Thor (2011)

With The Avengers having recently been released, I thought it would be a great idea to look back on all the Marvel Cinematic Universe films that have been released (read: search engine optimization).  The only one that I’ve already reviewed is Captain America so feel free to go back and read that one after reading this stirring bit of literature I’m probably not going to provide you with here.

Of all the Marvel movies that have been made and were rumoured to be being made, I thought that Thor would have been the hardest sell to mainstream movie audiences.  I don’t know much about the comic book version of the character, other than he fucking bored me.  I didn’t expect the cinematic interpretation of the Norse mythology behind the character to be anything even remotely approaching interesting.  And then a funny thing happened: Kenneth Branagh was named as the director and I thought to myself that at the very least, it’s going to be high quality boredom.  I just wasn’t expecting a movie that was a fun popcorn summer blockbuster, but that’s exactly what Branagh delivered.

Of course, all the directing miracles in the world wouldn’t be able to save a Thor movie if the actor playing Thor was completely unsuited for the part (I’d use Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze from Batman & Robin as an example but fuck that, that movie had more problems than just one miscast).  Thankfully, Chris Hemsworth got the part (and doubly thankful that Triple H didn’t), and as a heterosexual male, even I had to admit that dude was ripped.  He was Thor.  He also had a weird Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You accent going on for the whole movie, which was somewhat disorienting, but whatever, he was great.

Honestly, the entire movie was pretty great all around, visually stunning, great casting, super performances and a surprising amount of fun.  I might have truly loved it if I was completely familiar with Asgaardian stories and such, but let me just give it a solid thumbs up mark.

4 / 5

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The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

This is another one of those movies that I’ve re-watched and found that absolutely nothing has changed in my feelings toward it.  Sure, there are different things I noticed, and certain actors that I hadn’t realised were in this movie before, etc. but I loved this movie as much this time as I did back when I first saw it.  So here’s my old still valid review:

Have you ever sat down and watched one of those Christopher Guest “mockumentaries” and thought to yourself “You know, this movie would be better if they didn’t hold back?” 40 Year-Old is the creaming achievement in quality R-rated pictures. The fact that movies like this can still be made nowadays makes me gleeful beyond all description. Sadly, it will mean that in about 20 years or so, some idiot will try and remake it for no good reason. But that’s neither here nor there, for that is the future and we shall not speak of it.

I’ve finally mustered up enough of my depleted creative juices to write up an underwhelming review for the film that I viewed as the 3rd Best Movie of 2005. Since I first watched this film, I’ve literally gone over every second of DVD footage available, and I still want more. Judd Apatow has crafted a remarkably funny and touching adult comedy that isn’t entirely framed around bathroom humour. What makes the movie supremely awesome though, is that Apatow has taken the skeleton of an idea and filled it with life thanks to the strength of his cast.

If you take a look at the cast list up there (and you’re an Apatow fan), you’ll probably see a lot of familiar names. There are a few former “Undeclared” cast members (Bednob, Gallo, Wainwright, Hart), Apatow’s wife (the always luminous Leslie Mann), Anchorman cast members (Rudd, Koechner) and the underrated Seth Rogen, who’s pretty much been with Apatow since the excellent “Freaks and Geeks”. Add in some talented and quick-witted comedians in Carell and the fantastic Jane Lynch, as well as the surprising Romany Malco, and this isn’t even mentioning Oscar-nominated actress Catherine Keener (not nominated for this movie though). Hell, there’s even a former Nitro girl in the Diamond Doll herself, Kimberly Page as a prospective Speed Dater for Andy (Carell).

If you don’t know the premise of the film, well, where have you been? Somehow Andy Stitzer has managed to make it to the age of 40 without knowing the carnal touch of a woman. It’s not that he’s an unattractive prospect or anything, just that there was a time when it mattered and he missed a few opportunities and then it stopped meaning something. In fact, it doesn’t really mean anything to Andy himself, until at a late night poker game with his co-workers (Rudd, Rogen and Malco) his secret is revealed and the boys decide to get Andy laid.

Granted, some of the situations that transpire with Andy and the various women are completely ricockulous, they’re somewhat within the realm of possibility. His co-workers aren’t exactly the most normal bunch of guys, so anything’s possible. Each of the actors in the cast brings so much to their individual parts, while also pumping up the rest of the ensemble, it’s just a fascinating work of art to experience. What I find most remarkable is how little of the movie was actually scripted. At some points Apatow would just give the players an outline of the scene, how he wanted it played, and then have enough confidence in his actors to convey exactly what he wanted.

I really can’t rave about this movie enough, nor do I have the talent to be able to sufficiently describe just how excellent it truly is. It’s just amazingly, jaw-droppingly great, and the unrated DVD edition is just a shade over two hours long. Quality all the way.

5 / 5