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Thor Casting News

Posted by: Matthew Turner 04/12/2009 @ 17:58
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 428
Films seen this week: Only When I Dance, Everybody's Fine, Where the Wild Things Are, Ponyo, It's Complicated, Planet 51, Brothers

Superhero Casting News: Thor
I've said in previous blogs that there's no way Kenneth Branagh's upcoming film of Marvel's Thor can work, purely because the whole costume / magic hammer combination is going to look stupid on screen. That said, the more I hear about it, the more I'm looking forward to it and the news that the delightful Kat Dennings is joining the cast (Empire's reaction: “Thwoar!”) is cause for celebration indeed, even if current reports suggest she'll only be playing Natalie Portman's co-worker rather than, say, the Enchantress or Hela. The curious thing is that sources close to the film are reporting that Thor's alter-ego, disabled Doctor Donald Blake, isn't going to be in the film, which is odd, given that Portman's character, nurse Jane Foster, is Blake's love interest in the comics. Time will tell.

In the meantime, the already impressive cast also includes Anthony Hopkins (probably as Thor's dad, Odin), Idris Elba (as Heimdall, a guardian who stands to defend the Norse heaven) and Tom Hiddleston as Loki, while recent stories also suggest that the film will be used to introduced some of the less familiar members of the Avengers cast, such as Hawkeye. That sounds like an awful lot of characters and story bases to cover (Asgard, Blake's hospital, the Avengers), but if Jeremy Renner's going to be playing Hawkeye, I am officially excited. And I really didn't think I'd ever be saying that about the Thor movie.

Films I'm Looking Forward To: Date Night
Aside from watching around 500 films a year (although, looking above, I might not manage that this year), I also watch an obscene amount of TV. I've seen every episode, for example, of both the US version of The Office and 30 Rock, so I'm a huge fan of both Steve Carell and Tina Fey. With that in mind, I was always going to be excited to see Date Night, even if it turns out to be rubbish. To be honest, the trailer is pretty funny, but I think we've all learned by now that you can never really trust trailers, especially where comedies are concerned. Also, director Shawn Levy doesn't really fill me with confidence – yes, he's had some big hits (Night at the Museum, er...The Pink Panther) but neither of them were as funny as they should have been. Still, Fey and Carell are an inspired combination and the superb cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, James Franco, Ray Liotta, Kristen Wiig and Mark Ruffalo, as well as the Christian Slater-esque Jimmi Simpson (one of the thugs), who I always feel should be more famous than he is. The plot is fairly standard (a bored married couple get more than they bargained for on their designated “date night” when they find themselves victims of mistaken identity) but the trailer has some great lines, so I'm optimistic. Long time to wait though – it doesn't open here until April 9th.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Three new entries this week, with heart-warming, sort of competition-based documentary Only When I Dance (I am a sucker for a heart-warming, competition-based documentary), Richard Linklater's hugely enjoyable Me and Orson Welles and Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience all making it into the top ten. I've dropped Henri-George Clouzot's Inferno because I don't think it'll be around much longer, but you should see that if you possibly can. I'd also like to put a good word in for two other new releases this week: Cracks and Disgrace, both of which are well worth seeking out.

In the meantime, check out our exclusive interview with porn star Sasha Grey (star of The Girlfriend Experience) here and you can also read our interviews with Me and Orson Welles stars Zac Efron, Claire Danes and born-to-play-Orson Christian McKay. And since we're linking to top ten-related interviews, you can also read our exclusive interview with The First Day of the Rest of Your Life director Remi Bezancon and our interviews with the director and cast of Bunny and the Bull.

1. The First Day of the Rest of Your Life
2. A Serious Man
3. Paranormal Activity
4. The Informant!
5. Only When I Dance
6. Me and Orson Welles
7. Up
8. The Girlfriend Experience
9. Cold Souls
10. Bunny and the Bull

DVD of the Week: The Hangover (out Monday 7th December, RRP £19.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is The Hangover, the hilarious comedy directed by Todd Phillips. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis star as a group of friends on a drunken stag weekend in Vegas, who have to piece together the events of the previous night after the groom (Justin Bartha) disappears and none of them can remember what happened. The script is consistently laugh-out-loud funny and the three leads have engaging comic chemistry, while there's also strong support from Mike Tyson (playing himself in a hilarious cameo), Heather Graham (underused, but still funny) and a scene-stealing Ken Jeong as an angry, foul-mouthed mobster. The film was the surprise hit of the summer, making almost $300m in the US alone and proving that you don't need a big star to have a hit comedy, although whether studios will take that to heart remains to be seen. Needless to say, The Hangover 2 has already been greenlit.

The extras package on the DVD includes: a 15 minute featurette detailing the various Vegas locations and including some amusing talking head footage with most of the cast, some of whom are sort of in character (Ken Jeong stealing scenes here too); footage of the cast singing the Three Best Friends song (disappointing, considering Helms' gift for musical improvisation) and a seven minute gag reel, the highlight of which is Helms and Galifianakis improvising insults for each other. Of course, the main reason to get the DVD is so you can freeze-frame all the hilarious stills from the end of the film that fill in the gaps from the drunken night. So, a faintly disappointing DVD package (perhaps to boost Blu-Ray sales), but easily one of the funniest comedies of the year. Highly recommended.


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