Director: Kenneth Branagh, Paramount Pictures, Rated M, 115 Mins

Brilliant actor and director Kenneth Branagh (Sleuth) has brought to the big screen the much anticipated blockbuster Thor.
   Based on the comic character of the same name published by Marvel comics it stars Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek) in the lead role as the mythical hammer-wielding Norse god Thor.
   As a powerful but arrogant warrior in the mystical kingdom of Asgard, Thor’s reckless action reignites an ancient war and as punishment is banished by King Odin (played by the legendary Anthony Hopkins) to live among the humans on Earth.
   Once there, Thor learns what it means to be a real hero when the most dangerous villain of his world - his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) - sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.
   This epic adventure combines ancient mythology with sci-fi adventure and includes some amazing action sequences, settings and visual effects.
   Branagh has also assembled a great cast including a brilliant performance from Hemsworth as the muscle bound Thor, Academy Award winning actor Hopkins (The Wolfman) as Odin, and Academy Award winning actress Natalie Portman (Black Swan) as Jane Foster, Thor’s love interest.
   As the latest comic book hero to be made into a major motion picture Thor’ is as exciting and thrilling as such super heroes as ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Spiderman’ and is sure to be a proud addition to the Marvel franchise.
   Besides Hemsworth’s powerful performance, cinema goers are sure to enjoy Branagh’s exciting addition of ancient mythology mixed with the spectacle of sci-fi action and adventure.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 ½ Rubber Stamps

   Director: Greg Mottola, Universal Pictures, Rated MA, 104 Mins

Just in time for the school holidays comes Adventureland director Greg Mottola’s comical parody of sci-fi movies which at times is nothing short of hilarious.
   It even shows an appreciation to Spielberg’s ET through the inclusion of a lanky green alien called Paul (digitally created but voiced by The Green Hornet star Seth Rogen) who two British nerds encounter in the desert while driving their RV through a famous UFO site following their attendance at the renowned comic and sci-fi convention.
   The British pair are in fact sci-fi fans Graeme Willy and Clive Gollings (wonderfully played by Hot Fuzz stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost - who also wrote the screenplay for Paul).
   But it is Rogen’s portrayal of Paul’s comical character (who has escaped from the Feds) that is so funny and is the main appeal of this sci-fi comedy-as shown in a number of scenes between Paul and the comical duo (Pegg and Frost) as well as with Ruth (Kristen Wiig) the partially blind daughter of an evangelist after she is accidentally kidnapped by Pegg and Frost.  
   It is not long before the alien and three earthlings find themselves being chased by agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) and his stupid sidekicks (Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio).
   Besides the comical performances of Rogen, Pegg and Frost, there is a wonderful cameo appearance from Alien superstar Sigourney Weaver as “The Big Guy”.
   Despite a great deal of swearing from the lead actors-accounting for its MA rating Paul is a truly entertaining movie mainly due to Mottola’s affectionate acknowledgement to past sci-fi movies and Rogen’s portrayal of an unconventional alien who wants to find his mother ship and go home-instead of phoning home!
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps

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