And the only similarity between Oscar and Thor is that both have heads that sound hollow when you knock on them.
We begin with a lengthy Anthony Hopkins soliloquy that establishes the infinite absurdities to come. The premise of Thor: The Dark World could not be sillier if it featured an invasion of balloon animals on a planet of bobble-heads.
Behold Thor! He, who wields the Giant Hammer. He, the carpenter of the Gods. He, the Heavenly Handyman!
“Only our headgear is more ridiculously proportioned than my hammer,” says Thor to the people of Asgard, or “ass-guard,” as the folks at Marvel Entertainment refer to it since it’s protecting the most vulnerable part of their fleshy empire. ‘Tis a land where all men and women have facial hair, and some of it’s even on their face.
Pity poor Thor. Life in the Heavens is not enough for him, for he cannot forget Natalie Portman like the rest of us have.
He misses all that quirky comic relief back on Earth, where the scientific community appears to be opening at the Laugh Factory on Sunset. As if the convergence of planets every 30,000 years wasn’t funny enough!
“I’ve never feared anyone with a hammer before, unless they are also equipped with more advanced weapons, like levels and tape measures,” said the once evil Loki, here just seeking someone to build an extension to his deck.
“Behold our fearsome headgear! We fight until the last man stands with a helmet of fruit piled atop his head! With wings of an eagle so large one head-turn could produce a neck fracture. We fight for the Great Odin – and for the Greater Lady GaGa. Verily, baby, we were born this way!”
There’s a dangerous dark substance called “aether” which must be buried where no one can find it – right under the nose of Natalie Portman who, we must aggressively remind ourselves by repeating it over and over and writing it on the back of our hand, is a scientist, after all. Natalie absorbs the dark substance.
“Inside her is a relic that predates the universe,” says Anthony Hopkins. “And we don’t mean Michael Douglas.”
That dark substance will return the universe to darkness, courtesy of the dark elves. Yes, it’s all dark. Not unlike my mood as Thor: The Dark World predictably careens towards a conclusion so inevitable you could see it coming several giant flying hammers away.
If only time flew as fast as those hammers do.
To a giant hammer everything looks like a giant nail, or in this case a giant snail. There is not a moment of surprise in Thor: The Dark World - it is so crushingly boring that rather than roll credits, it should schedule us a wake-up call.
Where were we?
Wait for it…I’m talking about that most anticipated of moments: The one where Chris Hemsworth must remove his shirt.
“My shirt and I are like identical magnetic poles,” mumbles Hemsworth, ”repelling each other for your amusement.”
And then there’s the once great Anthony Hopkins:
“I am Odin. King of Asgard. Protector of the Nine Realms.”
“Oh perfectly round one, are you also protector of the nine refrigerators?” asks Natalie Portman. “And why do you wear one gold eyepatch?”
“Because I look thinner without depth perception. And in black.”
To save the world, Natalie must fire a weapon when all the 9 realms are converged into line at exactly the right time and place. Well of course!
“The very fabric of reality will be torn apart if we fail,” says Natalie, who doesn’t seem to realize the very fabric of reality was torn apart immediately after the opening credits.
We’ll face “spacial extrusions,” says Natalie with a straight face that has already been scrubbed of possible spacial extrusions.
“We must cause an anomaly,” she says, “and I only wish that was a reference to the first Thor movie!”
Remember when sequels were gracious enough to include a roman numeral so at least you knew what you were watching was not the first and was far from the last? No such luck in Thor: The Dark World, where the only thing Roman is my attention well beyond the theater.
I’ve got more suspense at the bottom of my popcorn bucket than in this entire movie.
To the last person out of this dark world, please turn out the lights.
And its best hope for a random tantrum, too!
Just the right mix of skills for a soldier! Keep the grown-ups safe at home, send the kids to work! This is what war would look like if it were made in China!
Best of all, children can live on a diet of JuicyJuice and Go-Gurt! I have always said if a soldier is old enough to brush his own teeth, he’s old enough to save his own planet.
Yes, everything changes except your voice in This Man’s Army.
Leave it to General Harrison Ford to spy on recruits via webcam and mope through countless scenes of juvenile psychoanalytic babble as young Ender complies like a rat in a cootie-free maze.
What is wrong with Harrison Ford? Is he a method mumbler? When did his lip get so lazy and set the tone for the rest of his performance? He looks less likely to chase aliens and more likely to chase those young whippersnappers off his lawn.
Fifty years have passed since aliens invaded Earth and had to be pushed back. Since then, Harrison has launched a military day care featuring zero-gravity laser-tag and endless opportunities for IMAX video games. “Young people integrate complex data more easily than adults,” says Harrison.
“They also more easily integrate Teen Mom on MTV,” say the jubilant aliens high-fiving each others’ antenna.
Pity poor Harrison Ford. In less than two generations, he has gone from “You’re all clear, kid. Now let’s blow this thing and go home” to “We need to clear up your skin, kid. Now let’s blow some bubbles and go on a play-date.”
What’s this idea of sending a bunch of kids into space? And why didn’t I think of this the last time I was in Wal-Mart?
Says Harrison: “Let’s see how Ender deals with defeat…Let’s see how Ender deals with frustration…Let’s see how Ender deals with a video game…Let’s see how Ender deals with the death of an Ewok in Star Wars Episode VI…Let’s see how Ender deals with binge viewings of The Real Housewives of Orange County…”
Hey, I’m in the audience waiting for something to happen here!
So Ender is transferred to Team Pinnochio where the kid in charge is about 4 feet tall with a nose about 4 feet long. Not surprisingly he has both a bad attitude and a nose for trouble and everything else in a four foot radius. Soon enough, Ender graduates to head his own team, a band of misfits several misfit toys short of an island.
“Ideas are welcome,” Ender tells his team.
“A stirring stick that seals a Starbucks cup!” says one cadet.
“How about ideas that are a bit more on point?” says Ender.
“A map to Ben Kingsley’s nose that’s tattooed right on his face?”
“Good one, consider it done!” says Ender.
And so the climactic battle begins!
“Aim that molecular disruption device at the enemy fleet, but for God’s sake don’t hit Ben Kingsley’s nose.”
“Should we fly it around Ben Kingsley’s nose?”
“We don’t have time, Man! Even at hyperspeed we’ll all be old and gray and maybe even 19 by the time it’s done!”
It’s at this point that Harrison Ford starts wearing a beret and, presumably, selling Girl Scout cookies.
“A box of Samoas for the first kid who obliterates the enemy planet and all life on it,” says Harrison.
“Add in some Thin Mints and I’ll captain the entire fleet for you,” says Ender, “and one day perhaps I’ll even be old enough to drive.”
After several scenes of frantic screaming and theatrical hand motions that pass for action, Ender’s Game reaches its all too welcome conclusion.
That’s when Ender becomes a tween Admiral. No, I’m not kidding.
And it’s when we learn the movie’s central lesson: Show kindness to those with fewer opposable thumbs than ourselves.
And save Ender’s Game for the sandbox.
It’s the future – or the past – or another time – or another place – or maybe I just wish all that were true!
His eyes glow – while yours and mine simply glaze over!
¿Quién es más macho? Riddick es más macho!
Because one name says it all – and not nearly enough – all at the same time!
Because “Riddikulous” has too many syllables.
Hey, if it’s got “dick” in it, it must be as good as a Kardashian!
Okay, we open on a world only Riddick understands, and it’s all downhill from there!
When we last saw Riddick, he was mumbling through a completely different film franchise.
“I’ve been here before,” he slurs. Well I will never be here again, I can tell you that much.
It’s a world of wires and green screens and gray market Human Growth Hormone from the studio physician, Dr. Felonious Feelgood.
“Don’t knock Human Growth Hormone – it means at least something in this movie is human,” says Riddick – and by “says” I mean “slurs.”
“I don’t know how many times my low-slung testicles have dragged me, mumbling and rumbling, through a guttural monologue,” says Riddick, who is up for Oscars in two new categories this year:
“Most Gratuitous Self-Esteem” and “Best Australopithecus.”
Riddick is the story of a man-like, actor-like beast and his space dog struggling to survive in a land where the only nutrients are muscle-building supplements and a wide variety of free weights.
Riddick is being watched! And not only by the disapproving gaze of the audience! No! Also by mercenaries bent on his retrieval. And I hope they retrieve the rest of my dignity while they’re at it.
Wait, Riddick was King of the Necromongers!? I’m assuming that’s a biker gang in Venice, right? What are the qualifications for being crowned Necromonger King, anyway, a high ratio of forehead-to-penis size?
“Riddick only kills when it’s justified – that’s what makes him cool,” said director David Twohy. “What also makes him cool is that his movie opened on a weekend where the only other new thing at the box office was a 64-ounce Kale-flavored Slurpee.”
The testosterone drips from the screen like the sweat from Riddick’s brow. And that brow has been thousands of years of evolution in the un-making – a brow so heavy it must be checked on commercial flights – a brow that goes “beep”…”beep”…”beep” when it backs up.
Look, if you like to watch a lumbering muscle-man do slow motion leaps into the air, Riddick is the movie for you.
This movie would have been better with a laugh track, besides the one I had to insert myself.
Says Riddick: “There are bad days – and there are legendary bad days.”
And that goes to prove director Twohy’s claim that “If you open enough fortune cookies, a script naturally emerges.”
Beware: Low-hanging forehead.
What happens when you take the premise behind Rosemary’s Baby and add a slew of very funny people? That’s what I asked Tom and Ben in this hilarious conversation. Listen in!
An expectant couple who moves into the most haunted house in New Orleans call upon the services of the Vatican’s elite exorcism team to save them from a demonic baby!
Come to think of it, even that premise sounds funny.
Listen and enjoy! Tom and Ben are two of the funniest guys in Hollywood.
And if you thought that sentence was long, wait until someone is about to kill you in The Wolverine.
We begin at the close of WWII in Nagasaki about two inches from nuclear ground zero. Fortunately, the Wolverine can’t be stopped by a nuclear blast unless the blast takes out every international box office first.
“I’m blast-proof,” says Wolverine, “much like the ongoing cultural relevance of Jenny McCarthy, who sticks to the limelight like a piece of Charmin to my shoe.”
Watch your dreams, Wolverine!
He’s prone to nightmares embedded in other nightmares. And no, I am not only referring to X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Every time he sleeps, Wolverine dreams of a foreboding message from the late Famke Janssen.
“Famke, why do you come to me with so many facial lines removed by CG?”
“I’m auditioning for PIXAR.”
Cut to: Tokyo! There, the Wolverine is disguised as the star of Les Miserables, with scruffy hair, full beard, and an uncanny numbness to the sanctimonious histrionics of Anne Hathaway. Here, the only thing made of the indestructible metal Adamantium is the refrigerator box he calls home.
Fortunately, two old Japanese ladies are schooled in the quirky Wolverine haircut and facial trim. Because one needs to be cleaned up good before meeting his host’s supermodel oncologist.
“If you were as sick as I am,” said the old Japanese man propped up on a bed of hydraulic pistons, “your oncologist would be a supermodel too – in a school-girl costume with braids and in need of a spanking!” And with that, he programmed his sleep number into his hydraulic piston bed and settled in for a needle-nosed nap.
You know you’re in the presence of Ninjas when guys in black do somersaults not because they need to, but just because they can. For this movie, Wolverine needs a sidekick, ideally a young Japanese Ninja-type girl with eyes so far apart she refers to her good side as “the one with the eye.”
Now keep that eye on the oncologist, because her long tongue can stick a spider down your throat to surround your heart and sap your supernatural abilities! “Normally it takes a live performance from CeeLo Green to do that!” exclaims Wolverine.
Cue the beginning of a story with no end:
“When I was 5….”
Uh oh, here it comes. Time for me to fly cross-country for a few hours. I’ll be back before you wrap it up.
With a Venti Caramel Latte and a scone.
“Did you know I studied biology in college….”
Uh oh, here comes another one. I know Wolverine is eternal, but the rest of us are spinning around on this blue dot for only a short time and we’d like to spend a few moments with our families before we go.
Ah, Wolverine! What woman doesn’t love a man whose fists have built-in landscaping tools, and who knows every tune in the Rodgers & Hammerstein songbook?!
Cut to: Samurai Robot!
Because every cinematic extravaganza can be improved by robots. Just ask anyone who has played opposite Jennifer Aniston.
Lo and behold, the supermodel oncologist is also a super-villain oncologist – she’ll kill you if the long delay in her waiting room doesn’t do it first. They call her “Viper” because she sheds one peculiar facial mole to reveal another peculiar facial mole.
“I am immune to the toxin that is man,” she says, “but I’ll watch every episode of the toxin that is The Real Housewives of Orange County.”
The final sequence is so over-the-top your eyes will be rolling out of your head, through the exit, and into the back alley where they will share a smoke, pack hobo bags, hop a train, learn the harmonica, and climb into an ASPCA cage with Sarah McLaughlin.
The Wolverine wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible either.
Now let me go spring my eyes from that cage.