Tag: Asgard

Friday night movie news dump…

And, for a change, it’s barely even night here on west coast as I begin.

*  We’re seeing some major league “New Moon” girl-power at the box office, already. $26.3 million, to be specific. That’s just for midnight shows.

* Just a few days back I noted the casting of Japanese star Tadanobu Asano as Hogun in Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming “Mighty Thor” flick. As a part of Norse (i.e., Viking) mythology, Asgard is, by definition, a pretty strictly Nordic place, so I thought this casting was interesting.  Visually, the Marvel comics Hogun was based on Charles Bronson, whose face had a definite Asiatic/Mongolian-by-way-of-Lithuania cast, so going with the star of “Mongol” was a stretch worth noting, but maybe not a definite sign of completely race blind nontraditional  casting.

However, Branagh has now cast the very fine African-English actor Idris Elba of “The Wire” and several great episodes of “The Office” in the part of Heimdall, guardian of Asgard. As a commentor at the Heat Vision blog that spread the news mentioned, Branagh did something very similar when he cast Denzel Washington as an Italian warrior-prince in his version of “Much Ado About Nothing.” I’ll quote myself from the Bullz-Eye piece I did on less well known Denzel Washington performances:

As a major production featuring truly race-blind “nontraditional” casting in a key role, “Much Ado About Nothing” is something of an onscreen first. In fact, audiences and critics had no more problem accepting Washington as an Italian prince than they did accepting the extremely British, pasty-faced Branagh as a Mediterranean nobleman.

Especially in films set far away from a realistic context and where the actor has as much authority as both Washington and Elba have, I think we’re sophisticated enough about the nature of movies that this will not be a problem, even for viewers who know a little about mythology. And here’s the best part: it will piss off some white supremacists. I’ve personally heard about young Neo-Nazis who dig the comic book “Mighty Thor” and apparently are too stupid and ignorant to realize that the series was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, a.k.a., Stanley Leiber and Jacob Kurtzberg, two rather brilliant New York Jews. As always, the joke is on the hate fetishists.

Like I said before, this is not your father’s Asgard, and I’m fine with that.


* It’s thirty days before the release of “Avatar,” the movie isn’t quite done yet, and some of us insist on going about our business as if life as we have always known it was not about to be forever altered. Quick, send out Sigourney Weaver and Giovanni Ribisi to say nice things about James Cameron!

* He’s brought us everything from “School of Rock” to “Chuck and Buck”, but very talented quirk/comedy writer/actor Mike White’s next film is about Santa war, but I doubt it’ll be very violent. On the other hand, he appeared in the comically mega-violent “Zombieland,” so perhaps his thinking has evolved some. I pretty violently disagreed with his op-ed, but he gets credit for even thinking about stuff like this.

* And, now for something completely different, from OC Weekly restaurant critic Edwin Goei comes his list of the five greatest food movies. I’d steal some of his YouTube clips, but I’m starving and I’m supposed to go to the gym later, dammit. Just go see for yourselves.

Hulk Vs.

There were quite a few surprises at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, but none as enjoyable as Marvel’s world premiere of “Hulk Vs. Wolverine.” As one half of the studio’s Hulk double feature, the film isn’t very long, but it actually works better than the full-length movies that Marvel has been putting out . Part of that has to do with the fact that “Hulk Vs. Wolverine” is more focused than the other animated films (it’s essentially just a 37-minute brawl), and when you throw four of Wolverine’s most famous enemies (Sabertooth, Lady Deathstrike, Omega Red and Deadpool) into the mix, well, it’s bound to be awesome. In fact, it’s Wolverine’s fight against the Weapon X crew (and not The Hulk) that proves to be the most entertaining aspect of the film, and with any luck, we’ll get to see a rematch sometime in the near future. If nothing else, it only reaffirms why Deadpool deserves a movie of his own, because even alongside such heavy hitters as Wolverine and The Hulk, he steals the show every time.

Hulk Vs.

Unfortunately, “Hulk Vs. Thor” fails to do the same for the God of Thunder. Maybe it’s because the movie crawls in comparison, or that Thor has never really interested me as a character, but where “Hulk Vs. Wolverine” is riveting from start to finish, “Hulk Vs. Thor” is a bit of a bore. The last thing we didn’t need was another Avengers movie (especially after last year’s “Teen Titans”-esque “The Next Avengers”), but that’s exactly what it feels like. Still, despite the disappointing B-side, “Hulk Vs.” is hands down the best direct-to-DVD feature Marvel has produced, and they’d be wise to stick with this double feature format moving forward. It may not be ideal for telling the kind of epic stories that some of these characters require, but it’s the closest they’re ever going to get to bringing a comic book to life.

Click to buy “Hulk Vs.”

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