The Films of Alan Taylor
The Emperor's New Clothes
Kill the Poor
Thor: The Dark World (November 17/13)
The Thor saga continues with this terminally underwhelming entry that details the title character's (Chris Hemsworth) efforts at preventing Christopher Eccleston's Malekith from destroying the galaxy, with the overstuffed narrative also detailing the exploits of several one-dimensional (and thoroughly dull) periphery figures - including Natalie Portman's Jane Foster, Anthony Hopkins' Odin, Stellan Skarsgård's Erik Selvig, and Kat Dennings' Darcy Lewis. Thor: The Dark World kicks off with an impossibly tedious prologue and grows more and more uninvolving as it progresses, with the movie's reliance on over-the-top (and entirely unremarkable) special effects holding the viewer at arms length virtually from start to finish (ie there's hardly a single shot here that isn't bathed in subpar computer-generated imagery). Hemsworth's competent yet charmless turn as the bland protagonist remains a serious problem within this apparently ongoing series, as the actor, despite his best efforts, is simply unable to transform Thor into a character worthy of the viewer's interest or sympathy - which, in turn, ensures that his various scenes with Portman's Jane fall completely flat (ie there's not an ounce of chemistry between these two). (It's ultimately interesting to note that Tom Hiddleston's Loki, arguably the weakest aspect of Marvel's The Avengers, turns in the movie's only interesting/compelling performance.) It doesn't help, either, that the movie, devoid of anything resembling momentum, lurches from one ill-conceived (and aggressively noisy) set piece to the next, with the interminable climax faring especially poorly and ensuring that Thor: The Dark World ends on as underwhelming a note as one could possibly envision.
Though a slight cut above the last entry in this franchise, 2009's Terminator Salvation, Terminator: Genisys is nevertheless an underwhelming, impotent entry in a series that's suffering from a serious case of diminishing returns. The convoluted narrative, which essentially follows Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) as she and Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) team up with a friendly terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger to take down Skynet once and for all, admittedly holds quite a bit of promise in the movie's opening hour, as scripters Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier initially stress the central characters' Back to the Future: Part II-like shenanigans - with the protagonists forced to experience the events of the first two movies in a radically different way. It's clear even during this stretch, however, that Clarke and Courtney are simply unable to convincingly step into the shoes of their respective predecessors, Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn, although it's equally obvious that Schwarzenegger steps back into the shoes of his iconic character with an ease that remains a consistent highlight within the proceedings. The complicated machinations of the plot become less and less interesting as time progresses, unfortunately, and it does, as a result, become increasingly difficult to work up any real interest in or sympathy for the protagonists' endeavors. Director Alan Taylor's inability to infuse any of the movie's action sequences with genuine excitement or thrills exacerbates the less-than-engrossing atmosphere, while the endless (and rather tedious) climax ensures that Terminator: Genisys ends on as lackluster a note as one could envision - which, when coupled with the growing realization that the film's villain is just lame, indicates that it might just be time to put this progressively ineffective franchise out to pasture.