Credits above: Gage Skidmore
Industry stunt professional Sam Hargrave has amply proven himself in the stunt world for up to fifteen years, from his old Reel Kick stomping grounds on the indie scene to becoming one of the most prolific players of his craft.
MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL: Sony Debuts The First Official Trailer For The Fourth Entry Into The Sci-Fi Action Comedy Franchise
Beyond the proliferation of the Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones-fronted Men In Black trilogy, Lowell Cunningham’s beloved comic book franchise is taking on new life from Sony and Amblin with another spectacular epic that aims with equal gravitas. Enter actress Tessa Thompson into the fray who is ready to make this s**t look good with Thor: Ragnarok lead Chris Hemsworth now both serving the clandestined and secretive organization that monitors alien life in F. Gary Gray’s Men In Black International.
About a week after wrapping the India leg of production for action thriller, Dhaka, the new Chris Hemsworth-led pic is already underway in Bangkok, Thailand as of a few days ago as confirmed by Netflix.
Today in stunt professionals taking the mantle, Thursday’s report from Deadline confirms India kidnap/extraction drama, Dhaka, to be filmed in India and Thailand for Netflix. Relatively known as Thor, MCU franchise star, actor Chris Hemsworth will lead the action thriller that tells of an emotional coward who comes to terms with his sense of self to liberate a kidnapped Indian boy.
BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE: A Tale Of Faith Amid Hellbound Hospitality In The Official Red-Band Trailer
Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption… before everything goes to hell.
Actor Chris Hemsworth continues to reign supreme among the cast of Marvel’s superhero saga as Thor this May in Avengers: Infinity War. Until then, you can also add Men In Black to the slate according to The Hollywood Reporter, with The Fate Of The Furious helmer F. Gary Gray tapped to direct the film as of early February.
Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald returning to produce the new film which transplants a diverse cast led by Hemsworth in London. Ready Player One helmer Steven Spielberg is also back to executive produce the sci-fi alien comedy reboot in its current form at Sony following the last several years of evolution as a potential forth installment, a crossover with the studio’s Jump Street franchise, and a previous version titled MIB 23.
Barry Sonnenfeld directed the earlier trilogy starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as members of a covert organization of black-suited agents who mitigate and monitor Earth’s unseen coexistence with aliens while battling extraterrestrial foes. The films have grossed up to $1.5 billion dollars in total.
The Men In Black reboot is tentatively dated for a June 14, 2019 from a script by Iron Man scribes Matt Holloway and Art Marcum.
Let’s begin this review with a wildly
speculative statement: Thor was NOBODY’S favorite Avenger. Despite
the impressive charisma and costume destroying physique of Chris
Hemsworth, the character just never clicked. His solo movies fell
firmly into Marvel’s B-material and his presence in the Avengers
films was overshadowed by everyone else on the team (except Hawkeye).
This put Marvel in a position where they had nothing to lose by going
a little crazy. So when the studio hired celebrated Kiwi director
Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows), it seemed like an idea
just crazy enough to work. Not since Iron Man 3 has the studio
thrown caution to the wind and put a film in the hands of an auteur
director. A series of online shorts featuring the misadventures of
Thor and his roommate Darryl made us realize there might be more to the character than we realized. Thor: Ragnarok had the potential
to do for the character what Winter Soldier did for Captain America;
turn a second-fiddle superhero into a star.
After a devastating run-in with the
evil goddess, Hela (Cate Blanchette), Thor finds himself imprisoned
on the planet of Sakkar. Here, he’s forced into gladiatorial combat
against his former ally, the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Together, they
have to escape the grasp of the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and
return to Asgard to save it from destruction.
Despite what the posters and trailers
might tell you, the real star of this movie is director Taika
Waititi. He puts his distinct personal stamp on the movie from the
first line of dialogue to the closing moments of the film. Taika’s
comedic sensibility is miles away from the quippy banter that has
defined the post-Whedon MCU (a welcome reprieve). Instead, he finds
the inherent absurdity in the film’s characters and situations,
mining them for comedic gold. Amazingly, the Thor universe is so
well suited to this absurdist comedy that you can’t help but wonder
why no one tried this sooner. Taika has taken characters who were
relatively serious in their previous incarnations and made them
ridiculous. The director also makes a cameo as Korg, a soft-spoken
rock monster who befriends Thor during his time as a gladiator. The
character may be little more than a vessel for jokes, but Taika
embews him with heart that you just want to hug him every time he
opens his mouth.
Up to now, Chris Hemsworth has mostly
been utilized for his leading man looks and little else. That all
changed last year when he appeared in the Ghostbusters reboot as the
dim-witted receptionist, Kevin. Regardless of how you felt about the
film, everyone agreed that Hemsworth’s character was a highlight and
made us all take a second look at him as a performer. Now, armed
with better material and a better director (sorry Paul Feig),
Hemsworth KILLS it. The man is effortlessly funny throughout the
film and probably the funniest lead character in a Marvel movie yet.
It’s sometimes strange to see a character who was once played so
straight suddenly become so overtly comedic; but the studio was
banking on the audience being so disinterested in serious Thor that
they’d welcome the change. Thor can still kick godly amounts of ass
onscreen, but now he’s much more likable between battles. He’s
practically a brand new character.
The rest of the returning cast fares
similarly. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is still the trickster he always
was, but has now become a vessel for (often hilarious) sight gags.
Bruce Banner / Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) has grown exponentially. Banner
has been the Hulk for over two years and now acts and communicates
like an obnoxious child. This allows for some great scenes between
the two that hilariously builds on the tumultuous relationship
they’ve had since the first Avengers (2012). The only character who
seems unchanged is Heimdall (Idris Elba). His character is now on
the run and is working to protect the people of Asgard from Hela’s
reign of terror, giving him some great badass moments.
The film also introduces a quartet of
colorful new characters. Hela, the film’s primary villain, fairs
about as well as the usual Marvel villain; not bad per-se, but
doesn’t really register with the audience due to neglect. The same
fate befalls the character of Skurg (Karl Urban). Urban gets some
terrific lines and sight gags in the early going of the film, but when he
gets recruited by Hela he fades off into the background and is nearly forgotten. This lack of villain presence probably has
a lot to do with the film’s disinterest in the actual Ragnarok
storyline (more on that later), which means the Grandmaster and
Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) fair much better since their characters are
intorduced on Sakkar.
The character of Valkyrie steals many a scene
with her hard-drinking swagger and badass presence. Tessa Thompson
effortlessly commands the screen and it would be a waste if her
character wasn’t explored in future (possibly solo) movies. Much has
been made of her being the first bi-sexual character in the MCU,
though it’d be a stretch to say that’s well conveyed. Much like
Beauty and the Beast earlier this year, this is another
“groundbreaking” character that Disney has seen fit to subdue.
In fact, the only way you’d even know she was bi-sexual is if you
read one of many think-pieces about her character’s sexual
orientation (because the movie sure as hell doesn’t make it obvious).
Strangely, Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster seems to be WAY more
“open minded” by comparison. Goldblum chews scenery like it’s his job and may actually be Marvel’s most intriguing and
fun sub-villain. Jeff Goldblum is basically playing a meme of Jeff
Goldblum by way of Space-Caligula and IT IS GLORIOUS.
Unfortunately, this film is not without
its caveats. A consistent issue with the MCU is that the greater
shared universe sometimes kneecaps the quality of the individual
films; it’s a problem that first reared its ugly head in Iron Man 2
(2010) and continues to do so in Thor: Ragnarok. Though Taika does
get to put his stamp on much of the movie, from time to time the
comedic tone and brisk pace are brought to a screeching halt by
studio mandated shared universe-building. There’s a cameo by Doctor
Strange that makes little sense or have much purpose; though it may
have significance five films from now, sooooo…… Despite being
forced to deal with the story hooks left over from Thor: The Dark
Age and Age of Ultron, Taika’s film is almost comedically disinterested with dealing
them. Ragnarok takes a “Resident Evil Sequel” approach to its
problematic story threads; blowing through them as quickly as
possible so it can get onto the story it actually WANTS to tell. Anyone
familiar with Taika’s previous work knows that he is adept at mixing
comedy with drama, but it just doesn’t gel here making Ragnarok feel
like a major missed opportunity.
Where the film really surprises is how
well its director adjusted to such an FX-heavy action comedy. It’s
not unusual for inexperienced directors to get lost in the shuffle of
excessive CGI and green screen work, which can lead to a disjointed
film. Surprisingly, Thor: Ragnarok remains consistently entertaining
and distinctly “Taika” no matter how much CGI madness is going on
on-screen. The world here is infinitely creative with a style
bordering on Guardians of the Galaxy but also distinctly Thor. The
action sequences are all effectively shot and edited (no shakycam!)
and have an impressive sense of scale. This is a beautiful, visually
impressive film that earns its place on the big screen.
Thor: Ragnarok is the best film in the
Thor series…. and yet, it’s possibly the weakest film directed by
Taika Waititi. It’s a hilarious film that is occasionally kneecapped
by the fact that it’s a part of the MCU and must adhere to certain
conventions. If you’ve seen any of Taika’s previous work (What We Do
in the Shadows, Hunt For the Wilderpeople, etc.) then you may be
frustrated by Marvel’s tampering. But if you’ve never seen his films and you enjoy Ragnarok, then you owe it to yourself to watch
them. Overall, this is an incredibly entertaining Marvel b-movie
that might just make you change your mind about whether or not Thor
is cool. It might not be the best or most significant Marvel movie,
but it might just be the funniest.
Hope remains for all things Akira-related with the most recent spurt of optimism welcomed by the possible addition of director Taika Waititi into the mix. As it stands, his touch on the property wouldn’t likely be very distant and equally characteristic of the tone and texture we’ve been acquainting with in the various trailers for his next big feat, Thor: Ragnarok which opens on November 3.
Marvel’s trajectory on the big screen has only ever gotten cooler these days, and especially with director Taika Watiti at the helm on Thor: Ragnarok. The film debut a second trailer for the comic-con crowd in San Diego over the weekend and subsequently online and while it wasn’t the only Marvel movie to peek out from behind the curtain, if the first trailer from April hasn’t sold you by now, perhaps this one will earn your favor. Beyond that, my hands are tied.
In Marvel Studios’ ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok—the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization—at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger—the Incredible Hulk!
Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson, Tom Hiddleston, Jeff Goldblum, Cate Blanchett and Karl Urban are all coming to rock the hell out of this latest installment of the MCU on November 3. Catch the trailer now!
If there’s one thing you have to commend Marvel for doing, is keeping their end of all things film such good fun no matter how much people pine for something R-rated or family-friendly. At best, they’ve maintained quite the balance on all ends with thrilling action and storytelling with a cohesive narrative that keeps things nonetheless grounded in the whirlwind of fantasy we’re immersed in.
THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR Comes Home In The U.S. On DVD, Blu-Ray, 4K Ultra HD And Digital HD This August
The Huntsman: Winter’s War stars Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road, Monster) as the evil Queen Ravenna, who betrays her good sister Freya (Emily Blunt: Sicario, Edge of Tomorrow) with an unforgivable act, freezing Freya’s heart to love and unleashing in her an icy power she never knew she possessed. Retreating to a kingdom far to the north, Freya raises an army of Huntsmen as her protectors, with the only rule that no two of them should ever fall in love. As a war for domination escalates between the two queens, the hero standing between good and evil is Freya’s most elite Huntsman, Eric (Chris Hemsworth: Thor, Star Trek Into Darkness). Alongside fellow warrior Sara (Jessica Chastain: The Martian, The Help) — the only woman who has ever captured his heart — Eric must help Freya vanquish her sister or Ravenna’s wickedness will rule for eternity.
One of Hollywood’s fastest-risers, Hemsworth was first introduced to U.S. audiences in Star Trek in 2009. Three years later, Hemsworth also starred in Universal’s big revisionist fairy tale Snow White And The Huntsman opposite Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart and in the horror feature The Cabin in the Woods.