Film Screening 29th July, 2011

Poster for Thor


8:00 PM, 29th July, 2011
No Guests

  • M
  • 111 mins
  • 2011
  • Kenneth Branagh
  • Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne
  • Chris Hemsworth,  Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins

Who doesn't love Norse mythology? One thing those old pagan gods had (Greek ones as well) was flexibility. They could show up in almost any kind of story without sacrificing their essential characters, and a few wisps of magic invariably trailed into the story with them.

The Thor of legend was renowned mainly for his ability to: (a) lose his temper, (b) smite villains real good with his hammer and (c) drink vast quantities of mead. Described prosaically, he was a violent yob. But nobody ever really thought of him as nothing more than a violent yob. As part of a pantheon, he inspired at least a little bit of genuine awe; striking out on his own into the world of mortals, he always seemed big-hearted and, well, cuddly.

The Thor of this movie (Hemsworth) is, thankfully, also striking out into the world of mortals - modern-day New Mexico, to be precise; the accepted landing site for all extra-terrestrials - as a result of being banished from heaven for reckless war-mongering. (Whatever the situation, his first instinct is to smite real good with that hammer). We don't dislike him for either his rashness or stupidity, however; we want him to learn from his mistakes, and cheer when he does. And we don't find it in the least unbelievable that this larger-than-life deity's redemption is his falling in love with a quite unremarkable mortal woman (Portman). Perhaps we recognise that, of all the inhabitants of Asgard, this is the one who is more human than we are.

Henry Fitzgerald

Poster for Mad Bastards

Mad Bastards 

10:06 PM, 29th July, 2011

  • MA
  • 96 mins
  • 2011
  • Brendan Fletcher
  • Brendan Fletcher
  • Dean Daley-Jones,  Lucas Yeeda, Greg Tait

TJ (Daley-Jones) is an ex-con who sets off on a quest to meet the son he’s never known. Along the way he meets a host of characters that cause TJ to begin to question his life of alcohol and violence. His thirteen-year-old son, Bullet (Yeeda), on the other hand, has been sent by his policeman grandfather (Tait) to an outback camp with other young tearaways. An arsonist in the making, Bullet’s lack of a decent father figure has left him on the verge of following in his real father’s troubled footsteps.

Mad Bastards follows the father and son on their parallel-but-intersecting journeys through the Kimberley region of far North Western Australia, and is based on true stories told to documentary maker Brendan Fletcher in interviews he conducted there. Fletcher, in his feature film debut, has interwoven these stories into a satisfying ensemble drama – although ‘drama’ is perhaps too strong a word for an idyllically slow moving story. Nevertheless, the languid pace means that there is plenty of time to savour the superb desert scenery.

Fletcher even ended up putting some of his interviewees into the film. Almost all the performers were non-professional actors, and this is highlighted in the film’s end credits when many of those involved discuss their real life stories. For example, Tait – who I particularly enjoyed as the compassionate grandfather, policeman and de facto mayor – revealed that he had been a juvenile criminal himself before turning his life around to become an actual policeman.

Richard Hills