

Sara: Fantastic!

Glenn: And while we’re on the subject of bad guys… your object of affection…

Sara: So, okay, I’m obviously biased here, becuase I think Tom Hiddleston is the bee’s knees.

Glenn: You and half of the female audience for these films.

Sara: That being said. I really do think he’s a great actor. And I thought Loki was well done. For me the interactions between him and Thor really worked. And It was nice to see his character get at least a glimmer of redemption after the events of The Avengers.

Glenn: The thing that the movies have brought in a way the comics didn’t get for a long time if ever, is the family bond between these two. Only recently (he says, revealing his age) have they acted like siblings.

Sara: And I thought that really came across. Even after Loki denies his adopted Asgardian legacy, these two really are brothers. And they are each driven to achieve greatness and glory in their own way

Glenn: And they may still do so, although… well, why ruin the surprises?

Sara: You know I have a strict no spoiler policy!

Glenn: Yep. So we won’t even mention the fun cameos. However, we can say to stick around to the very end of the credits for two add-ons, right?

Sara: Yes, reasonable to say.

Glenn: How about the rest of the cast?

Sara: Wait, there were people in this movie other than Tom Hiddleston?

Glenn: Yes. The one with the big biceps? The crazy guy without pants? The hot chick in the leather armor?

Sara: Can I be Sif when I grow up?

Glenn: Well, I won’t complain if you grow up to be Sif.

Sara: I thought Chris Hemsworth did an excellent job as Thor. He has the range as an actor to pull of his machismo bravada as well as his softer moments with Natalie Portman.

Glenn: Hemsworth showed more charm than his previous outings, as though he’s finally found the right balance to play at being a Norse thunder god, a prince of the realm, and still a guy who can’t quite get everything to work perfectly and is a bit troubled by it.

Sara: I’m not sold on the chemistry between him and Portman.

Glenn: Me neither, but there’s certainly more here than, say, with Hayden Christiansen.

Sara: I was gonna reference that.

Glenn: Well, when you have that kissieface moment on the lake right out of Episode II–

Sara: Ugh. Ohh, how can we forget Idris Elba reprising his role as Heimdall. I was super disappointed that he was not, in fact, cancelling the apocalypse.

Glenn: He was actually the one character that seemed a bit diminished from the first film.

Sara: His performance felt pretty phoned in. He seemed one dimensional, and in general Elba can act, so I can’t help but wonder whos fault it was, his, the writers, the directors.

Glenn: I blame whoever had the idea to have him take off his helmet. It made him… fallible, rather this bronze guardian. So— is it worth seeing again?

Sara: I’d watch it again. In 2d this time. Like I said, I’m not big on 3d in movies in general and I didn’t feel that the 3d in Thor: The Dark World was either particularly groundbreaking, well done or integral to the movie experience.

Glenn: I think this was an upconversion job, and it really didn’t need to be. But with this film we now have scale that we didn’t have before, now that the origin movie’s out of the way. Granted, there’s still a lot of setup being laid for the next few films…

Sara: NO SPOILERS! But yes, I’m excited for the next pieces of the MCU Phase 2. As long as Marvel can avoid another misstep a la Iron Man 2.

Glenn: Well, the tough one is two films down the road. Can we at least tell people to rush to see it or next week’s Agents of SHIELD may be spoiled for them?

Sara: Yeah I think that’s fair game.

Glenn: Watch the film! And hope that the TV show measures up.

Sara: Fingers crossed for a Loki cameo next week!

Glenn: Hey— no spoilers, remember? We post this, and those women who just can’t get enough of Tom Hiddleston are going to be all a-flutter.

Sara: So true.

New Thor The Dark World Clip Arrives

New Thor The Dark World Clip Arrives

You can tell the next installment in Marvel Phase Two is coming closer because we’re getting better looks at the final product. Here’s a clip, “When do we Start”, just released by Disney.

The movie opens on November 8. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, and Jaimie Alexander with Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World is directed by Alan Taylor, produced by Kevin Feige, p.g.a., from a story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat and screenplay by Christopher L. Yost and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely.

New Thor: The Dark World images and Trailer

TM-06742_RNow that people have absorbed all the sneak peek hoopla from Comic-Con International, Disney comes through with several new trailers. Yesterday it was The Muppets, today it’s Thor: The Dark World, opening in November. It’s more Loki-centric, playing off Tom Hiddleston’s newfound popularity and there’s one great moment with Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster resonating back to The Avengers.

Genre:                          Action-adventure
Rating:                          TBD
U.S. Release date:        November 8, 2013
Running time:                TBD

Thor_Payoff_1-Sht_v2_lg

Cast:                            Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander with Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins as Odin
Director:                       Alan Taylor
Producer:                      Kevin Feige, p.g.a.
Executive Producers:    Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Craig Kyle, Alan Fine, Nigel Gostelow, Stan Lee
Story by:                      Don Payne and Robert Rodat
Screenplay by:              Christopher L. Yost and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely

Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself.  In the aftermath of Marvel’s Thor and Marvel’s The Avengers, Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos…but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, and Jaimie Alexander with Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World is directed by Alan Taylor, produced by Kevin Feige, p.g.a., from a story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat and screenplay by Christopher L. Yost and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, and is based on Marvel’s classic Super Hero Thor, who first appeared in the comic book Journey into Mystery  #83 in August, 1962.

Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself.

When Monsters Attack– Earth Station One Reviews Pacific Rim

On this week’s episode of the Earth Station One podcast, the ESO crew powers up their Jaegers to battle invading the Kaiju! Mike Faber, Mike Gordon, Jennifer Hartshorn, the award-winning author Bobby Nash, Ashley Bergner, William Faber, and the award-winning artist Mark Maddox join together in one massive neural link to share one another’s deepest thoughts about giant mechs fighting colossal monsters. The apocalypse may have been canceled, but San Diego Comic Con is still on schedule! On the eve of the biggest conventions of the year, we also give our thoughts on the already released info as well as some predictions of news to be revealed. All this, plus the usual Rants, Raves, Khan Report, and Shout Outs!

Join us for yet another episode of The Earth Station One Podcast we like to call: When Monsters Attack – The Pacific Rim Movie Review at www.esopodcast.com

Direct link: http://erthstationone.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/earth-station-one-ep-171-when-monsters-attack-the-pacific-rim-movie-review/

Feedback is always appreciated at esopodcast@gmail.com, www.esopodcast.com, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. We would love to hear from you. Who knows, we might just read your comments on the show.

John Ostrander: Quo Vadis the TARDIS

Ostrander Art 130609The Beeb announced this week that Matt Smith, the current actor playing the Doctor on Doctor Who, its long running (50 years!) SF series, will be leaving the show with the Christmas Special this year. For those of you living outside the Whovian time-space continuum, the Doctor is a time traveling alien who can regenerate entirely at points of mortality. Different face, different body, largely different personality, completely different actor in the role. They’ve done this eleven times so far so, in general, they have the procedure down pat.

I’ve seen some interesting speculations as to who will be the next Doctor. While usually the actor cast as the Doctor is not so well known, a names of a lot of well known actors are being currently tossed around by that mysterious series of tubes running underground known as the Internet. Hugh Laurie, best known as Doctor House here in America was one name mentioned and I think he would be very highly entertaining. I’ve seen Mr. Laurie in any number of different roles and he was marvelous in all of them. I don’t think the Beeb can afford his salary but it’s still interesting to think what might happen.

I read an interview where Helen Mirren had voiced a desire to the play the Doctor. Could the Doctor change into a woman? In the first episode that Neil Gaiman wrote for Doctor Who, “The Doctor’s Wife”, the Doctor mentions in passing a fellow time-lord who did regenerate into a woman so we have to take it as a possibility. Dame Helen Mirren has done a switched character before when she played Prospera, a female version of the character Prospero, in Julie Taymor’s movie adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. If she could do that, I have a feeling she could do the Doctor with no problem.

At one point before Matt Smith was cast as the current Doctor, Idris Elba’s name was bounced around as a candidate for the role. Elba is a fine actor who happens to be black; some Americans will know him as the title character on the BBC series Luther while others might know him as the character Heimdall in 2011’s Thor, a fact that cheesed off some Aryan neo-Nazi types who whined that Heimdall was supposed to be white. Mr. Elba has tremendous strengths as an actor and incredible charisma; I would love to see what he would do rattling around in the TARDIS.

Especially interesting to me is that the last two candidates are very non-traditional approaches to the character of the Doctor. I think that would invigorate the show. For example, I would love to see Helen Mirren’s Doctor meeting River Song or, for that matter, Captain Jack Harkness. You could argue that  a show that’s hit 50 can use some fresh air and a dusting away of the cobwebs.

One person who will not be playing the Doctor, I can predict with some certainty, is – me. Not for want of trying. Years ago, during my acting days, the part I most wanted to play was the Doctor. I realized back then that the odds of an unknown American actor living in Chicago would ever be cast in the part were in the infinity range.

However, I was part of a vibrant Chicago theater scene – I was not only an actor but I had been a writer, a director, and a producer. What about the odds of my putting on an all-new Doctor Who play in Chicago? I could cast myself in the part and I knew the mythos well enough, I felt, to write a convincing new adventure.

Long and short, I did try and I very nearly succeeded – although I couldn’t get the part of the Doctor which explains part of the reason why I left acting far behind. I mean, if I couldn’t even get the part I wanted in a play that I has written and was producing, that was the epitome of futility, wasn’t it?

The play never got produced although we got close but all that will have to be a column for another day. One lasting thing did happen as a result of all that – I met and got to know Kimberly Ann Yale, my late wife.

And the Doctor was partially to thank for that. Thanks, Doc.

MONDAY MORNING: Mindy Newell

TUESDAY MORNING: Emily S. Whitten

 

Watch “Thor: The Dark World” Trailer

Will Thor: The Dark World Be Plagued By Dark Elves?

Just in time for Iron Man 3, we have trailers for Thor: The Dark World, hitting UK theaters on October 30 and US theaters on November 8. Of course, it’s the sequel to Marvel’s Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston and Christopher Eccleston.

Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel’s Thor and Marvel’s Avengers Assemble,Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos…but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano and Jaimie Alexander with Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World is directed by Alan Taylor, produced by Kevin Feige, from a story by Don Payne and screenplay by Christopher Yost and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely and is based on Marvel’s classic super hero Thor, who first appeared in the comic book “Journey into Mystery ” #83 in August, 1962 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.