House Meets Loki, Thanks to LeCarre

DATELINE: The Nighty Night Manager

House Meets Loki

Tom Hiddleston is auditioning to be the next James Bond by starring as Pine/Birch, the mysterious agent in John LeCarre’s The Night Manager.

This brilliantly produced miniseries features Loki versus House, for movie fans. Yes, Hugh Laurie has joined Hiddleston to produce the series in a fanfare of luscious locations and political hotspots.

From Egypt to a Swiss hideaway to Mallorca, the tantalizing scenery masks a hot-and-cold cat-and-mouse game.

Hiddleston’s hotel manager, coolly efficient, is allegedly recruited by MI6 to spy on a sociopathic arms dealer posing as a humanitarian billionaire. Enter House Laurie in an especially vile role. He shares executive producer status with Hiddleston—and they have given themselves prime cut roles.

Master espionage writer John LeCarre even appears in a cameo in this film, as a restaurant patron subjected to Hiddleston’s agent having his crotch grabbed in a rather brazen dinner scene.

If you like cloak and dagger, LeCarre does it with a Smiley face. You can’t tell if or when Hiddleston’s hero has turned from good guy to bad. However, the scenes between Laurie and him grow increasingly entertaining with menace and charm.

In today’s cartoon superhero market, there is scant room for intelligent characters and complex plots, but those who want room service from Tom Hiddleston may be the recipient of super-service. This actor has grown from his Wallendar second-banana status to second banana Viking god to first-banana spy.

Be forewarned: the 5-part series ends with a comebacker that requires a promised second-season of episodes.

Jarmusch Breathes Life into Vampires

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

Tom&Tilda

Jim Jarmusch comes to the vampire craze in movies and TV with his usual deadpan approach.

Only Lovers Left Alive is the antidote to True Blood or Twilight, presenting vampires as a dying breed. Contaminated blood has put the aging bloodsuckers on the endangered species list.

Vampires are now forced to purchase pre-tested and safe blood supplies of O-negative. Tom Hiddleston plays Adam, living in dead, deserted Detroit and has become a reclusive musicologist. His wife Eve (Tilda Swinton) stays in Tangier where blood apparently is safer and cavorts with her old friend Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt).

Tilda and Tom’s wigs are nearly hilarious and distracting.

Yes, that Christopher Marlowe complains vociferously about Shakespeare stealing his best work, Hamlet. He is among the undead.

This is not your usual action-packed vampire tale, but seems to be a moral drama about whether the vamps ought to start feeding off the “zombies” (their name for living humans). It could be a true death sentence.

Adam complains that the world’s blood supply has been polluted by the zombies—and the last bastion of culture and sensitivity are those dead people who have wandered the earth for centuries.

Quite often Tom Hiddleston shows off his rather-beautiful dead body, looking like alabaster—one of the few drawbacks of being dead.

Jarmusch has once again gone against the grain and provided a film that the general run of True Blood fans will dislike. His film is literate and filled with ennui, indifference, and elite references.

If you want a breath of fresh air, crawl into the crypt with Jarmusch’s vampires.

 

 Fans of movies should not miss the collections of movie reviews in MOVIES IN THE STREAM and MOVIE MASHUP, taken from the annual movie viewing of Ossurworld! Available on Amazon.com for smart readers.

 

 

Thundering Hooves, Heaves, and Heavens

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

Loki & Thor Together Again

Though we frequently groan at the prospect of another superhero movie, we actually wanted to see the Norse demigods again in their sequel. We should have rented The Avengers instead.

Thor: the Dark World reunites Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins as Thor’s parents, Frigga and Odin. But, mostly we wanted to savor Loki, his evil younger brother, played deliciously malevolent by Tom Hiddleston who impressed us a few years back as Kenneth Branagh’s sidekick on Wallender.

And, Hiddleston is the perfect foil for Chris Hemsworth’s stalwart Thor. Throw in Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and you have a bonfire of the gods of acting. Adewale impressed us years ago on Oz, the HBO prison drama.

The film provides some silly reason for Thor to return to Earth to show off his pecs and abs. Now if he only had a hammer to hide under his tunic.

Audiences may also feel like they have already seen the tiresome special effects here, which have become de rigueur for action cartoons of this ilk: dark, overblown, and unoriginal.

This film saves itself only with interesting actors bringing more than expected to the shenanigans. Yet, we are tormented by a villain race that requires subtitles. They talk like outtakes from Star Trek’s Klingon scenes.

Once again scientists behave like unprofessional fools that need “gods” to come to their rescue.

The plot is ponderous and plodding. A few well-delivered lines are not enough to save the movie. A steady diet of films like this will bring on early Hobbit’s disease.

Fantasy has overwhelmed science fiction and neutered mythology. See Thor: the Dark World to wallow in the results.