The golden age (incessant flood?) of comic book movies continues this week as Thor: The Dark World opens in 2 or 3D at the good old Village 8. When a centuries-old "force of infinite destruction" gloms onto Thor's hot-and-brilliant astrophysicist girlfriend (Natalie Portman) it's up to everyone's favourite Norse god to save earth and eight other, cooler, realms from total destruction at the hands of some nasty Dark Elves. And he can't do it alone — Loki, Thor's sarcastic evil shit-disturber brother is coming along for the multi-planetary ride.
Which actually sounds like a lot of fun. Directed by Alan Taylor, Thor 2 sees Portman and Chris Hemsworth create chemistry and Tom Hiddleston's Loki is once again a hit. The CGI is good (and everywhere) and Thor 2 even manages to capture some of the childish fun fans might remember from those epic sprawling two-page comic battle scenes. Not Marvel's strongest outing, but Thor: The Dark World is two hours of decent escapism.
With not much else new on the big screens at least it's a big week for DVD/Downloads. Little kids are excited about Monsters University, porn history buffs are drooling over Amanda Seyfried in Lovelace, and the ladies will sit through White House Down's crash-bang politico-action scenes because it covers all the bases with Channing Tatum in a tank top and Jamie Foxx in a suit. Fantasy visionary Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim suffers in the plot/character/dialogue department but the action scenes and visuals are pretty amazing.
Guillermo also shares a writing credit on the upcoming The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which drops December 13. Despite a forgettable first installment (and general fan disappointment of turning Tolkien's single-volume story into a trilogy) Smaug looks like a return to form for Peter Jackson and the Lord of the Rings team.
Holiday movie blockbuster season really starts November 22nd though, with the next Hunger Games flick and the return of Jennifer Lawrence as the most refreshing film star in recent memory. On Nov 27th Spike Lee re-imagines the classic Korean revenge film Oldboy and then the big movies (and Oscar race) really start ramping up. Christian Bale and Casey Affleck star in Out of the Furnace, a no-frills family drama from Scott Cooper. Also coming soon, Inside Llewyn Davis marks the return of the Coen Brothers, this time with a take on the 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene. This one will be amazing.
The Oscar race loves a biopic and Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney in Saving Mr Banks (I'd rather watch Hitchcock again). Horror fans can get excited about Here Comes the Devil and Best-actress Jennifer Lawrence reteams Bradley Cooper and director David O Russell for a '70s crime set piece called American Hustle that looks bonkers. Most importantly, Will Farrel and the crew are back with Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which is set to drop December 20 for an early Christmas to all.
Another December release worth putting on your radar is Her, the next film from Spike Jonze (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich). Joaquin Phoenix stars as a recently divorced dude in the not-so-distant future who upgrades his computer's operating system and falls in love with the voice prompt (played by Scarlett Johansson). Jonze usually directs other people's screenplays but this time he's written his own and no one does "likeable lonely outsider" better. This one should be smart and satisfying.