Kenneth Branagh

We’ve been following the development of British TV vet Simon Curtis’ Marilyn Monroe film My Week With Marilyn for quite some time. First, there was the news that Michelle Williams had replaced Scarlett Johansson as Monroe. Then we got our first look at how Williams looked when dressed up as the sexual icon. And now we have news of where you’ll get your first chance at seeing the film.

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So pleased they were with the performance of the first, they’ve decided to make another. Disney and Marvel Studios have set a release date for Thor 2, a sequel to this summer’s Kenneth Branagh directed, Chris Hemsworth starring superhero film. Usually when a sequel to a comic book movie gets announced, it’s immediately time to start speculating on what’s going to happen in the next one. With Thor 2, however, things are a little bit more complicated. Before this movie ever happens, the Thor and Loki characters are already set to appear in Joss Whedon’s upcoming Avengers, so the people in charge of writing Thor 2 are going to have to make sure that what they do jives with the characters’ appearances there. And we’re going to have to wait to see it before really going wild with theories on what’s next for the Odinson.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr grabs his codpiece and cape, then gets hammered in the cineplex with Thor. He also suffers from wedding overload with two new movies, Something Borrowed and Jumping the Broom. Though he probably should have put his shirt back on before seeing all the chick flicks. Finally, he takes a more esoteric and educational look at the Spanish Civil War drama There Be Dragons. Spoiler alert: There are no dragons in the movie.

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I may love most Marvel movies, but if there has been one bone of contention between them and me, it would be lackluster final battles. If there was a second, it would be completely useless press junkets. Now, press conferences are often boring no matter what the movie, but for some reason Marvel and I have never really gotten along in terms of not sucking. Unfortunately the conference for Thor was no different. While I enjoyed the movie (Rob Hunter gave it a B-) the conference failed to turn up many interesting things. Well, at least not interesting things about the movie. Here’s what I learned (with potential spoilers that you already know for The Avengers):

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The summer of 2011 will see the biggest assemblage yet of superheroes onscreen with the upcoming releases of X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, and Captain America: The First Avenger. (At least until next year when The Avengers hits theaters.) Every movie is a gamble to some degree, but these three mitigate the risk a bit in that the X-Men film is the fourth in a popular franchise and the other two both feature highly recognizable actors in the title roles. But there’s one superhero movie this summer that’s flying with a hammer in place of a safety net. The potential hurdles include a relatively unknown lead actor, a director thought to be an odd choice at best and a terrible one at worst, and a hero built on magic and fantasy. Thor is a god, an honest to god deity, and that can be a hard sell in the science-fiction and technology-filled world of Marvel films. Thor opens with a brief intro in the Southwestern US with a pair of scientists (Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgard) and their snarky assistant (Kat Dennings) tracking an odd weather phenomenon. They drive towards the center of the storm and accidentally collide with a figure emerging from the darkness.

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“Eloquent badass” is not only how one would probably describe Thor’s brother/nemesis, Loki, but also the actor who portrays him, Tom Hiddleston. At last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Hiddleston was the only cast member that wasn’t tight-lipped as if they were hiding serious government secrets. The actor spoke off the cuff, even revealing a plot twist… and he did so in that ear-pleasing British accent of his. Hiddleston’s voice is smooth, clear, and everything you’d want from a great British accent. Hearing my voice go up against his was quite an emasculating experience. My sometimes quick, Mark Zuckerberg-like mannerisms sounded even more idiotic, something I never thought possible. Hiddleston made me sound like one of those hicks from Deliverance in comparison, but that seemingly total gent would never be one to tell me so. I unfortunately didn’t have the chance to see Thor before speaking with Hiddleston, but we covered an array of topics from tone, finding humanity in a villain, what you get when angry Gods do battle, and how much of an honor it must be to have one’s face on a 7-Eleven Slurpee cup.

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Paramount Pictures and Marvel Studios have released the full theatrical trailer for their upcoming magical hammer-throwing superhero flick Thor, from director Kenneth Branagh. And with it comes that one missing link that has been lacking in footage thus far — scope. For a story about a God-like warrior who falls to Earth after being cast out of Asgard, the first teaser trailer and Super Bowl spot sure made the entire affair feel small. That is with the obvious exception of the final money shot in the teaser. Now we have an abundance of money shots, displaying a scale that defies you to call it anything but epic. It also gives us a more detailed look at the story on Earth, involving our hero (played by Chris Hemsworth) and his Earthly woman friend (Natalie Portman).

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Recent years have seen Sweden become a high profile source of mystery writers slinging tales of murder, miscreants, and serious social woes, and there appears to be no end in sight. The most well known outside of that country is probably the late Stieg Larsson thanks to the huge success of his Millenium Trilogy, but he’s not alone. Camilla Lackberg, Karin Alvtegen, and the husband and wife duo of Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo are just a small sampling of popular suspense writers from the region. One of the bestselling and most widely translated Swedish mystery writers however is Henning Mankell with his novels about Detective Kurt Wallander. The novels have been adapted for the screen in Sweden, but in 2008 the BBC aired a series of three ninety-minute films starring Kenneth Branagh as the beleaguered detective. It succeeded with critics and audiences alike and led to a second series of three more films. The three books adapted for this first series are Sidetracked, Firewall, and One Step Behind. For those of you who only know Branagh as Professor Gilderoy Lockhart or as the director of this summer’s Thor… first off shame on you, and second this series is a great intro to the man’s acting talents. Seriously, the guy is good… I bet he has a fantastic Hamlet somewhere within just aching to tear up the stage or the screen.

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Even though we have seen most of the footage before in leaked clips from Comic-Con, there is still something shiny and new in the way this first official trailer for Marvel’s Thor conducts itself. More shots of the action, more of the Destroyer sent down from Asgard to lay waste to Earth, and of course, more of Chris Hemsworth’s abdomen in all of its 8-part, ripped up glory. He would need to be muscular, after all, to wield that big ass hammer. And wait until you see what that thing can do.

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There were two topics I was dead set on asking Kenneth Branagh about when he sat down at the roundtable I was involved in: how the film would avoid being campy and what we can expect from the production design. Both questions are geared toward two key issues fans have been having based on the stills Marvel has released thus far. Somehow, a few photos have led to low expectations for a Kenneth Branagh helmed Thor film. It’s a bit silly for a backlash to start so early, but I wanted to put those to qualms to rest and, thankfully, I was able to ask Branagh about both issues right from the start.

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. This week, Print to Projector presents the story of a young man named Michael Rogers who’s ambitious but lacks focus. He wants the entire world, but he also wants to settle down into his dream home with the woman he loves. He finds her – a beautiful, poor little rich girl named Ellie – while window shopping at a land auction for a tract called Gypsy’s Acre. They fall in love, build a gorgeous house, and set up shop on cursed land. Of course, it isn’t long until that curse comes crashing down on Ellie’s head.

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Thor Movie

Remember that little gathering of geeks that happened over last weekend? Comic-Con, or something of the like? It was there in San Diego that Marvel debuted the first footage for their next superhero excursion, Thor. It was a five minute trailer that proved to attendees that Kenneth Branagh’s film was made of more than the sum of silly costumes and star Chris Hemsworth’s workout routine. It proved Thor to be worthy of existing in the Marvel movie universe. But it only proved that to those who saw the footage. For the rest of us, there were still plenty of doubts. Until now. The footage has now been placed online — not as a bootleg, but as a digital copy — and the days of Thor are upon us. Check it out right after the jump.

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Comic-Con 2010

If you are headed to San Diego this weekend for Comic-Con 2010, chances are that you’re a fan of the world of superheroes. It seems to be a pre-requisite. So while some very cool films like Tron: Legacy and Scott Pilgrim will be on display this year, you might be more inclined to take a look at Warner Bros.’ Green Lantern or the two big selections from Marvel Studios, Thor and Captain America. I know that’s what we’re looking forward to. However, it’s not out of blind excitement that we look toward the two new Marvel movies, it’s out of curiosity. Up to this point, all of the photos from Thor have looked rather plastic and cheesy. Like something you’d see in the mid-80s. Then again, maybe that’s the point. We hope not, but maybe. Check out a full gallery of Thor pics after the jump, including a very cool look at the big guy with his famous hammer.

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THOR

Yahoo Movies and Paramount Pictures have released the first photo still of Chris Hemsworth as Thor. His hammer and FTD helmet are conspicuously missing, and it’s not the full body shot that the ladies and Robert Fure are waiting for… but it still looks pretty good.

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THOR

I will resist the lame pun about today being a slow news day and say this: do you really expect me to let a news item about Kenneth Branagh’s Thor slip through the cracks? Especially on a slow news day.

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kat-dennings-header

In talking with MTV, actress Natalie Portman spilled the beans on yet another actress who will be joining the cast of Marvel’s Thor for director Kenneth Branagh.

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elba-heimdall

Idris Elba — who starred in last year’s RocknRolla and in last season of The Office — has joined the Marvel Studios production of Thor. Find out who he’s going to play inside…

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thor-warriorsthree

We reported just yesterday morning that Marvel is preparing to shoot their next big comic book film Thor in January, with director Kenneth Branagh now ready to get the story of gods and warriors from another dimension underway. And with that has come a few last minute casting decisions.

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thor-header

Production Weekly is reporting this week that the upcoming production of Thor, the next in the long line of highly anticipated comic book adaptations from Marvel Studios, will begin shooting in Los Angeles in mid-January.

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PirateRadio

Pirate Radio is a perfectly balanced comedy with a brilliant cast. Hard to believe it’s only Richard Curtis’s second film as director.

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published: 04.20.2014
B-
published: 04.20.2014
B+
published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+

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