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“Thor”
a review by Darby O’Gill

When Gods become superheroes… or something like that. Thor is the latest odyssey in the Marvel Studios journey towards the all-star extravaganza that will be The Avengers. To be honest, I’m not much of a Marvel Comics fan, or a Thor fan for that matter. I’m more of a DC Comics man myself, but that’s not to say I can’t enjoy a good Marvel movie. Sadly, Thor is not one of them. It’s not a horrible movie, I mean it’s no Jonah Hex, which by the way was last year’s Death Coach winner, which should dispel any thoughts of publisher loyalty that you might find in this review. But, Thor does have its fair share of problems, as well as nice moments, however few.

In Thor, King Odin (Anthony Hopkins) of Asgard tries to prepare his two sons for the challenges they may face one day as future kings. His eldest, the Mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is cocky and arrogant, and only wishes to show off his superior strength and fearlessness at any chance he can get. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) on the other hand, likes to use his head, and manipulate situations and others to help mold events to his liking. They don’t call him the God of Mischief for nothing. The ying to Asgard’s yang is Jotunheim and its people the Frost Giants. When a small group of Frost Giants breach the palace’s security, Thor wishes to go to Jotunheim and strike fear into the heart of its people to never try such a thing again. Odin strongly forbids it, but Thor and his men, consisting of the Warriors Three (Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, & Josh Dallas) and Sif (Jamie Alexander), along with his brother Loki, sneak-off to Jotunheim and unwittingly start a war. Yeah, I don’t get that either! What did they think would happen? Anyway, Odin strips Thor of his powers and banishes him from Asgard. He is cast to Earth as a mortal man, but his Mjolnir (Thor’s Hammer) is also sent to Earth as a “Sword in the Stone” to restore Thor’s powers once he’s learned his lesson. While on Earth he meets astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), and S.H.I.E.L.D., and bla babla babla. You get it right?!

Okay, so let’s just say Thor didn’t make me a fan of Thor. It’s too bad too! I was really hoping having director Kenneth Branagh behind the wheel of this one would have done for Thor, what Jon Favreau did for Iron Man. That’s not to say Branagh didn’t do a good job! If it wasn’t for him, we could have easily been looking at next year’s Death Coach Award winner here. The problem isn’t so much the directing, as it is the writing. The script isn’t horrible, but it does feel like it’s just jumping from plot point to plot point to keep the story moving, and it never lets you really care about the characters, or even the story for that matter. The storyline in Asgard is much more defined than that of the story on Earth, but that comes as of no surprise with Branagh’s Shakespearean background. Chris Hemsworth is perfectly cast as Thor! He did an incredible job of bringing the mighty comic book God to life. We also get to see Thor and his powers unleashed pretty early in the film when he battles the Frost Giants on Jotunhein, and I’ve got to say some of the hammer tricks were pretty bad-ass! It’s just too bad I didn’t get to have that feeling again by the end of the movie. I would have really liked a second helping of that fight scene later on in the film. I can’t for the life of me figure out why Thor’s best fight scene would be at the beginning of the movie, and not at the end? I also don’t know if it was just me, or the once again pointless 3D conversion, but the CGI at times seemed to be a little too CGIy. The other realms looked fantastic, and had a grand sense of space to them, but I felt like I was watching a video game at times, and actually had to remind myself I was watching a movie! I know that this is Kenneth Branagh’s first real CGI venture, and with that in mind it’s really not that bad. But next time, less is more. I’m starting to feel like I’m being unfair. They say that this is the first official movie of the summer season, but I’m going to give that title to Fast Five! Also, that way my summer can start on a high note, and not this middle of the road shit! Thor does its job of introducing the movie going public to the Mighty Thor, but ultimately it’s just not worth it.

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“Your Highness”
a review by Darby O’Gill

A ye old tale from long ago, of two brothers, one brave and true, and the other… Well, a bit of a lazy sissy boy. Your Highness is from the same people that brought you Pineapple Express, and although the title would lead you to think otherwise, the movie has nothing to do with pot. The aforementioned sissy boy, Thadeous played by Danny McBride, lives the luscious life of a prince, without any of the pesky responsibilities. That’s largely in thanks to his older brother Fabious, played by James Franco, who is next in line to one day be King. With the no pressure, or real purpose, Thadeous spends his days frolicking with his servant Courtney, played by Ramus Hardiker. That’s not to say that Thadeous doesn’t take himself seriously. He believes that he is much braver and better suited to one day be King. He’d be wrong, but none the less he still believes it. But, when his brother’s fiancé is kidnapped by an evil wizard on the day of their wedding, the King decides that it is high-time that Thadeous prove himself on a proper quest, and Your Highness is the story of that quest.

I’ve got to say, I didn’t think this was going to be anything more than a bunch of dick and fart stoner jokes, but it turned out to be more of a throw back to films of old, like The Princess Bride or Clash of the Titans. The good one! (Not that 3D piece of shit from a few years ago.) I was really shocked! I wasn’t the biggest fan of Pineapple Express. I thought it was funny and had it’s moments, but not a classic by any means, and I think the same is true for Your Highness. Although, I did like it a lot more than Pineapple. Danny McBride is great! He’s at the top of his game, and doing what he does best. The relationship between McBride and James Franco is outstanding! And, Franco continues to surprise me! He’s the kind of actor I don’t think of very often. That is, until I’ll hear about him in a movie, and think that doesn’t sound like something I can picture James Franco doing, but then he’s great! And, where do we even begin with Natalie Portman?! Say what you will about her Oscar win, she was hands-down last year’s MVP. She’s had three back-to-back movies come out in the last three months, and they were all good! Do you know how hard that is to pull off? Some people can’t even put out one good movie a year. Your Highness is not Oscar worthy, but much like Paul, it’s a fun ride that will make you laugh.

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