Thor: Ragnarok
Film reviews

Movie Monday: Thor – Ragnarok (2017)

Once in a while on Monday, TMINE will review the select few movies it’s had time to watch when it’s not been watching TV. The film reviews A-Z lists every film ever reviewed here

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a varied one. It has the James Bond-style adventures of an African King in Black Panther, the West Coast techno-adventures of Iron Man, the outer space comedy of Guardians of the Galaxy and the magical, reality-warping drama of Doctor Strange. Even within individual franchises, there’s diversity. Captain America was a Rocketeer-styled World War 2 period drama, for example, while Captain America 2 was more of a gritty Parallax View piece of spying.

So you never know what you’re going to get with any given Marvel movie. Thor began as a romance, in which geeky scientist Natalie Portman discovers that the buff bloke she met on a New Mexico road is really Thor, the Norse god of Thunder, exiled from Asgard and looking for redemption, if only his mischievous brother Loki will let him return home.

Thor 2: Dark World was a little bit funnier, but a little bit more of the same, as Thor helps protect the Earth from some Dark Elves who are after Portman. No one really liked it, particularly since there’s literally no way to get the Northern Line from Charing Cross to Greenwich, certainly not in the middle of a battle.

Thor: Ragnarok

Now we have Thor: Ragnarok. Fans of Norse myth will of course know that Ragnarok is the prophesied end of the gods, when giant wolves, serpents and the like come to kill the gods, so expectations were naturally for something a bit sombre, particularly since the Marvel franchises come in packs of at most three movies (eg Iron Man, Captain America) so this was also set to be the last of the Thor movies. Then, of course, there’s Cate Blanchett playing Hella, the Norse goddess of Death. Again, a move that didn’t suggest laughs a minute.

Certainly, watching Thor: Ragnarok, there is an underlying sadness to proceedings, when favourite character after favourite character from previous movies meets a quick and untimely death. But in the hands of director Taika Waititi (Eagle vs Shark, What We Do in the Shadows), it’s fair to say that Thor: Ragnarok is also the funniest Marvel movie to date. Seriously, it makes Guardians of the Galaxy look like a Ken Loach movie at times.

That’s despite Thor losing his mighty hammer Mjölnir, splitting up from Portman and landing up on a planet where he has to fight to the death for Jeff Goldblum against the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).

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Black Panther
Film reviews

Movie Monday: Black Panther, Kingsman: The Golden Circle and The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Every Monday Some Mondays Once in a while on Monday, TMINE will review the select few movies it’s had time to watch when it’s not been watching TV

Not quite the monthly feature I suggested, but probably alternating with Boxset Monday whenever there’s not a boxset worth watching, the alliterative Movie Monday is a new TMINE feature reviewing the latest movies that I’ve watched. Usually that’ll be whatever Apple’s just bunged up on iTunes, but occasionally, just occasionally, it might even be one that’s in the cinemas.

This week, to christen everything, three movies: Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017), The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017) and Black Panther (2018).

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Jean-Claude Van Johnson
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Jean-Claude Van Johnson and Star Wars: The Last Jedi

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching this week

It’s the last WHYBW of 2017, since TMINE is taking its traditional end-of-year break next week. But never fear – it’ll be back in January to play catch up with all the Christmas TV.

It’s been quiet-ish for new tele this past week, so for the most part, we’re going to be looking at the regulars, with Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Mr Robot and Travelers winding up their latest seasons and even series in one case. But I also watched the Christmas episode of Will and Grace, as well as the latest episodes of Happy! and Marvel’s Runaways, so I’ll be discussing all of those, too, after the jump.

I did try to watch episode two of Knightfall as well, but after 15 minutes of reasonably lifeless runarounds and the arrival of Pope Boniface, I found myself too bored to carry on with its bargain basement Vikings intrigues, so I’ve dropped that from the schedule.

All of which still left me a little time on my hands, so I went out! Out the house! Out out!

At the theatre, I saw The Twilight Zone and at the cinema, I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Then I got bored of out, so although I’d already reviewed the pilot, making it ineligible for Boxset Monday, I watched the whole of the first season of Jean Claude Van Johnson at the weekend. All of that after the jump as well.

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Wonder Woman on the Old Bailey
Weekly Wonder Woman

Weekly Wonder Woman: Justice League (2017), Wonder Woman #35

Yes, it’s Weekly Wonder Woman – keeping you up to date on pretty much anything involving DC Comics’ premier superheroine, including how badly her latest movie is doing

Movie news

Oh dear. Poor old DC/Warners. Last week, the signs were looking good for Justice League at the overseas box office. However, the US box office taking this past weekend has been below expectations: $96m, which although pretty good is the lowest ever opening for a DC Extended Universe movie. It also got a ‘40% rotten’ critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and is now projected to lose Warner somewhere between $50m and $100m.

Oops.

All is not lost, however, since it’s Thanksgiving week in the US, and Justice League did eventually hit its domestic mark after another day’s takings. It’s also done $185m outside the US and has an audience Rotten Tomatoes score of 85%, meaning audiences liked it twice as much as critics did – in fact, they liked it more than Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, although not quite as much as Wonder Woman, naturally.

Still, already everyone and their auntie is weighing in on what went wrong. Previously, director Zac Snyder had been universally blamed for all previous failings of DCEU movies. However, a personal tragedy meant that he departed the movie after shooting a big chunk of it, upon which Warner hired Joss Whedon (yes, that one) to do some rewrites and reshoots.

Weirdly, a whole bunch of people are therefore putting Justice League‘s perceived failings down to there being not enough Snyder and too much Whedon. There’s even a petition by fans to have a Snyder cut of the movie that the movie’s own cinematographer is backing. Someone even claims to have a list of all the changes Whedon made. All the hints in Batman v Superman as to the original plot of Justice League are probably out the window – or maybe they’ll turn up in Justice League 2 if that ever happens.

Want to know what I think of Justice League? Well, I’ll tell you after the jump. But first, let’s talk about comics…

Comics news

Batman and Wonder Woman

As previously mentioned, former Wonder Woman illustrator Liam Sharp is working on the first ever Batman-Wonder Woman title. But we now have some actual details:

It’s a six-issue mini-series called The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman, out on February 21st. One week earlier and people would talk. The series will mix Wonder Woman’s Amazonian mythology with the legends of Irish and Celtic gods. “The story would involve the death of an Irish god, and Wonder Woman would bring in Batman, the world’s greatest detective, to help investigate.”

Sharp said this new story will be a continuation of his Wonder Woman series with [Greg] Rucka, taking place not long after their final issue. He said Wonder Woman and her classic supporting character Steve Trevor are still a couple, but that he was tempted to add a little of the romantic spark that has existed between Batman and Wonder Woman over the years in various adaptations.

“There’s a moment [between Batman and Wonder Woman] in it. It’s more of a nod than anything else,” Sharp said. “I fell very much in love with the Steve and Diana story during the series with Greg. We felt like we gave him a certain richness to his personality that perhaps he’d lacked somewhat previously. There was a sense that the fanbase said this is right and this is how it should be. So I don’t want to spoil that. That’s the [Wonder Woman] that we created and that’s the dynamic that we created, but at the same time there is a [romantic] nod [to Batman].”

Should be fun. And well drawn.

Continue reading “Weekly Wonder Woman: Justice League (2017), Wonder Woman #35”

Blade Runner 2049
TV reviews

What have you been watching? Including The Guest Book, SMILF and Blade Runner 2049

It’s “What have you been watching?”, my chance to tell you each week what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently and your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching. TMINE recommends has all the reviews of all the TV shows TMINE has ever recommended, but for a complete list of TMINE’s reviews of (good, bad and insipid) TV shows and movies, there’s the definitive TV Reviews A-Z and Film Reviews A-Z

It’s been a quieter week than last week, so there haven’t been as many new shows to watch as before. Mario Van Peebles’s southern BuffySuperstition (US: Syfy; UK: Netflix), I’ve already reviewed and I’ve passed a third-episode verdict on Matt Nix’s ‘The X-Men universe without The X-Men’ show The Gifted (US: Fox; UK: Fox UK).

But that doesn’t mean this week’s WHYBW is going to be an empty affair. For starters, I forgot to review Blade Runner 2049 last week. Oops.

But there’s been one new show I haven’t yet covered, The Guest Book (US: TBS), which comes from the pen of Greg Garcia (My Name is Earl), and there’s a forthcoming show, SMILF (US: Showtime; UK: Sky Atlantic), that I’ll be previewing, too.

I’ll also be running through the latest episodes of the regulars: The Brave, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Great News, Marvel’s Inhumans, Mr Robot, My Myself and I, Professor T, SEAL Team, Star Trek: Discovery, Travelers, and Will & Grace. At least one of these is for the chop – can you guess which one?

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