On DVD & Blu-ray, 9/13/11: ‘Thor,’ ‘Meek’s Cutoff,’ More

THOR (DVD/Two-Disc Blu-ray,  DVD & Digital Combo/Three-Disc Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Combo)

The penultimate pre-Avengers Marvel franchise hit like a thunderbolt! Well, a severe summer shower at least. Chris Hemsworth (Papa Kirk from Abrams’ Star Trek) plays the titular Thunder God, an impetuous and brash young warrior eager to earn the respect of his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, he reignites a war with his people’s ancient enemies the Frost Giants, and finds himself exiled, penitent and powerless, to Earth. There’s a rushed romance with a sexy scientist (Natalie Portman); a fun but sadly bloodless battle to reclaim his birthright Mjolnir, the literal hammer of the gods; and a final showdown with his half-brother, the once and future God of Mischief. But the real highlights of the film aren’t the action set pieces: Hemsworth is a joy, with the muscles and the cocky but charming smirk; Hopkins chews the scenery appropriately, adding to the Shakespearean vibe director Kenneth Branagh was aiming for; and Tom Hiddleston as Loki steals the show with his wounded-little-boy-in-the-body-of-a-god routine. My earlier review was perhaps a bit glowing for what is probably just a good-not-great summer popcorn film…but then perhaps not. I look forward to watching it again and seeing if the ol’ Asgardian magic can still enchant me like it did before. Paul Smith

(Originally reviewed by Paul and myself in “The Hammer Is His Penis.” Like Paul, I also wrote a review for the blog.)

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On DVD & Blu-ray, 8/2/11: ‘Better Off Dead,’ ‘Conan the Barbarian’

John Cusack in 'Better Off Dead'

BETTER OFF DEAD (Blu-ray)

 “I want my $2!!”

One of the least recognized but cult favorite chapters in the “How To Be A Quirky Lovestruck Heartthrob” library of John Cusack, this 1985 classic cheese finally brings its cereal-prize spaceships, Howard Cosell-obsessed Japanese drag racers, singing hamburgers, and psychotic paperboys to Blu-ray. Lane Meyer (Cusack) would rather set himself on fire than watch his ex-girlfriend date his ski slope rival, or eat one more of his vapid mother’s slithering, gelatinous dinners. But fortunately, he’s in an 80’s teen comedy, so the love of his neighbors’ French foreign exchange student can save him. Paul Smith

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