After saving the world twice (in Thor and The Avengers) Thor (Chris Hemsworth) returns once again to rescue the Earth from destruction. Thousands of years ago Bor, Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) father clashed with the dark elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) over the Aether. Thousands of years later, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is infected by this Aether and has to be protected from Malekith. Enlisting the help of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), imprisoned for his crimes against Earth, Thor attempts to protect the entire universe from destruction.
Taking over directing duties from Kenneth Branagh (who directed the new Jack Ryan film) Alan Taylor makes a good fist of maintaining the humour that made Branagh’s Thor so entertaining. Chris Hemsworth has the charisma and physique to make an appealing Thor and fan girl favourite Tom Hiddlestone makes a delightfully malevolent Loki. There are some flaws, the middle part of the film is slightly baggy, Christopher Eccleston’s villain is weak (not the fault of Eccleston) and the ending is even predictable to a blind Belgian nun who has never seen a single film in her life. However, Thor: The Dark World retains the humour that made the previous version so enjoyable.
A young, new couple are on their way to a music festival in Ireland and along the way the pair decides to stay in a hotel before the actual festival kicks off. However, the couple struggles to find the hotel and as darkness descends an unknown tormentor begins to terrify the couple in a maze of country roads.
Invoking aspects of Straw Dogs, The Hitcher and Duel director Jeremy Lovering’s debut feature is an effectively chilling British thriller that plays expertly on the feelings of isolation and helplessness. Building tension from the start Lovering brilliantly adds to the feeling of young couple’s desperation as the darkness falls and the pair gets ever more lost. Working from an improvised script (making their gentle mocking of each other feel genuine and amusing) Alice Englert and Iain De Caestecker give a pair of cracking central performances as they convincingly portray terror.
Very few film directors have such a distinctive touch as Wes Anderson who makes films that are very much attributed to his style. The Grand Budapest Hotel is very much a Wes Anderson film with its farcical characters, plot and comedy. The story basis itself around the ownership of the Grand Budapest Hotel, whilst the film is set in Eastern Europe (an English speaking part of Eastern Europe) the hotel isn’t based in Hungary as the name would suggest. Anyway, the elder Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) recounts the story of how he assisted M. Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), the hotel’s concierge, clear his name of murder and how he eventually gained ownership of the hotel.
Wes Anderson has become such a noted and respected figure in the film industry he can easily gather a cast list of impressive credentials. Consisting of Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton, Adrian Broady and Jeff Goldblum and others the cast do a superb job. People, however, go to see a Wes Anderson film for Wes Anderson’s distinctive narrative and visual style. His attention to detail is unrivalled and his quirky and farcical style makes him unlike any film maker working today. Because of this, the fans of his work will regularly turn out to see latest outing and they are likely to be impressed by The Grand Budapest Hotel.